Never experience food guilt again

Why do we feel guilty for perfectly reasonable acts?

Kaki Okumura
5 min readApr 26


Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

Sometimes I overeat, and it’ll leave me feeling, well, not too great about myself.

Maybe I was feeling particularly stressed out, and wanted to comfort myself. Maybe I was just bored, and out of habit I just started snacking on something.

As an imperfect person (as I assume all people are) there are many moments where I will sometimes eat something that doesn’t make me feel my best. I feel a little guilty.

But what to do with these emotions? Well perhaps it’s helpful to reflect on why we feel guilt in the first place.

Why we feel guilt

According to Psychology Today, we feel guilt when we do something we feel we shouldn’t have (or the opposite, which is to fail to do something we should have). And while uncomfortable, it can help provide a strong motivation to apologize, correct a wrong, and behave responsibly in the future.

Which is great if you’ve actually done something wrong– but guilt is a helpful emotion if you murdered someone, not if you enjoyed a slice of strawberry shortcake.

Finding humor in how wrong we are

I’ve recently been practicing treating my emotions as suggestions, rather than the truth — something that is sometimes helpful, but other times it’s no more than dasoku.

And what is dasoku? It’s a little cheeky, but it’s a Japanese word which directly translates to “snake’s legs” — meaning, pretty useless.​

Dasoku (蛇足) = Pretty useless

It’s a thought that never fails to make me smile a bit– not all of our emotions are helpful, and often they can be completely wrong. Sometimes they’re as useful as giving a snake some legs.

What is not useful, maybe we can let go



Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: 🌱