The Psychology of Enjoying Food Without The Guilt Plus A Recipe

Sometimes we can fall into a cycle of being so hard on ourselves that we forget to actually enjoy ourselves. In today’s world we are constantly exposed to clean eating images, #fitspiration and photo shopped bodies, causing us to compare and critique ourselves over and over again!

As part of this, we have created a culture where food is labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and if in a moment of ‘weakness’ you opt for the bad, you are conditioned to feel guilt because it falls outside the ‘ideal.’ However, its not all doom and gloom, if caught in this cycle it is possible to re-learn how to enjoy treats without guilt and allow treats to be a balanced part of your life. If ready to drop the deprivation and learn how to love and enjoy treats again guilt free, these tips from Zoe Bingley-Pullin, star of Good Chef, Bad Chef and creator of the online food program Falling In Love With Food, will help lead the way:

treatImage via pinterest

One Treat does no harm

First and foremost, understanding that one treat will not hinder your health goals is imperative! All foods can be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. Stress plays a huge role in health and also weight. If we engage in restrictive eating all it does is cause stress on the body and mind. Knowing you are free to enjoy the foods you love and allowing yourself to enjoy them, will help stop stress in its tracks. Leave the ‘all or nothing’ mindset behind, it is possible to have a treat and be free to continue about your day without feeling like you’ve ‘blown it.’

Be in control of the treat

It’s important to be in control of the treat and not have it control you. If a treat is forced, you may feel resentment and won’t be eating it in the right frame of mind. To be in control of the treat is to select the treat based on what you truly want and having it at a time when and in a place where you can enjoy it the most. Be assertive and put your treat needs first!

Eat the treat mindfully

Eating mindfully and without distraction helps you feel more empowered when eating. If you scoff down your treat in a matter of seconds in a frazzled state, the treat will not be enjoyed and may trigger craving more, for the wrong reasons. Food is enjoyed most when we stop, relax and take the time to be appreciative of our food. Next time you reach for a treat, before taking the first bite, take one deep breath, smell your treat, chew slowly enjoying each bite and think about the flavours you taste and the textures you feel.

Be mindful of portions

When it comes to treats, quality not quantity could not be better advice! Pick a treat you truly desire and have a moderate portion. Don’t go overboard, just have enough to satisfy you and not make you feel like you have overdone it. Finishing a treat feeling light and good will prevent feelings of guilt.

Balance out the rest of your day

To help you feel more at ease enjoying your treat, be mindful of what else you eat that same day. Start your day with a protein rich breakfast such as boiled eggs on multigrain bread or a yoghurt based smoothie, this will help with blood sugar regulation during the day. Enjoy a lunch made up of ½ plate vegetables, a source of lean protein, whole-grain carbohydrates and healthy fats. Eating in this way will keep hunger stable and help you to not rely on the treat for an energy boost or to fulfil cravings.

Enjoy the treat with a friend or loved one

Don’t be ashamed to enjoy ‘treat’ foods, be proud of it and share it with a friend or loved one. Bonding over a shared love for food is great for mental wellbeing and empowers you to be in control of your food. Schedule in a catch-up involving one of your favourite treats and remember that guilt is not a welcome guest at the table!

Banana Coconut Sorbet

A healthy twist on a popular dessert!  bananacoconutsorbet


– 2 ripe bananas (sliced and frozen overnight)
– 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
– 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted


Put the frozen bananas in the blender.

Add the cooled coconut oil. Pulse until combined, but not melted.

Spoon into a cold bowl and fold through the toasted coconut.

Serve into cold decorative bowls or martini glasses.


Feature image via pinterest


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