Holly Lowery
Eating Disorder Recovery Coach & Anti-Diet Advocate


Holly Lowery - Blog

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How to stop feeling guilty about food


Let's Talk guilt.

A few weeks ago my partner called me out big time.

He noticed that in the course of about 5 days I had used the word guilt more times than he could keep track of. I felt guilty about letting my mom own on something she was working on for herself I felt guilty about leaving my job because I care about my bosses personally I felt guilty about eating certain foods because I forgot for a second I HAVE TOTAL TRUST THATY MY BODY CAN HANDLE ANYTHING I WANT TO FEED IT. I felt guilty about the house being a mess. I felt guilty about not doing yoga regularly. I felt guilty about not being able to do more workshops this month I felt guilty about not being able to get more work done in general right now I felt guilty because I haven’t made time to see my dad or my friends in months I felt guilty because I haven’t been in the mood to cook at all, let alone for my man You get the gist. All this guilt was beginning to fester and bubble and steam inside my brain and body, and quite frankly resulted in a few tearful breakdowns.

Why do we let guilt monopolize so much of our precious energy?

Maybe a better question is where does all this guilt reaaaaally stem from? ‘Cause I can pretty much promise you that at the end of the day All of those people really won’t hold it against me that my schedule has been chaotic.The to-do’s are always going to be there. Always.And the guilt around food? Nobody in my life cares whether or not pasta has been dinner 4 times this week because newsflash: No one is really paying that much attention, but you. If you take anything away from this, please make it that.

We grow up our entire young lives thinking we are so important; we’re so special; we can be anything we want- which is true to an extent. Don’t get me wrong I am all for doing the sh*t that makes you happy and being your own person 100%. BUT all the little things we criticize ourselves for internally on a daily basis- no one is noticing those same things because they are all dealing with their own inner dialogue of guilt and fear and stress and dreams and to-do’s. It doesn’t mean they don’t care or don’t notice you; it means the important people in your life don’t really give a hoot what you look like, what you eat, the dust-bunnies, mountains of dishes, or how insane your schedule is because they know that life comes in cycles, and you’re just in a crazy whirlwind cycle of some sort and you will come out of it at one point or another.

When it comes to where guilt is actually stemming from?

I would argue that guilt grows from an unattended to obligation that either you made for yourself or someone else made for you. We feel guilty when we can’t follow through on that obligation whether or not we made the obligation ourselves in the first place.

I notice the guilt creeps up most often when I am not acknowledging the fact that I am not being straightforward about what I want and need, or what I can and can’t do. For example, I have a very difficult time saying no, even when I know my schedule is already jammed up. So instead of telling the person who asked me for my time or resources what I really can give them, I say yes, stretch myself too thin and end up giving less than my best to that person. Which ends up being no bueno for anybody.

Another example of when guilt creeps in when I’m not straightforward about my wants and needs? FOOD CHOICES.

Mhm, mhm. You know this one all too well. How many times does a friend ask you to dinner, and they order something “light” because they just ate two hours ago (or some other valid reason for just not being hungry), and all of a sudden you feel like you’ll be judged for getting the meal you really want? You end up ordering something you’re not excited about, pick at it while with your head in the clouds wishing and pretending it’s what you really wanted to order. You leave cranky and hungry and your friend probably leaves wondering where the heck you were the whole time. Again, no fun for either party.

So how can we start feeling less guilty when honoring what we really want and need?

The best answer I have comes in the form of self-curiosity. When guilt strikes, ask yourself: Have you been completely honest with yourself and others about what you really want and need?Are you giving yourself the time and space you need to feel rested?

Have you truly been giving your all or do you feel guilty because you've been half-assing?Is the guilt coming from somewhere internally? Or from someone else's imposed expectations?

What would happen if you did honor your cravings, needs, wants, deep desires and asked for what you wanted?

+ how would that affect your “guilt level”?How would it feel to not bear any guilt over the things you really want need and care about?

Do you truly believe you are worthy of getting your wants and needs met?

Get honest. Write it down somewhere. Set it aside for a day or two, Then return to it and reflect. Do your answers err on the side of helping or hindering your wants and needs?

I know for me personally, this brought up a ton of emotions I had been shoving back down inside.

Your answer to the question "How do I start feeling less guilty?" lies in whatever you wrote down on that paper.