Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about food guilt. You know, the relentless voices in your head that pop up every time you even think about eating that tell you you shouldn’t eat that if you want to be healthy, question your willpower, and make you self conscious about every choice you make. These types of thoughts used to rule over every detail of my life. It would dictate my social life, confuse my cravings, and turned every meal into an anxious frenzy. My “good or bad” food choices would determine if I was good or bad. Although these times are behind me now, occasionally those old habits of feeling guilty over eating a third slice of pizza still come up today!
I always thought I was the only one who experienced food guilt, but it’s so common! Talking about how you’ve been “bad” today, or sharing pictures with friends of the crumbs left on your plate accompanied by a face palm emoji, are both forms of food guilt! It’s such an icky feeling. We are free to choose to indulge in our favorite foods and treats!
I find that it’s important to understand why we feel this way. Is it because we’re afraid our friends will judge us? Is it because we’re not going to have a flat stomach after we eat? For me, it was mainly driven by body image. I would get scared that my stomach was going to look big and not trim afterwards. The farther along I progress in my journey, the more ridiculous food guilt seems to me! Food is meant to be ENJOYED and CELEBRATED! While I don’t support big binge/cheat days, mainly for mental health reasons, I am a big fan of treating yourself quite often. For example, say I had a really nutritious breakfast and lunch, and I’m walking around doing errands. I pass this really cool looking bakery and see some gooey chocolate chip cookies displayed in the window. My first thought is probably, “No, bad. You’re going to RUIN your healthy day if you eat this. Willpower!” That’s the old habit talking. My second thought is, “Wow, that looks incredibly delicious. Having this cookie will not throw off my health train, and I would really enjoy eating it!” After this, I no longer beat myself up for being unhealthy or spend the rest of the day eating junk because I already ate one “bad” thing. Instead, I happily go about my day, maybe cooking a healthy dinner, or perhaps meeting some friends for Italian food! For a while, reversing bad habits and negative thoughts is a full time job. But like anything, with time, patience, and kindness to yourself, food guilt becomes a thing of the past.
Life is full of little moments that are the key to living in balance, joy, and food freedom. I’ve started to flip my initial food guilt thoughts into reminders of how far along I’ve come in my health journey! What once used to control me is now is just a fleeting thought that I can acknowledge and step forward from. Food guilt is normal, and something that every woman deals with in one way or another. Find your balance of eating nutritious meals while allowing yourself the freedom to enjoy moments filled with yummy food indulgences. Remember ladies, holistic well-being and living your best health is all about balance!