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What are the Consequences of Feeling Guilty About Eating?

Feelings and food often go hand in hand. It happens almost without us realizing it, but every time we eat, we feel something related to our food. The negative feelings that surround eating can lead to the consequences of feeling guilty about eating.

The feeling of guilt is the sense of having done something wrong, of harming something or someone. So, guilt for eating refers to feeling that you have done something wrong by eating a certain food or by the amount you ate.

When do we feel guilty for eating?

Just as in everyday life we feel guilty for some issues in our personal environment, in the area of food we can also feel this way. The most common causes are eating too much or eating a certain dish and then feeling bad because you think you are going to gain weight.

The reality is that the consequences of feeling guilty about eating exist and include psychological disorders. These are some of them.

1. Bulimia

Ortiz, in his article Eating disorders, states that bulimia is a disorder in which the patient feels abnormally hungry and eats compulsively in binge eating. But then he/she feels guilt and discomfort. This leads to vomiting, taking laxatives or exercising too much. By binge eating we mean very short episodes of rapid consumption of food and in very large quantities.

In addition, the expert indicates that in periods of overeating, patients feel ashamed of their behavior, so they promise themselves not to repeat it. So it is a cycle of binge eating followed by guilt and trying to purge the calories consumed. There is a dissatisfaction with the body and an intensification of the restrictive regimen.

Bulimia can trigger complications such as the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Severe dental cavities
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Absent menstrual periods
  • Drug abuse and self-harm
  • Heart and digestive problems

2. Anorexia

Anorexia is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a refusal to maintain a minimum normal weight through restriction of caloric intake or excessive expenditure of energy when exercising. In these cases, guilt, obsession, rejection and high competitiveness cause a vicious circle.

The complications and physical alterations of this disease are various and at different levels:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Amenorrhea
  • Hypertension
  • Malnutrition
  • Hair loss
  • Atrophy of the nails
  • Lack of attention and concentration
  • Alterations in the perception of hunger and satiety

3. Binge eating disorder

This is a disorder in which a person eats a much larger amount of food than normal. While eating disproportionately, he/she feels out of control. Unlike the other problems, this one is not about burning calories.

In this case, the person experiences shame and guilt. Their hunger responds to anxiety, discomfort, and emotional instability. The phenomenon of emotional hunger then arises.

This is the type of hunger that appears in response to emotional needs. It manifests itself suddenly and persistently. The sensation persists despite eating.

This can lead to health problems such as the following:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Overweight
  • Digestive problems
  • Pain in the joints
  • Menstrual cycle alterations

How to deal with feeling guilty about eating?

This process involves the help of professionals in the psychological area, who help the patient to understand his body and that no food is bad if eaten in moderation.

Conscious eating

It’s also recommended to apply conscious eating to try to understand why the negative emotions we feel and find the cause of the internal conflict. This is a process of eating while being aware with all our senses of what provokes us to eat and how we perceive it.

Physiological versus emotional hunger

Another measure that can be taken to deal with feeling guilty about eating is to learn to identify physiological hunger to ignore emotional hunger. The former is our body’s need for nutrients. At that moment, a series of signals are triggered that let us know it is time to eat.

The second is the hunger that signals from the mind. It does not do it for lack of food, but it is oriented to a specific food.

Eating only to recharge energies

In general, it’s recommended to eat only to recharge energies and, in case of feeling guilty, to go to a mental health professional. In this way, a number of serious disorders can be prevented.

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