It’s the weekend you have been waiting for after a long tiring week. We all look forward to weekends, don’t we? It’s our time to relax, unwind, spend time with our families and friends, go out and indulge in some tasty food. I mean how can I say No to the pizza or the cheesecake being served? After eating clean the whole week I do deserve to eat it right? I know I will feel guilty after eating this so should I still eat? Are these questions familiar to you? Do you often question your decisions about food? I mean food is something which is not supposed to be questioned, if your body needs you to have that slice of cake but you also feel about how you will feel after eating. Cake is supposed to make you feel happy right? Before we dig in more let’s see as to why do we feel guilty after eating?
Why do we feel guilty after eating?
As kids did we ever feel guilty after eating anything? We would eat whatever we would want to and then forget about it. But as we grew up we started to restrict our diets even more by each passing age. It’s very common especially in women that they are unable to enjoy food because of the guilty feeling that will linger after the meal is finished or even while eating. This whole concept of body image and feeling guilty has started from the wrong beauty standards set up by the people around us as well as the social media, movies and the magazine covers. The slim slender is considered beautiful according to the magazines which featuresonly one type of body. Even people around us like relatives and families constantly compare us with the lean cousin of ours and taunt us to not eat more.
It is the society which does more harm to a self image of a women. Being constantly told that you are not slim enough or you won’t look good if you gain those extra pounds can shatter anyones self-esteem. Boys and girl often compare themselves with those girls with abs on Instagram posing in her bikini photos or that fitness trainer who has lakhs of followers. When they see them they feel that they are not good enough and thus they start restricting their diets and feel guilty after indulging in any food that they consider as ‘bad’.
Foods are labelled as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in the diet culture. When we eat anything which comes under the ‘bad’ food category we instantly start feeling guilty. We feel that we are not as desirable as those models on Instagram or that celebrity. What we don’t understand is that not everyone’s perfect. We don’t know what that Instagram model or the celebrity is going through. Our minds are conditioned by notions of wrong body image standards set by the society.
“Always remember that your body is unique and beautiful”
So how to not feel guilty after eating?
1. Enjoy what you are eating-
When you are eating or about to eat. Sit down and cherish your meals. At that time don’t think about what will happen next. Just be in that moment. Enjoy the various flavours of your favourite juicy burger, or the sweetness of the slice of cake. Don’t eat while feeling guilty. This way you won’t be able to enjoy what you are eating and will feel guilty. A meal is supposed to be enjoyed while eating. Eating mindlessly and feeling guilty will defeat the purpose of enjoying food. If you are out with your friends and family don’t ruin your mood by feeling guilty about food. Food is supposed to be enjoyed with your friends and family. Be in that moment and live it. Make more memories and not guilt.
“Food creates memories. You will remember the memories and not the guilt”.
2. Don’t call it a cheat meal or cheat day-
We all have heard of these words but have you ever wondered why are certain foods labelled as cheat meals? Again all foods eaten on cheat days or on cheat meals are considered ‘bad’ but why? Blame it on the diet culture which is every where. Examples like don’t eat this or don’t eat that, stop cheating on your diet. We have all heard that at least once in our life. The cheat word makes you feel even more guilty about eating that so called ‘bad’ food.
So stop labelling foods under cheat meal or cheat day . So instead of saying that you had a cheat meal it’s better to enjoy your meal, feel satisfied, feel happy and move on. You can always say that you enjoyed the tasty food you had for lunch. Consider every food to be normal. Stop using words like cheat day or cheat meals instead treat every food as a normal meal.
3. Stop comparing yourself with others-
These days we spend so much time scrolling down the social media and when see other people we immediately start comparing ourselves with them. Coming across profiles of Instagram celebrities, models or even normal people can make us question about how we look. This creates serious body image issues. Many girls are influenced by various celebrities and start following a very restrictive diet which ultimately leads to serious health problems. These images and comparison makes one feel insecure and we start doubting our bodies.
The best way is to stop scrolling down these profiles if you find it uncomfortable. Practice self care, try to not compare your body with others. Just remember that everyone has their own struggles, we don’t know what the other person is going through and dealing with in their own lives. That one picture is just one percent of their life. Don’t start weighing yourself everyday or even after eating what you like. All bodies are different. You don’t have to get into that standard body type set by the society. In fact it’s high time that these so called ‘desirable’ body types norms should be abolished.
“Start loving your body and see that your body will give its all to you”.
4. Keep a journal about how you feel about certain food types-
Journalising your feelings is the best way to avoid feeling guilty and makes you channelise your feelings in a better way. If you start writing down how you feel about food, what are your thoughts regarding it both positive and negative you will be able to analyse your feelings. Foods can trigger a lot of emotions like happiness, shame like I said it can be positive or negative emotion.
While some people who usually feel guilty after eating are those who have a very restrictive diet and when they give into their temptation and indulge in eating what they like, they feel shameful, they beat themselves as to why they gave in, why were they not able to control their cravings and start punishing themselves for eating. If you are one those then it’s a good idea to start journalising your thoughts as this will definitely help you keep a tab about your emotions.
You can also list a few things in your journal and try practising it like-
- I will eat these foods (list of foods you feel guilty after eating)
- I will enjoy what I am eating
- I will look at food in a positive way
- I am beautiful
- I will fullfill my cravings
- I will not fear food (list of foods which you fear eating)
5. Move on with your routine-
You ate your favourite dessert? That’s great, now it’s time to move on. Yes I know it can be difficult, but it comes with practice. You relished what you love to eat, you enjoyed it and now you are back to your routine. Do things you had planned to do that day rather than just sitting and thinking about why you ate that. Also don’t go off eating instead eat what you had planned for the day. Eat that fruit, have dry fruits. Eat your lunch and dinner. Don’t skip meals. Stay hydrated. Get back to your everyday meals.
Punishing yourself by not eating anything after indulging is not a good practice. If you punish your body, you will automatically feel guilty and fear certain foods even more. Remember that what matters is majority of your diet and not what you eat occasionally.
Don’t be hard on yourself. A meal is supposed to make you happy and not guilty. Eat what brings you joy. A bit of indulgence is not harmful and will not make you less attractive. Confidence comes from within, have faith in yourself. I hope these tips are of some help to you. Try to incorporate them. It’s comes with practice but you will get there one day.
Love yourself and enjoy your food. You have got this.