I recently came across this article I wrote in 2011(wow, times flies!), and the timing could not have been better for this wonderful reminder. If guilt is something you struggle with I hope this post gives you insight on how to let it all go.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Go Red for Women event in Billings, MT. I was very excited about the opportunity to network with other women in the community. Dayle Hayes, a local registered dietitian, writer and motivational speaker was the keynote speaker for the luncheon. Her message instantly caught my attention: Get Rid of Your Guilt! This topic is forever related to our health and we often overlook or fail to even recognize and acknowledge within ourselves. She spoke of the guilt we place on ourselves regarding the choices we make, specifically when it comes to food and exercise. Feeling guilt can create a snowball effect with our health as it leads to stress and too much stress can be very detrimental to the health of our mind and body.
I can honestly admit that in the past I have put masses of guilt on my conscious when it comes to the food or exercise choices I have made throughout the day. Because of this I have spend a lot of time and energy focusing on improving this within myself. It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication, but I am finally in a place far from where I used to be. No longer do I judge myself or expect perfection around food and exercise. As women, we seem to put more guilt on ourselves revolving around these two topics compared to men. Why is that? Why do we care so damn much about this? We shouldn't. The worst part about the guilt is it actually causes us to make even poorer choices the more we dwell about it. So the solution seems pretty simple right? Get rid of the guilt!
The reality for most is that it isn't so simple.
If you are thinking to yourself, “How do I get rid of guilt”? My answer is, start today, start now and start this second. At your next meal, make the healthiest choice you can, eat slowly and stop when you are comfortably full. 'Healthy' does not mean choosing foods that don’t appeal or taste good to you. It means eating a reasonable portion of the food your body is hungry for. If that happens to be pizza, a burger or pasta (foods we sometimes label as unhealthy), honor that message from your body. Eat a realistic portion, don’t second guess your choice or start the mind game that you should have eaten a salad or just protein, or whatever the guilt is telling you. Give yourself permission to enjoy rich tasting foods that you love without guilt or regrets. Life is so much easier and enjoyable when you free your mind of all the guilt surrounding your food and exercise choices.
Please don't misunderstand this message and think I'm telling you to regularly indulge in high fat foods like pizza and burgers. This is not realistic. Instead, I am encouraging you to listen to your body. When you crave these foods, allow yourself to eat them in small portions. And the rest of the time, try to eat as many fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed foods that are available to you. Your skin and hair will not be youthful and shiny if you overindulge at every meal, every day. However, you will look youthful as ever if you indulge occasionally and satisfy your body with nutrients the rest of the time.
This same principle can be applied to daily activity and exercise. There will be days when you will not have the time, equipment or energy to be active. That is okay. Instead of dwelling what you cannot or did not do, think about how you will be active the next day.
When your mind starts to wander into the guilt zone, remind yourself to move forward, get over it and focus on the future. You can’t change the past, but you sure have a choice in the present and future. Move forward and find happiness, celebrate your heart and your health and most important get rid of the guilt!