Have you ever felt guilty over something you ate?
I remember when I used to swear to myself that I would be “better.” I would stop eating sugar, carbs, or [insert food demonized by diet culture].
And when I inevitably ate said food or food group, because let’s be real, you can’t avoid or restrict anything forever, the immense disappointment, shame, and guilt I felt were devastating.
Feeling guilt or shame for eating is an experience that can be all-consuming and emotionally draining. It can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders, causing you to question your every food choice and ultimately leading to an endless cycle of restriction, loss of control, and distrust in yourself and your body.
As a society, we have become increasingly obsessed with food and how it affects our bodies. Everywhere you look, you are bombarded with messages about what you should and shouldn’t eat, how much you should eat, and when you should eat it. With this constant barrage of information, it’s no wonder so many of us feel guilty or ashamed after eating.
But the truth is, there is nothing to feel guilty about.
Have you ever felt guilty for breathing? Or peeing?
I certainly hope not. We see both of these bodily functions as essential to life; there is no reason to see eating as any different.
Like breathing and peeing, eating is a vital bodily function necessary for survival and overall health.
So why associate eating with guilt? I know, I know. You probably think that you wouldn’t feel guilty if you just ate “right” or “clean” or [insert term coined by diet culture to suggest moral superiority through food].
The reality is that mindset, inspired by diet culture, is throwing you back into the cycle we discussed before of restriction, loss of control, and distrust. It’s nasty and insidious, and it’s not your fault. But you don’t have to stay stuck here.
It’s time to let go of the guilt and shame of eating. Instead, embrace the idea that all foods have a place in our lives. I encourage you to listen to your body and eat what you want without judgment.
Easier said than done, right?
Well, yes, but it’s totally doable.
Two main principles of Intuitive Eating are rejecting the diet mentality and making peace with food. This means letting go of the idea that certain foods are “good” or “bad” and that we should only eat certain things to be “healthy” or lose weight. Instead, listen to your body and eat what you genuinely want sans the guilt and shame.
I know from the outside this might feel uncomfortable and kooky. But I help clients embrace this shift every day, and let me tell you, the results are astounding. Allowing yourself neutral access to all foods, even when you feel skeptical or scared, is the pathway to building trust with food and yourself. Plus, you don’t have to stumble down that path alone.
If you are struggling with guilt or shame after eating, there are a few things you can do to start feeling better.
You can learn to let go of guilt and shame, and enjoy eating in a way that feels good for your body and mind. Eating is an essential part of life, and there is nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about. By embracing a neutral, balanced approach to eating, like Intuitive Eating, you can learn to listen to your body and eat what we truly want, without judgment. So let go of the guilt and shame, and start enjoying food in a way that feels good for you.