More Body Image & Eating Disorders Blogs
- Who's Looking Back at YOU in the Mirror?
- Speak out on Gratitude
- Body Image - Speak Out On the MEDIA
- Speak Out on Body Image
- Secret Dieting - What if your period stops?
- When Joking Isn't Funny
- My Legs Are TOO SHORT
- Junk Food Makes Me Feel GUILTY!
- Winning Against an Eating Disorder - true story
- We hate being JUDGED, ...but do WE do it too?
- HELP! My Friend thinks she is FAT!
- Just Tired and Sad? Or is it Depression?
- Do I look FAT today?
- Body Image + Eating Disorders - It hurts the whole family...
- Dealing with Being Teased
- Is losing weight the answer?
- I Want to Be Pretty Too
July 2009 Blogs
Junk Food Makes Me Feel GUILTY!
BODY IMAGE & EATING DISORDERS, July 2009, by Jen Charbonneau
Junk Food Makes
Me Feel GUILTY!
I feel fat or guilty whenever I eat stuff that isn't really good for you - like chips or something. Then if I try to force myself to eat healthier things, I don't enjoy them and eat less. But then I soon find my willpower dies and I snack on unhealthy things. I am always hungry!!! Then I feel relieved when I exercise to burn some calories. But I'm afraid I’m getting fat slowly. What should I do???
~ Munchies, 12, Toronto, Ontario
Excellent question! As girls (and women) we have learned to label and categorize our food and we really do believe that carrots are good and chocolate is bad. The more we think of good food/bad food, the more we WANT the stuff we think is bad... but really, food is just food! If we stop trying to micro-manage our body and the food we eat, we'll find out our body is amazing at using the nutrients and calories it needs. In fact, our body is a walking, talking miracle!
Way Back When...
From the time we were little girls we heard things like, “You can’t have desert until you eat everything on your plate.” It didn’t take us long to figure out that desert was a reward and supper was or could be a punishment. At the time this idea might have seemed harmless but the more we grew to understand reward and punishment, the more we used food as something other than just fuel for our body.
I remember saying to my mom, “I’m full,” and she would say, “No you’re not. Have one more bite.” This was very confusing to me because my body was telling me I was full. I felt full and yet my mother said I was not. So often we learned to ignore what our body was telling us.
Our body is hardwired to insist we have variety and believe it or not, all food can fit. I agree it’s not a good idea to eat a whole bag of cookies but I wouldn’t eat a whole bag of carrots either. Neither one provides us with the balance or variety that keeps us healthy.
I would bet that depending on what mood you are in, you crave different foods. Once again, we learned as children to associate different food with different emotions. If you feel sad or lonely, the body longs to have a food associated with comfort (like chicken soup). If you are angry, you may punish yourself with what you believe to be a 'bad' food like sugary snacks or treats.
The truth is that food is food – end of story. Believe it or not, your body can and will use the food you eat appropriately if you are eating when you are physically hungry (not when you are sad, angry, depressed or bored), stopping when you are satisfied (not stuffed to the gills) and choosing a variety of food choices.
Your Body Is Always Changing
Depending on your age, your body is changing and growing all the time so you might have times when you feel like you can never get enough food to fill you and then other times, you aren’t very hungry at all. This is pretty normal and I would encourage you to listen to your body.
What Are You Hungry For?
Also from what you are saying, I’m wondering if when you are hungry, is it really a hunger for food? Sometimes, when we are sad or disappointed or discouraged, we might try to eat in order to try to feel better. Remember what I said about food being a reward sometimes? Well, maybe using junk food is a way for you to boost yourself up. The reason it doesn’t work and you feel guilty is because you aren’t really hungry for food. You might be hungry for approval, acknowledgement, love or friendship and this might make you feel like you are hungry for food.
What I would suggest is, the next time you find yourself feeling like you want to eat food you consider unhealthy, ask yourself these questions:
• Am I really physically hungry or am I hungry for friendship, love, or approval?
• Why am I eating? Am I hungry or am I sad, discouraged or angry?
• Is food the one thing I feel I can control right now? What else is going on in my life? Am I confused or upset about something?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then filling up on food WON'T make you feel better.
Work the Feelings Out
I would encourage you to write about your feelings in a journal or draw or paint or do something creative. It’s a matter of working your feelings out of your body.
If you find that you are physically hungry, then go and eat. Find variety in your choices and remember that food is fuel. It is not bad or good. It’s the source that feeds your body and your body is carrying you towards your dreams and your goals.