Archive for the tag - guilt

How To Eat Junk Food Without Feeling Guilty.

junk-food-dayToday is National Junk Food Day. Hurray! In honor of the holiday, I’m excited to share a simple, two-step strategy for enjoying junk food without the guilt.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Eat junk food.
  2. Don’t feel guilty.

Pretty easy, isn’t it? Well, there’s a catch. The problem is, most of us find it really hard to indulge in those less-than-healthy foods that we sometimes crave. Foods like pizza, macaroni and cheese, doughnuts, french fries, candy and the like.

The first step in reducing guilt is realizing that it doesn’t work in your favor. If you feel guilty about eating a slice of cake, does guilt turn that cake into lettuce? Does it burn calories? Does it motivate or inspire you? The answer is no, no and probably not. On the contrary, feeling guilty is likely to produce more emotional eating and an increasingly strained relationship with food. In other words, guilt doesn’t serve you.

We need to move beyond the label of good foods and bad foods. Some foods are healthier than others, but labeling one food as good and another as bad feeds into this downward cycle of shame and guilt. Moreover, depriving yourself of these so-called bad foods is the perfect way to trigger a binge. In my experience, that which we resist tends to persist. Resist that slice of mom’s apple pie, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to spend the next three days obsessing over it. Just eat the damn slice and get over it.

Of course, the media doesn’t help. How many times do you see foods referred to as “guilt free” in recipes? How often do we project shame on people for looking a certain way or publish magazine articles that berate celebrities for gaining weight and then sell trigger-inducing ice cream ads on the next page? How often do we call skinny people “cute” and “real” for eating pizza and larger people disgusting or lazy for doing the same thing? In other words, it’s easy to see how the world around us can influence our relationship with food and our bodies.

Let’s free ourselves from the guilt. Let’s stop judging foods as bad or good. And let’s stop judging ourselves – or others – for eating those foods. Let’s enjoy the foods that we eat, whatever those foods are, and remind ourselves that it is all about balance. Sure, let’s eat healthier foods most of the time. But let’s also make room for life. And life without pizza, cake, doughnuts or french fries fucking sucks.

P.S. If you’re ready to ditch diets in favor of something that actually works, download Davey Wavey Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter. It’s a meal plan that’s about more and not about less.

 

Fat Shaming Just Makes You Fatter.

o-FAT-SHAME-STUDY-facebookThere are many ways to motivate people to lose weight. But shame isn’t one of them.

That is, at least, according to a new study about weight stigma from a researcher at UC Santa Barbara. According to the findings, the media’s characterization of overweight people as lazy, weak-minded and self-indulgent may actually be contributing to the problem rather than helping to solve it.

For the experiment, women of various weights, shapes and sizes were divided into two groups. One group of women read a mock article titled “Quit Smoking Or Lose Your Job.” The second group read a mock article titled “Lose Weight or Lose Your Job.”

After reading the article, the women in both groups had to describe what they had just read. Then, each of the women was left in a waiting room for 10 minutes. The waiting room was stocked with a variety of pre-weighted snack foods and candies.

According to the data, the women who read the weight-stigmatizing article ate significantly more food than any other group of women. In a final set of questions, this group also reported feeling significantly less able to control their eating.

In other words, the negative messages that society creates about overweight people aren’t a motivating factor in weight loss. In fact, it seems that they have the opposite effect. It’s also not really a surprise, especially since overeating is a way for some people to feel comfort. Which leads to more weight gain, and then more shame and guilt – and then more overeating as comfort. It’s a vicious cycle.

Instead of shaming ourselves or other people into losing weight, try a diet of inspiration, kindness and love. If you want to make positive changes, let’s start with positive thoughts.

Is It Okay to Cheat on Your Diet Sometimes?

stackOfDoughnutsI get a lot of emails and questions about cheating on a diet or nutrition plan.

First things first, I’m not a big fan of the word “cheating.” It’s a loaded word and one that we often associate with dishonesty in a relationship. After the cheating comes the guilt, and then the guilt inspires nothing but feelings of shame and more negativity. Such downward cycles can be very destructive in any aspect of life – and food is no exception.

In fact, many people turn to food as a way to soothe and comfort, and thus the very act of cheating can create a cycle of binging, unhealthy choices and even more guilt. And even more binging.

You get the idea.

Instead of giving yourself cheat days, I’ve always said that it’s really about creating balance. Most of the time, eat the nourishing foods that your body needs. Eat the lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains that provide the nutrients and energy to fuel your life. And then some of the time, indulge in those foods that you crave.

I’ve always espoused the 80/20 rule for newbies. Eat healthy 80% of the time. It’s a great way to create balance in your life. After all, if you resist an unhealthy food that you crave – you’ll probably just crave it even more. The more you say to yourself, “I can’t eat ice cream,” the more you’re thinking about ice cream. And the more you think about ice cream, the more you’ll crave it.

Here’s the catch. Pay attention to how your body feels after the indulgence. How does your body feel after you eat the ice cream? Even without feelings of guilt or shame, our bodies don’t respond well to unhealthy foods. You may feel sluggish, tired or even slightly ill. When you pay attention to how unhealthy foods make your body feel, you may discover that you crave those unhealthy foods a little less.

Over time, the 80/20 rule may even become the 90/10 rule. Who knows?

In the comments below, share your favorite cheat balance food. Mine is pepperoni pizza. Mmm.