We are excited to share this special guest post from Rebecca the Dietitian! We recognize how much the way you fuel your body influences your exercise results, and are excited to be able to bring you Rebecca’s sound eating advice to help you optimize your health, enjoy eating and get the most out of your workouts. We hope you will check out her post below and look forward to learning more from her. If you are in need of more guidance when it comes to nutrition, her comprehensive course, “Nourished & Fit” teaches you everything you need to know in order to lose weight, increase your energy, and balance your hormones (while enjoying delicious food of course)! Along with the course you will be invited to monthly group calls and a private Facebook community of amazing, supportive women. Please check out this link here to learn more.
Do you ever find yourself feeling guilty about your food choices? Do you have thoughts like, “I am so full I’m sure I have gained weight” or “I am going to have to exercise like crazy to burn this off” or “I might as well keep eating all of this food and start dieting again on Monday”?
If any of these (or similar) thoughts sound familiar then keep reading!
You may think that these guilty feelings and self-deprecating thoughts help keep you on track. After all, isn’t demeaning yourself the reason you get back to exercising or eating right after you’ve gone off the rails? It may seem like that, but let’s consider three reasons that this type of guilt isn’t actually doing you any favors (and how we can turn this thinking around).
#1: Food guilt makes you more likely to overeat or binge eat
Feeling guilty about food can make you more likely to overeat or binge eat, while planning indulgences allows you to truly enjoy what you are eating and then get right back on track. The goal for the ladies I work with is to have a regular day-to-day routine of healthy, balanced eating and exercising that they truly enjoy. We also encourage regular guilt-free indulgences. We don’t call these choices “cheats” because they aren’t. We are mindfully choosing to incorporate some less-healthy foods that are not in our normal routine simply because we want to. Because it’s fun and the food is delicious. And guess what happens when we allow for mindful indulgences with no guilt at all? We actually truly enjoy every bit of whatever we’re eating and then we get back to our normal routine. We don’t need to give up on our entire healthy lifestyle. We don’t need to eat everything in sight before we begin again. Because we can simply plan another indulgence whenever we want. When it becomes part of the plan it’s not such a big deal and we don’t feel like it’s our last chance to enjoy food. I see it over and over again that my clients don’t eat as much when they indulge and they enjoy it so much more without the guilt.
#2: Food guilt makes you more likely to overcompensate with an extreme plan of under-eating or over-exercising that will eventually backfire
If you allow those guilty thoughts to creep in when you overeat then you might feel like you have to punish yourself to get back on track. This often leads to a rigid plan of under-eating and/or over-exercising that isn’t healthy or sustainable long-term. After some amount of time your body will reject this type of strict plan. Usually your brain will take over and you will end up overeating because you’re starving or you will end up at a weight loss plateau because your body will slow your metabolism in an attempt to keep you alive. This “all or nothing” behavior can set you up for a terrible cycle of starving/over-exercising and then giving up and feeling like a failure. It’s not healthy for your body (over time this has been shown to permanently lower your natural metabolism) and the over-exercising can cause injuries. When you incorporate guilt-free indulgences into your regular routine there’s no need for extreme overcompensation. A balanced plan allows you to stay consistently healthy and happy. If you do go off track there’s no need to feel bad about it. Just get back to taking great care of yourself with your normal healthy balanced routine as soon as you are able. Do it because you love yourself, not as a punishment.
#3: Food guilt can cause stress and low self-esteem
Consistent negative self-talk and creating unrealistic goals that you can’t succeed at are really tough on your self esteem. Isn’t it wild that we say things to ourselves that we would never say to a friend? The first step in conquering this self-beratement is to notice it. You may have been doing it for so long that you don’t even realize you’re doing it. Once you start catching yourself, simply observe the thoughts and consider if they are kind or productive. How might you reframe these thoughts if you were talking to a loved one?
Another tip to help you conquer negative thoughts is to set realistic goals. Is it realistic to not have one unhealthy food item during the holidays? Is it realistic to work out 7 days per week when you’re super busy? Consider allowing for the wild schedule and the amazing food that may occur. Maybe you can plan for completely guilt-free food indulgences 2-3 times each week this month and shoot for healthy eating otherwise? Or you could set a goal for healthy eating 75% of the week. Allow for some lighter/shorter workouts and some days off to accommodate for the extra holiday activities on your calendar. If you set yourself up with reasonable, attainable goals then you’re more likely to succeed which will boost your confidence and help you stay on track long term.
A little kindness goes a long way, especially when it comes to honoring our body and our health. Practicing self compassion and care can help you enjoy the spirit and joy of the holiday season even more.
We hope that you have the most amazing holiday season and that you allow for lots of healthy treats as well as guilt-free indulgences. Move your body because you’re amazing and you’re worth it. Have lots of fun and focus on self-care whenever possible.
Wishing you and your family a very happy, healthy holiday season!
Do you have a question or a topic you’d like Rebecca to write about? What have you found helpful in overcoming food guilt? We love hearing from you, so please share with us in the comments below!
MORE HELPFUL POSTS FROM REBECCA:
3 WAYS INTERMITTENT FASTING MIGHT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT (AND HOW TO TELL IF IT’S RIGHT FOR YOU)
EATING AND EXERCISE: WHAT TO EAT BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER YOUR WORKOUT FOR BEST RESULTS
3 WAYS TO CURB EMOTIONAL EATING
3 REASONS TO STOP LABELING FOOD AS ‘GOOD’ OR ‘BAD’
3 REASONS DIETING IS SLOWING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS
3 WAYS STRESS CAN IMPACT YOUR WEIGHT (AND HOW TO DEAL)