Food guilt is the guilt we feel around eating, or not eating, certain foods – such as when it comes to eating "junk food" or not eating very healthily (especially during this festive season). Strangely, we have taken to injecting negativity, toxicity and now, a sense of guilt into the very primal behaviour of eating… instead of excitement, enjoyment and pleasure.
Why do we self-inflict such stress and let it lead to things like eating disorders, weight issues, anxiety, and depression? Is there no way we can have a more positive and well-balanced relationship with food?
Defining the good and bad
Writer Dannii on her Hungry Healthy Happy! blog suggests matter-of-factly that we should steer away from defining “good” and “bad” food – food is neither good or bad and the labelling gives it power. Remember that we are the ones with the power, not the food. More often than not, we inflict too much moral judgement on ourselves, particularly when it comes to food. Think about the moments when we feel “bad” for having a cupcake, or ice cream, or an unhealthy meal. But think again, that does not erase how well you have been eating before, and neither will we pile on the pounds after one cupcake. Well-said by the writer – there are no “bad” foods, just poor habits.
Life is about balance
For most if not all things, finding that intricate balance makes life a lot better and happier. For some of us, we eat to live; for some, we live to eat. When food becomes our only pleasure, that is when there should be cause for concern. Food should not be a substitute for other pleasures and hobbies in life, and should not be the only outlet to help cope with our emotions. Enjoy food from different perspectives – from grocery shopping, from whipping up your own meal in the kitchen to enjoying a gathering with friend and if you have been eating healthily for most of the week, there is no harm enjoying a slice of cake and your favourite latte over a weekend afternoon tea. Refrain from over-analysing your every food choice – it is all right to love eating. If you notice, when you get to eat the food you genuinely enjoy or have been craving for, you end up eating less overall because you don’t keep pining for the same food.
Know what works best for you
How many of us skip dinner, only to feel hungry later in the evening and ending up having supper at 10pm? To make things worse, that often becomes habitual. Avoid that by having a proper meal at proper timings. Recognise the problem, work backwards and eradicate patterns that make you fall off the track. If you feel like having cake or chocolate, have it earlier it the day or as a weekend treat, and eat healthily for the rest of the day or week. Dannii also suggests viewing it as a lifestyle change rather than a time-based diet. Rather than banning all your favourite foods (or snacks) – which you probably won’t be able to – allow yourself an occasional treat and manage it from becoming an over-indulgence.
Don’t overrate "diet food”
Research found that “diet food” increased the rate of hormonal hunger markers in test subjects. You probably agree too that we will likely feel more satisfied after eating “real food” (make it regular sugar, over substitute sugar, unless you have a reason for the latter). Somehow, many “diet foods” simply does not taste as appetising or fulfilling. You are better off eating the real stuff, in appropriate amounts.
As much as we aspire to live and eat healthily, sometimes we do more harm than help to ourselves, by beating ourselves up a bit too much or over the wrong notion. If you have been guilty of this, it’s time you make some fine adjustments to your lifestyle.
Contributor: Meredith Ling
Source: Urban Remedy Asia