Food Guilt in Recovery — Ways to Deal With It

Written by: Maheen Asif – M.Sc (Psychology)

Last updated date : December 15, 2022

How many times have you given yourself a punishment before or after eating something? “I should not have…” “If I eat this, then….” “Should I make up for what I ate?” Should I keep going? Your worst enemy is that voice inside your head that criticizes you before you eat and makes you feel guilty afterwards. It’s so ingrained in your mind that what you do is a natural reaction.

No matter if we have ever had an eating disorder or not, we all feel some guilt when we overeat or eat more than our hunger signals tell us to. This is a normal thing for people to do. We like food, and sometimes we don’t want to stop eating. I mean, really, have you ever had peanut butter or chocolate?!

Many people have a hard time with guilt after eating something they thought was “bad.” Putting a good or bad label on food keeps you from enjoying it.

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Chapter 1:

Food Guilt In Recovery Is Just About Food?

It is discovered that food guilt in recovery is not just about food. The guilt feelings had to do with not being able to love and accept oneself. And the fact that you have a nagging and annoying voice inside your head. It would always tell you that you weren’t smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, or good enough.

The lists of “good” and “bad” foods or feelings of guilt after eating were just ways to deal with feeling bad about yourself. It’s natural to feel bad about yourself if you feel guilty or bad after eating a bagel or a cupcake. And the food you eat begins to shape how you feel about yourself.

Understandinghow you act is an important part of getting better. You can’t ask for help because of the labels, diet rules, and things you do to make up for it. And from giving in to your feelings. This is an important first step toward getting rid of the guilt. It also helps you rediscover the pleasure of eating. And healthy ways to deal with your feelings.

Chapter 2:

How To Deal With Food Guilt In Recovery

Keep in mind that just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. Even though these feelings feel very real, you must remember that they are often based on unhealthy rules, Irrational beliefs, and a “diet mentality.”

So, now lets talk about ways to deal with food guilt in recovery.

Recognize and Validate Your Guilt

Our culture normalizes disordered eating and food guilt. It’s hard not to be more aware of foods that we usually think are less healthy or “clean. We have to unlearn the messages of diet culture to get rid of these bad feelings, like guilt and shame, that we have about food.

To do this, you have to be proactive and really think about yourself. First, pay attention to patterns. When do you feel guilty about what you ate? Do you feel guilty that you ate something that isn’t as good for you? Don’t forget that food feeds not only your body and your mind but also your soul.

Does your guilt show up after you eat without thinking? If so, did you really need food at that time? Emotional eating is a real thing that might take some extra steps to deal with. If you eat without thinking because you’re stressed, bored, or anxious, think about whether a different activity might help you deal with those feelings better.

Accept And Forgive Yourself

So you ate more than you thought you would? So you worked out less than you had planned? Instead of worrying about food and your body, what good things were you doing? Give yourself permission to enjoy these things. Also, let yourself off the hook if you feel guilty or ashamed for giving up control. You’ve probably had these feelings for a long time, so it’s not surprising that they pop up now and then.

So its really important to forgive yourself if you want to overcome food guilt in recovery. This is also hard to do, but you can start by telling yourself that you won’t say anything bad about yourself. You can also learn to forgive yourself if you love yourself on purpose.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindfulness may help us in all parts of our lives, including our relationship with food.

When you eat more mindfully, you are less likely to eat something without thinking. Taking time to look in with yourself before you eat to see what your body needs and wants can help you figure out what is influencing your food choice at that time. Then it can be easier to decide if you are eating that food for the right reasons.

Positive Self Talk

One of the most important ways to overcome shame in eating disorder recovery is eto xplore some good memories you have of yourself and positively talk to yourself. For example, your eating disorder might make you worry about gaining weight, have a bad view of your body, or control what you eat and how much you exercise. Turn your attention to memorable activities that help you calm down and relax. Remind yourself that you can feel these things and that you can build a life around them instead of worry and control.

Practice Mindfulness

This is where you question your negative thoughts and figure out how to deal with the discomfort, guilt, and shame. Don’t forget that your negative thoughts are not facts. Think of a negative thought as a cloud that passes by. You see it, you know it’s there, and you watch it go.

Chapter 3:

Shame In Eating Disorder Recovery Takes Time!

Food guilt in recovery takes time! Don’t forget that change doesn’t happen all at once. It’s okay to feel guilty, as long as you don’t judge yourself for it (or act on the feeling by harming yourself).

Follow these steps every day to stop feeling guilty. Be realistic about what you expect, because change takes time, but it is possible and will help a person stay sober for the long term.

Food is meant to feed your mind and soul, and body. It’s not for keeping track of calories and making up for them. This is a complete waste of time and effort. So the next time you feel guilty while eating or after eating, take a moment to step back and try to tell yourself, “Oh, I’m feeling guilty. I should feel bad, but I’m not.”

In summary, shame in eating disorder recovery takes time. It’s important to remember that this exercise is meant to help you notice patterns in how you relate to food. However, if you find that the process is making you feel bad or triggering you, take a step back and think about talking to a professional.

If you want to learn more about the relationship between food and mental health, you can read about food guilt or binge eating by clicking “Learn” on the navigation bar. Even though food shaming can happen when you eat with other people, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun and helpful to eat with other people. For more information please click “Courses” on the navigation bar and check out our online self-help courses on Body Image Concerns and Binge Eating Disorder Treatment.

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72 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

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