Decadent chocolate cake topped with even gooier, warm chocolate icing. This isn’t heaven, but it’s pretty close. Fork meets dream cake. Your mouth is watering. And seconds before the cake meets your lips, you hear it.
The ultimate mood killer: “You’re going to eat that?”
And you’re thinking, “Yes, I was, but now I’m thinking that maybe I shouldn’t. No thanks to you!” So you pause before coughing out a hesitant “yes” while defiantly proceeding to stuff your face with your dream dessert, which inevitably just turns into you feeling self-conscious and “eating your feelings”. You’re met with a scoff, an eye roll or maybe a snide remark about watching what you eat.
We’ve all been there. Embarrassed or guilty about what we’ve eaten. We’re thinking that we need to get to the gym as soon as possible to get rid of any damage that slice of cake might’ve done. Then we get into this habit of seeing dessert or pizza and really wanting to eat it, but choosing not to because we’d feel guilty afterward.
Let’s be honest, how many times have you heard a friend say “ew, I shouldn’t have eaten that whole burger” or yourself denied a late night Taco Bell trip because you’ve “eaten terribly this week”. It’s kind of ridiculous when you think about it.
According to Fitness writer, Julian Hayes II, we need to look at the situation through a larger lens.
He said, “The story in our mind can end up a lot worse than the reality of our situation. Always keep the big picture in mind. Think about whether that slice of cake or that one beer is going to demolish all of your efforts and your fitness goals in the long term.”
He’s right. Is that one piece of cake really going to be that big of a setback? The answer is no.
Food is meant to be enjoyed, not to be a cause of shame, guilt or depression. While it’s an absolute necessity that you take care of your body and eat nutritious foods, it’s also okay to admit that you’re human and that brownies are just so good. You can enjoy unhealthy foods in a totally non-gluttonous, guilt-free way.
Contrary to popular belief, perfection isn’t real. And if your food guilt is brought on after eating a cupcake and scrolling through Instagram photos of health gurus and 6-pack bikini shots, then maybe that’s a sign that you’re comparing yourself to others too much.
You need to accept your body for how it looks, what it can do and how beautiful it truly is. You have to realize that you aren’t in the same place as those fitness gurus who have spent years training to be where they are. You should also realize that they probably eat cupcakes once in a while too and if they don’t, then that’s a lifestyle choice that works for them that may not work for you. Enjoy that cupcake because life is too short for food guilt.
A very wise man once said: “Life is about enjoyment, not being prisoners of our diets.”