Ditch The Guilt

Beauty model girl taking colorful donuts. Dieting concept
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It’s Friday at 10:35pm. You’re staring at your phone in bed, mindlessly scrolling through your Instragram feed, trying to take your mind off the last three hours. Just ignore it, you repeat to yourself. As you begin to drift off to sleep you’re jolted awake as you remember your weigh in tomorrow at the gym.

 

SHIT.

 

Was the two-minutes and thirty-five seconds of pleasure from eating the chocolate cake really worth it in the end? Will it undo the 6-days of perfect clean eating and training you’ve just completed? Slowly you can feel your stomach rumble. The wheat and sugar didn’t mix well, and you feel 6-months pregnant your stomach is so bloated.

 

Now you’re wide awake. Anxiety creeps in about tomorrows result. Your body temperature feels like it has risen thirty degrees and your face is flushed. Jumping out of bed, you look in mirror for a check in. You lift up your over sized tee and you definitely look puffy. Your hips don’t look any smaller, and your abs are still hiding beneath the winter coat the same as last week. Anxiety turns to shame as you regret ordering the dessert and wish you could rewind to undo the damage.

 

Can You Relate?

 

Does this sound familiar? This scenario (let’s call the girl in the story Henrietta) happens all too often with my clients. Henrietta makes one supposedly “bad” food choice, and feelings of guilt and shame take over. I often have clients confess their “bad” food choices from the weekend to me every Monday morning, like a kind of confessional. They also ask what foods they are not “allowed” to eat on their meal plan.

 

Here’s what I say:

 

You can eat whatever you want. Literally. I will not tell somebody what she is not allowed to eat, nor should any trainer. Of course, there are some foods you should avoid most of the time. And if you have any allergies or intolerances, cut them out completely (or be prepared to deal with any digestive issues that may arise.)

 

I’m not saying you can eat whatever you want. Nor am I saying you should try and “save” calories each day so that you can find a way to work Pop Tarts or ice cream into your meal plan. The problem with Henrietta’s situation is she feels disempowered.

 

She feels as if the devil on her shoulder convinced her to choose the dessert, and her willpower was compromised. I’d prefer to empower Henrietta to take control. Instead of saying “you can’t eat that” let’s switch the though to “I choose not to eat that.” Your language determines so much of your behavior. When you switch “can’t” to “choose not to” you will make the switch to an empowered thought. This thought will improve your relationship with food and your body more than you think.

 

It’s the difference between feeling like a victim and feeling full of power.

Don’t Be A Can’t

The C-Word is banned with my clients. Why? When you use the word “can’t”, it comes with a strong sense of deprivation.

 

Have you ever witnessed what happens when you deprive yourself of something? You want it more. Whether it’s the ex-boyfriend who you know you shouldn’t text, your 3pm chocolate addiction or even alcohol or tobacco, our brains are wired to want something even more when we know it’s off limits. We often go ahead even though we know it’s wrong. Sure there might be consequences but our emotional brain doesn’t care. We want it NOW, and we will deal with the mess later. We don’t think logically in this situation.

 

This empowering attitude sets us up to deal with the consequences. Rather than something that happened to you, it’s something you chose to eat. You then have to be willing to accept the consequences, without any remorse or guilt.

 

Guilt Free

Along with the C-Word, the word guilt needs to be removed from your vocabulary. Food associated guilt is a killer to meal adherence and to long-term progress. Sure, guilty feelings will enter your mind. Perhaps you will over eat, or over drink, sometime soon. However the key is to acknowledge it, and then let it go.

 

Read that part again:

 

Let it go.

 

Holding on to any bad though, like guilt, is toxic. So when it happens. You let it go. Then the next time, try and make a more informed and calculated decision.

What Now?

Choose foods that make you feel good before, during and after. Enjoy your favorite indulgences, just do it via portion control and by letting go of guilt. Don’t be a “can’t” and say bye bye to guilt!

 

Thoughts? Questions? Comment below.