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How To Stop Feeling Guilty After Eating — 3 Ways in Christ

Learn how to stop feeling guilty after eating and break free from the cycle of shame. Discover empowering strategies and support to reclaim joy with food.

Do you feel guilty after eating? This is something I struggle with myself! Sometimes, after eating more than I really want at a meal, I feel guilty because I know I could have stopped sooner before I was too stuffed.

Other times I have felt guilty after eating a treat that I know was not “good” for me because it was too much sugar or too much fat — or I feel guilty after eating a meal that did not include something healthy like a salad.

Basically, I can feel guilty when I eat something I consider bad, as well as when I don’t eat something I consider good!

Food guilt is a common struggle in these days of diet culture. It can be especially difficult for Christian women to get past food guilt because they recognize overeating and giving in to temptation as sinful and gluttonous.

Feeling guilty after eating can create a harmful cycle of unhealthy eating practices, because if you feel guilty for eating something you consider bad or sinful, then you will try to punish yourself or abstain from that thing, working extra hard at it to get back on track—and then eventually you will binge on something else because you are depriving yourself, and the cycle will continue.

Brandice Lardner talks about this cycle of food guilt, saying,

You feel that if you don’t punish yourself, you’re going to keep repeating your poor food choices over and over. You fear that if you aren’t sharp with yourself, you’ll let it all go. That you’ll no longer be motivated to change, and you’ll live off Twinkies and soda for the rest of your life.”

Brandice Lardner on cycle of food guilt

You feel that the only way to change is to be mean to yourself, but will that actually help you reestablish your self-control to stop overeating? Or does this just have a further negative effect on you?  As Brandice goes on to say, how are you “able to come up with a positive outcome from feeling really, really bad about yourself”?

Instead of being caught in the cycle of food guilt, is it not better to give yourself grace and focus on God instead? It is possible to break free from this diet mentality and enjoy food without guilt by reminding yourself of faith-based principles that give grace instead of guilt.

Are you wanting to learn how to stop feeling guilty after eating and break free from the cycle of shame? Read on to discover empowering strategies and support to reclaim joy with food.

Understanding Food Guilt in a Christian Context

The Roots of Food Guilt

Diet culture promotes the idea that thin is beautiful, which can cause you to feel that your worth is affected by your weight and the shape of your body. This can lead you to develop unhealthy and restrictive eating patterns in order to achieve the goal of changing how you look in order to be more acceptable in the eyes of the world.

But your worth is not to be found in your appearance or how much or how little you weigh; you have worth because you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

Diet culture leads you to believe that some foods are good and others are bad, causing a feeling of guilt when you can’t keep yourself from eating the bad or avoiding the good.

That kind of focus on good vs. bad food makes you forget the Biblical truth that, 

“everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word God and prayer”

1 Timothy 4:4-5

Christopher Asmus, in his article Indulge, Diet, Repeat: Breaking the Cycle of Overeating states clearly how diet culture can lead you to experience food guilt as a Christian:

“Many of us make food laws, break those food laws, feel immediate guilt, shame, and regret, and then either starve those emotions with redoubled restriction and dieting, or comfort those emotions with food. If we continue down this path, the end result will be hunger — physical and spiritual.”

Christopher Asmus on Indulge, Diet, Repeat: Breaking the Cycle of Overeating

God’s Perspective on Food

Food is a gift from God meant for enjoyment. As shown in the above verse in 1 Timothy, everything God has created is good and is not to be rejected, and this includes food. It is so important to eat appropriately so that you are nourished well, and expressing gratitude for God’s provision can help you to eat more mindfully, even worshipfully.

Timothy goes on to say in another chapter that,

“God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment”.

1 Timothy 6:17

The website GotQuestions.org says this is a reminder that this provision includes

“an incredible variety of foods that are delicious, nutritious, and pleasurable. We should thank God for the colors, aromas, textures, and tastes that we enjoy at our meals. And we should honor God by partaking of His gifts in appropriate quantities.”

GotQuestions.org

Another helpful and encouraging Bible verse about food is found in 1 Corinthians 10:31:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

Responding to food in this way allows you to focus on God instead of on what you are eating, and helps you avoid eating in the wrong way or for the wrong reasons. You will also be reminded to be thankful for all that God has provided for you to eat and drink.

God warns about gluttony in Scripture, considering it sinful because it involves eating in excess and is a form of greed — which believers are to avoid (Luke 12:15). Gluttony is also a lack of self-control. Such a lack of control can be harmful to your health, so God’s warning to avoid gluttony is for your good.  

Falling into excessive eating habits can also lead to you putting so much emphasis on food that it becomes an idol instead of the good thing God means it to be in your life.

Practical Strategies to Stop Feeling Guilty After Eating

A woman eating a healthy food with a text overlay that reads as How to Stop Feeling Guilty After Eating - 3 Ways in Christ.

What are some practical strategies to make sure you are getting good nutrition while also trying to stop feeling guilty after eating? There are three good ways to accomplish this through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit in you.

Way 1—Reframe Your Relationship with Food

The first way to overcome a diet mentality and reframe your relationship with food is to honor what your body needs instead of focusing on what diet culture says about what you should and should not eat.

Philippians 4:12 says,

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Philippians 4:12

This is a great verse from Scripture to keep in mind to help you change your perspective on being full or hungry and to remain in an attitude of contentment.

Instead of forcing yourself into a routine of deprivation that leads to binging, why not try intuitive eating or mindful eating as a way to listen to what your body is telling you about when to eat and when you are full? This is a good way to learn the secret of being content in every situation.

Intuitive eating takes the focus off your weight and instead promotes the practice of trusting your body as you make food choices that feel good for you, without judging yourself or giving in to the influence of diet culture.

Mindful eating also removes the focus from weight and scale, as you pay attention to your food without judgment.  You eat more slowly, noticing your food fully and enjoying it, and understanding your body’s signals about hunger and fullness.

Way 2—Challenge Guilt with Grace

The second way is to challenge the guilt you are feeling with grace. God offers forgiveness, not condemnation (Romans 8:1), so seeking Him and asking Him to forgive you is something you should do right away. When guilt does arise, Sara at The Holy Mess has some good advice on how to counter it with biblical truths about grace.

When you realize that God has made provision in His grace for all the mistakes you will make, you can rest in that and keep moving forward instead of staying stuck in your feelings of shame.

Guilt can be helpful when it guides you into realizing you have done something wrong, but allowing shame to tell you that you are a bad person because of it is not what God intends for you. Becky at So Very Blessed talks about this in her article about how to listen to guilt and get rid of shame in your weight loss.

Remember to treat yourself with compassion! Just as you would offer compassion to a dear friend who is struggling with guilt, be sure to treat yourself in the same way. With God’s help, you can

“demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and … take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:5

Put aside your food guilt and live in God’s grace.

Way 3—Seek Support and Community

Community is so important during times when you find yourself struggling, so don’t hesitate to share your struggles with a Christian friend.

You may find that your friend has had similar struggles or is currently working through overcoming diet mentality in an attempt at finding self-acceptance. As you pray together, you will encourage each other to rely on God in your journey to body positivity and releasing guilt. If you need more help than a friend can provide, do not hesitate to contact a counselor, who will have the tools to help you work through your struggles.

A great source of encouragement and expert advice can be found in Faithful Finish Lines FREE Christian Weight Loss Community for women. Join today and be welcomed into a community where you can share your struggles and your questions on how to gain a healthy relationship with food in a safe, caring environment.

Addressing Deeper Issues

Disordered Eating or Food Addiction

When it comes to disordered eating vs. food guilt, it is important to realize that you do not necessarily have an issue with disordered eating simply because you are feeling guilty about what you eat, but it is also true that such guilt can be a symptom of a deeper issue.

According to an article on the website Very Well Health, “disordered eating refers to a range of irregular eating behaviors. Some behaviors include restricting the amount of food one eats, compulsive eating, and overly restricting the types of food one eats.”

Some signs of disordered eating patterns are:

  • Restricting or minimizing the amount of food eaten
  • Severely limiting the types of food eaten
  • Eating compulsively or binge eating regardless of hunger
  • Fixation on body image
  • Extreme preoccupation with weight and dieting
  • Withdrawing from social eating activities

If you suspect you might have a disordered eating issue, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help, counseling, and treatment.

Body Image and Self-Worth

When talking about body image in Christianity, it is very important to remember that God loves you regardless of your appearance, as stated clearly in 1 Samuel 16:7:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

If God does not look at your outward appearance, then you should try to redirect your focus from the external to your internal character and spiritual growth. Instead, learn how to honor God with your body

FAQ’s About How To Stop Feeling Guilty After Eating

How do I stop feeling guilty after eating sweets?

Remember, you have freedom in Christ, so try to counter guilt with grace, drawing on biblical truths to remind you of God’s grace and food freedom. In addition, let go of definitions of “good” or “bad” and try to practice intuitive eating as a Christian, paying attention to what your body says you need rather than food expectations and rules.

How do I find balance between healthy eating and enjoying food in Christ?

Bring to mind all the Bible verses about food you have read above, and remind yourself that God gave you food to bless you. Especially consider 1 Timothy 4:4-5 as a guide to healthy eating and self-care, because it shows how to prioritize good health through balanced eating with gratitude for what God has given.

What are some Bible verses to combat food guilt?

Psalm 107:9, Mark 7:15, 1 Corinthians 10:23, 31, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

How can I stop feeling guilty for breaking my diet, from a Christian perspective?

As soon as you begin feeling guilty about a food choice, go to God with it, seek His forgiveness, and ask for help in learning to have a healthy relationship with food. Then remind yourself of the three ways in Christ listed above for finding balance with food and learning to stop feeling guilty.

It seems fitting to conclude with a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s grace and a request for His help:

Heavenly Father, 

Thank you for providing good things for my sister to eat and enjoy. Thank you that you give freedom from food guilt through your grace and forgiveness, and that a healthy relationship with food is possible.

Bring joy and peace to my sister, and a release from guilt and shame. Help her as she reframes her relationship with food, challenges guilt with grace, and seeks support from the Christian community. Give her victory in her journey to stop feeling guilty after eating.

Amen!
A woman eating a healthy food with a text overlay that reads as How to Stop Feeling Guilty After Eating - 3 Ways in Christ.

More Resources To Help You Stop Feeling Guilty After Eating

How To Deal With Stress Eating For Women

A Weight Loss Prayer for Food Obsession

What Does The Bible Say About Comparing Yourself To Others?

Powerful Prayer for Gluttony to Stop Overeating