Have you cheated on a diet before? Have you overindulged until you feel so full you could burst? Have you had a binge session? Have you felt guilty? And if so, did you wonder on how to conquer food guilt?
Food indulgences happen! But like many other women on a weight loss or fitness journey, you may struggle with severe guilt afterward.
Is it normal? Well, you can take a quick test to find out what your attitude is towards food and if it is unhealthy.
And, in this post, you can discover how to conquer food guilt and get some tips for reaching your goals without sabotaging yourself, either physically or psychologically.
The Slippery Slope to Food Guilt
Sometimes, the desire to lose weight or get healthier can become so strong that it’s in your mind nearly every minute of every day.
You deny and deny yourself; you feel like you’re saying “no, no, no” all the time. To get to your goal faster, you even cut out the “cheat days” from your diet schedule.
Then, it happens— the temptation, the rationalization, the act of diet betrayal.
You accept the slice of cake at a friend’s birthday party. You grab a package of cheese-flavored chips on your way through the checkout line at the store. You order a large fries along with your healthy wrap.
After you’ve eaten that bit of junk food or those unnecessary calories, you feel terrible. You’re discouraged and disappointed. The guilt washes over you, and you’re drowning in it.
The Usual Responses to Food Guilt – The Two R’s
So, how should you react when you feel food guilt? Well, there are two unhealthy ways and one healthy. Keep in mind that your health and your fitness future depend on which path you take.
You can give up.
You can tell yourself that your fitness goals are never going to happen, it’s no use, and you might as well just go back to your previous diet and lifestyle.
You can binge eat to soothe those feelings— but in the long run, that only makes the guilt more painful and the road to fitness even longer.
Negative self-talk is a destructive path.
Coupled with guilt, it can lead to serious eating disorders and body image problems. Food-shaming yourself doesn’t help the fitness process or the weight loss goals; it just makes the problem worse.
Another reaction is to revert to your severe diet program.
You work yourself into a soaking sweat on the treadmill, trying to atone for those extra calories.
You determine to restrict yourself even more, to exercise harder, and to be even more fierce in your battle for fitness.
What’s the problem with this reaction?
Well, this mentality is what led you to the overwhelming food guilt in the first place. If you go back to your previous thought process, you’ll just find yourself repeating the pattern again and again.
My Advice on How to Conquer Food Guilt – The Three R’s
Relax, Review, and Recover
Here’s what I suggest you do.
Admit to yourself that you messed up. You fell short of a goal that you set for your life. But how realistic was that goal? Are you eliminating all indulgence from your life, turning food into an enemy?
That’s a dangerous path; so perhaps you need to review and reassess your diet.
Instead of being ultra-restrictive, set reasonable food boundaries and allow yourself some indulgences.
At a birthday party, you may allow yourself a small piece of cake. If you’re on a date, you’re allowed a guilt-free meal, with no consideration for calories.
Perhaps once a week or once a month, you may have one serving of fries or a bag of chips.
The schedule, food items, and quantities are up to you. The point is that you’re not eliminating all your favorite foods from your life; you’re simply removing their control over you.
You’re the one with the power, and you get to dictate when those foods enter your life, on your timetable.
If you’re still experiencing severe guilt, write down those feelings in a journal or on a piece of scrap paper; then tear it to pieces.
You’ve admitted the feelings, and now you’re moving on. That episode of your fitness journey is over— what matters is the future.
If you’re still struggling, please know that you don’t need to struggle alone.
Reaching out to a dietician or nutritionist might seem daunting, but I promise they see these issues on a regular basis and won’t judge.
They will do their absolute best to help you! So keep this in mind.
I wish you all the best!xx