Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Food and Guilt: How to Deal

When it comes to food, we're a bit bizarre as a society here in North America. On one hand, we place so much emphasis on health and seek the latest and greatest advancements in nutrition and health. However, on the other hand, we are seeing more and more big, bad and grotesque meals offered in various restaurants. Not to mention the fact that we love watching people make and eat those kinds of foods, as evidenced by TV shows that glamorize them - even those on the food network!

Now, it's true that there's definitely a grey area in between those two extremes, but where do we draw the line when it comes to feeling guilty about what we eat? Guilt may be beneficial in preventing us from downing a double down sandwich or other foods with zero redeeming qualities and a slew of calories, but what about having a treat once in a while? There's got to be a way for us to allow ourselves to enjoy something indulgent once in a while without receiving dirty looks from others, and without judging ourselves equally harshly.

The real secret to maintaining a healthy weight and otherwise staying in good health is to be conscious about our food. For the most part, we should generally be aware of how many calories foods have, how they are prepared or where they come from. Now, this may seem like an awful lot of information to gather, but if you realize that people in other parts of the world do this regularly and know more about their food than we do, it doesn't seem like such a tall order.

It is important to know or be able to estimate how many calories are in the foods we eat and roughly know how many we need each day, plus we need to take care to remain active and give our bodies the healthy fuel they need. If we do this regularly, then there's no reason not to allow ourselves to enjoy different foods, whatever they may be, every once in a while. If that means we can eat a cupcake or a fast food hamburger, then so be it, but we can't feel badly about doing so if we make that choice.

Feeling badly about eating something would imply there's a problem, like we're overindulging and we know it. If that's the case, it might be time to walk away and save the treat for next time. If that's not the case, then there's no need for the guilt trip! Just savour the experience and make it worth it!

Nobody is perfect and nobody has the right to make someone else feel lousy for choosing to eat something they like. Food has more significance in our lives than simply for nutrition and sustenance; food nourishes our souls and minds too, and we must never, ever forget that.