Even the word conjures up negative connotations doesn’t it? I often hear the word “guilt” when I’m talking to people about failed weight loss experiences they have had.
When I condense their statements about feeling guilty into a few categories, I come up with these guilt-laden phrases:
- “I felt guilty over failing to follow the diet, so I eventually quit.”
- “I felt guilty (or was made to feel guilty) for taking time away from my family to go to the gym or workout at home.”
- “I felt guilty spending money on healthier foods and eventually stopped and went back to buying junk.”
- “I felt guilty when I had spent money on a program but didn’t follow it. So instead of investing good money after bad, I quit.”
It saddens me when I look back and remember how often I quit trying to lose weight in the past. I often quit because of these very reasons. Guilt over time, over money, over failures to follow a program, and other sources of guilt often made me eventually give up.
That last time, 15 years ago, when I lost 158 pounds, I did not allow guilt to overwhelm me. Instead I recognized that guilt was not a productive or motivating emotion
Guilt beat me down.
Guilt rarely motivated me in a positive way. (Although sometimes I felt guilty over not working out and that wasn’t always a bad thing.)
Instead of feeling guilty for taking 30 to 45 minutes to walk or workout in morning, I reminded myself of how much better I felt and how much more energy I had for the kids. When I occasionally felt guilty for spending money on “expensive” produce, I remembered the times when I thought nothing of spending money on junk or fast food.
After all, a bag of chips is $3.00 and is gone in an instant, but a $5.00 bag of apples lasts much longer and is so much better for us.
Sometimes friends tried to make me feel guilty about the fact I was taking money and spending it on *gasp* new, smaller clothes for myself. Instead of feeling guilty or changing what I was doing, I simply smiled and let them stew.
I know it is not easy, but if you ever feel guilty for the positive changes you are making, I’d encourage you to recognize those guilt feelings as non-productive and even harmful to you. Even if you allow guilt over bad choices to enter your mind, I encourage you to put those feelings aside and focus on the positive changes you have and will make.
The peace I had that last time came from the assurance that I was losing weight in a healthy way, I was making positive changes, and I worked hard at not letting guilt get in my way.
What role do you think guilt plays in weight loss? Had any experience with negative or positive guilt? Diane