I was recently asked to write a guest post by the lovely Elizabeth Jarrard who writes for a blog called Guiltless, which is all about healing the relationship between food and our bodies.
Their Twitter Profile motto is “The longest relationship you will ever be in is the one with yourself. The second longest is the relationship with what you eat. Be Guiltless” – Fantastic!
The main focus was on my eating disorder recovery as well as the following topics:
• What does guilty eating have to do with eating disorders
• What is your top tip for letting go of guilt, and freeing yourself from disordered eating?
You can read my full post and answers on the Guiltless site.
I love this topic as the guilty eating associated with eating disorders is so crucial to recovery. I have another post related to eating guilt on my site that addresses 5 ways to beat eating guilt and as well as my Good vs Bad Food philosophy which is:
Food that I actually like
Food that I do NOT like
Where Does Guilty Eating Come From?
The diet obsessed world we live in creates part of the guilty eating mentality. Even those without eating disorders suffer some degree of guilt around food. I was just out to dinner with some “normal eaters” the other night and they were all struggling with whether they should have dessert – saying things like “well I went to the gym this morning” or “I’ve been eating healthy all week” – to justify the guilt that they were experiencing in this moment.
So to some extent it seems that most people suffer with eating guilt. But the problem for those with an eating disorder is that it becomes a chronic condition and a complete mental obsession that impacts every area of your life. The guilt is overwhelming and it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on anything else other than food, eating plans and weight loss.
The guilt then further perpetuates disordered eating behavior, thoughts and actions. It also severely impacts on your self esteem as you completely judge you whole self based on your caloric intake for the day.
In order to begin to recover completely from eating disorders it is essential to address the eating guilt programming and break down the old, unhelpful thoughts and ideas about eating, food and what is “good” and “bad” when it comes to food.
I will share with you my personal experience – again – I know you have heard me say it many times before, but I eat what I want, when I want and have maintained the same weight for years.
I have no food rules and have eliminated all the limiting and destructive ideas in my mind about feeling guilty about certain food.
I know this seems oversimplified, but the message that I want to get across is that it IS possible to beat eating guilt, learn to eat intuitively and be completely free of the obsession around food, weight, calorie counting and obsessive exercise.
Ways to beat the guilty eating monster that have worked for me:
- I always advise that you must start with attempting to legalize all food
- Realize that diets don’t work
- Do an inventory of your diet history to get clarity and break down the denial around diets
- Use tools like “The work” by Byron Katie to question your beliefs around guilt when eating and the good vs. bad” food theory
- Recognizing triggers around eating guilt – for example hearing my friends talk about their own guilt when eating the other night would have been a HUGE trigger for me had I not had a complete mental shift around my eating beliefs
- Begin to eat (slowly) food that you actually like. See what happens!
- Treat yourself like a child when it comes to eating – saying things like “what do you feel like eating right now”
- Eliminate isolation as much as possible and start eating out with people. It takes the focus off food and gets you away from being alone where the guilt and disease manifest and you are more likely to binge.
- Stop with external eating plans. Nobody can stick to them and they cause and fuel the eating guilt. Remember that 98% of diets fail. And how do you feel when you fail?
You can view my full guest post on I am Guiltless, and leave a comment or just check out their wonderful site.
Please contact me if you have any questions or leave a comment if you have any tips to share about how you deal with guilty eating.
P.S I will soon be opening up spots for one-on-one coaching. I have limited spaces available, so if you are interested please get int touch with me immediately to ensure that you get a spot. You can send me a message through the contact form with “Coaching” as the subject.