What emotion comes to mind when you think about your past with food?
How are you deciding to write your food story?
Most of us are focused on our future healthy eating goals that we want to achieve.
But looking at our past with food is equally, if not more, important.
Because the thoughts we have about our food history really, really matter.
In this episode, I explain why the story you have about your past eating habits matters.
And how you can rewrite your food story to create the future eating habits you want.
Hello! Welcome back to the podcast. I am just so ready to chat with you this week. And to get into another episode. But, before we get into today’s topic I wanted to ask you a very big favor. If you have a quick minute, and you’re loving the podcast, it would absolutely make my day, week, month, if you could go down to the bottom of the podcast page and leave me a review. This allows the podcast to be shown to more women like you who could really gain value from this work. And that’s what this is all about, right? My mission with this podcast is to help as many of you as possible. So, if that is something you feel genuinely called to do then I would super, super appreciate you greatly. Alright. This week I want to talk about your food story. Obviously, it’s January, which means most of us are focused on achieving our future goals for the new year and looking forward to what’s next for us. We’re focused on the healthy changes we want to make with food. And maybe the healthy changes we want to make with the body. Super fun. I love this time of the year. But, I find with women that I help, a crucial step that’s often missed during this time, is the practice of looking to the past. Specifically with food and body. Most of us will just be laser-focused on the future results we want to create, without ever looking back at our past to see how we created the results we have now. So, in other words, how our past experiences with food shaped the current eating habits we have now. And to some of you, this may seem counterproductive. It’s like, well the past is over. Why would we spend any time there? Why focus on the past when focusing on our future goals is so much more fun? And I hear you. It does seem a bit counterproductive at first. Especially since the past is done. And there’s nothing we can do to ever change it. But the reality is that the past holds all of the answers for what you want to focus on in your future with food. And oftentimes, it can literally provide you the data you need to achieve your new, healthy goals. And, this is exactly why one of the most crucial parts of my coaching practice is looking deep into my client’s past with food. In fact, this is the very first thing we do. Before we work on their emotional eating habits. Before I teach them how to honor their own body wisdom. And way before we even change what they’re eating. The first thing we always do is review their entire food and body history. Because it is a non-negotiable. This is where so, so many of the answers are. And if you skip this work, you’re severely limiting yourself. Because you’re sweeping under the rug all of the clues on what makes you tick with food. And what makes you the type of eater you are right now. Which is everything.
But today in this episode, I want to introduce you to the concept of your food story. Because we all have one. Whether we realize it or not. And your food story is simply the thoughts you have now about your past with food. Now, let me explain this a bit further. As I have mentioned, the past is obviously complete. It is over. There’s nothing we can do to change the past. And, it is now beyond our control. What happened in the past, whether it comes to your eating habits, your weight, or anything else in life, is now a factual circumstance that is completely neutral. Meaning, everything that occurred in the past can be proven in a court of law. So this could be exactly the number of pounds you gained last year. Or it can be exactly what you ate last year, right? It’s just the facts of what happened in your past. It’s very boring. Because it’s just the math of what happened. And this is what makes the past a neutral circumstance. Where it’s not good or bad. It just happened. Now, what happens when the past is done? You are left with the story you’ve created about your past. This is all we are left with. This is the only evidence we have that our past actually happened. The thoughts we decide to think about our past. And the reason why I’m telling you this, and why this is so important, is because your thoughts about your past matter. Your thoughts about your past with food will determine the eating habits you have now. And the thoughts about your past with food are representative of your food story. And you get to decide what you write in your food story. Because the reality is that your thoughts are the story of what happened in the past, which is actually neutral. It’s not good or bad. And chances are, many of you, if you’re anything like I was, will have created a food story about your past that is negative. And that isn’t serving you. So, the first step here is realizing that no matter what happened with your eating habits. No matter how many binge eating episodes you had. No matter how much weight you gained. The past is a completely neutral circumstance. And you get to decide how you think about it now. And what I would recommend is creating thoughts about your past with food that serve you. And writing a food story that actually will lead you to the eating habits you want. And you always have two options. You either create a food story about your past that serves you. Or you create a story about your past that doesn’t serve you.
So, let me give you an example of how I used to do this the wrong way. And it’s likely that many of you will relate. I used to think about my past with food as if it happened TO me. I would say things like, “I gained weight because work was just so hard” or “I was too depressed to eat healthy”, or “I was always running out of time” or “I never felt fulfilled in my jobs or relationships”. Basically, I would talk about my past as if I had zero control. Like all of my results were happening TO me. And it was just kind of this sob story that when I really thought about it, left me feeling totally powerless, right? I just felt like a victim. And I want you to consider for a moment what your food story is. And when you think about your food story, what emotions does it bring up for you? Does it bring up feelings of shame? Of frustration? Maybe guilt? Helplessness? What emotions do you feel when you think about your past with food? And what thoughts do you think that cause those emotions? Because, here’s the thing. If you’re feeling these very heavy, powerless emotions when you think about your past with food, it’s likely that you’re operating out of a victim mentality. Where you think that your past with food happened TO you. Maybe that’s not what you think exactly, but under the surface that’s what’s really happening here. Your brain is under the belief system that your past with food happened to you. And that you are a victim of your eating habits. Now, for the record, we all do this. If this is you, don’t worry. I have been there. We’ve all been there. But, this is something sneaky our brains will do when it wants to give up emotional responsibility. But in the case with food, it will prevent you from changing your eating habits long-term. Because with the belief that your eating habits happened TO you, and that you’re powerless over your past eating habits, you will re-create that feeling in the future with food. With the food story of “this happened to me”, “these eating habits happened to me”, “this weight gain happened to me”, you will continue to create a victim mentality around food. Where you feel like you’re not in control and like you’re completely powerless. Alright? I’m hoping this makes sense here. The story you tell yourself about your past with food really, really matters. And for me, I was stuck in victimhood for years with food. Because I unknowingly wrote a food story that left me powerless. Because I wrote it under the mindset of “my eating habits happened TO me”.
Now, here’s where everything changed. When I decided to rewrite my food story under the mindset of “my eating habits happened FOR me” or “my weight happened FOR me” or “all of my struggles happened FOR me”. I decided to write my food story with the perspective that the world was on my side. And that everything that happened served me in one way or another. Now, this doesn’t mean that I became delusional, right? It doesn’t mean that I started telling myself that my past weight gain made me happy. Or that my past binge eating episodes were healthy. It means that I changed my food story from being a victim, to being a person who was and is in control of her own eating habits. So, instead of having a food story where I’m thinking, “I gained weight because work was just too hard”. Instead, I would decide to think, “I gained weight because I didn’t yet have the tools to find fulfillment outside of food”. Right? Instead of thinking, “I was too depressed to eat healthy”, I would instead choose to think, “I didn’t yet know how to process my negative emotion”. Instead of thinking, “I had no time to take care of my body”, I would instead choose to think, “I realized that taking care of my body had to be a priority”. So, these are just some of my personal examples. But you will have your own that makes more sense to you. But this is simply about reframing what you currently have as your food story, into a new food story that actually serves you. And the key to doing this for yourself is switching your perspective from “this happened TO me” to “this happened FOR me”. It’s such a small, simple, yet incredibly effective perspective switch that you’ll have to make to create the eating habits you want. Because you need to have the belief that everything in your past with food ultimately served you. Because it led you to where you are today. Because it taught you the lessons. You need to start having your own back when it comes to food and the decisions you’ve made with your body. You cannot punish yourself to the eating habits you want. You need to practice loving yourself to the eating habits you want. And the first step to doing that is having the back of your past self. And creating a food story where you’re saying, “Hey. She did the best she could with the knowledge she had at the time. She’s my hero. I love her”.
Now, here’s how you’re going to do this for yourself. I want you to write your own food story. And I want you to do this two times, from two different perspectives. First, I want you to write your past food story from the perspective of “This happened to me”. So, write about your food story in a way where it was the worst thing ever. And how it all happened TO you. It’s likely, once again, if you’re anything like I was, that this is the story that you’re carrying with you now. If you don’t have the results you want with food. Then, second, I want you to rewrite your past food story from the perspective of “This happened for me”. So, you’re writing about your story in a way where you’re having your own back for any decisions that you made. And you’re acknowledging where you did have control. And you’re being responsible for your own results with food and body. You’re not being a victim of your past. You’re allowing yourself to feel empowered by it. So, you’re going to write your food story twice from these two perspectives. And then, I really want you to put these stories side by side. Really take a look at them and observe what happens when you decide to stop being a victim of your past. And, this isn’t to say that you don’t want to repeat the past. Or that you don’t want to recreate certain food actions or specific results with your body. This just means you’re stepping up and taking emotional responsibility for what you’ve created. When you do this, you put yourself in a position where you’re ready to take responsibility for your future eating habits as well. Because here’s the big thing with all of this. What happened in your past with food and body is neutral. It’s finished. It’s complete. And now, you get to decide what you make your past with food mean. You have two options. Are you going to decide that your past with food happened to you? Or that it happened for you? Both could technically be true. But you have the option over which one you want to believe. Over which story you want to tell yourself every single day about your food history. And I recommend going with the latter, where you’re telling yourself that your food story happened for you. Because this is what will help you create those new results with food that you really want. Where eating healthy and taking responsibility for your food choices feels second nature to you. Alright, my lovely, amazing friend. Do this work. Write that food story. And let me know how it goes. I will talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified 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.