Let's talk about food guilt
We've all had it. That feeling you get after you eat something you consider 'bad', or after you have that second (or third) piece of cake. Food guilt is something pretty much everyone has experienced at some point or another...but why? Why should something as simple as eating make us feel so much guilt, shame, or anxiety?
We can thank the diet industry for that gf. For years, we have been sold the myth that certain foods are 'good' and others are 'bad'. We have been told we need to eat a certain way achieve results, and avoid those 'bad' foods at all costs. Because of this, we have some serious unlearning to do!
Next time you find yourself feeling guilty for something you ate, try going through these steps to help you start unlearning this behaviour.
- Catch the thought: As soon as you feel guilt, shame, or anxiety start to appear, recognise it for what it is, and catch it.
- Question it: Ask yourself why you are feeling guilty. Did you eat more than you though you would? Did you eat something you consider 'bad'? Why do you feel this is a bad food? Really try and challenge the thought, and get to the bottom of why you feel that way.
- Reframe it: Once you know why you are feeling that way, try and reframe the thought. ‘I ate an extra cookie because I'm enjoying time with my loved ones and I felt like it.’ Or, ‘I had a couple of drinks because I am celebrating a special occasion.’ Bring yourself back to the present, and try to focus on your environment, not the food itself!
- What does it really mean: Lastly, try to think about what this really means about you. Are you any less of a worthy person for eating something? NO. Are you a less good friend, sister, daughter, or mother? NO. Try to remember that what you eat has nothing to do with your worth or value as a human being.
It can be hard at first, but the more you practice this thought process, the more natural it will feel. Soon it will become an automatic habit, and you will easily be able to catch, challenge, and reframe your food guilt.