How to Stop Food Guilt

How to Stop Food Guilt

As I scanned the menu from top to bottom, I felt torn.

Part of my dilemma was my usual indecisiveness, but part of it was the ol’ “Do I Order What I Think I Should Get or Do I Order What I Want” debate.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say… we’ve all been there.

That inner dialogue that’s got us like…

I wasn’t gonna drink for a few weeks, but everyone’s ordering margaritas and they look so good! Do I go for it or hold strong? Ah F it, it’s Taco Tuesday

… is often followed by regret and, I should have just held strong!

So how do you silence the shoulds?

Is it even possible to have the [insert guilt-inducing food or beverage here] and NEVER feel that guilt? AND actually be healthy and reach your goals too?

Yes, I believe it is possible. And I think the key lies in one’s ability to do two really simple (though not always easy) things:

1. Clarify your tradeoffs.

2. Stick to them.

By tradeoffs, I’m talking about your non-negotiables: the foods and experiences that fuel your happiness, your sanity and your quality of life.

Maybe your non-negotiables include enjoying Taco Tuesday every week restriction free. Maybe one is date night with your spouse or enjoying every last moment — and bite — on your European vacation.

Maybe you recognize that going out to lunch with your coworkers is important to you because of the social break in your day, so you decide to make healthy choices when possible but you stop feeling guilty for going out.

Now you might be thinking, “But there are situations that come up all the time… How can one really be sure what’s a tradeoff and when to indulge?”

Sure, there are gray areas, but I think most of the time we all know what’s truly important to us vs. what’s a temporary temptation.

The temporary temptations are what make #2 above easier said than done. These could be situations where we spot cookies in the break room or when we get to Starbucks and the Midnight Mocha Frappucino is sounding extra tasty that day.

Like tradeoffs, temporary temptations will be different for everyone, but they’re usually the cases where indulging is more about the quick fix or short-term gratification. The cases where, if the cookies had never shown up in the break room for example, we would have carried on with our day all the same.

For me, tradeoffs are more about the experiences around the food while temporary temptations are more about the food itself.

And the more important an experience is to me, the more I can enjoy the moment without worrying about sugar or macros or even —  gasp — hydrogenated oils.

An awareness of these experiences also helps me confidently decline opportunities for short-term gratification as I recognize that they’re not only moving me further away from my goals, they’re not adding any real value to my life either. This proves to myself that I’m fully in control and have nothing to feel bad about.

The more we can get clear on our tradeoffs, the easier it is to pass up temporary temptations, stay on our nutrition game, and indulge guilt-free.

Now, let’s keep the conversation going. Leave a comment and let us know: What is one tradeoff you’re crystal clear is a non-negotiable for you and why?