Are you frustrated because you’re not making the changes with food and body that you want?
When changing your eating habits, you will have moments where you believe: “I’m not making any changes. It’s not working.”
This frustration is natural. You have a brain that is wired to seek out problems and solve them.
What you need to know: It’s not that nothing is working. It’s that you have a low tolerance for failure, shame, and messy progress.
In this episode, I’m sharing what to do when you’re feeling like you’re not making the changes with food that you want. I’m also discussing how you can become someone who tolerates these thoughts when you’re on the way to healthier eating and weight loss.
Because having these thoughts when changing your eating habits is typical and expected. They’re not a problem. They only become a problem when you let them interfere with the progress you’re already making.
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Hello my friend. Welcome back to the podcast this week I am so happy that you’re here with me today. So I really want to dedicate an entire episode to the concept of when you feel like you are not changing or making progress in your journey to healthier eating or weight loss, this is something that if you are committed to making this change for the rest of your life in a long-term way, I want you to expect this to come up.
I want you to expect moments where you feel like nothing is working, where you feel like you’re not making any of the changes you want to make and where you feel like you are failing a bit. This is completely normal. It comes with the territory. And what I wanna talk about in today’s episode is how these moments are where your growth truly begins.
This is where you will become someone who makes these changes long-term versus someone who throws in the towel, falls off track and goes back to your old ways. And so sometimes when we go into a journey towards healthier eating, we’ll kind of have this mindset that we have to be perfect, that we have to eat the right things, that we have to do it all correctly. And this is a huge misconception of what it means to learn to eat naturally healthy.
Because the reality is that none of it’s gonna look perfect. None of it’s going to look ideal. Your progress is going to look messy. And right now, if you are in the midst of it looking that way, that means you are doing it right because that means you have entered the stage of the reality of how your progress is going to look.
And if you are in the phase right now where you’re doing all the right things, you’re following through on all the plans, maybe you’re tracking correctly and everything feels like it’s working, I want to be the bearer of maybe bad news, but also necessary news for you to hear. And the time will come when you have a moment where you feel like you have fallen off track, you’re not making changes and it’s not working because we can only be perfect and on track for so long.
So rather than have these moments debilitate you and cause you to quit, I want to normalize and talk about those moments where you feel a bit hopeless and you feel like nothing is working. Because if there’s anything I want y’all to learn from my podcast, we talk about the brain a lot, we talk about your thoughts a lot.
Something to know about your brain is it’s going to play tricks on you, my friends. It’s going to trick you into going back to who you always were into going back to your old ways. And what your brain will do when you’re making progress with food and body is at the first site of failure or a lack of perfection, your brain will want to trick you into believing that nothing is working for you. And this is when we’ll go into the territory of self sabotage where we tend to go back to our old behaviors with food.
And so let’s normalize that here today and let’s prepare you for when this does inevitably come up in your journey to healthier eating. So really a huge quote unquote problem that my clients come to me with is when they genuinely believe that nothing is working and they aren’t making the changes they want.
So emotionally, what’s coming up is they feel embarrassed, they feel disappointment, they feel shame. And I wanna point out this can happen at any point in the journey. It does not matter where you are in terms of progress with weight loss, progress with food. This emotional experience can come up at any time. And my friends, it will be without warning. I promise you it will be without warning. And you will wake up one day in your journey and really believe that nothing is working.
You are not making the changes you want and you’ll feel the resulting emotion of that. And I want you to take a moment here because we’re all wired a little bit differently. When you believe that nothing is working and you’re not making any of the changes you want, what is the predominant emotion that comes up for you personally? So for me, it’s just complete helplessness.
When my brain tells me these things, I just feel very deflated. I feel this weight in my body that feels quite heavy. And so for some of my clients, it’s a feeling of shame. Sometimes they even feel embarrassment, they feel disappointment. But find what emotional flavor you have when you believe these things about your progress. Nothing is working and you are not making the changes that you want. I want you to picture what you will be compelled to do when you’re really believing these things about your progress and you’re feeling those emotions.
What most of us will want to do from these feelings is hide. We will escape our progress and our journey to healthier eating. We will stop making deliberate decisions with food. We will stop taking deliberate actions towards our goals and we will comfort ourselves. So for most of us in the journey with food and body, that means we’ll overeat or we will unconsciously eat we’ll, stop making clear food decisions in an intentional way and we just hide from our progress completely because to observe it is to have this emotional experience where we think nothing is working.
Now, something to know about the human brain this is so important is that it wants to seek comfort, avoid pain, and be the most efficient. And where your brain is most comfortable is with the results and behaviors you have now. So your brain doesn’t really care that you want to eat healthier, lose weight and make progress. It just wants to make sure that you’re alive and that you’re safe. And according to your brain, you’re alive and safe exactly where you are right now.
It does not matter what your results are with food or body. So that means if you are making progress in a food and body journey and you’re going about those changes, then at some point your brain is gonna offer you an objection. And this objection will be perfectly designed for you. It will be the most compelling objection that compels you to quit and that compels you to hide and go back to the eating habits.
You’ve always had this belief that nothing is working and that you’re not making changes. For so many of us, high achievers is the perfect recipe from our brain to compel us to hide from our progress. It is perfectly designed and so know that that is what these thoughts are meant to do. That’s the function of them from your brain, is to compel us to hide and seek safety from going somewhere new because the results you’re creating with food and body where you’re becoming a naturally healthy eater and you’re losing the weight permanently, these things are new territory for your brain.
They’re unfamiliar. And what’s unfamiliar will trigger the warning bells in your mind. And what is the most efficient system for our brain to do, to get us to stop making progress and moving towards what’s unfamiliar is to offer us the beliefs that it’s not working and nothing’s changing anyway.
It’s kind of brilliant that our brain does this, but what we wanna make sure we do is be aware of this. So we do not take these thoughts at face value and think that they are fact because here’s what also happens. We hide from this experience and we seek comfort. But then what you’ll notice you’ll do is you’ll start to blame the results you have or your progress on outside circumstances. So for a lot of us to acknowledge that nothing is working and we’re not making changes can feel very shameful, will feel like that we are the problem and we are to blame, which is a really tough emotional experience to acknowledge.
But what tends to happen is that emotional experience will be quite suppressed because we’ll overeat and we’ll bypass it. And so it’ll rise in our body and present like frustration, anger, and resentment, emotions that feel much more reactive.
And these are the emotions that we tend to project towards outside circumstances. So this is when we’ll blame our lack of progress on things like time, our work, our energy levels, other people we might blame our body for not giving us maybe the weight loss we want or for giving us the cravings that we’re having. But notice how this can work for you is we start off with maybe shame, disappointment and embarrassment or helplessness, and then eventually that can translate to us projecting that towards outside circumstances through frustration, anger, and resentment.
What tends to happen from here is our progress becomes very reactive. So we tend to seek comfort. We’re blaming the outside world and then we create this state of helplessness and desperation where we’re looking for solutions to fix ourselves because it all feels like it’s going wrong. What will end up happening is we will create more and more evidence from this mindset that we are not someone who can make these changes.
And we dig this hole deeper and deeper and deeper where we think nothing’s working, we aren’t making the changes we want, and then we feel shame within ourselves and then we blame the external world for that. Now I know this is a mouthful and something to think about, but a lot of us when we start this work differently, as I’m referring to here, this is where we start. We have spent so much time in this cycle where we were, were making progress with food and body and then we had a thought that nothing is working and we’re not making the changes.
And rather than process that shame, we feel we bypass it, we self-sabotage, we blame our circumstances in our life and then we become more and more desperate for quick fix solutions and then we’ll just stay in this cycle for years for many of us.
And so what I wanna offer you here as usual, because we’re all wired a little bit differently, is to think of any of this relates to you now, and I say this a lot on this podcast, but we are not here to judge ourselves, to blame ourselves or to shame ourselves because we all have access to relatively the same flavors of humanness in this journey. And almost every client I work with, myself included, can relate to being in this place. So if you notice that this relates to you, this is a good place to be in because this episode’s gonna give you a ton of awareness on why you’re doing the things you’re doing now with food and body and how you can move out of this cycle where you’re really just believing that nothing is working.
Here’s what I really want you to see based on having this awareness.
When you have these moments that your brain tells you nothing is working and you’re not making changes, I want you to know that your brain is a liar, , and I say that very seriously. Your brain will offer you thoughts and opinions that are not factual because my friend, it’s not that nothing is working and it’s not that you aren’t making changes, it’s that your brain has a low tolerance for failure. Your brain has a low tolerance to messy progress and you have a low tolerance to the changes you want to make happening on its own timeline.
Alright? All of this means you will also have a low tolerance for the resulting shame that comes up because of those thoughts. So none of us were taught this information for some of you before this podcast episode. And this is what I really want you to see is that your brain will make bold statements to you along your food and body journey that nothing is working.
And notice that the thoughts that your brain offers you that aren’t true, they don’t have a lot of context to them, they’re very extreme, right? Nothing is working, you’re not making any changes. Very extreme thoughts. None of these things are true, right? It’s that we have a low tolerance for maybe the failure we encountered along the journey. We have a low tolerance for our progress, not looking as perfect as we think it should. We have a low tolerance for the changes may be taking longer than we anticipated and that we’re used to when we did the quick fix methods.
But no, if you believe these thoughts that nothing is working and you aren’t making any changes, that means you’re opting into the belief that your brain is offering you because it wants you to escape your progress. It wants you to sabotage and go back in the cave.
And we can’t listen to the sprain otherwise. We will never become someone who has a tolerance for our messy progress, who has a tolerance for failure, who has a tolerance for that shame and that emotion when it comes up in our body. The solution to all of this, my friends, and to continue making progress with food and body no matter what is to stop making your food failures a tactical problem. Alright?
So there’s no nutrition knowledge that you need. There’s no meal plan, there’s no planning you need to do to move through your food failures. This is an emotional problem. This is a mindset problem. What will happen if you think this is a tactical problem is you’ll reentry yourself back in this cycle where you continue trying everything based on that desperation and that helplessness you’re having. So you’ll be quick to try different diet protocols, weight loss regimens, all of these more tactical action-based things that you think you need to solve this problem.
But what the problem really is is you just had a low tolerance for doing it imperfectly. You had a low tolerance to falling off the horse and then getting back on the horse. What happens for all of us is we fell off the horse and we’re like, this is horrible. Something’s gone very wrong. I’m not capable of riding the horse. No. That’s how we learn. We get back on the horse. But this is just to show us that reaching for more tactical solutions will keep us in that cycle where we’re trying everything.
So for those of you who have the thought about food and weight loss that I’ve tried everything and nothing is working, I want you to really hear what I’m saying in this podcast episode because it’s very likely that you do not have a tactical problem. This is an emotional problem that needs to be addressed.
And what happens when you are someone who believes that you’ve tried everything, nothing is working and you’re not making any changes, is you’re going to continue treating these food goals like you’re not in control of them. So you’re actually going to be more attracted to the strict methods, to the rigid regimens, right? You’re going to be really attracted to those types of methods cuz you’re going to believe about you that those things are necessary.
And I talk about this a lot with my clients in my practice, but what we get them to do and what we bring them towards is thinking like a naturally healthy eater, becoming someone where food is not a struggle in their lives and they’re able to lose weight and maintain their goal weight without constantly micromanaging and thinking about it. And I want you to think about how you view yourself with food and a body and then think about how you picture a naturally healthy eater viewing themselves with food in a body.
They are not treating their goals like they need to micromanage them because they’re not in control. And if that’s how you’re thinking about yourself, it’s likely that you’re in this cycle where you’re believing that you’re not capable, you are not in control and you’re experiencing that helplessness. So that is a really good exercise to see where you’re at now, compare yourself and the way you’re making decisions to how you view a naturally healthy eater doing so it’ll really show us where we’re at.
Once you stop making this a tactical problem and you view this as more an emotional problem, you’re able to address this directly so you stop letting it have power over you. And how we address this directly is we want to get to know ourselves very intimately here. We want to know ourselves very well and we want to acknowledge in our progress with food and with body, at what moment do we first believe that it’s not working.
So I want you to think and you can think back on your history or maybe you’re in it right now where you’re making changes. At what point does your brain offer you the thought that it’s not working and I’m not changing? Think about it. For some of you, this will be when you don’t follow through on a food plan. It’ll be when a week goes by and your progress looked a little messy. Maybe it’ll be that you gained weight on the scale. Think about what circumstance triggers this thought for you.
Because here’s the thing, this is the boundary you must set. These are thoughts. It’s not working and I’m not changing is a thought. It’s an opinion from your brain. It is not a fact in the slightest. What will happen is if you believe your brain and think this is a fact, you’re going to indulge it and you’re going to write a very, very sad story about it in your mind.
You’re going to come up with all of the reasons why it’s not working for you, why you’re not making any changes and you’re going to beat yourself over the head with it a little bit. And here’s the difference is we have the ability to watch our brain or we can indulge in the thoughts our brain offers us. And I want you to picture that difference of watching your brain tell you that nothing is working versus opting into that belief that it offers you and then agreeing with it and adding more opinions to that story.
So really the difference is being able to watch when your brain tells you nothing’s working and I’m not making changes versus adding to the story and coming up with all the reasons why That’s true because here’s why we will indulge in thoughts like that. No matter how much you want to change your ways with food and body, you will feel compelled to indulge in these thoughts a bit that nothing’s working and that we aren’t making the changes we want.
We will feel compelled to indulge in this self-pity because when you convince yourself that it’s not working, you give yourself permission to opt out a failure. And I want you to think about what failure actually is to you. We can’t actually fail if we believe that the world is working against us and we’re not capable. Failure happens when we know we’re capable, we have all of the information to succeed and we plan everything accordingly.
And we still don’t do it. We still don’t do the thing that is failure that will cause you to experience emotions like disappointment and maybe even shame. If we are opting into the belief that it’s not working and the rest of the world is to blame, we actually don’t have to opt into the experience of failure because that’s what failure is, is when we have everything we need to succeed and we still fail.
And what will humble us as high achieving women is to learn that there’s no avoiding failure because we are humans, we are designed to fail and there’s no way around it. We can’t possibly be perfect, but that is what we will need to build a tolerance for is we’ll need to build a tolerance for failure. When everything is planned to a achieve, we have all of the information and we still don’t follow through on the food plans we set, we still don’t lose the weight in the timeline we thought we would.
We still have setbacks. What we’ll wanna do is to blame the world, blame ourselves, and then opt out of the experience of food and body changes entirely. And what we need to do is to be able to experience these failures and then still move forward with the changes we’re making. We need to opt into the experience of failure and messy progress rather than hide from it.
A way you can do this is you need to acknowledge in your food and body journey what is working. Now here’s the thing. You’re going to be attached to the very end result, which for most of you will be weight loss. And weight loss isn’t just your business to create, it’s also your body’s business, which means the timeline of weight loss is not entirely in your control. If you are looking to do this long term, I have a whole podcast episode on this.
So you need to acknowledge what is in your direct control to make weight loss inevitable, to set your body up for success. We can consider that the biggest thing you can do is to make food decisions that serve the weight loss. And so there’s many things that go into doing this with food decisions, but there’s three main ones I walk my clients through.
The first one is to process emotions and not overeat. The second one is to listen to your body and honor your fullness. The third one is to make clear food decisions that you want to be making based on your goals and based on your preferences. So those are three pillars of skills that you have control over that can contribute towards weight loss. Progress is making progress in any of these areas. Progress may mean that you learn how to process an emotion.
Without overeating progress may mean that you’re better able to notice your body cues rather than not being able to identify them during a meal that is progress, that’s long-term progress. But if you are attached to weight loss being the only metric of success, it’s going to be very easy for you to convince yourself that it’s not working. When you’re making all of these changes, you need to be acknowledging what is working in small ways at every point of your food and body journey.
If you didn’t follow through with a food plan, you set what are the other things that went well? What is working? What changes have you made? Notice how resistant you may be to acknowledging what is working because acknowledging what isn’t working is where comfort and safety is. I talk about this with my clients all of the time, but acknowledging what is working is the hardest thing for them for us as humans because we can’t indulge in what isn’t working and go into the cave if we’re being real with ourselves about what is working.
It is the best practice you can do. What will happen in my coaching practice is my program is specifically designed for high achieving women who a lot of them identify themselves as perfectionists with food. So I work with women who have dieted, who have tried to micromanage their eating habits and wait into place.
And what happens is they join my program to become a naturally healthy eater where they’re no longer micromanaging food, they’re no longer restricting, and it all gets to happen naturally on its own timeline for life. And what happens is the women in my practice will develop all of the skills of being a naturally healthy eater. So they learn to stop emotionally eating, they learn to honor their body cues in the way nature intended. They learned to make really empowered clear food decisions.
But what happens is in the past they have attempted to eat healthy just so they can get quick weight loss. That has been where they have been focused on for years. So what happens is they’re completely changing who they are as an eater. They’re not emotionally eating, they’re learning how to communicate with their body and then they still have a part of them that wants to hyper focus on weight being the only measure of progress.
And what can happen is I’ll have a client who has completely stopped emotionally eating, who is learning how to honor her fullness and thinks about food completely differently after within a few weeks in the program. And then a part of her brain will tell her that it’s not working and she’s not gonna make the changes that she wants. And this is why coaching is so necessary for so many of us to succeed in this journey because what can happen is then we get to go to a coaching session and address this mindset so we do not self sabotage because I want you to think about that.
If you are in a journey to naturally healthy eating and you have a low tolerance for the timeline or making these changes long term, your brain will want to interrupt that long-term progress. And this is real for all of us.
My clients heavily relate to this. And here’s the fun part. Long after you create the weight loss and create the results you want, those thoughts don’t necessarily go away. You just become someone who doesn’t use these thoughts as reasons to quit. You become someone who understands that these thoughts are just thoughts and you get to decide what is the best action for you to take in your food and weight loss journey. Really when you address all of this, you become someone who takes responsibility for your actions with food and with weight loss.
Because what will happen over time, and I went through this same thing as well, is that thought it’s not working is not even a real thing. to put it lightly, it’s not working, can’t be possible in this respect because we are responsible for our food decisions. We are responsible for the actions we take for our body to lose weight.
So it’s not working is just a thought that abdicates responsibility, we need to get to the place where if those thoughts come up, we need to acknowledge what is working. So we establish that boundary and then we need to see where am I not working? Where am I not putting in the decisions And not to do this in a blaming or shaming way. There’s none of that here. But to consider that we are the only one who creates our results.
We are the one who must take action and make decisions and evaluate our progress. It’s not working. Keeps us in this victim mindset where we blame the rest of the world for the results we have with food and body. And that is the really big shift I have made and all of you make in this process is you become someone who has this disempowering lens over you eating healthy and losing weight, and it will be necessary for you to move into empowerment.
Empowerment doesn’t just mean you feel really good all of the time about your decisions with food and body. It means you acknowledge that you are the one who makes those decisions and you are responsible. It may not feel good all of the time. It doesn’t mean we never experience shame or disappointment, but it means that we feel safe and stable in the process of creating our results. You will become someone with this work that tolerates human emotions like shame and disappointment.
You will become someone who doesn’t indulge your brain when it’s playing tricks on you and telling you it’s not working or you’re not making changes. When you become this person, you will keep taking action and making progress on your goals even when it doesn’t look pretty and perfect, even when the end results you’re attached to haven’t come in yet, even when you are making long-term changes.
But it’s not exactly in the timeline that you want. Alright? This is what it takes to succeed with this work and you are capable of it, my friend. It is a shift that we all must go through. It is a rite of passage and similar to what I said at the beginning of this episode, I may be the bear of bad news here, but I want you to expect this in your food and weight loss journey. There will always come a time when perfection and the ideal circumstances run out and life gets a little messy.
And that is more than okay because if you can learn to adapt and become a naturally healthy eater who progresses, even when your life looks messy, there is nothing that will stop your weight loss results from becoming inevitable. As I mentioned, my clients have thoughts like this all the way to the weight loss results they want where they feel like nothing is working and they aren’t making the changes they want.
As in I will have clients who have surpassed their weight loss goal while working together and they will still need coaching on these thoughts that nothing is working. Why this happens is because this is a thought that your brain just offers you. You can think of your brain like a computer. It has no logical thought in this primitive part of your brain, and it is just a fear response that wants to compel you to quit and go hide in the cave so you’re safe. Alright?
So just know that that is how impersonal these thoughts are to your progress and I want you to question them. I had a dear client email me recently and we worked together for about a year and she emailed me and she said, I have surpassed my weight loss goal. I’ve made all of this beautiful progress in these areas of my life.
I’m enjoying cooking food. I no longer have thoughts about my body and I still have thoughts that nothing is working and that it’s all gonna go away and that I’m not capable of sustaining these changes. And she said this in a lighthearted way where she’s like, you were right. It is just my brain and that’s what I wanna offer all of you here. To use that as an example for yourself of what you can expect on your journey to food and weight loss.
Because you’re still gonna be a human with a human brain after you lose the weight. Your life will still be messy. It’s not going to be perfect. So we want to create healthy eating habits and weight loss. With that in mind, if you find that this mindset is keeping you very, very stuck, it’s okay to ask for support. It’s okay to need help working through this mindset so you can get unstuck each week. And that’s exactly what coaching is for. I invite you to apply for private coaching with me in my practice. I will help you and I will help you move through these patterns that is exactly what it’s designed to do. Alright, my friends, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your week 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.