5 Tips to Stop Food Guilt
My heart sinks every time hear someone say how they were "bad" because of a food they ate. It kills me when people talk about "earning" food or "I can't I'm being good". I absolutely CRINGE every time I see someone post a "totally guilt free" recipe.
Stop. The. Madness.
Unless you took food from the store without paying for it - there should be no guilt associated with your food.
A few months ago I posted about a experiment tracking my macros. It brought up a lot of feels about disordered past behaviors and made me grateful that I am not in that place anymore.
I don't want you to go through this. And if you are I want to help you get out! So here are my top 5 tips to stop food guilt and feel better about living your life.
1. Separate food & exercise.
If you're rolling your eyes on the other side of this screen – hear me out. This one is so important. We need to stop allowing food and fitness to have such a co-dependent relationship in our lives.
Fuel your body with nutrient dense, whole foods, because they give you energy. Food is not a reward. Depriving yourself of food is not a punishment.
Engage in exercise and move your body so that doing every day tasks does not feel so difficult. Exercise because moving feels good, because you enjoy it. There are SO many options out there I promise you can find something that works for you. [Are you new to fitness or need help figuring it out? I'd love to chat with you about your goals!]
2. Honor Cravings. Ditch the Habits.
Despite the best of intentions we are all human. Food happens. When a craving strikes you should honor it [in moderation] rather than say no. Why? Because once it's satisfied it's off your mind and you can move on. The more you try to suppress it the stronger it's going to come back the next time around. Before you know it you're eating an entire package of Oreos. The only thing you'll feel after that is probably a stomach ache.
However it's important to differentiate between a craving and a habit. Eating chips with your lunch every day is a habit not a craving. I will admit that my daily glass [or two] of wine is not a craving. I'm not perfect. The important thing is that while I work on it I don't beat myself up every day. On the other hand ice cream is something I don't keep in the house. So when I get a craving for it — I'll get some. I don't get
3. Stop tracking
This one is another toughie — but it's necessary.
We are stuck in this dysfunctional diet culture that promotes eating less and weighing less. News flash — there are other things to value in life. No one wants to talk about how under eating over a long period of time messes with your metabolism, hormones, and not to mention your mind. Not to mention being given a "limit" of how many calories you should eat makes it almost impossible to learn to become more aware of your own body.
Instead keep a different kind of food log. One where you write down what you ate and how it made you feel. How did it taste, did you enjoy it, how did you feel afterwards. There are lots of foods that taste great in the moment and leaving you feeling like crap afterwards. There are other foods that don't even taste good but we eat them anyways.
Keeping track of food in a different way can even help you identify some patterns of food that maybe don't make you feel so great. Eat less of those and more of the ones that make you feel great!
4. Find [real whole] food you love.
There are so many options out there to find food that is going to fuel you and also was really delicious. It might take some time and it might take some research but at the end of the day but ultimately you’ll find what works for you. Nowadays I actually crave things like a big salad or a protein and a sweet potato because they give my body a lot of energy and I feel good after eating them. Not because they are "clean" or "good" but because I enjoy the flavor and feel satiated afterwards.
5. One small change at a time.
If you want to start making changes to your diet — start small for maximum success at creating a life long habit. Choose one thing that you want to work to improve on and work on only that one thing until it becomes a habit. It can be as small as adding one vegetable to your dinner every night. Or putting a little less sugar in your coffee every morning. That's all it takes to start — and you'll be surprised how many other things will start to fall into place once you make one little change.
Remember to focus on what you can do MORE of and where you can make improvements from where you are right now. Fuel your body with things that make you feel good, and treat yourself once in a while.
Do you have any tips I have left out? What are your thoughts on this whole idea of "food guilt?"