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Originally published on vibrantme.org on November 6, 2017. Republished here with permission. Get your blog featured!
Post-meal food guilt is a topic not often discussed, yet I believe it is very wide-spread — especially for those us of who are recovering from Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating.
Of course, whether we have struggled with an eating disorder or not, we experience a certain level of guilt when we overeat or consume beyond what our hunger cues have told us. This is a normal human behaviour. Food is yummy and sometimes we just don’t want to stop. I mean come on, have you ever had Peanut Butter or Chocolate?!
However, many people who have a history of disordered eating feel guilt and shame following every meal no matter what they ate or how much. The guilt tends to linger around meal times.
Many people who have a history of disordered eating feel guilt and shame following every meal.
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I definitely experience this. I plan most of my meals in advance for this reason (and I vacillate upon whether this is a healthy habit or not).
I have gotten better about the ‘post-meal feels’ (aka food guilt) over the years and have adapted to being able to let go of the debilitating fears around weight gain. However, these feelings are about much more than just the food. The fear, shame, guilt, and panic that can appear post-meal are related to your self-worth.
These feelings are about much more than just food.
If you believe you will be unworthy of love or success because you have ‘no control’ over what you put in your body, how are you supposed to show up confidently in the world? How are you supposed to feel good about yourself? Short answer: from that mindset, you can’t.
The only coping strategy I have found to deal with post-meal guilt is to it let go and get focused on something else. I know this can seem tough when all you want to do post-meal is run to the mirror and prove to your mind that your jeans are now too tight, but you must push through. Breathe and sit down to mindfully distract yourself with something you enjoy.
The only coping strategy I have found to deal with post-meal guilt is to it let go and get focused on something else.
Although food guilt feels may never truly dissipate, if you do the work (Intuitive Eating), they will get quieter, less intrusive, and will one day be a mere reminder that food no longer makes you afraid.
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