Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Overcoming Food Guilt

Twenty-two months into this journey, I would say that I pretty much have figured out how to eat well and keep my nutrition in check.  I would even say that I can afford a "cheat day" or two here and there (sometimes called a "re-feed") to give my metabolism a kick start.  I don't understand it at all, but it works.

Somehow, I still feel guilty when I eat foods that are "bad."  Why do we even assign  the label "bad" to food?  Today was a bad day.  A whole bunch of crazy things happened at work today and I never got to eat lunch, which lead to a crazy hungry woman by the time I got home.  I had a decent snack before working out at the gym, but at 5:30, I was feeling really horrible.  I had a headache, and that dull "low carb" feeling I get. So, I ordered fish & chips from Big Y.  Not a great idea nutritionally, but I didn't really care.  I ate half of it and followed up with a small serving of Bryer's Coffee Ice Cream (I needed the carbs).

The problem is that now I feel like a stuffed sausage and I feel guilty about having a bad day nutritionally.  I get it!  It doesn't matter too much if I blow it because I've lost so much weight, one bad day is not going to put 10 lbs. on me.  So, why do I feel guilty?  On the whole, I eat well, I eat clean and I make smart choices.  I allow an occasional "treat."  But the guilt...

So, I've been considering the root cause and I think I may get it.

When I was fat, I ate to provide myself with comfort.  I rarely made any smart choices about food.  So when I ate ice cream, pizza, fast food, fried food, or too much food - I always felt some level of "Awwww, there you go," which was followed by a guilty nagging voice in my head.  "You're fat and look at what you're eating.  You'll always be fat.  You are out of control."

Now...I'm not fat, and I don't seek food as a source of comfort.  I know when I am truly hungry.  Since today was a bad day at work, followed by some nutritional volcanoes, I think the guilt is  kind of like Pavlov's dog...it is a learned response.

So, to my friends who battle with weight.  Here's my advice to you.  If you feel guilty about food or nutritional choices, look deeply at what you are associating with the guilt.  Why do you feel guilty about food?  If you are on the road to a healthy lifestyle, you do NOT have to feel guilty about making an occasional poor choice for a meal, or having an cheat day from time to time.

Stop thinking that you had a "bad day" or that you were "bad."  Food does not carry moral characteristics, so you shouldn't associate good and bad with it!

When you fall off the wagon, get back on!  Don't let one day of poor choices derail your efforts.  The discouragement that goes along with that can set you back too far.

DO allow yourself an occasional treat.  You can have one treat without having an entire cheat day.  If you're on vacation, you can make smart food choices overall and allow yourself dessert.  Limiting what you eat all the time will prevent you from having long term success.

I realized today this is something with which I will continue to struggle.  I am not free from the battle with food.  As long as I feel guilty about eating something pleasurable, this will continue to be an area to address.

So, my friends, fight the good fight.  Be encouraged!  Be strong!  Keep at it.  Remember your goals.  Remember WHY you wanted to do this in the first place.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

Twenty-two months ago, I weighed 232 lbs.  It took me seven months for the motivation to kick in and another six months of doing things my own way before I finally gave up and took Dimitriy's advice.  That was an entire year of trial and error, but I never gave up.  Stick with it!  You CAN do it!

Fight the good fight!
Question for you... (Answer in the comment section below)
What did you have for dinner tonight?
What's your one biggest food weakness?

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