It all started with lunch last Thursday. My office got lunch catered for a meeting, and I decided to eat my pre-packed lunch instead of going for the sandwiches/chips that were brought in. I was proud of myself for sticking to my plan, but then I noticed a bunch of my coworkers eating these delicious looking chocolate chip cookies. You know the ones packed with equal parts chocolate chips to cookie, so when they bit into it you could see the melty chocolate oozing out? Those ones. I enviously looked on as my coworkers devoured them, but I told myself I couldn’t have one – that I’d have my apple for “dessert” instead.
Well, long story short, the meeting ended, and I found myself near the cookies in the room, so I let myself eat one. It was AMAZING. Every bite was just as chocolately and delicious as I had imagined it would be. So I ate another one.
And then I ate 5 more.
SEVEN cookies in total.
I barely even tasted anything after the first one, but I was rebelling against the rule I had set for myself allowing no cookies and it obviously backfired.
After the cookie incident, the day went further downhill from there. I went out and got frozen yogurt in the afternoon, despite already feeling pretty ill. Then after work, I ended up going to the mall to browse around for a while and then meeting up with my boyfriend for dinner. I didn’t overeat too much at dinner because I honestly was feeling pretty full/sick from the sweets, but then we got home and I wanted more dessert, so I ate about 1/3 of two large bags of granola, so about 6-8 servings of granola. Plus several squares of dark chocolate.
Needless to say, I woke up Friday feeling like crap. My stomach was so full and gassy and I looked and felt extremely bloated. I was also just generally down on myself from letting things get so out of control the day before.
The old me would have allowed this to break me and feel very angry with myself and guilty for overdoing it so much. I would have restricted heavily on Friday, causing myself to go into another binge as soon as I couldn’t resist the feelings of deprivation any longer, thereby reverting back into the destructive cycle of eating that lead me to be obese for so many years.
The new me, though, forgave myself. I realized that what triggered this out of control eating pattern was restricting myself and not allowing just one or two cookies during lunch, which could have prevented me from eating seven and feeling so terrible for the rest of that day and the next.
I think one of the main ways I’ve grown throughout my healthiness journey is by looking at imperfections as learning experiences rather than failures, and by learning to get back on track sooner rather than punishing myself for messing up. While in no way was I proud of my behavior on Thursday, I think its important NOT to punish myself for messing up, because it will inevitably lead to more messing up and will continue the destructive cycle rather than breaking it. I’ve learned that when I mess up, I need to just accept that I fell off the wagon and try to figure out why it happened. Was I being too restrictive? Was there other stuff going on in my life that was causing me stress? Was I feeling frustrated about not being one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to think about what they eat? Was I out with friends and just wanted to say “screw it” and have a good time?
Even if I can’t figure out exactly why it happened, I need to forgive myself. I started the next day with a healthy and nourishing breakfast and luckily already had a workout planned for after work that day. Getting a healthy meal and a workout on the schedule as soon as possible is a key for me, not for punishment, but because they make me feel good.
Do you suffer from food guilt sometimes? How do you bounce back?