It’s very odd; when I am talking with BESTies in the gym, or out in the public, and even in my house with friends and family a guilty conversation or comment about what someone eats is always present. Admittedly, I put the food guilt to a stop really quick inside the gym, but everywhere else it is like we can’t help but feel a little bashful about our food decisions. It’s time for my BESTies and readers to stop this madness: food guilt is one of the most common and annoyingly illogical things we do to ourselves.
…food guilt is one of the most common and annoyingly illogical things we do to ourselves.
To say this bluntly, there is no such thing as good food and bad food. There are no healthy foods and unhealthy foods. McDonald’s food is not inherently unhealthy. Neither is any other restaurant inherently unhealthy.
Bread is not bad for you.
Pizza is not bad for you.
Donuts are not bad for you (Shout out to Nova Coffee Co!)…
You get the point.
All those thoughts above have one qualifier in common: Calories.
The point of contention I want to make is that we do not need to be concerned about HOW our bodies deal with calories once they enter the body (the ol’ calories-in-calories-out lesson, aka: CICO).
While CICO is indeed appropriate and correct, it is simultaneously maddening because of its complexity due to the various factors that influence the CICO equation. So you know what I say to my clients about CICO?
Here’s why: I can think of at least two guys that have documented their journey about eating at fast food restaurants, for 30 or more days and have lost weight weight and body fat percentage. For example, you can see Jordan Syatt HERE document his journey on this; he ate a big mac EVERY DAY for 30 days and lost weight. I encourage you to watch his whole 1 hour documentation of the journey.
So of course Jordan’s example is an N=1 example, but the truths of the matter hold true for the vast and overwhelming majority of general population. However, I’ll also admit, in my experience, there are some folks that need some more intense nutritional therapy.
Free yourself from food guilt
There are at least four factors that will help you start feeling free from your food guilt:
- Truth – This blog post is a small portion of the truth you can find about your weight loss and health journey! Find people that will tell you the truth about behavior change around your nutrition and fitness habits, and tune your BS-meter to detect those folks that want to sell you a quick fix and tell you that you can’t do this or that. I encourage you to start following Precision Nutrition, Jordan Syatt, Examine.com, and Girls Gone Strong
- Compassion – Be patient with yourself, but at the same time call out your own flaws, mistakes, binge eating episodes, negative excuses, etc… and treat yourself like a wise friend that has your best interests in mind. You know what isn’t in your best interest? Self criticism. To be free from food guilt, you must stop tearing yourself down because you ate a Big Mac or whatever other food you want to eat. Simply labeling a food as bad and feeling like crap about it won’t solve any problems.
- Community – Regarding nutrition habits and health changes, true ideas and proper behavior flourishes in the light of community – even if it is just one other person! When people want to hide they seclude themselves into the shadows where no one, other than themselves, can judge and give advice. I know what I think, but do you think a lot of self-compassion and wise counsel happens in the shadows?
- Consistency – Ultimately the linchpin of this self-compassionate, community-centric, intuitive eating style is a plan and your ability to stick to that plan 80-90% of the time! Anyone that works on their nutrition habits and genuinely feels free regarding their nutritional decisions create a plan – ANY PLAN WILL DO – and over time with constant application and feedback they tweak the plan to fit their lifestyle.
Stop the food guilt, and stop the food shaming. Just make a plan, apply it, and make tweaks as needed. The toughest part is consistent application, so don’t let the shamers out there deter you.