We've all seen ads like this one:
Diets can do that to you because they create a mindset of deprivation. Your list isn't of what you can eat, it's of what you can't eat. Carbs. Bread. Candy. Fried food. Pizza. When you're operating under the dieting mindset, it's totally normal that you're going to experience guilt when you "lose your willpower" or "cheat."
But, you guys, can we stop it? Please? Because the reality is, you make a lot of food choices every day: what time will you eat breakfast, what will you eat for breakfast, how much will you eat? Do you want to add condiments to your sandwich or sugar to your coffee? Making those choices, which you're pretty much going to have to make every day, shouldn't be stressing you out more than the real decisions you have to make in regards to your family, your job, or your friends.
You know what feeling guilty does to you? It makes you stressed out. It makes you emotional. And, if you're like 22-year-old-Jen-who-secretly-binge-ate, it probably makes you continue to make "bad" food choices.
The fact of the matter is, if you're making healthy choices 80% of the time, the other 20% isn't going to impact you. And, you're going to be motivated by how making healthier choices makes you feel. By adding more nourishing foods to your life, you're going to find yourself not craving the not so nourishing foods a whole lot less.
Diets don't work. They don't work because you cannot constantly live in a deprivation mindset. It's negative, it's counterproductive, and, gosh darnit, it's going to drive you crazy. Instead, take some advice from one of my favorite food documentaries, Hungry for Change, and focus on what you can add. More greens? More bananas? A smoothie full of fruits and veggies in the morning? Each of those things is going to make you feel great, and may even curb some of your cravings.
But if you want cookies or ice cream or pizza, eat it, and don't feel guilty about it. You're not "cheating" on a diet, you're making one of a hundred food choices you're going to make in a week as part of your healthy lifestyle. That's it.