When Food Comes With Guilt
It’s one thing when you’re 12 and experience “Mom’s-gonna-kill-me” guilt for sneaking cookies. It’s another when you have food guilt as a grown-up.
From refilling your wine glass to digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a stressful day, post-dining guilt can be seriously damaging to your psyche, and it’s rampant among health-conscious women.
“It happens when I’ve been very good and diligent, and I eat something I know I shouldn’t be, “ says Kristy A., a 30-year-old New Yorker. “Afterwards, I’m really upset with myself, and I feel like I’ve ruined everything.”
So, why can’t we give ourselves a break?
Media messaging doesn’t help. Women’s magazine headlines are full of “guilt-free” burgers, snacks, and desserts. The underlying message is clear: If the foods in this article are guilt-free, then those others you’re eating are guilt-y.
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But it’s deeper than that. “It comes from the perspective that we’re not good enough and always need to be perfect, which is inherent in our culture,” says Jeanette Bronee, the founder of the Path for Life self-nourishment center. “Making food choices becomes a performance of being good.”
So just like we want to be the best employee in the office and get that promotion, we want to prove that we’re capable of not only succeeding, but excelling, at healthy eating.
But that’s tricky, says Bronee. Many of us deny our bodies food that it really needs based on what we think is right. This can make us choose the wrong “pleasure foods,” which in turn makes us feel awful, instead of satisfied.
Video: MY ANOREXIA RECOVERY // food shop // morning after guilt
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