If you’re someone who likes to “cheat” over the holidays and indulge in calorie-rich festive treats, why think of food as yet another serving of shame?
Being out of shape isn’t a failure of character.
Guilt around food is not just pointless—it actually can be harmful. Distress can sabotage digestion. Research suggests that anxiety kicks your autonomic nervous system into high gear. The capacities of your digestive organs are subdued, and instead of metabolizing and assimilating your food, it’s processed less effectively. In other words, guilt—or any sort of negative self-judgment—can initiate stress signals and neurotransmitters. These hinder a healthy digestive response.
Eat whatever it is you want mindfully and let it make you happy. Indulging is part of what sets a holiday apart. As the Roman dramatist Terence counseled, “Everything in moderation” (to which the Irish playwright Oscar Wilde added, “… including moderation.”)
Also, stop “food policing” others.
Idea for Impact: Give Your Guilt a Holiday
Eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season. Yes, slackening up on your diet plan doesn’t feel great, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, either. However, labeling it “cheating” probably is. Your language matters!