How To Deal With Food Guilt? - Get Rid Of It!

Written by: Shruthi Chacko – M Sc (Psychology)

Last updated date : May 10, 2022

How many times have you felt guilty after eating food? Your mind keeps popping up with questions such as ” this is not good for you”. Well, maybe it isn’t. That ice cream that you are eating may not be the best for your health. But, can you have it once in a while? Of course, you can. The idea is to bring a balance. If you are eating that ice cream, it is better to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it. Now you may wonder, how to deal with food guilt? or perhaps how to get rid of food guilt. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Chapter 1:

Where Does the Guilt Come From?

Mostly the guilt comes from a sense of breaking the rules. Also, a tendency for perfectionism around eating can also cause it. It is true that these rules may come from a real sense of doing well. But, it is very important to have a healthy relationship with food. When you keep certain rules, and unrealistic expectations of how when and show you should eat, it can be unhealthy. Moreover, It does not enable you to have a peaceful relationship with eating and food. Hence, it makes it hard for you to enjoy and relish food.

Did you know guilt is a habit? It is a learned behaviour. The good news is, there are ways that you can unlearn it too. We are not born with the notion that ice cream is bad or you are a terrible person if you like chocolates. These are not thoughts and opinions that you are born with. In fact, the extremist diet culture might have contributed to this idea of ” bad” and ” good”. Therefore, it is great if you put effort into letting go of these food rules. Letting go is the first step toward the idea of ” how to deal with food guilt or how to get rid of food guilt?


Chapter 2:

Overcome It- How to Deal with Food Guilt?

Once you figure out what your food rules are, the next step is to end these feelings of guilt. Allow yourself to enjoy the food. Also, give yourself permission to relish what you are eating. Goodness, this step can very difficult, especially if you are starting out. but, that’s okay, you can really do it if you put your heart into it. Most of the time, just the thought that it food is “good” or ” bad” itself can cause feelings of guilt.

A Small Practice- To Get Rid Of Food Guilt

With practice, you’ll get more comfortable with this. It’s also a good idea not to try to solve every tricky meal at once. It is better to work through the foods that are bothering you one at a time. Choose one food to practice with. It could be crackers, chips, or chocolate. Also, it is best that you begin with a food that you believe will be easier. Rather than one that you believe will be super difficult.

Just like when you had learnt to ride a bicycle, you may have trained with wheels initially. You can get through the new skills of eating with practice and belief in yourself. Try to eat intuitively. Meanwhile, keep in mind that it is essential to stay present while eating these foods. Don’t tune out with Tv, social media, or phone calls. Sit comfortably, eat gently (don’t inhale it to speed up the process and hide it!) and enjoy the process.

Think to yourself: how does it even taste? Is the fifth bite as good as the first? How would I explain this dish to someone who’s never had it?


Chapter 3:

How to Deal with Food Guilt - 4 Great Tips!

Alright, you’ve allowed yourself permission to eat food, but now what should you do after? That’s when it really hits you, isn’t it? What about guilt, worry, and anxiety? Your heart rate is increasing, you’re feeling ashamed. Perhaps, you’re probably planning your next hard workout to compensate for your poor eating habits. Take some deep breaths, mate. Here are some things you can try to override the guilt following in a more positive manner. You have earned the right to eat food without feeling guilty.

Quit Labelling Food As ” Good” And ” Bad”

Allowing those rules to go is an essential part of no longer feeling bad after eating. Food is only food, but believing that takes practice. So, if you hear that faint whisper in your head saying, “Ugh! That’s SO unhealthy for you!” respond by saying, “Hey there! Actually, it isn’t. Some foods are better for our bodies than others. “I can eat this without feeling guilty!” In the meanwhile, reflect on how you speak to yourself.

Talk To Yourself Kindly

You may ask how to deal with food guilt? Do you ever wonder, why do we allow ourselves to be so harsh to ourselves? We never would talk to a loved one in the manner in which we allow our inner voice to speak! We need to put a stop to their hateful rants! Pretend you’re talking to a dear friend when you’re talking to yourself. Your absolute favourite person in the entire universe. Speak politely, patiently, and with a growth mentality that things you’re stuck on can be changed. They are, after all!

Try Food Mantras And Affirmations

We believe what we tell ourselves. So, instead of having food guilt, try to change the perspective. Try to rethink. Maybe, food mantras and affirmations can help you? There’s no harm if you give it a try. Pick up food mantras or affirmations that you can use whenever you feel guilty. You want to divert your mind away from all that guilt. Hence, it becomes optimistic thinking.

In fact, at first, you may feel it is forced. But, that is fine. It will get easier with time. The more you do it, the more your brain will say ” Oh, maybe I don’t need to feel guilty after I eat?”. You are rewiring your brain. You are literally a magician.

Shift Your Focus

How to deal with food guilt? So, when you’ve finished eating food that makes you feel bad, choose to do something else with your time and mind. For example, if you ate a brownie and know that it normally causes anxiety, it is okay. Try to do something like calling a friend, journaling, doodling in an adult colouring book, reading a newspaper, watching your favourite Netflix show, or going for a walk.

In fact, there are so many other things you can do too. The idea is to fill up your mind with something other than food. If you do this, there is less time on your hand to think about all that guilt eating.

Tune In With Physical Body

Each time you eat a meal, check in with your body. Try not to eat beyond your capacity. Your body too has limits of its own. In fact, when you overeat, you end up feeling all bloated and about to erupt, You don’t want to feel that way right? Of course, not. Nobody wants to feel like that. Therefore, tune in with your body, and listen to what it is communicating with you.