What Guilt?

[[Side Notes: What Guilt?

One of the things that I have struggled with the most over the past several years with my ED is GUILT.  Over what?  Well, everything really.  It could range anywhere from eating a “unsafe/forbidden” food, to something that I want but know I might lose control, to not exercising, to enjoying time with friends and just plain being me.

It has been a very hard road to travel, but I think I’m finally getting off of it and onto a new one; One that is guilt free and full of so many beautiful things that I will finally have the spirits to embrace fully.

My “No-Guilt Revelation” came a few weeks ago, when I had a discussion with my great and absolutely supportive friend Monica.  Not only did she help me get past this, but she also provided the much needed words that came with my workout and fueling revelation when we flew on a plane to HLS together last summer.  I don’t remember the conversation word for word, but we talked about my ED, overeating and seeing counselors and such, and I remember discussing with her that I just wished I could take the switch in my head that makes me feel so guilty and anxious all the time and just turn it off.

We continued to talk about various books we’ve read, author’s we loved, their stories and such and something just clicked. I think Monica is my switch.  She has helped me gain the reality that I’ve needed for so many years in places where I just continue to beat the crap out of my body and mentality about myself in general.  It’s hard to explain, but she always have the right thing to say, being brutally honest that makes me realize that what I’m doing and struggling with is well, WRONG.

I discussed this new found revelation with my counselor last week and had specific incidents where I would normally feel guilty, but had absolutely none.

So remember those Mini Cadbury Eggs you saw on the blog for a week or so back at the beginning of March? 

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I love the damned things to bits.  Every single one.  But they have been a HUGE FEAR FOOD for years, and only now have I allowed myself to have them, guilt free.  Something just clicked and I thought, “If I want chocolate, and they come in the form of this great Easter candy, then so be it?  It’s not going to kill me.  I’ll be fine and still fit in my pants in the morning.”

I ate them everyday for 4 days straight.  And I even ate them at 10 in the morning one day. No guilt.  And I still fit into my pants.

The bag ended, but I didn’t end the revelation at that.  I was able to eat so freely that week that it actually scared me a bit.  What if this is just another one of those phases that I go through and I’m going to be back to my guilt eating at the end of the week?  I was almost side railed with the coming weekend when I did feel guilty about something but then I literally stopped myself in my tracks (I was debating over avocado on something) and asked myself, “What is this going to hurt? You will not feel guilty over this!  Not now or ever!”

I did well after that, even with going to the Blogger Pizza Party and spending a weekend at home with randomly eaten meals and a blizzard to drive through.  I had a good week thereafter and was feeling awesome! I could feel my mind and body adjusting well and really listening to when I was hungry and when I was full.

I hit a road block this weekend, having to eat so much on the road and on the go.  That always seems to cause some anxiety but I was able to push through it.  I happened most readily when I went out to dinner Saturday night before the race at Saturn Café.  I sat there debating over dinner.  Should I just get a salad, or get the burger I saw online and really wanted to try?  Part of me was thinking about calories and not eating something too heavy before the run the next morning, but the other was thinking about this being my first time in Berkeley and who knows when I’ll be back there to try out any of the restaurants!? 

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Obviously the second thought won, as I got the burger.  But the next culprit was what to get for a side.  I had a choice of thin or thick cut fries, or their soup of the day (in this case a Spicy Carrot Cilantro).  I could also sub those out for $3 with sweet potato fries, a salad or something else I forget.  I thought about the salad or sweet potato fries, but god forbid I pay an extra $3 for that!  That’s nuts!  That and since I can remember, I absolutely LOVE STEAK CUT FRIES.  Their thickness is what gets me the most and man, I just couldn’t pass it up.

So Saturday was the first time since I can remember, that I got the first thing that sparked me interest, that I wanted, and had no guilt afterwards.  I knew it wasn’t my normal pre-race dinner of pizza, but I figured I would give it a go.  I stopped when I got full and felt content and didn’t give it a second thought.  Because I mean if you think about it, maybe I need to change my pre-race dinner to burgers since I PR’d by so much, eh!?

This new revelation is not only allowing me to really enjoy the foods that I love, but also learn to trust my body in what it wants and needs.  If I give it what it wants, I won’t go around in the vicious circle of: eat something that makes me feel guilty (or avoid it and keep wanting it even more afterwards), then feel the need to compensate for it and exercise, but then feel bad still thereafter, and end up eating it plus some/thing and beating myself up still.  By eliminating the guilt there is no cycle.  There is no feeling the need to eat it and more out of anxiety afterwards.  If I just eat it and enjoy it, everything ends right there.


So thanks to Monica, for always telling me to my face what I need to hear and most of all, believing that I can do it and be better. 

Have you ever had feelings of guilt when you eat?  What did you do to combat those feeling and hwo did you get over them if they did come about?  ]]

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21 Responses to What Guilt?

  1. Haley says:

    Great revelation! Getting past the guilt is huge in all aspects of our lives, I think. I'm so proud of you for being brave and allowing yourself to listen to the wants and needs of your body!

  2. Gabriela says:

    Guilt is something I still struggle with too sometimes. It's really hard to let go of those feelings- they become the worst habit!! Like you, it really helped me to just overcome one food at a time. When I realized that even my biggest fear foods wouldn't hurt me, more became fair game. Plus, I see guilt as a form of regret, and you can't change things in the past. I'm glad we've both made steps to move past that- and I'm so happy that you've found such wonderful support in Monica!

  3. eliz@thesweetlife says:

    i didn't know the mini-eggs existed!! yum.

  4. Missy says:

    I need to work on getting rid of the guilt.
    You have made such amazing progress. Be proud of yourself!
    I am sure for many people, you are their "Monica"

  5. Katy says:

    That is so freaking awesome, Melissa! It's weird how revelations like that just come all of a sudden but usually when they're there, they stick for life. I'm like this too. I no longer feel guilty for eating. I just don't. I don't even remember when the guilt stopped but I'm not complaining. However, I still feel a bit weird when I eat foods that I'm not used to, not because of any guilt, but just simply because it's different. I've been eating the same things for years that it's only been recently that I've been eating such different yummy foods. I ain't hatin' it.SO pleased that you've taken another huge step towards full recovery :)

    My bad if this doesn't make sense, I'm living off of 5 hours sleep right now haha.


  6. Emily @ NewlyWife says:

    I loved this post. Guilt is a huge part of my everyday, not just with food. It's good to identify where the fears are and learn to face them before they get out of control. Keep up the good work!

    I'm also so glad to hear you did so well in the race! It must be the fresh Bay Area air. :) We saw some runners on our way to the Britney concert.

  7. FeeedingBrainAndBody says:

    Thank you for always being so honest in your posts! Not ONLY this post, but also like how you told us how you met Whit!

    It's so great to read about your revelation!

  8. fittingitallin says:

    You say exactly what is going on in my brain so often. I struggle (I'm even doing right now over my dinner out tonight!) about what to get. The healthy choice? Or what I'm truly craving?
    I fear that if I get the heavier thing, I won't be able to stop. I'll eat the whole thing and feel awful. I need to learn that 1. I can stop when I'm full and 2. So what if I eat the whole thing! It's okay!

    I'm such a hypocrite in that I won't get one heavier meal, but I'll snack on sweets and chocolate to no end. I need to find the good NO GUILT balance!

  9. Sarah says:

    I just wrote my last post on guilt too, so I can really really relate to this. ED makes me feel guilty for nearly everything. But honestly, has ED ever made you feel good about something you did? No, it's just never good enough. So maybe try to put that into perspective too.
    I guess to combat my guilt I have had to just repeatedly fight the thoughts! If ED makes me feel guilty for eating a food and telling me I will feel horrible and gain weight from it, I have to prove him wrong again and again till the guilt subsides. It's really hard and something that (admittedly) causes ED to win sometimes, but something I am working on too.
    It's so awesome to have a friend like Monica who can put things into perspective for you. Keep fighting those feelings of guilt – you totally deserve to enjoy (guilt-free) what life has to offer !

  10. Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) says:

    I smiled when I read this. Monica has given me some awesome advice (on how it's okay to walk if I can't run) and I think she is a wise lady.

    Can't wait to hang out with you again.

  11. Megan D says:

    LOVED THIS. This inspired me to go eat the chocolate that has been sitting on my shelf for a month now! I especially liked this, "By eliminating the guilt there is no cycle." So true :)

  12. Rebecca says:

    I still struggle with guilt– the mind games the emotion plays is exhausting.. But I've learned to disassociate feelings and behaviors. If I feel such strong emotions over a 'food' I try to check in with myself, emotionally and see what's REALLY going on.

    This is so inspiring

  13. Tessa @ Amazing Asset says:

    Wow, this is such an amazing post and one that came at a perfect time! I struggle with guilt constantly and these past few weeks have been hard. I have been incorporating some of my "fear foods" ex. PIZZA, chocolate, gummi candy, into my daily routine. I do feel somewhat guilty after but am working so hard to shake the feelings
    Thank you for the inspiring post :)

  14. Jennie says:

    I struggle with this sometimes as well. I go out to dinner and see people ordering whatever they want and I get so jealous that I can't eat those things without feeling guilty or sick or mad at myself for making an unhealthy choice.

    I've started to work on the idea of "everything in moderation, including moderation" and enjoy a Reese's egg if I want one. :)

  15. Emma says:

    I can't explain so happy I am for you that you are practically guilt-free! It is so hard to get past those ED thoughts that insist that eating fear-foods or not exersising are shameful behaviors. In truth, they're not. Taking a break or enjoying a treat is normal and I hope that you can take this healthy attitude with you into the future.

  16. seekingrecoveryandbliss says:

    I still haven't found a way to get over the guilt.
    This post has really made me feel so much better. Your very inspiring in how far you've come from certain things. :)

  17. Runeatrepeat says:

    This made me smile :) I know I can be a bit blunt at times, but I'm glad you never take it the wrong way. Thank you for letting me just be me and voice my concerns. I adore you and think you're gorgeous. Glad I could help in any way.

  18. Cathy says:

    melissa, i read your blog every day because your posts are among the most real, honest and heart-felt of the blog world. thank you.
    i admire you for all you've already accomplished in how you think about food, exercise, your body…keep up the great work.
    on vacation recently, i did just as you did, and had exactly what i wanted, when i wanted it, and it was so FREEING and FUN! not always easy to have NO GUILT every day, but bit by bit we'll get there, right?!

  19. Leelu says:

    This was such an encouraging and inspiring post. Thanks so much!

  20. Jamie @ snacktress says:

    I am trying to get to this point as well. It was wonderful reading this post. You are beautiful and such an inspiration! And YESSS, those mini-eggs are DA BOMB.

  21. mymarblerye says:

    that same damn bag of cadbury eggs made me feel so unworthy the other week….haven't bought it since. What gets me through it is that what's eaten or what's done is done. Obsessing about it for DAYS after is just going to be make me feel awful and week and crazy. I've been learning to just "let go" after doing something "bad"…been amazing to feel free!

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