Food Guilt: What's Normal?


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Beauties, do you ever find yourself dreaming about a chocolate bar and then hating yourself when you eat one? Or do you spend all day starving yourself when you know you're going out for a big dinner? We can all have these thoughts (which are completely normal!), but if they’re starting to consume you, it may be time to rethink your relationship with food. We spoke with Los Angeles-based nutrition therapist Lynn Penrose, R.D. about unhealthy relationships with food and what you can do about them. After spending over 20 years studying nutrition and researching addictions, Lynn decided to create Funky About Food, a website that helps to identify your issues with food before seeking treatment.

Everyone's relationship with food is completely different and personal, but when all you can think about is what you are or aren’t eating, you should be concerned. “Being funky about food is all about your mindset and thinking toward eating, dieting, and food in general,” says Lynn. “What most people, and women in particular, don't realize is that it's okay to eat the things that you enjoy. You can have a chocolate bar when you want one, or a bag of potato chips. It's denying yourself a particular food because you don't think you're allowed to have it that gives you a bad relationship with it, because then you gorge yourself."

As women, we pay a lot of attention to the world around us, and most negative thinking stems from the media. Whether we like it or not, we are influenced by magazines, television, and even celebrities, and led to believe that indulging from time to time and eating the occasional chocolate bar is so bad for you that it must be done in secret. Many of us are also programmed from birth to succeed at everything, and not to fail, which makes our expectations of ourselves impossibly high. “Having a good relationship with food is all about allowing yourself to eat what you want, when you want it. This way you'll eat it in moderation and not have the mentality of ‘Well, I've already failed by opening the packet, I may as well eat the whole thing.’ This notion of failure, restriction, and constantly thinking about what you're eating next is what causes a bad relationship with your food," says Lynn.

So, Beauties, if you think you're spending too much time worrying about what's going into your mouth, then you need to ask yourself some questions: Do you plan out your meals every day? Do you overeat when you're hungry, sad or depressed? Do you punish yourself by not allowing yourself to have something yummy? All these things point to a bad relationship.

Lynn's practice involves a lot of discussion about a person’s diet, food memories, and eating habits. She doesn't deny her patients anything, and doesn't use the word diet. It's simply changing the way that you think about food and reprogramming your brain to see food in a new way. "You can be smart and think about what you're eating, but when that thinking starts to consume you, you need to take a step back," says Lynn.