How to break up with food guilt.
You’ve often heard people say that you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating so-called ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ foods. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve no doubt heard me say it as well.
For someone who has lived their life following diet after diet, or has created concepts of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ food for various reasons. This isn’t a switch that can be suddenly switched off.
For me, it took years to get over those feelings that I had done something ‘wrong’ when I ate something full of sugar or gluten, for example. There was a lot of conditioning to be undone. And while it may not work for everyone there were a few things that helped me get over feelings of guilt around, let's face it, delicious food!
Challenge diet/health culture: There are so many misconceptions when it comes to healthy eating. Somewhere along the way, someone came up with the phrase “food will either heal or harm you”. Gee, thanks for that. How terrifying it is to believe that one little piece of chocolate cake will actually set your body on hyperdrive towards some sort of horrible life-threatening disease? But is it true? Well, it's certainly not that simple. There is no one food in isolation that has the power to harm you (unless of course, you're allergic). It’s what we do most of the time that matters. If you eat broccoli, ALL the time, that may be harmful likewise if we only ate doughnuts all the time we might not feel so great either. It’s the dose that’s the 'poison' – enjoy a variety of natural food within your budget and time restraints and then eat the rest when situations arise, knowing that you are not doing yourself any long term physical harm by doing so.
Challenge your thinking: The above sounds great but if you're like many of us, feel that if we eat one we won’t be able to stop! Does that sound familiar? Have you felt like if you had that teensy-weensy piece of delicious bread you’ll eat the whole loaf? Or maybe that one little biscuit has led to an entire package? Maybe it’s happened before? Honestly, it happens to a lot of us and one of the reasons is because you restricted it in the first place (see tip 1). So, if you feel like it’s a lost cause, and it ‘always happens’ I want you to look within, look back, and ask yourself – is that actually TRUE? Is it really true that you won’t be able to stop at one? Has there ever been a time in your life where you have? Surely there has. Are you simply creating a self-fulfilling prophecy with your thinking? Maybe we can change things around. Think maybe ‘I’ve stopped in the past, I can do it again if I choose to’.
Observe: I love experimenting, always have. I think it’s interesting to try new things and see how my body responds. I had to do a lot of experimenting from an ‘objective standpoint' when I began to reintroduce those foods that were once banned. I suggest, starting with the food you’ve most missed, perhaps it’s cake for example. Take yourself and a friend out for the best damn cake on the planet (if you’re in New Plymouth I suggest Tartan Rose!) Now, have as much of the cake as you want and then pay attention to how you feel while you eat it, moments afterwards, a few hours afterwards and even the following day. Observe whether or not your body changes, and how you feel physically. Notice how much you had. Does a little bit energize you while a lot makes you sleepy? Did you actually feel exactly the same? Are you jeans fitting as comfortably as they did the day before? Observe! Learn! We’re all different. You may just be pleasantly surprised. I was!
Enjoy it! Can we just stop for a moment, banish those negative thoughts and simply take a moment to appreciate the full amazingness that is this tasty treat we’re eating? Oh my goodness, thank you for this creamy texture, this sweet deliciousness, the flavours, oh wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Seriously, when was the last time you ate a so-called ‘treat food’ with full gratitude that this food exists? Aren’t we fortunate to be able to experience this taste sensation? Not everyone gets this opportunity. Be grateful.
TO say I’m completely cured of ‘food guilt’ wouldn’t be true but I’m a lot further along the way then I was and while that sneaky little devil might still pop up on my shoulder from time to time, for the most part, food and I, we’re at peace. And you can be too. That's why I created The Empowered Eating course and all my courses. So you can feel great AND eat cake.
Not sure where to start? Grab my FREE ebook to help you feel more in charge of your eating.