It’s always a joy to host registered dietitian Laura Clark’s posts on the blog and this month, she asks if we, should feel guilty about food.
This is one of my favourite pieces of her’s to date. Don’t miss it.
Over to Laura.
I’m about to jet off on a week away without the children. I know, I can hardly believe it myself but following rather a significant birthday and a promise to myself when I was 21, I’m heading for Heathrow tomorrow with a girlfriend and I can’t wait.
Admittedly, the mummy guilt leading up to this trip has been strong, as has the planning to ensure a smooth week whilst I’m gone (she says confidently), but I’m ready!
It does feel alien to have only packed for myself, and to be so self-indulgent. As Vicki talks about so often, where does all this guilt come from?!
It got me thinking about the wellbeing side of things, as with so much advice out there, it can be easy to get caught up in what we should be doing to be more healthful and what we should be doing less of. And with the ‘shoulds’, comes the self-berating.
I feel frustrated that in recent years, particularly with the rise of social media, ‘guilt’ is a word now associated more than ever, with food. I was in a well-known coffee retailer last week, faced with smaller bakes that apparently, I could eat, ‘guilt free’ which makes one feel the bigger items should be consumed with guilt.
We all know diets don’t work when we attach a label to them that says certain foods are forbidden. Any foods we deny ourselves, suddenly have an increased appeal as we psychologically crave and desire them more. If we succumb, we then tend to eat them quickly – best get it over with so we can forget about it, and move on. And at times like this, when we feel weighed down with guilt, it’s hard to acknowledge there are actually no taste buds beyond our mouths, so what’s the point in rushing anyway, why not savour and enjoy?
We are such complex individuals and the interplay between our minds, bodies and environment is an ongoing charade on a daily basis.
In truth, we don’t have the biology to cope with the challenges of the modern world – our genes haven’t changed significantly but how they are expressed is significantly impacted by the world that surrounds us. And then, we add the layer of guilt that is marketed to us subliminally all of the time.
If I could chant the following, every day in between the school runs, the wellness seminars, the trips to Sainsbury’s and the after- school clubs, I would.
Stop feeling guilty about any food that you eat. It’s not about guilt, food is a comfort to most of us, it’s the story we weave in our minds when we’re eating it, that matters most.
Everyone has a crux – whether it’s a cream egg, pink donut, a glass of wine or a packet of crisps. Eat those foods when you want to but do it mindfully.
Never punish your body for a food decision you made previously.
Instead, think about how you can help your body to get the balance back, in a kind way.
Remember food choice and sleep are tightly linked too – do whatever you can to sleep enough, it’s more important than you think.
A lot of people think you can’t get healthier than kale.
Well I can tell you, you can.
If you can eat a balanced diet that feels right for your body with an attitude that gives you a healthy relationship with food for life, that beats a bucket load of kale in my book.
Right, I’m off for my guilt-free holiday now.
See you soon!
Read more of Laura’s posts here: How to Lose Weight as a Busy Mama, Food Assumptions and How They Affect Their Children, and Confessions of a Dietitian Mum: What I Actually Feed My Children.