Food guilt and the lasting feelings

A dark feeling

It’s a dark feeling. It is guilt. It is regret. It is self-realisation that you have failed yourself. It wasn’t what you wanted, but it is still what you did, and you hate yourself for it.

Overeating is a horrible thing I once did more often than I care to recognise. I do have a lid on it now mostly thankfully, but it’s not a nice thing. I wrote this article looking back on a time when I had less self-control and hopefully am more disciplined about this now, but it still is possible for any of us to slip at times.

There is nothing satisfactory about it. There is no soothing aura or happy glow from it, but still millions of people across the world submit to this gluttony.

What happens?

Some say it comes from boredom. Some say it comes from weakness. Some say that it comes from a lack of being able to say no more. Some say it is lack of accountability. Whatever it is, it is a slippery slope and a road to much worse things than a one-off mistake.

There are times when someone for whatever reason is distracted, has the eye of the ball, has a lot going on, or has not much going on, that they allow themselves without realising to not even comprehend what is happening.

It’s ok, it’s just this and that. Anyway, I will work it off tomorrow.

It’s ok, it can’t be that bad. Anyway, I went to the gym the other day.

It’s ok, it’s a one off. Anyway, I will be fine if I just have this one extra bit.

The food consumption is one thing. All food CAN be worked off through hard effort. What is harder to handle is the guilt, the pain of self-analysis of what just happened, the questioning who they became during that episode.

When we go out for food with others, we often feel the need to keep up with others or to have that extra course because others want to as well. We forego that we may already be full and are continuing eating out of weakness or maybe even perceived duty.

You know what is right

You know that you needed to stop sooner. You know that you have let your standards go. You are in the wrong place. If others could see us in this state, they would want to say something to us. That’s the thing though, these episodes are often when no one is there to see us. You put it to one side and say it won’t happen again. It’s a one-off. I will work it off.

I am not sure what causes these episodes for people. But I do know that they aren’t good places to be. Continually snacking and grazing isn’t how we are meant to eat. But hundreds of thousands of us do it, or have done it, without realising. It could be that we don’t work out if it is a problem for us. It may be that we are generally quite active so it’s as noticeable but it is still there.

Food Guilt

The food guilt afterwards is not a nice feeling. You have crossed a line. You were not in full control. Your actions were different from how you know you usually operate. But at the time, you don’t have the switch in your reach to step back and retreat.

Afterwards, you regret it. You don’t get why it happened. But it did. But that memory passes. Another episode comes round again. The lack of awareness of it happening is the hardest part. You know you could shake yourself up if you saw it coming, but you don’t. Not until it is too late.

Food guilt is a worse feeling than overeating in the first place. Food guilt is the realisation that you’re not as in control as you thought. Food guilt should be the trigger to take back control and to push you back into normal societal expectations.

This hits many people. They don’t feel they can talk about it. They should feel like they can but society sees the greed first and looks away and judges them, rather than helps them to help themselves.

What can be done?

You CAN say no. You CAN throw food away you don’t need. You CAN be strong. You CAN rise above whatever it is that drives you there. You CAN reduce your dependencies on overeating. You CAN learn to distract yourself in other ways. YOU CAN DO THIS! Food guilt won’t come if you stop the actions that bring it on.

Put together a plan to help you spot the signs earlier.

Flag up to someone else when you feel yourself slipping.

Don’t let temptation get to you first so don’t stock the foods in that you’re likely to overeat. If you have junk food in or available, you’re likely to slip. If you have healthy food in, you’re less likely to regress.

Don’t blame yourself if you do let go sometime. Just make sure you do something different so that you reduce the chances in future. The less it happens, the less damage it will do to you. But once again, try and work out what the trigger signs are and see what you can do to recognise them early and put a stop to them.

Good luck. This isn’t easy, but if you are strong and willing to learn, you can stop the overeating and put a stop to your food guilt.

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