I wonder how many times i have seen the words “food” and “guilt” together. Or the amount of times i have seen people write, now you can eat this guilt free, or make this food and you won’t have to feel guilty for eating it.
And it irritates me alot.
Food and guilt should never go together – ever. Doesn’t matter if you just ate 3 bowls of pasta or a cookie or a salad with dressing, eating should never make you feel guilty.
Of course it is easier said than done in today’s society where we are constantly bombarded with messages of having to eat clean. Go on diets. Lose weight. Look a certain way. And to always eat low fat, low kcal, low sugar…. Finding balance with food in todays society isn’t always easy, but it is in fact possible and so worth it.
If you associate food or certain food with guilt it will lead to a negative relationship with food. Food will be something negative, something you feel ashamed of instead of seeing it as energy and something delicious. But also if certain food (or all food and eating) gives you guilt it is more likely you will develop disordered eating habits and things such as binging, restrictive, secret eating, compensating etc etc
Even if you overate it shouldn’t make you feel guilty. The body might give you signs such as stomach pain, sweating, not feeling hungry if you have overeaten but that is just your body’s way of showing that you ate too much but it is not something you should feel guilty over.
Food is energy and something we need. But it is also something that is social – you eat together with friends and family and you enjoy food together with other people. It is also something that is delicious, there is a reason why most people enjoy eating and get pleasure from it… it is tasty and gives us energy and some foods even gie you a feel good, dopamine kick which makes you want more. Not to mention that from an evolutionary and biological view, it is something necessary for life and a reason why we like food so much. It is not something that you should feel bad over.
The reason you feel guilt is because you have done something bad. Something shameful and something you should be ashamed or embarrassed about. I.e if you have stolen something, you have lied or done something wrong… then you will feel guilt. It is your conscious and telling you what is right or wrong.
That same feeling should not happen when you eat – doesn’t matter what it is you eat. You have not done something wrong or done something you should feel bad or ashamed about.
Just like with cheat days….. food is not a test or a relationship, you can’t cheat on it. I much prefer to say treat days, and then you can define yourself what you think a treat is. I.e for me, my treats are expensive food such as Oumph!, vegan ben and jerrys or certain vegan chocolate which is expensive and i can’t eat it so often… those are my treats. However i don’t have specific days to have treats, just when i feel like celebrating or feel like i really need something extra special. However some people might define what a treat is differently and that is ok as well. Just remember that it isn’t something bad… it shouldn’t be called a cheat because that is usually synonymous with something bad and something shameful.
Changing your mindset, changing how you think about food and how you see food. But also changing the way you write or talk about food is also important…. if you begin thinking, i am not a bad person for eating this food. I should not feel bad or ashamed or guilty for eating this food. I have not done something wrong. As well as saying treats and that all food is guilt free because food and guilt don’t and shouldn’t go together.
I know i have written posts like this before (HERE and HERE) and i guess it will be a recurring post – hahaha. But it is so important to write and talk about. But also… the more people who become aware of this and become aware of their thoughts and relationship with food the easier it is to change, both individual and maybe group and society as well.
Also i recommend that if you see accounts talking about guilt free food or guilt free recipes, call them out. Comment and mention that there is no specific food that is guilt free because all food is guilt free. Even if friends and family talk about food in a negative way, call them out…. just sharing your thoughts and pinion can sow a little seed in their brain and make them rethink how they talk or think about food.
Even if i ever write anything by accident that might be seen as negative or write about food or body image in a negative/wrong way, feel free to call me out as well. I know i sometimes write things like “this is my guilty pleasure” when in all honesty… it causes me no guilt at all and i amn’t even ashamed of it. (For example that i can a LOT of bread in one sitting and i have called it my guilty pleasure, but i am neither ashamed or guilty that i can eat like 5 scones in one serving or half a loaf of bread at once, hahaha.)
If you do feel guilty when eating below are some posts from my previous blog which might be helpful: