I do not believe there are “good” and “bad” foods. There are foods that are good for you, specifically, in that they nourish you and agree with your make up and there are choices that are better for you than others. But I don’t believe in demonizing any foods or making any foods off limits. That’s a sure way to make them irresistible.
In Today is Still the Day I talk about using the right words to help you make the best choices. Instead of saying “I can’t eat that” I suggest you say “I don’t eat that” or “I choose not to eat that now.” That immediately empowers you by putting the power in your hands and it makes a huge difference.
I also believe as long as you eat as clean as possible, choosing the highest quality, one-ingredient foods that agree with your specific makeup 80-90% of the time, the other 10-20% will not make a difference. So that brings us to the subject of guilt, an extremely powerful and toxic emotion.
We all eat the cake and cookies occasionally. When you have a day or two of indulgence, like over Thanksgiving or Christmas, do you eat those special treats with gusto and relish every bite or do you feel guilty with every mouthful? It makes a difference as to how those foods affect your body.
In reality all food is neutral – neither good nor bad. And you have permission to enjoy any and all foods, in moderation, without beating yourself up. Each choice is yours alone and those labels often do more harm than good in the long run. This research found people who associated chocolate cake with guilt vs. celebration reported less healthy eating habits and lower levels of perceived behavioral control over healthy eating when under stress. They were also not found to have a positive attitude toward healthy eating.
Guilty feelings related to certain foods may cause people to eat more than they would want to in higher-stress situations. This is why changing your mindset toward food may help with your weight-loss goals. Your mindset about the food you eat affects how well it nourishes your body. Enjoyment of your food prompts the parasympathetic nervous system to trigger the relaxation response. This also relaxes the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract and increases digestive juices, which improve your ability to digest fully.
Food is fuel and nutrition, but it is also meant to be savored and enjoyed. It shouldn’t cause guilt and anxiety.
Do certain foods cause you to feel guilty when eating them?