You eat the last bites of dinner and feel that feeling creep up again... the unmistakable guilt. You just can't shake it and you hear that little voice that says, "Why do I feel guilty after eating?"
If you've ever felt guilty after eating, you're certainly not alone - I've been there myself. But what is this feeling and where does it come from?
In this post, we're going to talk about what food guilt is, how it develops, and how you can help you overcome it.
Hi I amJamie, a Registered Dietitian with over 8 years of age. I've experienced the feelings of guilt, dandruff obsession, and constant dieting first hand time and time again. Now I use my experience to help other women find balance with food, kick their diets and eat whatever they want.foods they love.
Let's dive into what food guilt is.
What is food debt?
Eating guilt is the feeling of shame or regret you feel after eating something you shouldn't. It is alearned Emotionit makes you feel guilty.
When it comes to food, you may feel like you've eaten "too much" or indulged in "bad food."
Guilt can feel overwhelming and unrelenting, and it can seriously affect your mental health.
Where does food guilt come from?
Like it or not, we live in a dieting culture - a culture that teaches us that our worth is tied to weight loss goals. While it's a totally unsustainable way of life, the culture trains us to feel that if we break "the rules" of an outrageous diet, we simply don't have enough willpower.
You see it in ads constantly urging you to buy weight loss supplements or a subscription to the latest diet app, and even social media influencers selling diet products.
In America alone, people spend $33 billion on weight loss products every year (1).
With all this stuff around, it's easy to get sucked into the dieting mentality, but that doesn't mean you're doomed to feel guilty forever! It's important to remember that there's a reason so many companies want you to believe in them.needa diet.
Why? because they want youbuy something from them. And keep coming back. Surrounded by food culture, you have been conditioned to feel guilty for eating the "wrong foods".
So how can you stop feeling guilty after eating?
How to stop feeling guilty after eating
Getting rid of that nauseous after-meal feeling takes time, but it's definitely not impossible. To "unlearn" this negative emotion, here are some things you can do.
Remember: practice makes progress. Allow yourself grace as you practice these new strategies.
give up diet
The first step to not feeling guilty after eating is to jettison your diet.
Despite what you've been told, you don't have to be on an overly restrictive diet to be healthy. If you don't follow the "all or nothing" rules of these diets, you can feel like a complete failure. But I'm here to tell you, you're not!
Instead of cutting out all carbs, practice noticing that the carbs aren't the onesOnlything on your plate. Instead of losing weight with sweets, practice mindful eating.
When you limit certain foods that you thought were "junk food," or sometimes even entire food groups, you tend to actually crave them more in the long run.
And if you're consuming much less energy than your body needs, your hunger will work hard to get your attention (indicating feelings of out of control and binge eating).
Instead of restrictive diets, try to eat enough foods that nourish you.First. Iss einsbalanced, colorful lettuce, high-fiber carbohydrates and filling protein. The key here is finding foods that you like.the truth isto enjoy.
When you finish a nutritious meal full of your favorite foods, you might be surprised at how satisfied you are!
If you still have room for a sweet treat after your delicious meal, you can enjoy it. Without guilt. When you give yourself the freedom to eat without guilt, you're well on your way to developing a positive relationship with food.
Work on a healthy relationship with food
The next step is to develop a healthy relationship with food.
When you develop a healthy relationship with food, you will enjoy the food you love without undue restraint and accept that the value of what you eat is more than just the numbers on the nutrition label.
And above all: Do you really believe that?Your self-esteem is not determined by what you eat.
In a healthy relationship with food, one doesn't see food as "good" or "bad"and respect your body's hunger signals. You choose to eat in moderation and choose meals that make you feel better.
A good way to think about food is this: there are no good or bad foods, they just areanders.For example, broccoli probably plays a different role in your life than chocolate cake.
Reminder: This process is NOT perfect and some days it may seem easier than others. Building that positive relationship is a lifelong endeavor that many people experience.
To improve your relationship with food, focus on the positive and celebrate your successes regularly. Instead of embarrassing yourself for dessert, applaud yourself for eating it consciously. Instead of worrying about carbs, celebrate nutritious meals that give you energy.
Make realistic and sustainable habit changes
Any change you want to make in your life has to be realistic and sustainable, otherwise it won't last. I don't know many beginners who start their training plan with a 26-mile run. You?
One of the best ways to approach habit changes is to start small and make micro-adjustments as you work through those smaller changes.
Imagine ordering a very sweet coffee drink every morning before work. You start your day at the drive-thru savoring every sip, only to find you always have a nasty sugar crash and a few hours later you're feeling hungry.
You decide to make a change. You want to start your day with something more fulfilling.
Instead of giving up your daily routine altogether, it might make more sense to swap out your typical coffee two mornings a week for something with less sugar. Once you see the positive effects, adjust the adjustment until you're happy with the balance.
Finding what works for you is like an experiment. If you don't like the result the first time, that's okay - it just means it's time to try something else.
Remember, if you want a habit to stick, you have to like yours.new habit better than the old one.
It's no surprise that studies show that when you eat slower and watch what you eat, you're happier with your meal (2).
With our busy schedules, it's tempting to wolf down a sandwich or slice of pizza in a matter of minutes and rush back to the office. But the communication between the stomach and the brain is slow: it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to realize that you are really full (3).
If you make it a habit to eat quickly, you're far more likely to eat more than you really need. And then, when your tummy feels uncomfortably full, your post-meal guilt is close behind.
To avoid a race against the clock, try planning your meals — orSnacks- the night before. Packing up leftovers for work or preparing meals for the weekend can mean a lot of stress and decision-making when it comes to eating.
focus on the mindfullEssen
If you're like me, you've probably been scrolling through social media over lunch and suddenly realized the entire meal was gone. It only seemedsecondsbefore everything disappeared You don't really remember the details of what you ate or the exact taste.
The solution? Mindful Eating. Put the phone down. Turn off the TV. close the book Researchers have found that we subconsciously eat more when we're distracted, particularly by phones (4).
Give your food your full attention! Notice the textures, flavors, and consistency of your meal. What's your favorite part? how does that make you feel
Pay attention to what you eat and how your body reacts to each bite.
So recognize when you feel satisfied and stop there. There is no need to eat until you are very full and miserable. I know this habit can be hard to break, especially if you grew up as a member of the Clean Plate Club.
How to Stop Feeling Bad After Eating Something "Unhealthy".
Friends, it's totally okay to eat fun foods like cookies, chips, and processed foods sometimes. There are no forbidden foods. But if you follow the rules that these foods are NOT good, guilt can come knocking at your door. Here's how to let go of that guilt.
Get rid of the all-or-nothing diet mentality
When you've been dieting for years, it's easy to feel like you're failing by eating the foods you once labeled "unhealthy." But you can andhe musthave the freedom to eat fun foods in moderation.
The vicious cycle of the all-or-nothing diet mentality doesn't help you eat healthily. In fact, it probably does the opposite (and hurts your mindset in the process).
Have you ever eaten something "bad" and said, "Oh, I screwed up, so I can eat as much as I can until I start over." Yes, me too! This is a perfect example of the all or nothing cycle. The problem is that it never ends and you end up eating worse, not better.
If you're in the mood for a chocolate chip cookie, it's okay to eat it and move on! If you want to add something to make it more balanced, you can even combine it with another food group like a protein. For example, you can crumble it onto Greek yogurt to add protein to your snack.
Always remember that you don't "fail" if you're not perfect. Foods that you might consider "unhealthy" are absolutely delicious, and it's only human to crave them every now and then. It's perfectly fine to eat a balance of nutrient-dense foods and "fun" foods.
Realize that the perfect diet does not exist
Think of the perfect dietis not presentand never will be. If so, everyone would follow him, right?
There is no unicorn solution, diet pill or special food that contains the answer. The "perfect" diet is one that drives you, includes all the types of foods you love, and is sustainable.
What you need will be a little different than what your friend needs, and that's okay! to findyourBalancing healthy eating habits is essential to your long-term success.
Despite what the health gurus say, cutting out entire food groups altogether is not a magical diet solution and is simply not realistic. Restrictive eating habits don't work.
Each individual has to find what works best for them, and that takes a lifetime of experimentation.
True health and well-being is flexible and adaptable, not rigid and unforgiving. There is no such thing as a perfect diet.
Remember that food is about more than just calories.
Food does much more than just nutritional supplementation. We eat for fun to celebrate birthdays, weddings, promotions and more.
This is perfectly normal and youhe mustbeing able to enjoy those exciting moments without fearing your food.
Occasional emotional eating is normal
You're not the only one who's had a rough day and has turned to a can of Ben & Jerry's or a bag of Oreos for comfort.
Food can bring us comfort, and sometimes that's okay. Eathe canBe a source of comfort to us, just make sure you're working on other coping skills as well so this isn't your only outlet.
If you find yourself in this position, you are not weak and you don't need to feel guilty. Realize that everyone experiences these and negative feelings from time to timeorspend.
Which brings me to my next point...
Practice eating and “move on”
We have many, many opportunities throughout the week to make food choices that align with our healthy eating goals. After eating something that may not be the "healthiest thing," practice letting it go and moving on.
The next time you feel guilty after eating, take a deep breath and remind yourself, "This diet choice will not change my health goals."
If you think this is a food experience to learn from, you might be wondering what happened here? Is there anything I can take away from this breakthrough?
Dealing with just one food choice will only push you further into the all-or-nothing cycle and prevent you from truly eating a balanced diet.
KEY FINDINGS: You can escape food guilt
While it's uncomfortable to feel guilty, you're not alone. Many people feel down after eating something they consider "unhealthy." Unfortunately, there are feelings of guilt and shametogether, but it's definitely not normal.
But it's important to know that it's possible to eat without feeling nauseous. It takes time and a rethink.
You deserve food freedom and guilt-free eating.
Always remember, you are more than the food you eat and it's better to have a little bit of everything in moderation than to restrict yourself by dietary rules. If this post was helpful to you, be sure to share it with a friend!
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