I went out for lunch on Saturday and ordered a sandwich that came with bacon and French fries. I haven’t had fries in ages and love them. So I ate them. Every single one of them! No guilt at all. I try to eat healthy most of the time but enjoy unhealthy splurges occasionally. My main concern is to not let unhealthy eating spiral out of control.

I don’t eat healthy to lose weight. I do it because I love me and want to be healthy as an act of self-love.

The next day I went for brunch with some friends. I ordered something healthier than the day before and said to someone, “I’m being a good girl today since I ate unhealthy yesterday.” He looked at me like I had 2 heads and then challenged my use of “good girl.” He knows I’m a confident woman who is comfortable with my eating and questioned why I referred to myself as a good girl for eating healthier. Was I a bad girl the day before for eating bacon and fries?

Wow! It hit me hard! This was a perfect example of why I call myself a Recovering DoorMat!

Old habits die hard. Using good girl is a residual from my DoorMat days—an automatic response to something I should or shouldn’t do—a childlike response going back to the past. I rarely do that and my friend picked up on it right away as it was so unlike my usual attitude. He reminded me I was a good girl the day before too. And I was! I had a craving for a club sandwich with bacon and fries and ate it. I no longer have the craving and enjoyed my meal thoroughly.

Too often we judge ourselves too harshly for not being perfect.

I pride myself on eating healthy. In my DoorMat days I had no willpower. I was often a “bad girl” for my food habits. Self-hatred makes it easier to call yourself names like I did. It originated with all the messages about body image and the importance of being thin. As a child I was chastised by extended family for my eating. My parents didn’t limit my eating but at gatherings, there was always someone telling me not to have the dessert or potatoes or I’d get fat and no guy would want me. As I got older I associated eating unhealthy foods with being a bad girl.

Many of us feel guilt or shame about eating something fattening or unhealthy. That’s why there are so many sneak eaters.

I was thrilled that my friend stopped my good girl/bad girl thoughts. I laughed as it hit me. After coming so far from DoorMatville, I’m not perfect, and that’s perfectly okay! My friend was right—I’m always a good girl, even if I make choices that aren’t the best for me or do things others don’t like. Loving myself allows self-forgiveness and tolerance. After all, I truly choose to be my own best friend and I’d never treat a best friend like that!

Be careful about how you let other people’s values affect the attitude you treat yourself with! Be your own best friend instead and shield yourself with kinder words.

Practice self-love as much as you can. It’s the greatest defense against seeing yourself as a bad girl or guy for making a choice that wouldn’t be viewed as the best but it was something you wanted. Splurges that make you happy are loving, not something to feel bad about. I’m glad I had my sandwich with fries and will have them again when I’m in the mood. Self-love keeps me from getting into the mood for unhealthy foods too often.

Love yourself enough to cut yourself slack and keep a positive view no matter what you do!

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