Wellness Coach Deborah Kesten describes why some women feel guilty when they take a break from dieting.
That’s very common in America, the concept of guilt. First of all, a psychologist, a therapist would tell you that guilt is not a real emotion. So it’s this made-up thing, and it’s a moral projection onto food and ourselves, and that is very American.
We have learned through the Puritan value system in this country. The Puritans who founded America from England came over on the Mayflower. They were very, very, very fundamentalist, conservative Christians and did not believe in gluttony and did not believe in certainly food as being something sensual and wonderful. And it’s one of the reasons they left England because they wanted a much more austere lifestyle than many Christians were living in England.
And so this has permeated our culture, this concept of not relating to food as something that’s ceremonial and sensual and pleasurable. Food is pleasure, not uh, not in America, it’s this health thing and this “should” thing and this “judgment” thing. And we project moral judgment onto food and ourselves, and that whole concept of guilt around food is this moral projection onto food which isn’t real. It just isn’t real.
So the concept of guilt is around this Puritan ”should” stuff, on how I should eat, should behave, and it just isn’t real. And I am suggesting the other side of that question about guilt and food which is, again, to relate to food as a ceremonial or social, delightful pleasure and rather than a “should, shouldn’t, legal/illegal,” which used to be a Weight Watchers term, “sinful,” I’ve heard that term many of times when I am coaching and counseling women, “I sinned today. I had sinful food.” Well, sounds good to me.
About Deborah Kesten, M.P.H.:
Deborah Kesten, M.P.H., is an international nutrition and lifestyle researcher and educator, with a specialty in preventing and reversing obesity and heart disease. She was the nutritionist on Dr. Dean Ornish’s first clinical trial for reversing heart disease through lifestyle changes, and Director of Nutrition on similar research at cardiovascular clinics in Europe. More recently, she has created the pioneering Enlightened Diet, a “whole person” optimal eating and weight loss program, the results of which were published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. With more than 200 published health articles, she is the award-winning author of The Enlightened Diet, Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul and The Healing Secrets of Food, a comprehensive, evidence-based nutrition program about the power of food to heal physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.