The road to weight loss can be a difficult journey,
and requires hard work on behalf of weight-loss patients who are eating healthy and exercising regularly after undergoing weight-loss surgery. Throughout your weight-loss program, there may be times you feel guilty as a result of not being exactly where you want to be with your weight-loss goals. In some cases, you may feel guilty for slightly overeating or for eating an extra small portion of dessert, whereas other times, you may feel guilty for cutting your workout routine just five minutes short.
Whatever the case may be that triggers feelings of guilt, it’s important to remember that nobody’s perfect, and that guilt can actually end up sabotaging your weight-loss efforts, according to new scientific evidence.
The link between guilt and weight loss
Researchers at the University of Canterbury have found that individuals who feel guilty after eating dessert foods are at higher risk for eating higher amounts of junk food and large serving sizes in general. Individuals who often feel guilty about their food choices are less likely to lose excess weight and maintain long-term weight loss over 1.5 years.
One study in particular involved 300 men and women between the ages of 18 and 86. Each individual was asked if they felt whether eating a piece of chocolate cake was associated with happiness or guilt, and 27 percent admitted that they associated chocolate cake with feeling guilty.
Compared to the group that associated chocolate cake with happiness, the group who felt guilty about eating cake tended to have negative feelings about diet and nutrition in general. In fact, those who exhibited feelings of guilt were less successful at meeting their weight-loss goals than those who associated cake with happiness and celebration.
A separate study conducted by researchers in the Netherlands also found that those who felt guilty after eating certain foods were far more likely to snack on high-fat junk foods all throughout the day and immediately before dinner. Another study even showed that women who had positive thoughts about donuts were more conscious of their eating habits and tended to eat fewer sweets in their diets.
Tips for avoiding feelings of guilt
- View dessert items as rewards. Take celebration in the fact that you’re making good headway in regards to your weight-loss goals after having worked hard all week. Just make sure you limit your portion sizes.
- Opt for healthier dessert choices. Though many desserts do contain sugar, choose desserts made with organic or all-natural ingredients that lack additives and artificial sweeteners — the latter of which have been scientifically proven to trigger weight gain and hormone fluctuations.
- Designate one cheat day per week. Many health conscious individuals — including athletes — reserve one day a week to indulge in small portions of their favorite desserts and foods. Again, just make sure you eat modest portion sizes that won’t have adverse