How to Not Feel Guilty After Eating this MDW

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How to Not Feel Guilty After Eating this MDW

It’s Memorial Day Weekend – you have just knocked down a warm, delicious brownie after a hot dog, a hamburger, and a beer. Familiar feelings of shame, regret, and guilt creep in despite feeling satisfied and content and knowing this is an occasion that you’re celebrating. They start to cloud how you feel, now that the surge of good feelings from the food, alcohol, and dessert start wearing off.

A lively Memorial Day weekend barbecue celebration at the beach. People of various ages, backgrounds, and body types

This is known as food guilt – a feeling that you are somehow to blame for eating food considered “bad.” One of the main reasons why people experience food guilt is the influence of diet culture, which promotes the idea that certain foods are “good” or “bad” and that we should feel guilty for consuming the “bad” foods. This can create a negative relationship with food and lead to restrictive or obsessive eating habits.

So, what is the bottom line? Well, the thought that a particular food is good or bad should be based on how it makes your body feel. Did it give you gas? Did you feel energized after eating? Understand that what makes you feel good may not necessarily make someone else feel good. Hence, your food decisions should not be influenced by external forces.

Four Tips to Avoid Food Guilt After MDW

Here are a few tips on how to not feel guilty after eating and build a healthy relationship with food.

Practice Self-Compassion

The shame and guilt that comes with making mistakes can be overwhelming. That’s where self-compassion, which can help overcome these feelings, comes in. Self-compassion may help us acknowledge our feelings and experience them without judgment. Instead of blaming ourselves, we should focus on our strengths and be gentle with ourselves. And let’s face it – this life skill is one of the most important assets you can ever have when dealing with food-related guilt.

Embrace Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a philosophy that promotes a healthy and mindful approach to eating without any strict rules or restrictions. This approach doesn’t tie you to any diet book prescriptions; rather, it aims at satisfying your physical hunger cues (not emotional hunger) without causing any food guilt. This is not just another diet but a sustainable lifestyle choice that can positively impact your physical and mental health in the long run. Say goodbye to the days of restrictive diets and hello to a sustainable way of eating that fosters self-awareness, self-care, and a good relationship with food.

Focus on Your Happiness

Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in food guilt that we forget about our own happiness. What we don’t realize is that this may take a toll on our health. Eating what we want, irrespective of what other people will say, is essential for finding happiness. Guilt-free eating enables us to enjoy fun while taking good care of our bodies. Sure, we should all be proud of what we eat!

Overcome Diet Culture

Diet culture is everywhere and can be challenging to break free from. Here are 6 ways to overcome it.

1. Be open to trying different types of food

2. Don’t be afraid of indulging. Listen to your body and respond to it appropriately.

3. Eat when you want, not when you’re “on a diet”

4. Enjoy your food

5. Don’t compare your diet or body to other people’s

6. Let go of food guilt

Memorial Day weekend barbecue celebration in a backyard setting. People of various ages and backgrounds are gathered around, enjoying the festivities

Finding Support

Finding support when experiencing food guilt is not a walk in the park. Understandably, you may not feel like sharing your woes freely- you’re low on self-confidence and fear letting other people know your weaknesses. But here is the deal:

1. Talk to a friend. Tell them what you’re going through and ask for their support.

2. Join a support group. This may be a great way to talk to people who have been through the same thing and get some moral support. Whether you’re dealing with food shaming from social media or fighting guilt, these people can stick with you when everyone else runs away from you.

3. Believe in yourself. Just because you feel guilty doesn’t make you unworthy. Have confidence in your abilities, and never shy from showcasing what you can do.

Takeaway

As you can see, food guilt doesn’t have to be a bother to you. It can be more helpful to focus on nourishing your body and enjoying your food, without any negative emotions attached. So, make self-love (not guilt) a priority.

Just listen to your body and know that in doing so, you’ll find a way to come back to your values – whether that’s mental clarity, better energy, sleep, digestion, etc. Your body knows what it needs, don’t confuse it with diet culture’s guilt around eating.

So, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy your MDW meals (and all meals) without any worries or regrets. Your body is beautiful no matter whether you have that brownie or not!