Although it’s kinda taboo to admit, I think one feeling which many people suffer is food guilt. Regardless of how much you enjoyed an indulgent meal, certain thoughts often linger post-meal:
- Why didn’t I just stop after a few bites
- I wasn’t even hungry
- There go all my efforts down the drain
- I feel so fat and bloated”
In other words you wake up feeling like crap. If you have never experienced this, consider yourself lucky. For those of you who have, me too! During my weight loss, eating out used to stress me out more than I want to admit. The idea of someone else cooking meant uncontrollable amounts of oil and huge portions…and would inevitably result in me feeling guilty about the meal. As for working out, you better believe that the next morning would involve me spending extra time at the gym or eating significantly less…or both. Fortunately that was a long time ago: rather than consider what I should/shouldn’t have done, I now just move on.
Although it might feel like it at the time, one day of overindulgence isn’t going to sabotage your health goals. Feeling guilty doesn’t change what happened but it may continue to have a detrimental impact to your health. If anything, guilt over food creates internal havoc: our bodies begin to release the stress hormones cortisol & adrenaline. These are part of our “fight-or-flight” response and were designed to release glucose (i.e. sugar) into the blood stream to be used as energy. As it’s not being used up, this excess glucose gradually converts into fat. More than that, these stress hormones completely throw our insulin levels out of whack. As a result, we start to crave more energy in the form of sugar and starches.
During dinner out on Friday, any ounce of restraint I had completely vanished once the dessert came out. Normally a couple of bites are enough for me, but between the banana split & rocky road which we ordered, I just couldn’t stop myself. As easy as it would have been to eat an egg-white omelet for breakfast on Saturday morning and do a longer-than-planned workout, neither crossed my mind. Trust me when I say that it’s a lot simpler to accept that I ate a bit more calories than planned and move on. It’s either that or allowing food guilt to consume me both mentally and turn me into a carb-craving, fat-storing machine…and probably cause me to overeat once again. While overindulgence might feel like a step backwards, the only way that it is going to make as much a difference is if you let it be an excuse to throw in the towel completely.
Have you ever fallen prey to food guilt?