Eating guilt-free is about making smart choices and feeling good about your food. It’s not about deprivation or restrictions. Rather, it’s about enjoying all kinds of foods in moderation and making healthy choices most of the time.
Guilty after eating, there are some simple tips and tricks you can follow to make it a little easier. Here are ten ways to not feel guilty after eating.
- Don’t Skip Meals
- Make Smart Choices
- Get Plenty of Sleep
- Exercise Regularly
- Be mindful of Your Portions
- Limit processed foods and added sugars
- Eat More Whole Foods
- Listen to Your Body
- Find Balance
- Cut Yourself Some Slack
- The science of feeling guilty after eating
- The role of hormones
When feeling guilty after eating, hormones may play a role. One study found that the hormone ghrelin, associated with hunger, increased after a person completed an indulgent meal (1).
But it’s not just the act of eating that can lead to feelings of guilt — what you eat can also play a role. A study in rats found that those who ate a high-fat diet felt more guilty than those who ate a normal-fat diet (2).
In addition, the type of fat you eat may also affect how guilty you feel. One study found that participants who ate cakes made with saturated fat felt more guilty than those who ate cakes made with unsaturated fat (3).
So, if you’re trying to reduce feeling guilty after eating, paying attention to the types of foods you eat and the hormones involved in hunger and fullness may be helpful.
The role of neurotransmitters
Your brain is hardwired to feel guilty after eating. Neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are released when you eat, and these chemicals help to regulate your mood. If you eat something you enjoy, your brain produces more pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters. This creates a “reward” response that can make you feel good. But if you eat something you don’t like or agree with, your brain produces less of these chemicals. This can leave you feeling guilty or regretful after eating.
The role of the gut-brain axis
The gut-brain axis is a term used to describe the bidirectional communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. This communication is important for regulating many bodily functions, including mood, appetite, and digestion.
There is growing evidence to suggest that the gut-brain axis plays a role in feelings of guilt after eating. For example, one study found that people with a history of eating disorders had different microbiota (gut bacteria) than those without a history of eating disorders. This difference in microbiota was associated with differences in levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which has been linked to feelings of guilt and anxiety.
Other studies have found that certain types of bacteria are associated with increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol has been shown to increase feelings of guilt and shame after eating. Therefore, the gut-brain axis may be one mechanism by which our food choices can affect our emotions.
If you find yourself feeling guilty after eating, there are some things you can do to help lessen these feelings:
- Try to be mindful of your food choices and eat foods that make you feel good both physically and emotionally.
- Remember that no one food is “bad” and that all foods can fit into a healthy diet. If you have a history of disordered eating, seek professional help to address any underlying issues.
How to not feel guilty after eating
It’s not your fault. The urge to eat comes from a primal place, and you can’t help it. After all, you’re just doing what your body is telling you to do. But that doesn’t make the feeling any less guilty. Here are a few tips on how to not feel guilty after eating.
Be mindful of your eating habits
Eating mindfully means being present when you eat and being aware of your eating habits. It means savoring your food and noticing the flavors, textures, and smells. It also means being aware of how your body feels before, during, and after eating.
If you’re eating mindfully, you’re not eating in front of the TV or while working at your desk. You’re only multitasking or grazing some day long. You’re sitting at a table and giving your food your full attention.
Eating mindfully can help you tune into your hunger cues, knowing when to start eating and when to stop. It can also help you control portions, make healthier choices, and enjoy your food more.
Change your mindset
Many people feel guilty after eating because they think they’re doing something wrong. They think that they’re not supposed to be eating certain foods or that they’re not supposed to be eating as much as they are. If you want to stop feeling guilty after eating, you need to change your mindset.
You need to realize that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to eat. Everyone is different, and everyone has different needs. You must listen to your body and eat what feels right.
If you’re still feeling guilty after eating, try to shift your focus. Instead of thinking about everything you did wrong, try thinking about everything you did right. For example, maybe you ate a healthy breakfast and lunch, but then you had a slice of cake for dessert.
Instead of beating yourself up for having cake, focus on eating two healthy meals earlier in the day. Congratulations for making good choices earlier in the day, and don’t dwell on the fact that you had dessert.
Find a balance
It’s normal to feel guilty after eating; we’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us that we should eat less. But beating yourself up won’t do you any good and can worsen the problem. So how can you find a balance?
Here are a few tips:
-Remember that no food is “off limits.” If you deprive yourself of your favorite foods, you’re more likely to overeat them later. Instead, try to eat everything in moderation.
-Focus on the positive. Don’t dwell on the fact that you ate a piece of cake — instead, focus on the fact that you ate a healthy lunch.
-Choose your battles. If you feel guilty about something, make sure it’s worth it. There’s no point in feeling guilty about an occasional treat — but if you’re regularly overeating, it’s time to make a change.
-Talk to someone who understands. If you’re struggling to find a balance, talking to a registered dietitian or counselor can be helpful. They can provide support and guidance to help you get back on track.