What to do if you feel guilty about eating

amber asks: What should I do if I feel guilty when I eat?

Hi amber –

If you’re saying you want to learn to control your diet better, I have some posts here that deal with that issue.  But it sounds like you might be asking something more worrisome: Are you feeling guilty about eating anything?  Are you feeling that you’re doing something wrong by eating?  And if so, is it because you feel you’re doing something cruel or mean to that sandwich, or those carrots, or that cookie?  Or is it that you feel you’re doing something bad to yourself?

As far as the sandwich or carrots idea goes, it sounds to me like you need to accept your animal nature!  All animals eat; and even plants do in their own ways (eating soil nutrients, water, even sunlight!).  Life is energy, and that energy is created by converting certain substances from one form into another.  Without eating, there wouldn’t be horses, bluebirds, or puppies.  Or you.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with you developing a diet that’s conscious about the foods you eat (perhaps you’d like to be a vegetarian, so you know you’re not indirectly killing any animals, or be careful to eat only organic foods raised on sustainable farms… any of these are really great to do, if you can), you still need to tell yourself, over and over, that you have the same rights as a hedgehog, and that you are part of the world, just like a bat, and therefore, you may eat!

But what if you’re feeling bad about yourself?  That’s the worst of these possibilities, and can even get dangerous.  Some people, most often teenagers, develop a bad feeling around eating, thinking that they need to be super-skinny.  And that any weight on their bones at all is ugly and gross.

This is an absolute untruth.

People are beautiful, you are beautiful, and the flesh on you is beautiful.  If you want to become more fit, then great, I’m all for it, and you can find (if I do say so myself) wonderful advice on my website for ways to achieve fitness and a healthy happy body.

But if you’re considering starving yourself, or even binge-purging (where someone eats as much as they want, but then throws it up to avoid putting on weight), you are entering into the world of Eating Disorders, and have the danger of becoming Anorexic or Bulimic.  And believe me, you don’t want that!

If this problem is really bad, Amber, I really urge you to talk to a doctor, and see about talking with a nutritionist AND a therapist.  You sound like you’re doing okay now, but I sure don’t want this problem to get worse.

But in the meantime, I’m going to guess that it’s not that bad.  And that if you try simply eating more vegetables and cutting back on the cookies and sodas, you’re going to find that guilt wearing off of you right away… and you’ll be feeling better, having more energy, looking better, and facing a longer and healthier life too!, right away.

Thanks for your very open question,



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