The holidays can come with a hefty serving of guilt when it comes to food. It’s easy to get caught up in your own guilt trap after a weekend of celebrating with friends and family, but this mindset can take pave the way to an unhealthy relationship with food. Learn how to recognize and move beyond this unfortunate but common diet dilemma below:
What is food guilt?
Food guilt is a negative feeling towards yourself or food after a perceived indulgence. You may notice behaviors such as heavily managing food intake and timing, having negative thoughts about oneself after eating, or putting yourself down for not resisting something you considered “off limits”. Research says that experiencing this from time to time is normal. After all, we do live in a society that preaches over-indulgence and being “perfect” all at once. But, this constant guilt creates an unhealthy relationship with the food you need to fuel your body over time.
What can you do about food guilt?
Accept mistakes and move on
So, normally you wouldn’t have a few glasses of wine and a slice of pie. The good news? It’s going to be okay.
Life happens. One day of indulgence doesn’t mean you’re a failure (or that you’ve failed at all!), and it’s definitely not a sign that your healthy lifestyle has come to a screeching halt. It’s important to remember that perspective is important. In the overall course of the month, it’s your day-to-day habits that make the most difference.
You can’t change the past. Instead of causing yourself unnecessary stress, acknowledge what happened, understand that it makes a minuscule impact in the long run, and get back to working towards your goals!
Exercise is not a punishment
Exercise is a celebration of what your body is able to do and one step closer to a healthier body, not a punishment for eating another slice of grandma’s pie you’ve been thinking about all year. Using exercise as a punishment or compensation for indulging can lead it to become something you dread rather than enjoy. It’s important to remember that working out is not all about burning calories. It’s for improving your physical endurance, mental strength, and overall health!
Exercise to care for yourself because you deserve a healthy body and a long, active life.
Savor your food
When you’ve finally decided to go for dessert, you might be tempted to eat it quickly so you can avoid feeling guilty while you’re finishing those last few bites. We suggest exactly the opposite. Take the time to savor each bite and you’ll feel sated more quickly. Even better, you don’t have to stop with the food! Savor everything from the company, music, and lighting, too. It’s a great way to remind yourself that the food is only a single aspect of the holidays and that the people and places we enjoy play just as large of a roll.
If you are generally eating healthily, moving your body, and getting enough sleep, then a small treat for the holidays won’t derail you in a big way. Remember what the holidays are about + don’t let food guilt get in the way of what’s important!
What are your tips for dealing with food guilt + over-indulging? Tell us in the comments below!