Effects of guilt on our health and weight loss goals

I am one of the many females that have had some serious negative self talk about their weight and and correlated it with self worth which has often led to feelings of guilt from eating. I beat myself up because I think I know what I need to do so I set some tight restrictions and then when I fail I am full of guilt, shame and self hate. I have tried many a fad diet and had many an internal chat about tomorrow being a new day, or tomorrow’s the day when I make it happen, but here I am, at the same weight I’ve pretty much always been at for the last 10 years.

I work out often, I eat pretty healthy, I sleep around 7 hours consistently a night, don’t smoke or drink alcohol – why am I am not honed to perfection then?

Let’s be honest, there will be loads of factors affecting an individuals ability to lose or put on weight and I can’t go into them all, but I think guilt and it’s effect is an important one to discuss.

Guilt is fuelled by negative thinking. There have been numerous studies conducted that illustrate the affects of positive and negative thinking on how our bodies operate. An article from the Institute of Psychology for Eating has found that how you respond to food impacts how your body digests it. When you see a food you are about to eat and associate it with guilt, this sends messages to the brain and in turn sends signals to the digestive system that create an inhibitory response. So, whatever it is you are eating doesn’t get fully metabolised. It can then remain in your digestive system longer, and this diminishes the amount of good gut bacteria and increases unhealthy toxins being moved into the blood stream. Not only this, but the guilt can also cause an increase in insulin and cortisol production which in turn causes more of the food to be stored as fat. Plus increases in cortisol and adrenaline can increase heart rate, blood pressure and inflammation through the body.

Adding weight to this are further studies. In the Netherlands a study showed those that felt guilty after eating dessert foods were at more risk of eating more junk good and larger serving sizes as well as snacking more on junk food throughout the day.

Another study that monitored women participating in a weight loss program saw correlation between shame, self-criticism and and social comparison having a negative impact on their self regulation with weight loss. It caused an increase in disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger. It also saw that positive self assurance and social comparisons had a positive impact on their weight loss prior to the survey.

So, on the flip side of all that guilt as you can imagine, treating that same meal with a positive mentality can completely change how the body deals with it as you eat.

I know how negative those diets I put myself through were, when I look back now. All of these rules – do this, don’t do that create lots of restrictions. As a result you are setting yourself up for failure. As soon as you eat a banned food you feel guilty. Whereas positive association and reward are more effective. When you delight in the meal you are consuming your body sends signals to the brain and then the digestive system that stimulate your digestive organs. So, your food gets broken down properly and the calories get burned more effectively.

I want this article to reinforce our need to be kinder to ourselves in the society we live in where constant shallow comparisons based largely on aesthetics have been made too easy.

Try paying attention to that inner voice and begin with a 3 day ban on internal and/or external negative self talk. Then extend it out from there to a week, 2 weeks, etc. and just keep going. When you have a moment of guilt/negativity about yourself just try and silence it and think of a positive statement to counteract it’s power.

5 small steps you can take to overcome stress:

  • Eat right

Stress has a big impact on our blood flow and blood pressure. There are certain foods that contain nutrients that aid the blood flow around the body so can be great for times of stress. These include Omega 3s, vitamin E and polyphenols. Foods that contain these nutrients include blueberries and dark chocolate. Omega 3’s are found in oily fish as well as sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocado. To find those polyphenols you can look to consume your green leafy vegetables including kale and red peppers! Gut health is another one to pay attention to – there have been studies showing a link between gut health and brain function so think about consuming foods like beans, vegetables and cereals which are high in fibre.

  • Meditate

Just 10 minutes a day is all you need to put aside for some meditation and it’s a great one for stress reduction as well as reducing anxiety, improving your cardiovascular health and allowing some relaxation time in your busy day. A simple starting point is apps such https://www.calm.com which can guide you through some meditation. Alternatively speak to your employer about our service Hvnter Wellbeing – we can offer meditation sessions in your workplace alongside yoga and fitness, or just as a stand alone.

  • Minimise social media for as long as possible

Try and delay checking your social media when you first wake up and for as long as possible. There have been multlple studies showing checking emails first thing can increase stress. Often checking social media apps tricks your mind into concentrating on thinking about all the things you have missed out on since you went to sleep. Plus it can also cause you to ruminate on the future rather than remaining in your present which often triggers stress.

Great ways to avoid this habit are:

  1. Deleting your social media apps before you go to bed each night then reinstalling them later in the day
  2. Charging your phone overnight on the opposite side of the room or a different room altogether – and if you say you need it for your alarm – go out and buy an alarm clock!
  3. Turning off push notifications so you don’t receive alerts from posts
  • Reduce caffeine intake

This is not just limited to coffee but also fizzy drinks, and energy drinks. Yes caffeine can make you feel more alert in small doses but too much can add to your stress. Our bodies naturally release cortisol when we are stressed to combat it. When you add coffee into the mix as well you are increasing the amount of cortisol in the body as coffee causes more cortisol production. Cortisol increases the sugar production in your body and over time excess sugar causes insulin to be released and this can lead to inflammation which can then pave the wave for chronic disease. Furthermore coffee inhibits the body’s absorption of the calming amino acid Adenosine – this amino acid tells the brain when we need to sleep and lower our energy levels, hence the sleepless nights!

  • Find your 15 minutes

Make some time for yourself – it can be just 15 minutes, screen free, to enjoy something that brings you joy and relaxes you. It can be meditation but it can be other things as well – going for a run, reading a book, cooking etc. Even with a busy family life, you need to make time for yourself and this can be a great aid to stress reduction.

5 ways to make your resume more effective

Keep it brief

From my experience, both recruiters and hiring managers are short on time, and receiving numerous resumes from various sources. They want to have a resume that summarises your relevant experience succinctly and eloquently. Keep it to 2 pages maximum and know that you can elaborate in an interview. Old and irrelevant information first will just minimise your chances so make sure that first page is demonstrating your aptitude for the specific job you have applied to and is up to date.

Keep it simple

You don’t need fancy resumes with crazy drawings and unnecessary fluff to get a hiring managers attention and sometimes it can do the exact opposite. Keeping it clear and punchy will be far more affective than dramatic colours and pictures. Readable font is key, keep your margins around 1.15 to 1.5, and if you choose to use a template, make sure you get rid of sections if they just aren’t relevant to you.


Make sure you can back up your claims with real life experiences. If you say you have a skill, show evidence of it. It’s easy to say you can handle million dollar projects, but tell us where and what you have done to substantiate that claim. Employers are more responsive to measurable proven value!

Sing out your achievements

Sometimes people find it hard writing about their own success but it’s really important to highlight relevant achievements to the job you are applying for. This can be tough deadlines reached on time, awards, delivering projects under budget etc. I often find it effective to have an achievements section under each relevant position you have held, but even a separate section dedicated to career achievements can be an effective way to document this, especially if you have had an extensive career.

Proof read and edit

This is often your first impression on a a potential employer. I know countless clients that have discounted candidates based on misspelling and confused resumes because they see it as a reflection of your level of care amongst other things. Get a friend or a trusted mentor to re read it if you are unsure, as sometimes a set of fresh eyes makes all the difference.


By Tania Graham-Brown

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

Shel Silverstein

I was thinking about what to write on my first ever blog post and a few things came to mind but a theme that I have been coming back to again and again when interacting with others recently has been that of hope.

I am currently holed up on a beautiful island on the far eastern side of Indonesia, basking in sunshine and turquoise waters, whilst trying to tame the waves, grow my confidence, quieten my fears, build my own business, whilst learning and absorbing as much as I can from others and myself as I go.

Not a small feat by any means when I think about it 🙂

On the whole I have been extremely fortunate enough to meet people that have an innate ability to see the best in things and others, and remain hopeful about the world we live in and the possibility for positive change and a better way. Every now and again I do meet those that have lost their hope, sometimes painting themselves as being a ‘realist’, and that negative energy, if you’re not careful, can be as contagious as its antithesis.

I feel somewhat lucky that on the whole, bar one or two brief interludes, I have always maintained the mindset that there is hope. I also feel strongly that every small gesture, word, action, good intent, makes a difference and that difference is of great value. We all know firsthand how it can take one comment, one smile, one gesture, to completely transform your outlook, mood, and whole day (even week/month).

So as I enter into the coming months of travel and then the life I am creating in front of me back in my home of New Zealand, I am bringing that hope with me into my interactions.

If I turn to surfing – a sport I have been grappling with for the last 3-4 years, it acts a great example. I didn’t grow up in the water as a child and only found it in my mid to late 20’s. How many times have I inwardly berated my parents for not taking me for surf lessons as a kid holidaying in Cornwall when I had little to no fear. Yet here I am 4 years later, still trying and still seeing hope in one day feeling like I have cracked it. In all the moments I have got frustrated, shamed, upset, angry at myself for falling, not taking the wave that I could have made, chickening out on going out at all, there have been those where I have gone out and I have given it a go, I did make the wave and OH THAT FEELING. This might sound cliche but I know surfers definitely do empathise, that feeling is worth a million tumbles, a million hold downs (kind of), and a million moments of frustration. The weightlessness, the pure elation, there is nothing quite like it. That is what gives me hope, that is what brings me back each time I lose my way with it and that’s enough.

Now I turn in my mind to this business I am creating. I have definitely had moments of doubt. Am I good enough to do this on my own, have I bitten off more than I can chew, is anyone going to take me seriously, am I trying to do too much? These questions have rolled over in the chasm of my mind more than once and probably will continue to do so for a while longer but that’s ok. I think it’s healthy to question yourself and this can help keep your values and motivations at the forefront of your mind and stay on track with your purpose. For all those moments of doubt I have come into contact with individuals who I tell my story to, alongside my vision for my business and time and time again they reinforce for me that I am doing the right thing and that I can make an impact, that there is hope.

I love connecting with people and working in recruitment has allowed me to connect with people AND connect people. How lucky am I?! In this next phase of my journey I can not only continue to do that but also utilise those connections to make a difference – on people’s health and on the environment. I LOVE health and wellbeing. I have felt the impact on my own mental and physical health of good exercise, eating nourishing whole foods (and the impact of the not so nourishing), mindfulness and getting outside and connecting with nature.

Hvnter Wellness

It’s so easy to get absorbed into your working life and the craziness of having a family and friends to support that you forget to look after yourself properly. I have met so many clients who tell me that they get the bus or drive to work, work through their lunch, get the bus/drive home, complete their home chores/make dinner and go to bed. They eat quick and convenient food, rather than concentrating on the most nourishing and rarely move – and this is in New Zealand where there is beauty in nature all around us and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. I want to help individuals prioritise their health and make small positive steps to being healthier – both in mind and body. You can change at any point, it’s never too late and there is always hope – you just need the right support network and knowledge, plus sometimes a little kick up the butt 🙂 and you’ll be amazed by the impact.

Hvnter Environment

Furthermore, we are so lucky to live in a country like New Zealand and travelling is a great way to really appreciate that. Looking at our infrastructure in comparison to countries in Indonesia for example, help me to realise that we have no excuse not to be doing more to keep our environment clean and lessen our negative impact. The more time you spend in nature the more you want to nurture it and so for me it was a no brainer adding a service to my business that allows me to work with companies to DO BETTER.

It would be easy to get caught up in it all and say there isn’t hope any more, so why bother? Let’s silence that voice and turn up the volume of hope.

A recent article wrote in the New York Times wrote ”The world is getting hotter faster, the World Meteorological Organization concluded in its latest report Sunday, with the five-year period between 2014 and 2019 the warmest on record. Emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming when it is pumped into the atmosphere, are at record highs. The seas are rising rapidly. The average global temperature is 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than what it was in the mid-19th century, and at the current pace, average global temperatures will be 3 degrees Celsius higher by the end of this century.

“I will not be there, but my granddaughters will, and your grandchildren, too,” the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said in his opening remarks. “I refuse to be an accomplice in the destruction of their one and only home.”

We can make a difference to these issues – we can reduce cars on the road, we can lessen our consumption of products that we don’t need that are guzzling up damaging fuels and causing absurd amounts of green house gas emissions, lower our water consumption, recycle more effectively and MORE. Let’s focus on what we can do, rather than what we can’t!

I hope that I can make a difference with Hvnter but even if it all were to fail I am content with knowing I tried and approached it with the best of intentions. I also know that no matter what, the amount I have learnt about myself (and others) along the way make it a worthy setback on my own personal journey.

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

Paul Coelho – The Alchemist