How to actually stop feeling food guilt




You think that just allowing yourself to eat whatever you want whenever you want should stop food guilt, right?
No more diet rules! No more good/bad lists! Food freedom!
But you keep finding yourself feeling guilty after eating
because you overeat, feel gross, and feel like you did something wrong.

Is this you? I get it. That was me too.
After I broke up with Whole30, I was trying to be like people I saw on the internet
who let themselves eat pizza and said things like "because balance"
with a heart and like "balance" was super easy and fun to do.


Sure, balance. Food freedom. No more good/bad lists.
Sounds fun!
What could go wrong?


So we ordered a giant pizza, and I ate a slice.
Balance!!! Food freedom!!! No more good/bad lists!!!
And then a slice turned into 4. 5. 6. Half of the pizza.

Shit, my stomach hurts.
But balance!!! Food freedom!!! No more good/bad lists!!!
Hmm, my stomach hurts... might as well keep eating.
Chips. Cookies. Kettle corn. Half of a chocolate cake that didn't even taste good!


Well shit. Balance, food freedom, and no more good/bad lists doesn't feel so good right now
because I just consumed 5000 calories in a matter of a few hours.
And I DO feel food guilt.

I feel disgusting.

I'm mad at myself for eating pizza!

Eating some pizza turned into eating allllll the pizza.

Guilt = "I did something bad." (Brene Brown.)

And the truth is, yes, I did something bad to my body.
To myself.
And I felt bad.
I consumed a ridiculous amount of food that I wasn't even enjoying and made my body hurt.


But, but, but
Balance!!! Food freedom!!! No more good/bad lists!!!
What about that stuff? Why do I feel food guilt? I'm not following diet rules anymore...



Here's the truth: balance, food freedom, and navigating life without good/bad lists takes time to learn.
Stopping food guilt takes time.
Learning to eat in a way that feels good DURING and AFTER the meal takes time.


Just like we don't magically become a different person because we're doing a diet,
we don't magically become a different person because we're no longer doing a diet.


How to ACTUALLY stop food guilt:

1. Define what guilt is.

From Brene Brown, "I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort."

How do YOU define guilt? Get a journal out and WRITE.

What things do you say to yourself when you feel food guilt?

What actions prompted you to feel food guilt?


2. Define your values.

Values are principles, standards of behavior, and your own personal judgment of what is important in your life. Get out a journal and WRITE.

When you look at your life and relationship with food:

What do you value? How do you ideally want to be eating?

Do you value perfect clean eating? Do you want to be a person who never eats pizza? Is eating pizza a taboo and against your values?

Then it makes sense that eating any pizza makes you feel guilty. You did something bad according to your values. You weren't perfect with food.

You done messed up, A-A-Ron.

Or do you value imperfect eating!?

Do you want to be a person who can have some pizza without eating all the pizza?

A person who listens to her body's fullness signal and stops eating?

A person who actually feels good and energized after a meal?
There's nothing wrong with eating a slice of pizza according to those values.

With those values, it's the continuing to eat, ignoring your body's fullness signals, and feeling gross that causes food guilt.


So that was some MINDSET work that we have to do around food guilt. Now we have to do the actual practice of the MEAL along with a lil more MINDSET work.

3. If you value being a person who listens to her body's fullness signal, stops eating, and feels GOOD after a meal, that's what you'll practice.

Set yourself up for success.

PRACTICE eating food in a way that makes you feel good during and after the meal.

Practicing this will help you stop feeling gross at the end of a meal and help you stop feeling like you did something wrong. Feeling good at the end of a meal will help you stop feeling food guilt.

During the meal, especially in the beginning as you're first learning, you might be rehearsing imperfect eating affirmations. Affirmations are positive thoughts that help you to change negative, recurring thoughts. When you repeat affirmations over and over and you practice the things you're saynig, you start creating new evidence and new beliefs. It's cyclical.  

Because we know our relationship with food is not just about the food but about who we are being when we are eating, and because we know that what we say over and over becomes what we believe about ourselves, we have to do some reframing of the negative thoughts and beliefs we've been rehearsing for years, even decades.


So some imperfect eating affirmations you might rehearse to experience joy + innocence with food instead of dread + guilt:


"I am allowed to be eating this.

I am not doing anything wrong.

I value imperfect eating and do not value perfect eating.

Because this food is always allowed and won't be taken away from me at the beginning of next month, I don't have to feel food scarcity and shovel it down.

I can practice eating it in a way that feels good during and after.

I can actually enjoy this meal I am eating.

Wow. That bite tasted great.

And huh, that bite didn't taste so great.

Neither did that one.

I think I am getting full.

Ok, wow. I noticed fullness before I felt disgusting. I guess I can relearn the signals my body is sending me.

I can stop eating this, refrigerate it, and save it for later.

Wow, I really can listen to body and do kind things for body.

That's great news. I've never listened to myself before.

Pretty cool. I am capable of doing things I've never done before.

I can take things I am kinda bad at and make them things I am pretty decent at."


One thing I learned- eating just pizza never really fills me up and doesn't really leave me feeling good after the meal. Pizza is mostly cheese and bread, and it's pretty hard to feel full with just cheese and bread. Veggies + protein definitely help me feel full! If I am going to be eating, because I value feeling good at the end of the meal, I also eat veggies + protein with my meal.


A suggestion to start with: put a few pieces of pizza on a plate or make a single serving pizza with pita bread, make a giant salad with some sort of protein and fun crunchy things, and pour a glass of fun berry tea. (The 5Ps.) And really examine who you are being when you are eating. What are you saying to yourself! Dude, this is so f*cking key to all of this! 



Set aside one day a week where you practice this meal. No, we're not eating pizza for every meal of the day every day of the week. That doesn't leave us feeling so great...


So I pick Fridays for pizza. Pizza Friday.

And practice, practice, practice.


I purposely use the word practice because there are going to be times that you mess up.

There are going to be times that you make a mistake and overeat, feel gross, feel like you did something wrong, and want to backtrack to doing a perfect diet.


But just know that being imperfect is a part of the journey.


The more you practice, the better you'll get.

It will take time to unlearn the diet/binge thoughts from your past and embrace being kind to yourself.

How long?

If you've been on the diet/binge cycle for decades, give yourself 6+ months to explore your relationship with food.

Maybe a 1 year. Maybe 2.

If you've been on the diet/binge cycle for decades, no, it does not get solved in 30 days flat.

Give yourself time.



p.s. Do you receive the Ease Into Imperfect Eating ecourse? Each week, I send out a lesson helping you actually live a happier and healthier life. With ease. Because you can't stress yourself out to be happier or healthier. 



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