5 Simple Diet Tips to Stop Food Guilt

Written by Angela Atkinson

Guilt surrounds many diets. You feel guilty if you cheat on the diet or don’t lose weight fast enough.

Guilt doesn’t have to dominate your meals. Learn to diet without feeling like you did something wrong. For example, you can enjoy small treats in moderation without destroying all of your weight loss efforts, so there’s no need to feel guilty!

Consider these tips for the tasty details in avoiding food guilt:

1. Learn to recognize food guilt. Food guilt tends to follow a common cycle. The cycle usually starts with you setting a goal to lose weight or get in shape. Then, you go on a diet and start working out. However, you may cheat on the diet or accidentally eat the wrong thing. This is followed by shame and guilt.

* The cycle starts with denial, moves to temptation, and ends with remorse.

* You beat yourself up for every mistake that you make on the diet. However, many diets allow for small diversions.

2. Accept that diet mistakes happen. A diet error doesn’t mean you’ve failed and can never lose weight. It simply shows that you’re a human being who struggles like everyone else on this planet.

* Food is neither bad nor good. Some foods may be healthier or more nutritious than others, but avoid labeling them as good or bad. Assigning such descriptions creates the shame you feel if you eat an item that you’ve labeled as bad.

3. Find your balance. Even the healthiest dieters and nutritionists allow themselves the occasional treat.

* One way to find balance is to give healthy food a percentage goal. For example, you can eat healthy 80 percent of the time and allow treats or sweets 20 percent of the time.

* This is a balanced approach to temptations that won’t make you feel guilty.

4. Create coping strategies for overeating. One of the biggest challenges for dieters occurs when they overeat. The feelings of shame and guilt can spiral out of control and lead you to give up on the diet or eat even more.

* For example, if you know that stress at work will send you running toward the ice cream in the freezer at home, then don’t buy any ice cream. Replace it with frozen grapes. Removing the temptation can help immensely.

* Another idea is to create a strategy for the occasions that you give in to temptation. Perhaps you’ll want to do some extra exercises to burn up those extra calories, so they won’t make any difference at all. Dwelling on your guilt won’t make the calories you just ate disappear. This will only make you feel worse about your body.

* Stop the inner critic and have compassion. Recognize you have faltered from your diet plan and move on. You can commit to doing better next time and trying to avoid the stumbling blocks that lead you to overeat.

5. Do the math. Sometimes fear takes over, but math can help.

* Before you start panicking that eating a bag of chips has forever ruined your diet, you can do the math and realize the calories won’t affect you long-term, and you can still lose weight.

Guilt is a common emotion that is often tied to how we eat. Many people feel ashamed about their weight and shape, so guilt is part of their lives. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Take steps to eliminate the guilt and you’ll see your self-esteem soar.

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