I was half-watching a local daytime television show this morning and they aired a segment on healthy snacks to satisfy your cravings. Now, I have no problem with this concept. Healthy snacks are the best! But the presenter said one little line that resonated with me, that her “healthy snacks can help you get rid of food guilt.” Food guilt. I’m sure I’ve heard that term before but never gave it much thought. But for some reason today it rubbed me the wrong way.
I think most of us have suffered from some sort of food guilt. Sometimes you just ate too much and were rewarded with a stomach ache, thus regretting your decision on the quantity of food. Think post-Thanksgiving Day meal. You feel like crap, and thus you have “food guilt.”
But the type of guilt this presenter was referring to was another kind of food guilt. It’s the guilt you feel after you eat a high calorie or high fat treat that most likely has little to no nutritional benefits. Candy, cake, ice cream, potato chips. And I think a lot of us have felt a bit of guilt after indulging in these snacks as well
The revolt of food guilt is what led to the concept of cheat days or cheat meals. A day or meal where you can eat anything you want without feeling guilty. High calorie, high fat, little nutritional value – indulge all you want and leave the guilt behind.
But really, whether we are on a cheat day or not, should we feel guilty about treating ourselves? It seems counterproductive to feel bad about eating food – no matter what the food choice was. Yes, at times we all over-indulge, but does berating yourself really help afterwards? Does punishing yourself really seem like a smart idea? Or does accepting and loving yourself no matter what seem better to you? If you treat yourself as a failure and someone who deserves to be punished, are you really going to make the best decisions for yourself? But if you treat yourself with love and acceptance, you will go the extra mile to make sure you are cared for – including making good food choices most of the time.
I personally think we should never feel guilty about food choices. It’s ok to satisfy a craving, treat yourself and have a meal that’s less than perfect. And you do not need to feel guilty about it. You should love yourself no matter what. Food guilt be gone!