08-09-2017 – Guilt Does Not Serve You

I was chatting to one of my beautiful 1:1 Online clients last night & she was absolutely beating herself up about ‘breaking out’ and eating half a block of chocolate on Saturday.


So aside from the fact that she only began her health and fitness evolution 2 weeks ago (and therefore couldn’t possibly have mastered each strategy and process associated with long term health / weight management), it was ONLY half a Kit Kat!!

So let’s try to put a few things into perspective here….. because I know so many women GUILT themselves in GIVING UP ON THEMSELVES…..

1) The total caloric value of the consumed portion of Kit Kat was approximately 250 calories (only).
2) She’d already achieved 12 days of EATING WELL and had successfully reduced her daily caloric intake by over 1000 cals per day…. which still provided a comfortable allowance of approximately 1400 cals per day! (Woohoo – awesome effort)!!
3) She’d also exercised several times during the preceding 2 weeks! (Yay – good work gorgeous)!!

Do YOU think 250 cals is worth throwing the rest of your life away on?? And seriously…. she’d literally ‘guilted’ and ‘shamed’ herself out to such an extent, that she was considering throwing the towel in…. AND her aspirations of learning how to effectively manage her health for the long term!!


1) Guilt does NOT serve us well!! Effectively it’s a form of punishment…. & punishment is typically used to extinguish undesirable behaviours. The problem with that is, that unless you’re a masochist, you’re unlikely going to continue punishing yourself & therefore you completely give up on wanting to extinguish the ‘undesirable’ behaviours to begin with!

#1 Point Being: It is what it is. It’s done. It can’t be undone. There’s no point investing time and negative emotion on something that you can NOT change.

Straighten that crown of yours Darlin’…. accept it, learn from it and MOVE ON. Tomorrow is a new day with a clean slate!!
2) Punishment can have even greater, unforeseen NEGATIVE impacts!! If we are using guilt as a form of punishment in the hope that we’ll extinguish our ‘undesirable’ behaviours, we may also begin to subconsciously develop self-sabotaging behaviours (to over compensate or ‘pay-back’ for the punishment that we’re giving ourselves). Examples may include (but not limited to): relaxing portion control, maybe having an extra glass of wine each night, perhaps not exercising to the required intensity, potentially making up excuses why you ‘can’t’ exercise or ‘must’ go out for dinner, or ‘have’ to have that second large cappuccino… etc, etc.

#2 Point Being: Punishment is not an effective behaviour modification strategy if the goal is to achieve a long term, sustainable result. Enduring changes in behaviour are better motivated through the reinforcement (praise, reward, encouragement), of ‘desired’ behaviours. Examples may include (but not limited to), focusing on all the days you DID eat well, or all the times you DID exercise!

Straighten that crown of yours Beautiful…. you deserve to feel proud of the AMAZING achievements you’re making on a daily basis!

3) The All-or-Nothing approach is NOT an effective strategy!! If we want to achieve long term, sustainable results in terms of our health / weight management, we need to approach it with a well aligned ‘cognitive compass’. It’s completely unreasonable and unrealistic to think that we’ll never eat chocolate (or whatever our particular little ‘delight’ is) EVER AGAIN. So why do we think that we can ‘never’ enjoy it when we’re still in the early days of our health and fitness evolution?

#3 Point Being: You absolutely CAN NOT deprive yourself of every ‘delight’ you desire. The sooner you learn to understand and appreciate their ‘place’ on your menu and the quicker you learn to proactively manage their consumption (in moderation)…. then the better the opportunity for ‘positive behaviour reinforcement’.

Straighten that crown of yours Gorgeous, it’s time to learn how to ‘proactively manage’…. not just ‘D-I-E-T’!!

So…. the moral of the story??

My 1:1 Online client is feeling a lot better about herself. She’s no longer feeling guilty…. she’s praising herself for all the achievements she’s made thus far (including the loss of 1.5kg)….. AND, she’s now proactively choosing a time, place and appropriate amount of her ‘delight’ to enjoy in moderation!


Cherie Rivas

The author Cherie Rivas

Cherie Rivas exquisitely applies psychology and personal training, together with her current studies in nutritional medicine, to resurrect and reinvigorate chronically over-burdened women who long to reconnect with their inner radiance, vitality, confidence & strength. Winner of a prestigious International Women’s Day Award & reformed, self-confessed ‘yo-yo dieter’, Cherie presents a suite of highly effective holistic wellness programs that are devised to bring women back to fullness in life through the three pillars of her coaching philosophy: fitness food & fortitude.

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