Ep #121: 5 Ways to Stop Food Guilt

5 Ways to Stop Food Guilt: Image with a white teapot, plate, and cup of tea. Two dessert bars and a silver fork. Book titled "French Women Don't Get Fat".

Let’s talk about ways to stop food guilt! I recently talked to a client who was ready to dive even deeper into releasing her own food guilt, and it got me thinking about ways we could all do this. Before we start, I just want to say…

Continuing with your intuitive eating practice, in general, is going to be the most helpful way to stop food guilt. Going back to the basics is a big key! So if your overall practice has been lagging, or if you’ve gotten a little off track with intuitive eating, I’d encourage you to do a refresh there! In this episode, I do have some valuable tips for before, during, and after experiencing potential food guilt. I’m super excited to share them — just want to be sure you remember that ongoing practice is the key!

Footnote: I have a new opportunity for new clients! I’m going to be doing two “drop-in” coaching calls, and you have the opportunity to drop in. Just like gyms and yoga classes let you sample a class or two before you commit, I’m going to let you sample my Quit Dieting for Good coaching program! The calls are just $37, and you can sample either one, or both. They’ll be Feb 28th at 11am PST and March 14th at 11am PST. I’d love to see you there!

5 Tips to Stop the Food Guilt

Tip #1 — Before You Eat

Before you eat, consider what food will actually satisfy your wants and needs in that moment. When you make a conscious choice to eat a food you have a desire to eat, it’s easier to own that decision! You’re also more likely to choose a food that can satisfy both wants and needs. That includes how it tastes, as well as how it makes your body feels.

You might also be able to recognize more clearly when you’re choosing “want” foods, and be more likely to balance them with “need” foods as well.

I find that conscious choices decrease my guilt levels a lot! For instance, I’ve been having some guilt about my son’s screen time lately. I notice that if I consciously decide I’m going to let him watch during a certain time span, I can let him do so without feeling guilty. But if I let him start watching and I just let time pass while I’m doing other things, working on my business, or scrolling my phone, I tend to feel more guilty.

I feel more empowered and less guilty when I know I’ve made a choice, versus feeling that it “just happened”.

Tip #2 — Before & While You Eat

Try a mantra either before you eat, or while you eat! Something like:

+ Food is food.

+ There is no good food, and no bad food.

+ I get to decide what I want to eat.

We have so many food stories that we’ve internalized — it can be hard to NOT feel guilty when we go against them! Using a mantra that reminds you about your new food beliefs and stories can help you have more confidence and less guilt.

Tip #3 — While You’re Eating

Take the time to enjoy what you’ve decided to eat. Often we feel guilty when we just consume food with no real enjoyment or appreciation.

When we consciously decide what we want to eat, and then allow ourself to really savor and enjoy that food, it’s easier to feel good while we eat. Taking that time to enjoy is a reminder that food can be really fun. And if guilty feelings pop up, knowing that you truly enjoyed it can give you the affirmation that eating it was a good choice that are empowered to make.

Nothing to feel guilty about at all!

Tip #4 — After You Eat

If you feel guilt creeping in after you’ve eaten, ask yourself why.

Is it because you don’t physically feel good after eating that food? Do you think you aren’t “supposed” to eat it? Are you afraid you’ll gain weight?

All of those (and more) can be reasons that our minds trigger us to feel guilty about what we’ve eaten. Many women especially feel guilty about food because of the connection to gaining weight. If that’s you, I’d love to have you check out these two episodes:

Body Acceptance and the Desire to Lose Weight and

Three Tangible Ways to Love Your Body.

Praciting body love can help you release the stress about losing weight, which is another big piece of the puzzle when it comes to releasing guilt!

Tip #5: Before Next Time

You can’t fail at intuitive eating. No matter how you feel before, during, or after eating, you can use that as feedback to help you next time you’re eating.

And as for food guilt? When you feel it coming on, use it as a trigger to start the process of figuring out information can actually help you. Questions like:

+ What did you eat?

+ Why did you eat it?

+ How did it make your body feel?

+ What would you do differently next time?

Can help you think through the kind of conscious choices you want to make when you’re eating. And remembering to really consider how your body feels is a chance to stay present and practice body-love, which is a super important component of intuitive eating!

Asking these questions can also help you feel productive and channel your energy into something positive that feels good! Instead of wallowing in guilt or letting stress ruin your day, take positive action and reframe it as something you can use to know yourself even better! (Also, just a reminder that you can access this free training on-demand whenever you’d like: How to Ditch Food Guilt and Body Shame to Gain Confidence and Feel Free!)

Intuitive Eating Questions?

Have an intuitive eating question? You can connect with me on Facebook or Instagram, or send me an email at caitlin@caitlinball.com and I’d be happy to connect you with a resource or previous podcast that might be of help. (Or maybe I’ll even end up making a new episode!)

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