Guilt: Internal Fat Talk

in All Posts

If you missed the first parts of the Fat Talk discussion, check them out:



If only one thing about today’s discussion about Fat Talk resonates with you, remember this:  When you feel guilty about food, you are experiencing distorted thinking.


I’m not saying that means you have an eating disorder.  I’m just saying that feeling guilty — raw, consuming, upsetting GUILT — is not a normal, healthy reaction to eating and is thus distorted.  I think it’s important to recognize when our thinking is distorted, as the way we view ourselves has a big impact on our lot in life.


All women experience guilt with food to some degree.  I know I used to feel a really guilty if I drank two beers and ate a few slices of pizza.  Or a big dessert.  Sometimes, it didn’t even have to be a calorie-heavy meal to trigger the guilt.  I’d have a bigger breakfast than normal, and I would fret that I’d "blown it" for the day or that I’d "given into temptation."

Guilt is internal Fat Talk.  It is shaming yourself for not meeting a perfectionist ideal that is unattainable and determined by the rigid standards our society has created! If you wouldn’t say it out loud to a friend, why would you say it to yourself?


Maybe right now you’re thinking: "But a little guilt can be a GOOD thing!" or "Guilt is a normal reaction to indulging!" But, if guilt was healthy or "normal," it would be PRODUCTIVE and it would make you HAPPY. 


Do you find yourself feeling guilty over food a lot?  Well, then — you’re repeating the same actions over and over again, and clearly… Guilt isn’t productive, it doesn’t work, and it only serves to lower your self -esteem.  Guilt is a waste of time and takes away from productive things you could be doing with your time — meditating, studying, sleeping, calling your friends on the phone, and more.


You aren’t going to gain weight from one dessert.


You aren’t a bad person for enjoying dinner.


You aren’t weak because you were hungrier than normal.


How do you stop guilt?  It’s so much harder to stop than Fat Talk — after all, we verbalize Fat Talk to others and it’s easier to "catch" ourselves in conversation.  Guilt, on the other hand, is this weird, creeping feeling that takes over you, ruins your day, and triggers the blues.  


I would say I cut down on my guilt thinking by about 90%, which I consider to be a big accomplishment.  I stopped guilting myself by really thinking about my eating in the grand scheme of life.  Did that pizza make me gain weight? No.  Did it actually hurt my health in any measurable way that I ate a bunch of French fries? No.  Am I an awesome friend and hardworker who is so much more than the food she eats? Of course!   


If there is something about your lifestyle that you want to change, be proactive and CHANGE IT. Guilting yourself about it does not work.  Taking action to move onwards and upwards does.  Every setback is an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve.


Join me on the quest to eliminate Fat Talk in all its nasty and evil forms from our lives!  Remember, it starts now… and it starts with you.



  • The Novice Berker May 20, 2009, 1:36 pm

    Another great post; this is a hugely important topic to stress. I absolutely agree that it’s about the big picture. It’s your overall progress that counts, not one indulgent meal.

  • sloank May 20, 2009, 1:36 pm

    You’re awesome Caitlin!! This is so true!!

  • Help Meghan Run May 20, 2009, 1:38 pm

    Awesome! “If you wouldn’t say it out loud to a friend, why would you say it to yourself?” I think that all the time…it’s so helpful. And we are so much more than the food that we eat. 🙂 Rock on, Caitlin.

  • just me May 20, 2009, 1:41 pm

    rock’n post chicka!!

  • Kelsey May 20, 2009, 1:46 pm

    i agree 110% on everything you have discussed!!

  • Jenny May 20, 2009, 1:54 pm

    Wow, I love the evolution of these posts over the day. This one struck me the deepest. As I was reading I almost found myself resisting what you were saying, like a little voice in the back of my head saying ‘without guilt how would i stay on track??’ But I realized you are so right, I have never gotten ANYTHING productive out of that terrible feeling of dread after eating something I deemed “too much.” What does that even mean? Does it make me a bad person if my snack has 100 calories more than normal or someone else thinks my dinner is “indulgent”? What works for good health is when I know myself well enough hear my cravings for fresh and healthy foods and love myself enough to eat within my limits so I feel great.
    This also got me thinking – I am in medical school, and after a rich dinner out last week I spent the rest of the night half-distracted from studying by thoughts of how “gross” I felt. Um, I think learning how to save lives is a more worth my mental energies than obsessing over one dinner… even IF it were remotely possible for that one meal to have a negative effect on my weight or health, really there are other important things in life.
    Sorry I am writing a novel in comment form, but this really hit home for me and I am 100% on a mission to ban guilt from my life too! You’re my idol Caitlin 😉

  • J May 20, 2009, 2:00 pm

    this is my favorite one today. and it’s so true. i’ve finally gotten to the point where i’ll order fries guilt free when I’m out to eat because i only have them once or twice a month and that’s certainly not going to kill me! everything is okay in moderation.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point May 20, 2009, 2:05 pm

    jenny – haha novel comments are the best. thank you! and you are so right about how guilt takes up our mental energy! another reason why guilt is bad! ban fat talk!

  • brit May 20, 2009, 2:06 pm

    first time commenting….agree with everyone that this is a great post (and a great day of posts)….the comment someone made about medical school really struck me…i am in graduate school and sometimes get distracted by thinking about meals, etc. as women, we have more important things to be doing than obsessing! as jillian said in the clip, we need to learn, educate, and make a difference in the world!

  • Thinspired May 20, 2009, 2:08 pm


  • chandra May 20, 2009, 2:19 pm

    Great posts today! We all need a reminder now and then to stop the fat talk.

    I don’t exactly remember which blog I read this on but it has stuck with me since the day I read it: “Guilt is when you let someone or something else control your emotions.” I am the type of person who feels guilty very easily and reading that made me realize I should stop letting other people and things (like food) control how I feel, I don’t like being controlled. 😉

  • adrianna May 20, 2009, 2:35 pm

    thank you for this. much needed, any day, any time. i’m often combating the guilty feeling. it used to be much worse, but i’m continuing to work on it.

    you are a great inspiration, and definitely one of my fave bloggers bc of your attitude.

  • Meredith May 20, 2009, 2:41 pm

    Great post!

  • *Erica* May 20, 2009, 2:51 pm

    You’ve really made me think today, Caitlin. Thank you! I don’t know how many hours I have wasted feeling “bad” about something I have eaten: a decadent dessert that I couldn’t even enjoy because I was too busy feeling bad about it or a bad mood that was spurred from the guilt of having a “too-” big family meal. Thank you for the perspective, dear. I certainly put it to good use!

  • K from ksgoodeats May 20, 2009, 3:16 pm

    You are nailing this and I LOVE it! I haven’t had much time to comment but I’ve been following along and I want to applaud you for this series!!

  • amy. May 20, 2009, 3:18 pm

    I appreciate this post, so so much–as well as the other ones geared toward eliminating negative body image in general. You are SO inspirational to me, you have no idea! Thanks for writing this. Amazing!

    <3 love,

  • jane May 20, 2009, 3:19 pm

    AWESOME posts today! you are really encouraging and you are absolutely right in all of the observations you make. thanks so much for calling all of our attention to these IMPORTANT but insidious and often overlooked issues.
    YOU ROCK 🙂

  • Julie May 20, 2009, 3:48 pm

    what a GREAT post! I have fell into the trap too many times. Thank you for being so open about the topic. This is one of the reason I joined the blog community because of all the great support here. Thanks so much for an awesome blog.

  • Lisa D. May 20, 2009, 4:04 pm

    I’m loving your theme of the day; and I’m glad you put “normal” in quotes because there really is no such thing. One of the counselors at work talked about how guilt does not come about from an action but rather how you react to that action. I also like that you are talking about how nothing positive comes from feeling guilty and you are a lot more than what you eat!!! Thanks for the great series of posts!

  • Marisa (Trim The Fat) May 20, 2009, 4:20 pm

    Caitlin, thank you so much for this post! I am seriously sitting here crying reading this. Guilt is and has been such an integral part of my dieting career (and yes, it has been a career and not all that successful until recently!). I really want to rid myself of it. I want to be able to eat food without it eating me. I guess when I reach my goal, it will be the next leg of my journey to help myself in getting rid of the guilty feelings. I look forward to the freedom of that one day 🙂

  • Renee May 20, 2009, 4:21 pm

    Hi Caitlin –

    I follow your blog (I’ve commented before – used to live in Orlando), and I wanted to share mine with you. It’s focused on Baltimore, but there are general postings, too:

    I’ve also added you to my link list on the right!

  • Island Girl Eats May 20, 2009, 4:43 pm

    That was a great topic. I have started appreciating my body and have stopped watching the numbers on the scale. I can’t remember the last time that I stepped on it? It’s more important how I feel. If I want a reality check I put on my favourite jeans!

  • Helena May 20, 2009, 4:45 pm

    That’s a great post, I just had to leave a comment. I’ve been struggling with the cycle of feeling guilty and then eating worst as a result. But I would never be so hard like this on a friend. Thanks for the eye-opener!

  • Danielle May 20, 2009, 5:06 pm

    Wow Caitlin. You’re exactly right… and I know myself and countless other women need to hear (/read) things like this. Thank you 🙂

  • Amanda May 20, 2009, 5:13 pm

    Once again, Thank You!!! It is so silly how guilt about food can really make me feel down – it is not normal and I shouldn’t have to put up with it! I am going to be proactive by negating that guilt with positive/realistic thinking. You da best Caitlin 🙂

  • Amanda May 20, 2009, 5:13 pm

    Once again, Thank You!!! It is so silly how guilt about food can really make me feel down – it is not normal and I shouldn’t have to put up with it! I am going to be proactive by negating that guilt with positive/realistic thinking. You da best Caitlin 🙂

  • Runeatrepeat May 20, 2009, 5:17 pm

    Thanks! I’m totally on board 🙂

  • Anonymous May 20, 2009, 5:19 pm

    wow. I’m sad i’ve missed reading your blog for a while! These last few posts are so inspiring. Thanks you.
    As well as i feel fat in regards to eating, i also feel like it realates to excercise, for me its “if i do not burn 1000 calories at the gym each day i will get fat.”
    What does fat even mean???

  • Anonymous May 20, 2009, 5:21 pm

    I really appreciate the posts that you and Angela have been putting up the last few days, Caitlin — and all the insightful comments you’ve received.

    I love the CnC blog. Today’s survey question was whether you’re fitter than your friends. It was obviously posted as a friendly and thought-provoking question, but i’m curious how people reacted to it — does it trigger unfair and unhealthy comparisons, or is it just a fun talking point? Or is it inspiring and motivating?

  • Lynne May 20, 2009, 5:38 pm

    These have been great topics, and something I personally struggle with regularly. This last post really spoke to me, as I tend to feel guilty about a lot, be it food or not doing something, etc. Eventually, I hope to get to a place where what I eat doesn’t control my feelings. I’m going to save these posts to refer to when I need encouragement. Thank You!

  • Trish May 20, 2009, 5:39 pm

    this was a really great post. Thanks for sharing such wonderful, wise words. 🙂

  • jesslikesithot May 20, 2009, 5:43 pm

    Thanks for starting this discussion Caitlin!! I really admire your lifestyle and think you set such a great example of someone who truly balances health and fitness!! You eat incredibly healthy, but also indulge in the good stuff, and I know that you look and feel great!! Keep up the inspirational words, I’m sure many people respect you and will take your words to heart!

    Let’s definitely end the fat talk for good, please and thank you….it only makes the people listening more self-conscious and no good comes from it!

  • Brandi May 20, 2009, 6:08 pm

    great posts today Caitlin – I’m just catching up on blogs today, but these really resonate with me. I’m trying really hard lately to get rid of all of these thoughts and feelings related to food and eating.

  • Melissa @ For the Love of Health May 20, 2009, 6:35 pm

    Great post Caitlin!

  • Holly May 20, 2009, 6:48 pm

    Such a thought provoking post that hits home for me and by the looks of it, so many other women out there. Along the same lines, I also tend to feel guilt when I miss a workout…it is important to remember to listen to our bodies, and even if we don’t “need” that rest day, it’s ok to take one now and then.

    Thank you Caitlin!

  • Elina May 20, 2009, 7:04 pm

    Thank you for this post, Caitlin. You’re awesome! 😀
    I have to say that when I have a better attitude about overeating, I’m much happier and you’re right… in the grand scheme of things, a slip up doesn’t matter. It’s about dusting yourself off and moving on.

  • amanda May 21, 2009, 5:42 am

    Wowwww! Great post. All three of the “Fat Talk” post were awesome. This one especially for me, I have a huge issue with guilt sometimes. I’m sure I’ll be back re-reading these posts from time to time. Thanks for sharing.

  • Heather May 21, 2009, 6:55 am

    I want to reiterate what everyone else has already said: Thank You! What a well written series of posts. They really hit home with me as this is something I struggle with EVERYDAY. It’s a huge, heavy burden that I feel I carry with me always. It’s so annoying because it interferes with my life. Your posts helped me put it in words and motivated me to end the painful cycle of beating myself up. Thanks again.

  • Natalie May 21, 2009, 9:39 am

    …and posts like this are exactly why i read your blog. thanks for being real and honest and inspiring, and thanks for practicing what you preach! you do a great job of living healthily without going crazily overboard…you don’t freak out if you miss a workout and you’re down for eating candy and drinking beer when you’re feeling that. there are a lot of people–bloggers and readers–who can learn a lot from you! thanks for setting such a great example!

  • Life Works May 22, 2009, 1:57 am

    Thanks for your post. I would like to suggest a website with lots more information about eating disorders.

    Also, I would recommend you take a look at the Life Works Community Blog for some great inspiration from the Life Works counsellors.

Healthy Tipping Point