Make Confident Food Choices - and Lose the Guilt
The scene: You have been on a roll and eating very healthy. You may have even recently lost some weight as a bonus. Maybe you recently hit a weight loss or training goal. Then you see it…the chocolate croissant, coconut creme pie, sweet cream ice cream…you get the picture. You make the decision, “I will eat (said treat)” and proceed to enjoy yourself, indulging in every…last…bite. About 2 minutes later, or maybe even while you are enjoying the treat, you think to yourself “This is bad. I am eating a bad thing. At least 1 pound gained; one point for added diabetes risk.” The half-ass regret, or maybe whole hearted regret (depends on the person), may stay around the next 30 minutes, or maybe even the rest of the day.
Sound familiar? Ever happen to you or someone you know? It’s a pretty common thought process. We formulate our own specific food rules throughout life based on what we’ve learned from professionals, the media, friends and family. Break the rules…shame on me.
I imagine we are all on a spectrum with this behavior. My concern is with those who stay on the far end of this spectrum, married to the “all or none” thinking of diet. You are either eating well, or eating like shit, there is no “sweet” spot (haha, see what I did there?). Extreme guilt is felt with every treat eaten, and every decadent restaurant meal. There is an arsenal of food rules that should not be broken.
If you are feeling bad, or guilty about something you ate, how about reframing the situation? Ask yourself, “What was the positive thing I wanted to achieve with that decision?”
For many, the answer may be
1. Celebration, enjoyment.
2. Experience a unique, exquisite flavor and texture.
Next, consider your overall eating pattern. YOU HAVE THE POWER to make all of your food decisions day to day. You may feel guilty that sometimes your decisions do not reflect your commitment to eat better. Well, that’s because maybe at this time you are honoring your commitment to be happy, to enjoy yourself…not just to feed your body, but to feed your soul.
As for your food rules — first, consult with a dietitian regarding nutrition education. Second, how about looking at those rules more as guidelines?
This study suggested that those who associate guilt with eating chocolate cake had a harder time, on average, succeeding with weight loss goals and maintaining weight. This supports a decision to lose the guilt associated with your food decisions.
Use your power of choice to be intentional about your eating. Make choices based on nutritive value and satisfaction, and what makes you feel the best physically and emotionally. Plan ahead. Listen to your body. Really listen to be aware of what you need, what you want, and be able to feel when enough is enough. By being completely in tune with your unique condition and needs, you can learn to make confident food decisions to honor all of your needs, and leave that guilt behind.