I’m so passionate about sharing ways in which you can enhance your relationship with food and really get the most out of what you’re eating – both physically and emotionally. One of the ways to really strengthen that loving relationship with food, is to eliminate food guilt from your life.
Have you ever felt guilty for eating that extra portion of food?
Or beaten yourself up over indulging a bit too heavily in that chocolate dessert?
Or maybe you caved into that craving for carbs and now you’re feeling bloated and sluggish?
Well, it’s time to put that food guilt to rest and close the door on that chapter. If you’re ready to take your relationship with food to the next level, then it’s time to say goodbye to food guilt.
Your body is incredibly intelligent and has a whole internal hormonal system to alert us when we are hungry. These hormones send messages to our brains to tell us when we need to eat – it’s a self-regulatory system. If we listen to this system and eat when we are hungry, then there’s no reason to ever feel guilty for eating the foods you do. Food guilt comes when we have eaten something that perhaps our bodies didn’t need. So consider – are you actually hungry or are you eating as a result of boredom or your emotions?
Think back to crowding out – this is one of my favourite concepts - filling your body with all that nourishing goodness so that the junk foods naturally crowd themselves out. When you eat from a place of love and fuel yourself with nourishing foods, then there’s nothing to feel guilty for. You know you’re benefiting your body with your food choices and therefore eating and meal times will come from a place of love and not that guilt induced fear.
Filling half your plate with green goodness and making sure veggies make an appearance at every meal will again help to crowd out those foods that are not so good for you. As well as making sure you’re getting all those essential micronutrients (those vitamins, minerals and antioxidants), the fibre within the veggies will help fill you up and keep you fuller for longer which means, less temptation to over indulge in those foods that aren’t good for you. Again, when you’re fuelling your body on these delicious, nutrient dense whole foods, there isn’t much room for guilt to appear.
One of my favourite healthy eating tips of all time is meal prepping. Rather than feeling guilty for eating junk food or reaching for that convenient, unhealthy snack, meal prep some healthier meals, alternatives and clean treats so that you have more nutrient dense foods to go to when the craving strikes. By making them yourself, you know exactly what’s gone into your cooking and you’re way more connected to your food. This will help you to make more conscious choices and lead you away from food guilt – a lot of the time we feel guilty for eating the foods we were drawn to as they were unconscious decisions that didn’t stem from a place of love.
This is something I adhere to every single meal time. When it comes to eating your food (meal time or snack time), put down your phone, switch off the radio, turn off the TV and get connected to the food you’re eating. Instead of eating mindlessly, eat mindfully and acknowledge what you’re putting into your body, how the textures & tastes make you feel and whether you’re eating that food from a place of love. When you truly get connected to your food, you might find that you don’t eat as much. When you’re distracted, it’s easy to overeat and not listen to those cues of fullness that we get from our bodies. Not only that, but eating while distracted can also lead to poorer food choices and the whole experience of eating isn’t really enjoyed to its fullest.
Drinking water not only helps aid digestion and the processes within the gut, but it can also help alleviate some cravings and prevent us from over indulging in food. Feeling bloated after eating can lead to feelings of guilt – it’s a reminder that we weren’t as kind to our bodies as we could have been when it came to our food choices. So make sure you’re drinking enough to make things tick along smoothly (adding more greens into your diet will help with that as well).
One of the main causes of cravings is thirst – so before you head for that bar of chocolate, drink a tall glass of water and wait for 20 minutes. You might find that your cravings subside and avoid eating more food than your body needs.
Understand why you’re eating the food you are and make sure that you’re nourishing your body with positive intentions instead of masking an underlying issue. Consider if you’re eating because you’re tired, stressed, sad, lonely etc. Rather than covering up the main cause, try and address it so that you’re only eating food from a place of love. When you sit down to eat – double check and ask yourself:
“By eating this food, am I showing my body that I love and honour it?”
If so, then great! Enjoy that delicious food.
If not, then consider what you could do instead that would nurture your body.
Overindulging in food – even if it’s good food – can lead to those uncomfortable feelings of bloat. Feeling ‘too’ full isn’t something our bodies thrive from and by eating too much food we can feel tired and sluggish as our digestive systems are having to do a whole heap of work!
Fill your plate half full with veggies and then add a palm sized serving of good quality protein and a handful of good quality carbohydrates. A thumb sized portion of fat is the perfect amount to help satiate our bodies as well. If you’re still hungry then either wait 20 mins and see if those feelings subside or add more veggies to your plate.
A food diary is a great way to look at how the food you’re eating is affecting your body. It’s important to connect to your food and understand how it makes you feel. If your food makes you feel energetic and vibrant then you know there’s nothing to feel guilty for. If it makes you feel irritable and sluggish, then it might be time to revaluate if there’s something your body might benefit from more.
The best way to do this is to write down everything you eat and drink (including portion sizes as sometimes this is the issue) and then note how eating that food makes you feel after 30 mins and how it makes you feel after 2-3 hours. Ideally you should have abundant energy for the next couple of hours after you eat your meal.
Don’t punish yourself with food. Just because something is labelled as a ‘health’ food or ‘super’ food doesn’t mean to have to eat it if you don’t enjoy it. If you don’t like asparagus, then don’t eat it! Find another green vegetable that you enjoy. If you don’t like the texture of quinoa, then prepare another grain of choice to eat. Food isn’t about punishing yourself, it’s about enjoyment.
This also includes restriction – restricting your food is another form of punishing yourself with your food. If you’ve eaten something you feel guilty for, then acknowledge that feeling and continue on your journey. The worst thing you can do is to then restrict your food for the next couple of meals. You have 21 meals in the week, if one or two of those are ‘unhealthy’ then focus on making the other 19 as delicious and nutrient dense as possible. If you enjoy the food you’re eating, not only is it a more sustainable way of living, but it’s also healthier for your mind and body.