Why It’s So Bad to Say ‘I Was Bad’ After Eating


I really applaud  Women’s Health Magazine for their article on food shaming:  Why We’ve Become So Obsessed with Judging Others’ Food Choices — and Our Own by Robin Hilmantel.  I encourage you to check it out.  The article takes a look at why food guilt is so harmful and provides great advice on how to break out of the cycle of judgment.

Our obsession with guilt and remorse over food has become so common that the Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer even has a scene about it.  The episode gets a little wacky at the end — and it’s slightly NSFW (not safe for work) as the article describes,but it’s definitely worth watching. The group of girlfriends in the scene keep repeating “I’m so bad” about their recent food choices. The joke is that they’re so preoccupied over their food guilt that they fail to notice the things that they should be remorseful about. Take a look.

I love it that Women’s Health interviewed two of the top experts in the mindful eating field:Michelle May and Evelyn Tribole. I think they’re both terrific. Here’s what Michelle May had to say:

When we judge food as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we also judge ourselves and other people as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ depending on what we ate.  It’s obviously complex, and I think it has a lot to do with messages that we receive, sometimes early on from parents and then increasingly from friends and the media and health professionals. Ultimately, we learn through all of these sources and others, that we ‘should’ be eating kale and quinoa and avoiding steaks and onion rings.  The problem, of course, lies in the fact that our bodies don’t always crave the foods that fall squarely into the ‘should’ category — and so we start to budget ourselves and those around us for not following these strict food rules that society as outlined for us.  That believe that ‘I’m a bad person’ has a really negative consequence because the truth is that if we believe we’re a bad person, then what the heck — why not keep overeating?

After over-indulging, many people will over-compensate and try to earn their way back into “good standing” by restricting and depriving themselves, which is one of the most powerful triggers for overeating, says May.  The result is something she calls the “eat-repent-repeat cycle.”

I loved Evelyn Tribole’s ending remarks:

Let’s get the joy back in eating.  If you’re feeling guilty as you’re eating it, you can’t possibly enjoy it.

The article provides lots of great tips on how to let go of the “good food/bad food” thinking and embrace a healthy, shame-free approach to eating.  Go over to Women’s Health Magazine  and read more.

Although I hope you don’t get the same pop-up ad I did when reading the article online.The only way to avoid the ad for the magazine offering promises of “getting a bikini body” was to click a link that said “no thanks, I already have a bikini body.”

So much for food — or body — shaming.


image courtesy of dollen on flickr

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