How to avoid food guilt
Do you live in constant fear of eating, guilt from not being ‘perfect’ or maybe you think about food all the time?
Guilt is an emotion and an internal state. Despite what many think, guilt is NOT a very good motivator. In fact instead of helping change behaviour, feelings of guilt can further perpetuate the guilt-shame cycle.
Guilt and shame have the lowest frequency whilst love, joy and enlightenment have the highest.
Another way of putting it…..you can feel irrational guilt whereby you over analyse and make it feel much worse than it really is. A single bite of a biscuit can feel like the end of the world. You wind up feeling guilt when there is nothing to feel guilty about. I know this all too well!
Way back in my early ‘clean eating’ days and endeavours, I used to be so black and white.
I was either saintly in my eating and exercising habits or completely and utterly sinful in every way possible. If I wasn’t on a diet of some kind, I wasn’t a worthy or acceptable human being. You know this feeling?
When I was dieting or eating clean I would feel smug and better than everyone else.
But oh how the tables could turn. When the halo slipped…. it positively sunk to the bottom of hell! Along with myself and my smugness! In fact, the exact opposite of smugness would occur:
These feelings of guilt and shame would temporarily spur me on to be even ‘cleaner’ than before and exercise for longer and harder. I was going to be even ‘more perfect’ and I would start again tomorrow. Until then I would just continue to wallow in my self-loathing just a little more. Tomorrow was going to be different. I would never feel this bad again…… until the next time of course!
These days I am about as far removed from all these scenarios as can be.
Today, instead of binge-deprive or guilt-shame (which was the cycle I was caught up in) it’s so much more balanced and healthy. Gone are the draining and exhausting gym sessions to balance my overeating. Gone is the restricted eating plans and obsession about carbs and fat. Gone are the guilt trips for having a day off the gym or letting a slice of pizza pass my lips.
It’s impossible to feel guilty when you feel good! – Jill
I am far from perfect but I am so much more relaxed about my diet and love the freedom of not fearing food or eating. So how did I get to this happy place? Here are 11 tips on how to avoid food guilt:
- Don’t diet! The moment you embark on a diet you are setting up a mindset of restriction and control. This is unsustainable and leads to the inevitable slip ups and guilt. Change I can’t to I don’t, read why here
- Instead give yourself permission to eat whatever you want and when you want. This is scary I know, but set your goals and values around food. Rather than think of restriction, think of nourishment and abundance. For example: ‘I DECIDE to choose foods that nourish my body as often as I can’ or ‘I eat mindfully and enjoy foods in their natural form with fresh colourful vegetables at every meal’ or ‘I love my myself and the body I have been given and will take care of it the best way I know how’. Write your food values, beliefs and goals down now and use it as your compass.
- Include foods you LOVE! If you enjoy your diet then there is less chance of you swinging from the good to bad. Including foods in a balanced way can help avoid the extremes that lead to guilt trips. For example: I love to have dark chocolate and allow myself a glass of wine most days so I never feel deprived.
- Life is NOT over if you slip up? Learn to see the big picture. If you had a small scratch on your car, do you have to write the whole car off to the scrap heap or can it be repaired easily?
- Remember that you won’t suddenly gain masses of weight from just one slip up (see above). You can easily resume your usual regime in no time and with minimal damage! Just thinking more positively can create a mindset shift that enables you to see and take positive steps. Refer back to your compass!
- Practice being grateful! This creates powerful, feel good hormones. It’s impossible to feel guilty when you feel good! Think of the people that have passed on, and that don’t have this opportunity to enjoy food and living anymore. They would love to have the chance to live their life over. Do you think their biggest regret would be that they ate pizza and a chocolate brownie now and again?
- Remember that YOU are in control of your decisions. Know that you can get back on track immediately. Just resume your usual plan (compass) without fuss, without remorse and recognise the pleasure that being relaxed occasionally can bring. For example: ‘I am in control of my actions, I choose to let this go and move forwards. I love how I can change my world in a moment.
- Love that you are human and humans are NOT perfect. Laugh at yourself rather than berate yourself! Remember. it’s impossible to feel guilt when you feel good!
- Expect to fail and have slip ups because you will. Learn to enjoy them and be open to the lesson it has presented. If the same thing keeps happening, open your mind to asking why!
- If you are going to have something a little naughtier than you would normally, choose something you will REALLY enjoy. There is nothing worse than having guilt over eating something you didn’t even really enjoy!
- Learn to be your very own best friend. Don’t criticise or self-shame as this can perpetuate negative feelings which often lead to reaching for more food. Love creates such amazing emotions and strengthens your mind and confidence. Health and wellness develops when you have a strong, healthy mind and are confident. How do you truly feel about yourself and is this something that you need to work on first?
Guilt and shame saps your joy and energy. Instead turning your guilt and shame into curiosity and compassion leads to love, health and happiness!
#hateitchangeit #banishthebeige #beigefree
Big love, small tummies!
Jill – The Fat Controller