Do you find yourself always feeling guilty and criticizing yourself about something you ate?
Whether it’s after Thanksgiving dinner, post get together with friends, or after an 8 pm cookie binge, we constantly feel guilty about what we’re eating. Here’s how to stop beating yourself up for what you eat.
Remember these 3 things to help you stop beating yourself up for what you eat:
There is no “perfect” day of eating.
Whenever I get back from vacation or have a few days where I overindulge, I notice myself trying to get one “perfect” day of eating in.
I’ll try to plan out exactly what I’ll eat for the day, attempt to eat really healthy, and make sure I follow these set ideas of what I “should” be eating.
And this isn’t something I USED to do, but I STILL catch myself doing!
(Although this pattern used to be very extreme; I’d binge and then attempt to be super restrictive the next day. Now I catch my old patterns in a much less extreme way.)
Remember that you will never achieve perfect eating. Because there is no such thing.
So you can breathe a sigh of relief and let yourself off the hook.
Having a day where you’re restricting (or trying to) automatically sets you up to overeat later. Why? Because it’s the law of dieting: for every diet, there is a binge.
Now, it may not be a thousand calorie (or more) binge. It may just be that you decided you “should” not have sweets today because you want to be really healthy.
But the whole day, you’re thinking “Don’t eat sweets, don’t eat sweets…”
So what is it that you want to do? Eat sweets, of course 🙂
It can be a HUGE relief to remind yourself that there is no one perfect way to eat.
So when you’re seeing that your food looks rigid or you’re putting pressure on yourself to “not eat” something, come back to this point and remind yourself that “pretty good is perfect”.
Criticism never yields results.
When you’re constantly berating yourself for what you ate, you’re operating from this very critical, harsh, destructive place.
Fear and criticism never give you the results you’re looking for. They only make you feel worse about what you’ve done.
So my fiancé and I are in the middle of dog training for our pup, Maggie. The technique the trainers use is “positive based reinforcement”.
They encourage us to reward her for positive behaviors, use praise as often as possible, and acknowledge ANY time she does something right.
Our default was to yell at her if she did something wrong, in the hopes that she’d associate it with punishment and not do it again. It turns out we had it all backwards.
Positivity breeds good behavior.
Love and kindness win. Every single time.
Beating yourself up will never give you what you’re truly seeking. Whether it’s more self-love, changing a behavior, or making different food choices, being kind and curious with yourself allows you to shift out of unwanted or destructive behaviors.
I know, I know. We’ve been taught the opposite. Punish ourselves to lose weight. Slave away at the gym to shed pounds. Push yourself harder. Use more willpower. Have more discipline.
But hating yourself for eating a 4th cookie won’t change your behavior for next time. It only leaves you feeling like a failure.
Looking at why you’re eating it, being gentle with yourself and acknowledging how to shift it for next time..THIS is what yields “results”.
Notice the “gremlins” in your mind & talk back to them.
We all have those nasty voices in our heads that tell us we’re lazy, disgusting, fat, and a failure. These are what I like to call our “gremlins”.
Don’t let them fool you; they aren’t real. Yes, they may be loud and very chatter-boxy, but they are not the real you.
The real you is loving, gentle and kind.
When you find the gremlins taking over, pause, take a deep breath and talk back to them. (This can be in your journal, in your head or even out loud!)
I do this all the time 🙂
I reminded myself when I got back from Belize that it’s okay to take a few days to figure out what my body wanted & feel like my body was back to “normal”.
I told myself that 4 days of travel over Thanksgiving was not going to “ruin” all of my own progress.
I let myself believe my body knows what she’s doing when I ate every 2 hours yesterday because I was starving.
I did all of this very gently. I didn’t try to make my gremlins go away. I just told them that I wasn’t listening and strengthened what I wanted to believe.
So the next time you overeat or binge and find yourself going down that very familiar beating-yourself-up-path, keep this blog post handy!