Anyone that has ever been on a diet – regardless of the extremity of said regimen – knows the concept of food guilt. It’s when you “cheat” and eat the food item that is on your no-no list. If you’re on an Atkins diet, that’s any type of carb: pasta, rice, fruit, etc. If you’re on the Paleo diet, that’s anything processed and beans: peanuts, soy, milk, etc. If you’re on a low calorie diet, it’s basically anything that tastes good.
Today, I’m experiencing some pretty severe food-guilt. You see, I’ve been doing this quasi-vegetarian thing for several weeks and I’ve been feeling really good about myself. I haven’t really been doing it as a weight loss regimen; I’ve been primarily doing it because I was feeling bad about eating so many cute, fuzzy little animals. I know, I know – I’m silly. But, as I’ve said in previous posts, I have a hard time differentiating between my adorable 8lb Chihuahua and a 10 lb baby piglet. Both are equally inquisitive, furry, and adorable. With that in mind, eating copious amounts of meat has been a moral dilemma for some time. I finally just decided to throw in the towel and dive back into the world of tofu and beans again.
With that being said, I fell off of the wagon today. You see, there is a little sandwich shop walking distance from my office. It’s owned by the nicest little Indian couple in the world. In addition to offering the basics – you know, sandwiches, burgers, etc – they also have daily specials which are frequently hand-prepared dishes of Moroccan, Indian, and African influence. They’ve had exotic soups, killer falafels, and mouth-watering curries. One thing they have on the menu frequently is a dish called: Chicken Tikka. It’s a yogurt marinated chicken served over basmati rice, which includes salad and naan. Before I dove back into the vegetarian world, this was quickly becoming my favorite meal.
I’ve managed, quite successfully, to avoid this delicious temptation for weeks. A few coworkers have gotten it and I’ve managed to avoid the delicious scent wafting my direction, happily munching my salad instead.
Today, however, I caved. And I caved HARD.
Not only did I order this delectable dish, I ate all of it within minutes. Pretty sure I didn’t even fully chew the chicken – I just swallowed it whole. To top it off, I followed the meal with half a Snickers bar [ah!] and a piece of beef jerky. Really, Tori? Beef jerky?
So, at the moment, I’m wallowing in a bit of food guilt. Granted, it could have been much worse – I could have sat down to deep-fried pigs feet or something atrocious – but still, I’m not happy with myself.
I realize that food guilt is NOT a healthy emotion nor is it worthwhile. That doesn’t make it go away, though. Whatever diet I’m on results in the constant threat of potential food guilt. So why, exactly, do we do this to ourselves?
Perhaps, somewhere deep inside us, we like to feel guilty once in a while. The remorse is so painful that it keeps us on the straight and narrow the majority of the time, primarily we don’t want to feel that sucky again for a long time. The food guilt makes us stick to our diet plan at least a few days longer. Right?
I think I might be stretching here. The food guilt has made my brain malfunction.
Tikka or death!