If you currently suffer from any form of disordered eating, including binge eating disorder, feelings of guilt likely accompany eating—whether binging or not. This is unfair to you or your body, as food is fuel and essential for functioning as a human being! So, how can you STOP feeling guilty after eating? Let’s dive in.
Why do I feel guilty after eating?
To stop feeling guilty after eating, we have to explore why we feel that way in the first place. Guilt, first and foremost, is an emotion you feel when you feel you’ve done something wrong. It’s totally unpleasant, but it can be useful in navigating your moral compass, such as if you felt the urge to cheat or steal.
However, when you feel guilty after eating, your brain tells you you’ve done something wrong. The truth? Some eating habits are unhealthy and require medical and/or therapeutic attention, but food guilt doesn’t help at all! It can actually exacerbate eating disorder habits.
Steps to Overcoming Food Guilt
Fortunately, you CAN overcome food guilt and stop letting it run your life! Here are my top tips for doing so.
1. Recognize where your head is at.
To address the guilt, you must understand where it’s coming from. Food guilt comes from a place of your mind thinking emotionally—not logically.
You can work to bring it back to logic with the following questions:
- Why do you believe you did something wrong?
- Where is this message coming from?
- Is it really true that you did something “wrong” by eating whatever you ate? (Of course not!)
Again…while binge episodes are not good for your physical or mental health, they do NOT permit you to beat yourself up or believe that you are a “bad” person for suffering from a disorder. If you can change how you view this, it will change how you feel!
2. Reiterate to yourself that you did not do anything wrong.
Remember to treat yourself with compassion here. Reiterate that you did not do anything malicious or wrong. If you were indulging in a dessert, remember that everyone deserves to enjoy life—food is a yummy part!
If your guilt is following a binge, remind yourself that you are suffering from a disorder, and some people want to help you—not see you beat yourself up for struggling. No one blames you for suffering—so don’t blame yourself.
3. Focus your attention on something else.
Lastly, refusing to give in to the rumination and guilt over eating can be extremely helpful. Instead of focusing on what you ate, focus on something that is engaging and requires your attention. This might be taking your dog for a walk, spending time with a loved one, settling in with a good book, or even cleaning your kitchen!
The bottom line?
Feeling guilty after eating doesn’t accomplish anything! If you are suffering from binge eating, it’s important to contact a medical professional for help—not punish yourself for your disorder.
Keywords: food guilt, binge eating disorder, feeling guilty after eating