Guilty after a cookie? Ashamed of how much you ate last night? Annoyed at yourself for picking leftovers off your kids' plates AGAIN?
I totally get it. Not only have I been there, done that, but this is something I help my clients with allll the time. And I have a lot to say about it, but I want to keep this simple.
Let's start with the facts - food is an inanimate object. It doesn't have any deeper meaning, purpose or role other than to give you energy, hopefully make you smile with satisfaction, and provide your body with some macro-, and possibly micro-, nutrients.
And I think if you reflect upon this little exercise with me, that you'll agree. Have you ever enjoyed a slice (or 2,3, whatever) of pizza with friends and it was a really positive experience? Now think of another time when that pizza (eaten in the same quantity) elicited really negative feelings and a negative experience. Isn't that weird? Same food, totally different lens. Why is that??
The pizza didn't change. Your mindset did.
Often when we say "That pizza made me feel gross, fat, bad," whatever.... its because we were feelin' a-type-of-way before we ate the pizza. And then we take that negative association and put it on the food....instead of realizing.... before you ever ate that pizza, you were engaging in negative self-talk allll day, makin' your awesome self feel gross....before you ever ate that pizza, you had convinced yourself that allll your worries would be solved if you weighed 10 pounds less....before you ever ate that pizza, you were already beating yourself up for being a "bad mom" or "bad partner" or "bad at life in 2020." (BTW, we all kinda suck at life right now... its 2020 lol).
But do you see how you blame the food, but there was actually something going on before that?
If you're struggling with feeling guilty or shameful around food, then I challenge you to ask what does your body really need from you? Does it need more rest, more self-care, more deep breathing, more sleep, more calm?
What would happen if you fed your body in an intentional way that nurtured a positive relationship with food?? Instead of guiltily shoving the kids' leftovers into your mouth while standing in the kitchen... pause. Ask yourself, "Wait, is my body telling me I'm still hungry?" And if the answer is yes, then please make yourself a plate of food, sit your butt in a chair, and eat more food.
But if the answer is no...then realize your body is seeking pleasure. It is asking you to help it. Pause. Take a break. Promise yourself after you're done cleaning up, you'll take a long bath, or you'll hide in the bathroom and do some deep breathing.
Realize that the shame and guilt around food is actually a really powerful message that has NOTHING to do about needing to "clean up" your food intake.
Like I said... there's a lot to unravel here with separating food and feelings, and this is just one of many exercises you can do to help you start to separate food and feelings.
Let me know if this exercise helps you by commenting in my free Facebook Group!