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Goodbye Guilt! How to Make Peace with Food

08.24.2018

A lot of people live in a love-hate relationship with food. If you happen to feel guilty after eating too many chips or too much chocolate and then proceed to promise yourself you won’t touch them again, you might be one of these people. You’d like to regain a healthier relationship with food? Here is some advice to get there.

Stop classifying food as allowed or forbidden

It is true that certain foods have better nutritional profiles than others. We fundamentally eat to nourish ourselves and provide our body with the nutrients that it needs to function properly and be healthy. But we also eat for the pleasure that it brings us. That’s why all types of food have a place in a balanced diet, regardless of the nutritional value. It’s then unnecessary to ban food with lower nutrients. The key is to find an adequate portion and frequency. When I address this concept with my clients, they often ask me the question : What’s a reasonable portion and an adequate frequency? Well it varies from one person to another, according to their cravings and needs.

➢ The reasonable portion is the one that corresponds to your current hunger and with which you will not feel guilty afterwards.

➢ The adequate frequency is the one that allows you to not feel restrained and to not think about it constantly or feel like devouring it in a few seconds. Frequency is your key to find balance.

If you decide to classify certain foods as good or bad, allowed or forbidden, your craving for the forbidden food will inevitably rise over time. And when you finally authorize yourself to eat it again or when temptation is unbearable, there are strong chances that you feel guilt or regret it afterwards. This is the beginning of the vicious cycle of restriction.

Avoid the ''all or nothing'' approach

''Might as well eat more while we’re at it.'' Tell yourself that this won’t be the last time you can eat this food that pleases you. It’s preferable to eat smaller portions more often than eating one big portion once and then restrict again. By allowing yourself to enjoy little pleasures regularly, you will walk away from the vicious cycle of restriction. You will also become more satisfied and won’t feel like gobbling everything in seconds when you get the opportunity to eat the food you want. You won’t miss your favorite food as much as when you forbid it for a while. It will be easier to resist or to take a smaller portion if you’re not hungry. Who knows? Maybe you will be able to skip your turn this time knowing that you ate some twice this week, in a reasonable amount, and will be able to enjoy some again next week.

Adopt a positive attitude and take your time to savour

Next time you eat your favorite food, try to adopt a positive attitude. Shut down the little voice in your head that tells you you shouldn’t eat this, that counts the calories or that makes you feel guilt even before the first bite. This same little voice is the one that leads us to eat our favorite food mindlessly and quickly. Your attention is then not focused towards the pleasure of eating it. In the end, instead of feeling satisfied, you feel guilty. Instead, adopt a positive attitude, without guilt, by telling yourself that you’re allowed to eat your favorite food and focus on the pleasure that it will provide you. You will appreciate these foods way more because instead of focusing on the little voice in your head, you will rather focus on the food itself. It will allow you to better savour each bite. Also, take your time. Pleasure will last longer but with the same portion. Taking your time will also allow you to notice satiety and it will be easier to stop at the right time. You will then have no reason to feel guilty afterwards.

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