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Year in, year out, without fail, there will be a ton of articles online telling people who to remain in shape during holidays and how to get back their bodies after. Most people have a hard time staying fit and healthy, leaving those in the health and lifestyle industries continually reminding their clientele on the importance of maintaining a particular body ideal and how to get there. One thing however that keeps coming up is perhaps the guilt that drives, for the most part, those who don’t necessarily have a health scare but are quite aware that they are not where they ought to be.

Does guilt work?

From the high school math tutor to the person higher up the corporate ladder, there is always a sense of lingering unease as they bite into a honey glaze cinnamon bun when they could reach for the carrot sticks they packed from home to act as a snack. While guilt can be quite the motivating factor to have a salad for dinner to “undo” or “balance” the earlier supposed sins of the day, it hardly acts as a lasting source of drive. Guilt offers a way out in various forms, the most common being blaming our actions on something and looking for short-term redeemable ways to alleviate the feeling if only temporary.

Kicking the guilt

Once you made a wrong decision, don’t turn it into a moral issue. You have not committed a crime or offense, and therefore there is no need to harbor the feeling. There ought to be a fundamental shift in thinking as it could open up someone to extreme emotions such as self-loathing as one berates themselves for the inability to do something right or because of how the look. If you have been in this space, you’re likely to have gotten to the mental space that nothing you do will work anyway and end up having a donut on the next day. That’s not very helpful, is it?

Become self-aware

The inability to maintain a healthy lifestyle or even a diet is likely rooted in something more than our love for donuts and the inability to say no. Studies over decades show that overeating is not merely a lack of self-control but something psychological, or even physiological, is the driving force. Understanding the reason behind overeating (poor choices available, stress eating, trauma), it becomes easier to adopt other methods suggested with regards to getting back on the bandwagon.

Make the change

Once you’re in an improved mental space, find resources that teach you how to stay on a healthy diet. You’ll likely read on how to know your triggers and how to mitigate them by creating a routine and cultivating the “no” muscle. Whatever it is, it becomes a lot easier than if you’re adapting changes from a guilt-ridden mind.


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