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Feb 26

When You “Get Off Track” With Your Eating Habits

When You Get Off Track Kat Rentas

For the longest time, I was trapped in the mind-numbing dieting cycle.

I would pick up healthy eating habits, only to put them back down a week later.

When this didn’t work, I would read every nutrition article, listen to every health podcast, and try every diet available.

And my eating habits would never change.

Constantly I would think, “What gives? Why is it so hard for me?”.

I know what it’s like to be exhausted with “getting off track”.

When you just want to find a method of healthy eating that sticks, doesn’t make you feel miserable, and actually allows you to enjoy food. 

This type of food freedom is accessible to you.

You never have to force yourself to eat in a way that feels nourishing to your body.

To do this, you first need to understand the reality behind why you’re “falling off track” with your eating habits.

What “Getting Off Track” Really Means

A diet can be defined as “a set of restrictive food rules written by someone other than yourself”. 

And when you force yourself to follow someone else’s food rules you will likely fail.

This is due to the fact that you lose the willpower to stick to a method of eating that is inauthentic to you.

You’re forcing yourself to commit to food rules that you did not create.

Or that had nothing to do with the preferences, needs, or goals of your body.

Therefore, you will “get off track” with your healthy eating diet plan.

This will cause you to indulge in feelings of self-pity, self-doubt, and self-punishment.

You will make the fact that you “fell off track” mean something negative about your abilities to be healthy.

Thereby worsening the relationship you have with food, your body, and ultimately yourself.

So, what does “getting off track” really mean?

It means your willpower reserves have run out.

Because willpower doesn’t last for anyone.

Your brain and body are far too advanced for this.

When you attempt to force yourself to eat a certain way, your brain will eventually take over and self-sabotage.

Since it’s holding on to years of thought-patterns that formed your current eating habits.

Willpower will run out and you will go back to your old unhealthy eating ways.

You can form healthier eating habits without ever having to worry about “getting off track”.

When you do this right, the track doesn’t exist.

And the first step to demolishing that track, once and for all, is to ditch a diet mentality.

Uncovering a Diet Mentality

Many women I begin working with say that “they’re ready to ditch the diet forever”.

While I love the energy of this, there’s an important step they must take that they often haven’t yet.

In order to actually end dieting, you will have to have to end a diet mentality

This is sneaky. Many women think they’ve given up dieting, when in fact, they are now unconscious dieters.

And unfortunately, unconscious dieting still yields the same negative results as conscious dieting.

Which is normally poor body image, restrictive eating habits, and a distrust with food.

Here are some examples of unconscious dieting behavior:

 

  • Eating based off what you “deserve” for that day
  • Assigning diet labels to yourself to lose weight (vegan, keto, etc.)
  • You punish yourself for eating “unhealthy”
  • You classify certain food items as “unsafe”
  • You obsess over food metrics
  • You restrict food from time to time

 

While these behaviors have become so commonplace in our society, they are extremely damaging to your relationship with food.

These are all tendencies that keep you in the same mindset as being “on track vs. off track” with food.

You don’t get rid of the track with this mindset. 

You keep rebuilding it in your brain. 

Which can get you out of touch with hunger signals, promote higher stress, cause weight fluctuations, and promote overeating in your future.

Ditching the Diet Forever

The real key to removing the track and ditching the dieting forever is to change your relationship with food & dieting.

You’ll need to work to end the dieting thoughts that you’ve likely had for years.

While this can take time and patience, it’s actually very simple.

First, you need to become aware of the harm dieting causes.

 

  • How has dieting behavior impacted your relationship with food thus far?
  • What has dieting caused you to miss out on in your life?
  • How has dieting impacted your relationship with your body? 

 

You need this clarity and perspective to move forward.

Second, you want to form the belief system that willpower does not work.

You cannot force yourself to stick to strict food rules.

Your brain wasn’t designed to be put into a healthy eating box.

Willpower will always run out eventually.

When you fight against your brain you will lose, everytime.

Third, get rid of the dieting items in your life.

Do this at least temporarily. 

Including meal plans, diets, tracking apps, etc.

This can seem counterproductive to many women who want to lose weight.

But when you’re focusing on the weight loss goal in the beginning, you are focusing on food as a means to an end. 

This isn’t what you want long-term.

These items can be appropriate once a relationship with food and body has been healed.

Then, you can focus on things like weight loss more objectively.

Fourth, you need to show yourself understanding and compassion.

Forgive yourself for dieting all those years.

Acknowledge where you’ve been restrictive and punishing with your body in terms of food.

Know that the reasons for it happening were understandable, especially given the state of the diet culture we live in.

Give yourself space to accept your past relationship with food.

So, you can move forward and create a new one.

What to Do Next

If “falling off track” with your eating habits is something you say often, I encourage you to remove this from your vocabulary. 

This makes healthy eating into a moral dilemma. 

Where eating one way is right and another way is wrong.

This is extremely damaging to your relationship with food.

The track does not need to exist.

And you don’t need a diet to keep you on track either.

Because a diet does not have your individual preferences, needs, or goals in mind.

They are a cookie-cutter approach to healthy eating habits and weight loss.

Your relationship with food is far too complex for this.

The truth is, your brain and body need you to start paying attention.

So, stop looking outside of you for the answers.

Your body is constantly trying to tell you what methods of healthy eating work for her.

It’s time you stop focusing on the track, and start listening to what she needs.

This is how you create a relationship with healthy eating that feels effortless.

- Kat Rentas

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Kat Rentas, Eating Psych. Coach

Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified eating psychology 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 placeYou can read my full story here.