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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

8/6/2012-When Eating Right Goes Wrong

Please excuse my delayed entry, as it is now Monday, not Thursday. Events of my ever evolving personal life took over last weeks agenda, keeping me out of commission for blogging, and all other daily routines, until today. It is this curve in the road that has inspired this blog entry. I am one for routine; daily work outs, normal diet staples, and regular bed times are key players in my day to day. This past week has been nothing of the kind, and I feel out of sorts about it, especially in the diet department. Everyone has experienced the "falling off the wagon" on their diets, or splurging when the opportunity presents itself. These days happen, but we cannot condemn ourselves for it in retrospect.

It's one thing when you're 12 and experience "Mom's-gonna-kill-me" guilt for sneaking cookies. It's another when you have food guilt as a grown-up.From refilling your wine glass to digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry's after a stressful day, post-dining guilt can be seriously damaging to your psyche, and it's rampant among health-conscious women.So, why can't we give ourselves a break?

Media messaging doesn't help. Women's magazine headlines are full of "guilt-free" burgers, snacks, and desserts. The underlying message is clear: If the foods in this article are guilt-free, then those others you're eating are guilt-y. Many of us deny our bodies food that it really needs based on what we think is right. This can make us choose the wrong "pleasure foods," which in turn makes us feel awful, instead of satisfied.

For example, bodies needs complex carbs, and if you live by Dr. Atkins' recommendations, you'll start to crave sugar. Then you'll be more likely to reach for a junky office cupcake, which won't satisfy and can come with an ingredient not on the label: guilt.

So, how do we stop going on food-induced guilt trips? Three tips:

1. Don't be so hard on yourself. This means accepting that we make mistakes and are not always in control of everything. And giving ourselves credit for our accomplishments–and efforts.

2. Give your body what it needs. It's important to develop an understanding of the foods that truly nourish you. If you listen to what your body needs, and allow yourself foods that don't always fit into what you're told is "right," you'll likely stop craving the foods that induce guilt.

3. Don't hide your Haagen Dazs! We tend to eat treats in shame, under cover, and we don't embrace them. Allowing yourself room to enjoy them will help avoid guilt after. If you truly feel that you deserve it, you won't have guilt.

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