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So Today You Were Bad

So today you were bad.

You ate an entire bowl of pasta and several pieces of bread. White bread.

Then you skipped your workout, and laid on the couch watching reality TV.

So today you were bad.

You ate two slices of cake after having three slices of pizza—even after the scale clearly showed a number you didn’t want to see.

So today you were bad.

You ate a cheat meal and then another cheat meal and then another one. And it was a bagel with full-fat cream cheese, and then a sandwich with cheddar cheese, and then full-fat ice cream. And then you had some chips and pretzels. And then something else.

So today you were bad.

You quit counting calories or carbs or macros or protein or points.

So today you were bad.

You ate fast food or a few doughnuts, or drank a super sweet iced coffee thing. And it was the extra large version. Or you ate something else that isn’t on your meal plan, and you feel awful. You feel as though you did something wrong, and your guilt is palpable and visceral and all-consuming.

So today you were bad, and tomorrow you’re going to be good. You’re going to eat clean, or try Whole30, or give up dairy or meat or sugar. No, maybe you’ll go vegan, or do the keto diet. Maybe you’ll try intermittent fasting, or that new shake program everyone seems to like. Maybe you’ll sign up for those workouts that promise to incinerate your calories and whittle down your waist.

Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you give yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever you like. Maybe you slowly savor those satisfying bites, whether they’re bites of pizza, pasta, fruit, salad, or a sundae.

Maybe you start viewing your big appetite, your love of food as a gift, because food “is one of the greatest pleasures in life.”

Maybe you move your body in ways that you actually enjoy, which tomorrow might mean restorative yoga, and the next day might mean taking a dance class, and the day after that might mean stretching before bed, and the day after that might mean taking a walk on the beach, and the day after that day might mean lifting weights because it feels empowering (not because you want to shrink yourself).

Maybe you throw out your scale, taping a Post-It note on your bathroom mirror with this beautiful quote from Geneen Roth from Women, Food and God: “It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale.”

Maybe you throw out those diet books, or unfollow anyone who promotes “wellness,” which really means weight loss, which really means restriction, obsession, and a self-worth that’s inextricably intertwined with your weight. Which is a false and dangerous narrative to peddle. Because those “success stories” of weight loss, of increased energy and happiness and (emotional, mental, physical) health gloss over the real truth: That increased energy and happiness and(emotional, mental, physical) health are not the result of weight loss.

In fact, it’s the opposite. Increased energy, happiness, and (emotional, mental, physical) health are found in freedom. That is, they are the result of being free, from the shackles of a scale, from the shackles of a diet or meal plan (or whatever the latest trendy term is), from the shackles of having to be a certain size or shape for the summer, or your wedding, or some other significant event.

That is, when we give up dieting, when we stop living based on someone else’s rules, when we stop letting others dictate what our days look and feel like, we become free. We stop feeling bad and thinking that we’re bad because of something we ate or didn’t eat. We are automatically absolved of any guilt or shame, because there are no rules to follow or break.

And here’s the thing: You deserve that freedom. You deserve to be free. All you have to do is remove the handcuffs. You’ve always had the key.

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

So Today You Were Bad

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2019). So Today You Were Bad. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 Jun 2019
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