Beat Food Guilt!
Growing up food has always played an integral part of my life. Not just because it keeps me alive but its always been associated with some of my fondest memories. Licking the cake batter out of the bowl whilst my mum tells me I’m destined to get salmonella. Eating copious amounts of salted popcorn before the movie even starts & my mum always bringing me and my friends cakes and snacks whilst we play video games late into the night. Food has always been comfort, it’s always bonded us together, it’s always been pleasure.
Now I don’t know when I started to feel guilty about food. When it went from being something I enjoyed and looked forward to. Into something I’d regret, something I’m ashamed of, something I’m scared of. I quickly learnt that food was making me fat and that being fat was the worst thing I could be (I wish I could slap 13 year old me).
My relationship with food went from being intuitive (eating what I want when my body wanted it) to being strained and calculated. I’d work out the nutritional value of every piece of food before it even hit my lips. I’d make sure I wasn’t consuming too much fat, carbs, sugar, air? It was soul destroying. Going to bed and replaying everything I’ve eaten that day. Crying in the mirror because I hadn’t worked out and I was certain I’d gained a few new stretch marks. The merry-go-round of binge eating and extreme dieting. The guilt.
The guilt was all consuming and it completely wrapped its claws around my life and made me miserable. Honestly how many of you have lost sleep over the thought of the muffin you ate for lunch? Probably all of you. The constant battle between should I or shouldn’t I eat it. Is it worth the calories. How many hours will I have to spend in the gym now? It’s EXHAUSTING, and I’m over it. We all deserve to eat what we want when we want it without the crippling fear society has put on us. So heres how we’re going do it.
Working out to undo food ‘mistakes’
Exercise isn’t a form of torture you have to put yourself through to ‘make up for’ what you’ve eaten. Who knew right? For most people exercise is agruelling task to ‘burn off’ all the bad things we’ve eaten previously. This mentality is part of the problem. It emphasises that food needs to be earned and that any ‘bad’ foods we eat have to be immediately burned off at the gym. Thats wrong. Exercise is a way of increasing our endurance & stamina as well as enjoying the movement of our body. Not something that you have to endure. It isn’t a way to undo ‘mistakes’ you’ve made. It’s completely normal to eat more on some days and less on the other. You don’t need to make up for those easter eggs you’ve eaten this weekend easter comes but once a year!
Good foods & Bad goods
This is something we all know. Kale is the incarnation of god himself & bread is basically satan right? Good foods are always the green ones, low sugar, low calorie, low carb, low anything you actually enjoy. The foods that apparently make you a better person just by eating them. Then come the bad foods. The ones that fill us with shame. The foods hidden under our bed & the foods we feel ashamed to have in our shopping trolley. Yep those guys.
We all know the foods but we don’t know the damage they’re doing. By breaking food into these two groups we’re giving them power. Giving them the power to judge us mortally based on what we put in our mouth. Food has no moral value. Just because you eat lots of chai seed doesn’t mean you aren’t an asshole.
What we eat doesn’t dictate who we are. Honour your appetite, you deserve it!
Don’t cut out carbs cut out diets!
Diets rely on our guilt to bring them money. BIG MONEY! As long as we’re feeling bad about our bodies and guilty about what we eat diet culture will thrive. Before we started to over analyse all our meals, compare ourselves to others and thrive to become our thinnest selves food was simple. Food was something we enjoyed and that made us full. Thats it. It didn’t have any power over it, didn’t control us and didn’t keep us up at night. As long as stay on the latest diet or shake or cleanse you will never get rid of food guilt.
Intuitive eating is normal eating
Years of being subjected to diet culture, shame, food guilt & the media has made most of us forget what normal eating is. This quote by Ellyn Satter explains it perfectly:
Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it -not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
Although these things helped me to beat food guilt the biggest advice I can give is to give yourself a break. It’s ok to eat what you want, when you want. Forget the idea of “you are what you eat”. What you eat doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you a better or a worse person. Life too short to spend all day counting calories and feeling guilty over muffins. You deserve to eat what you want, you’re allowed to eat!
I hope you all have a lovely easter, I’m going to destroy some easter eggs
Love always, bopo.boy