How do you evaluate what’s not working with food?
Do you patiently look at the facts, get curious, and move forward?
Or, do you tend to make food failures personal, where you try to solve for them from a place of urgency?
If it’s the latter, nothing has gone wrong.
You simply have a human brain that’s designed to scan for what’s not working in a non-useful way.
To move forward with your healthy eating progress, you will need to learn how to evaluate setbacks in a way that is useful long-term.
In this podcast episode, I’m teaching you how to avoid evaluating progress in a non-useful way, while also sharing the most useful way to evaluate what’s not working with food now.
This is the difference between you rushing through your eating struggles and you patiently solving for them permanently.
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Hello there, my friend, how is your week going? The spring weather is upon us here in Florida. It is so, so beautiful outside. It’s warm with a light breeze, which honestly means we have approximately three to four weeks in Florida before the heat gets unbearable. And I’m going to just want to stay inside all of the time. It gets very hot down here in Florida, but really it has been so, so lovely out and a personal priority of mine lately has been to get myself outside more. So I am someone who very much connects with nature and I feel very healed by it. And actually for those of you who don’t know, my past profession was in scientific research and field work. So I spent a ton of time outside in nature and in the natural elements, which most people who know me now and find out about this are like what? Because I carry myself, I think a bit differently now as a business owner than I did back then, but this was a very big part of my life. And connecting with the natural outside world is something I will always be very passionate about. And it’s something that brings me a lot of fulfillment and joy. But over time, what I notice if I’m not being mindful is I sort of lose that childlike, wonder energy and love I have for the outdoors, just because I spend so much more time indoors lately, which I’m sure a lot of you can relate to.
So this past weekend, it was amazing and lovely because Taylor and I, we left the dogs at home this time and we walked this really beautiful trail that we have down here in Florida. So we saw Gators, we saw butterflies, we saw all of the things and I felt so healed and fulfilled by that experience.
And as humans spending time in nature is something we truly, truly need. So I offer just to start out this episode, if you find that you’re not spending enough time outside or in the sun, I offer that you do that. Whether that’s taking a day like I did and spending time on a trail at the lake or at the beach with your family. But alternatively, if you don’t have the time, even just taking a breath in the fresh air in that moment before you drive to work, or while you’re having your morning coffee at home, it can make such a difference.
All right, now let’s get into today’s episode today. I want to talk to you about what to do when it’s not working. So when you feel like healthy eating, just isn’t working for you and what you can focus on to move forward.
So the first thing I want you to keep in mind here is that there are useful ways to look at what’s not working and there are non useful ways. And what most of our human brains will feel compelled to do is to look at what’s not working in a non-useful way, which really just means we’re looking at what’s not working in a way that is deeply personal to us compared to looking at what’s not working in a useful way, which is just the facts.
So I’ll give you a really simple example. Let’s say, what’s not working right now. The facts are that you overeat when you come home from work, or maybe it’s even more specific. Like you overeat a bag of chips when you come home from work at 6:00 PM. So this is a useful factual observation of what’s not working. Then I want you to watch how your brain will want to make an observation like this very personal.
It will take a useful observation and turn it into something non-useful and personal to you. So for instance, a non-useful observation of this may be I get home from work and lose all control. I’m just addicted to chips. No one in my family is supportive. They keep buying chips and leave them around the house. So I don’t know what to do from here. Nothing is working. Something is wrong with me. See the difference. Now, if you notice that this is something you do now, I want you to be very careful and not beat yourself up here. Do not judge yourself because our brains will always present us this option to look at what’s not working through a non-useful personal lens. It will always give you the option to make something that’s not working personal, because this is actually what our brain is designed to do. So why does it do this? Because your brain doesn’t like being uncertain. It will never sit in uncertainty if it doesn’t have to, because uncertainty implies danger. So let’s say the useful observation is that you overeat chips. When you get home at 6:00 PM immediately, your brain is going to want to figure out why you’re doing this because it’s a problem you want to solve. It’s not producing the result you want. And it doesn’t want to sit in that uncertainty of not knowing why this is happening or how to solve the problem. So your brain will start to problem solve in the best way. It knows how so at first in the beginning it will think, all right, maybe I just haven’t found the right diet. So it will try diets, which you then fail. So then the brain is like, all right, we’ve tried that, that didn’t work. So maybe we need to eliminate foods from the house. That’s the reason why this is happening. So maybe you eliminate the chips, then still find somehow they make their way back into the house or you overeat something else. The problem still doesn’t get solved. So then when you can’t seem to solve this problem of you overeating, when you get home at 6:00 PM, eventually through you solving this problem and failing your brain will go to the only other answer it has left, which is to blame you as a human being, it will start judging you and creating very punishing thoughts that feel terrible. So I don’t have control. I’m not capable. Something is wrong with me. I’m addicted to food, et cetera, et cetera. All of the thoughts that bring up feelings of doubt, helplessness, shame, inadequacy, all of those things. The fact that your brain makes what isn’t working personal, isn’t even personal. It’s just an option. Your brain will offer you. And this is what I want you to be aware of. And here, when we look at what’s not working, I’m just telling you not to go with that option. Right? Instead objectives, we look at something that’s not working such as overeating. When you get home at 6:00 PM and leave it at that, all right, don’t give into the urge to make it personal, just because you’re feeling very uncertain and possibly frustrated that you haven’t yet solved this problem for yourself. We can just expect that your brain will want to make it personal. And we don’t always have to take the bait. The second thing I want you to keep in mind here, once you’ve decided to look at this in a useful non-personal way is that there is always a distinct, valid reason why healthy eating isn’t working for you. Now. There’s always a simple reason. It isn’t never complicated. Now notice the resistance. You may have to hearing this, that it is simple, and it can’t possibly be complicated because as we’ve already determined, you’re going to have a brain that wants to make your food struggles very personal and complicated. Like your, the special snowflake who has more problems with food than everyone else. And I can tell you having this mindset in the past and having coached hundreds of women through this mindset that you’re not alone and your struggles with food make perfect sense. There is nothing wrong with you. The struggles you have with food makes sense based on where you’re at now and the information you’ve been given thus far, it all lines up. Even if this concept feels a bit out of reach for you, I want you to consider these thoughts. So consider that you can just try on the belief that my food struggles make sense. And there are valid reasons why it’s not working now because making your food struggles personal keeps you stuck. You will almost have this energy that you need to be saved from your food struggles and that someone needs to do the work for you to solve this problem and solve for what isn’t working. You need to be in the energy of wanting to solve the problem for yourself, wanting to understand and to figure it out, wanting to see what makes you tick. This is the best energy to solve the problem with, to solve for what’s not working. So you’re noticing the part of your mind that wants to make your food struggles personal. And then you’re acknowledging that you have legitimate reasons for your food struggles now. So at this point, this is an appropriate time for you to look at the map of your eating struggles. So the math of what’s not working first, we needed to clear that drama from your mind now know that we’re not going to clear up the drama in our minds completely because we’re human, but we don’t want you to lead with that drama when solving for your food struggles. So the goal up to this point is for you to acknowledge that drama in your mind and lovingly set it aside without judgment. This is a very big piece of my coaching practice. It is non-negotiable that my clients do this in own your eating habits. Each client learns to identify their thoughts and emotions that are keeping themselves stuck. So they can put this aside and then make food decisions separately from it. It is key and you don’t need to positive your way to solving for your eating struggles. That’s the good news. There’s no positive affirmations necessary. You simply need to learn how to address this part of you. And just put it aside when you’re solving for this problem, which is possible with the deeper work. So that being said, no, you can look at the math of what’s not working for you. So let’s use the initial example of coming home from work at 6:00 PM and overeating a bag of chips that is the math, or that’s more so the result of the math equation. So we want to know what leads to this result of the equation. So if you think about a math equation, let’s say the total is 10. What are the combinations of numbers that add up to 10? See what I’m saying here. I’m hoping this analogy makes sense. Sometimes my analogies make sense. Sometimes they’re a little ma, but I’m hoping this one makes sense. We have the result with food, your creating, and we want to piece together the math that’s creating it. So using the same example, here are some pieces of math or observations you may notice. And these are all just examples of common things I see. So maybe you notice, you feel overwhelmed when you get home from work because of everything you have to do the next day. Maybe you notice you feel resentment when it comes to your family, because they keep buying those chips and do believe that you don’t have control with them. Maybe you notice that when you get home, you feel an urge to chew on something crunchy and salty. So chips feel like the most desirable option. You notice when you start eating the chips that you’re not actually hungry in your body, you have a strong urge to eat the whole bag, but you notice you’re not even satisfied and full after you eat them. Now, here’s, what’s interesting. These are all pretty general observations to many of you.
It’s not going to feel like distinct math, but it is. This is very tangible, distinct math. In terms of the deeper work solving for your eating struggles requires introspection and exploration and notice from the urgent energy where you’re making the food struggles, very personal. You’re going to have this desperate desire to fix this problem instantly. So this is why you reach for the quick fixes and you don’t get to these deeper causes of what’s not working. You can’t solve your food struggles from this energy because you’re going to miss all of the math. We need to put you in the energy of looking at this math at a deeper level. And when you’re committed to looking at this math, without that drama, you can make conscious observations without being in a rush. So this is how you will learn to be the expert of your own eating habits. This is what my clients learned to do. I’m not solving their eating habits for them. I am the guide that shows them exactly how to be the expert of solving their own eating habits. Because then when they’ve gone through this work at the deepest level, they get permanent control with food because they know they have everything they need within themselves to solve for. What’s not working. So this is the difference shift into that expert energy and consider the deeper math of why it’s not working for you right now with food. And I highly encourage you to not base the math on actual numbers and metrics with food. So do not base the math on. What’s not working with calories, macros, nutrition, any of that for right now, that is my recommendation. If you feel like you don’t have 100% control over the way you eat, this is not your focus right now.
You need to solve this problem from exploring deeper. What feels like isn’t working for you emotionally with food? What feels like isn’t working when it comes to your body and food? At what point does eating healthy, not feel like your decision, nutrition and metrics with food has its place. It can be important. There’s nothing wrong with those things at all. But if you feel like you’re not in control of everything, you eat, focusing on those things and using that as the math to solve for this problem will be fruitless. It will just create more noise in your mind because it’s not the root cause of what’s not working for you right now. You have to solve for the control piece first. And if the math that’s, the deeper observations feels a little bit fluffy to you and you gravitate more towards the math. That’s the numbers and the metrics. That likely means that the deeper math is exactly where your focus should be because the math of the numbers and metrics feels very comfortable and it feels very certain, right? Our brains hate uncertainty. So your growth area is going into the deeper math, this exploration of exactly. What’s not working for you now. That is where the growth is. All right. Then once you’ve intentionally come up with the math for, what’s not working right now. So you’ve done this very patiently and presently you’ve practiced being the expert and investigator of your own eating habits. And I want you to consider the foundations of eating healthy and what you’re not doing right now in regards to that. And here are the foundations of eating healthy. I’m going to keep it very, very simple for you here. This is exactly what each of my clients walks through. And the result of these foundations is creating complete control with food. This is what will naturally occur if you walk through these steps. So the first foundation is to understand exactly what is not working, right? So the very point of this episode for you to spend actual time with, what’s not working for you in a useful way. So this requires observation and patience. It requires you to see this from a useful non-personal lens, what isn’t working when it comes to your eating habits.
Now. So for each of my clients, this is actually the first thing we do. We have a process to establish exactly what isn’t working for them now. So they’re clear from the get-go. This is where you will want to spend time with in the beginning, because if you don’t, what will happen is you will try to solve for the wrong food problem. So for most of you, that will mean you try and solve for the food choices for what you’re eating. So with the coming home at 6:00 PM example, that means you will try and keep the chips out of the house or replace the chips with a quote, unquote healthier option, or try and force yourself to follow a food plan. This was never the problem. It was never the chips that was actually keeping you stuck. The problem was that you felt out of control with the chips in the first place. When you come home from work at 6:00 PM, it’s the deeper work. So do not blind yourself to the deeper work because you’re in a rush to solve this problem. So you bulldoze through all of that awareness with my clients. That’s where a coaching container is the most beneficial because it slows them down and allows them to look at this problem objectively. So that’s what I want you to do. First. The second foundation is to separate emotions from eating decisions. So this is the deepest work you will do when it comes to creating control with food. So get curious about your emotions. When you get home from work, for example, you willing to observe what emotional experiences in your body are driving you to give up control with food, develop an intimate relationship with those feelings to uncover what’s there. Even just opening yourself up to this deeper work will reveal so much for you rather than going to that brain. That wants to make things personal practice, slowing the spring down and observing what’s there. What is coming up for you emotionally with food, be willing to spend time here and see where your work is. The third foundation is to provide your body what it’s needing from food, not in a way where you’re getting caught up in the noise of nutritional metrics. We’re taking it back to the basics. You guys honoring your body’s hunger, your body’s fullness, how satisfied your body feels from what you eat and how pleasurable you’re finding the foods you’re eating. These are the basics and non-negotiables even consider right now. How often are you actually checking in with your body when it comes to your eating decisions? If you’re like most of my clients hand myself in the past, it’s pretty much never, right? We tend to be head people where we solve our problems from our mind first, without checking in with the body. So this is one of the biggest shifts my clients learn in my practice. Truly. They learn how to solve for their food struggles from their body, rather than resorting to their brain. This is what’s necessary to solve for the emotional piece and the body piece that comes first, where then you can solve for your food decisions from your mind where you tweak things nutritionally and whatever else you want to do. Which at that point, if you’re like many of my clients, it won’t even be necessary because why things aren’t working for you with food is because you’re not checking in with the body at all, whether that’s your emotions or your body cues. All right? So I hope that makes sense. You need to be giving your body what it needs from food. And that requires you to start listening to it. The last foundation I want to offer you here is to make food decisions based on what you want. All right. Now hear me, because this is one of the hardest things for newer clients to understand in the beginning, it’s a bit of a more advanced concept, which is why it’s a phase that comes up later in the healthy eating journey. You need to begin making food decisions based on what you actually want to be eating logically, not what you want to be eating urgently and emotionally. This actually, isn’t what you want to be eating. This is emotional. What you want with food is to eat healthy in a way that provides for your body is pleasurable to you and allows you to reach your goals. That is not accessible to you. Now, if you haven’t gone through the other foundations that I’ve described to you, this part after this is accessible, when food is just food, it’s not something that’s on your mind a whole lot. It’s not something that brings up urgency for you. There’s just you and your food decisions. When this is the experience and result, you’ve created you no longer eat based on what you think you should be eating because that’s never sustainable. That creates a total lack of fulfillment with food. It feels awful. You begin to gain access to what foods you want to eat from a very intentional and neutral place. When you go through these spaces, it’s making food decisions that do not feel urgent, but they do feel enjoyable. So this is how you create healthy eating habits that feel natural and sustainable. When you start making food decisions based on what you want in a way that does not feel urgent. So this likely makes some sense now, but keep in mind, this is a bit more of an advanced concept that you get to. When you create control with food, it will sit even deeper for you when you’ve gone through the other foundational work. So I offered you quite a bit in this episode and hear me when I say that I know you’re committed to solving this problem. I know this is a priority for you, but being committed doesn’t mean rushing your way to the result where you skip steps. That is not how longterm results are created. We’ve all tried doing that. It didn’t work for us. This is doing the permanent deeper approach, the approach where you’re leaving no stone left unturned, and you’re becoming someone different with food in the process. Someone who naturally eats healthy and has control with food. So I encourage you to take real time considering everything that’s been presented here, consider each question and tidbit. I offered you in this episode and begin giving yourself a clearer picture of what’s not working because why it’s not working with food is never personal. It can’t possibly be. You have valid and legitimate reasons for why healthy eating isn’t working for you. Now, we just want to find those reasons and be the detective of them. All right? If solving for your food struggles permanently is something that is a top priority for you. Then you are a good fit for own your eating habits. So this is my coaching program that takes this work to that deepest level. So you will get your hands on a process that walks you step by step from where you are now to the permanent changes with food you want to make. So you’re never having to rely on a diet or willpower to have control with food. Again, this is the result that’s created. So if this sounds like your jam, I’m ready to coach you. You can apply at katrentas.com/coaching. All right, my dear friends, I love you. I hope this was helpful. Thanks for being here with me today. And I’ll talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified life and health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.