Getting rid of ‘Food Guilt’ by Choosing What I Want, not Eliminating What I Can’t Have

Many women habitually make choices and decisions through a process of eliminating what we believe we can’t have. When we believe we have made the ‘wrong’ choice we feel guilty. Women are often great at making decisions about practical matters in career or business, yet they can be incredibly indecisive or decision-avoidant when it comes to choosing for themselves. Making personal choices creates potential guilt and so we avoid choosing. This is ultimately disempowering and destructive to self.

This habit occurs with choices around food, where to go for dinner, which movie to watch, where to go on vacation, and a whole host of other decisions that come down to personal preference.

So how does this disempowering habit make any sense in today’s socially-empowered climate?

Why don’t we simply knowing what we want, choose and request it? Why do we habitually eliminate all of the options we believe are ‘bad’, or wait and see what other people want first, so as not to create any conflict? Taking away the ‘bad’ does not automatically leave us with the ‘good’. It leaves us with whatever remains.

Looking more deeply at this reflexive, self-denying habit with clients, I have found three common, inherited patterns may be running in the background:

1. Suppression of Desire
The use of guilt as a means to control natural human urges and form a ‘civilised’, hierarchical society has existed for millennia. Of course suppression only makes the urges stronger. In modern language the very word ‘desire’ carries with it the notion of seduction, the forbidden, or even depravity, of evil. Suppressing desire supposedly makes us more intelligent, higher than those who succumb to their base instincts. Thus we have learned to suppress our true desires to such an extent we relinquish the ability to know what we want.

2. Not Worthy: Who am I to expect……..
Another form of control used by those who wish to dominate or protect another is to impose a sense of being ‘less than’ others. This may have originated in a class-based system and may have been used by mothers to protect their children from heartbreak, embarrassment or harsh punishment. It is also used by people to dominate and ‘keep’ (emotionally abuse) their partner.

Such admonishments as:
“It’s not your place to”…,
“Keep your head down”……,
“Who do you think you are, to be wanting that?”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself”,
“How dare you…”
fall into this category.

3. Dis-Allowing and Un-deserving
As women it is often assumed that we are naturally predisposed to care for others, but we don’t balance our nurturing of other with any giving to ourselves. For other women being the nurturer is a role that we take on, in order to earn acceptance – even when we don’t feel very nurturing. Many women use their inner nurturer as a shield against having to think about themselves at all. We make allowances for everyone else, yet we are harsh on what we can give ourselves. This belief system often stems from Not Worthy or Fear of Conflict.

These belief patterns are learned at an early age and handed down over generations. Entwined in this process of eliminating the things we don’t want, is the fear of ‘getting it wrong’, which could lead to judgement, rejection or conflict. The people who gave us these beliefs were for the most part, well intended. It is time now to forgive, release the guilt and reclaim your creative choices that will lead you towards wholeness, health and happiness.

Desire is the core essence of our creative intelligence
When we recognise that desire is the essence of our creative intelligence, it can be used for our own good as well as the creation of wholesome, healthy outcomes for others. It is the first step in working with the higher self and in manifesting a positive future.

Imagine, as you are looking at a menu in a restaurant one day, you became aware that the old fear of getting it wrong, or being punished in some way had simply evaporated. Sitting with you at the table was a friendly, loving presence, who was genuinely curious about what you would really enjoy, which would nourish you. How would you feel? How would that change your choice? What would you ask for?

If you can experience – even for one moment – this freedom to feel, to tune in and to know what will bring real nourishment to your body and yourself, you will have found the key to a new way of living and healing. It is much simpler than you might think!


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High impact conversations that transform people and companies. Sue loves working with leaders on a mission, to untap their full potential. Her specialties include entrepreneurship, leadership, integration, transformation, and growth.


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