Avoiding Deprivation

The dieting and weight loss worlds can be full of “NO’s“.

• Don’t eat this.

• Don’t do that.

• Not too much of that.

It’s really easy to find yourself in the deprivation mode. I know it happened to me, not only during my countless unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, but also during my successful time when I lost 150+ pounds. Some would argue that a little deprivation is a good thing, but I’m not sure I agree with that statement. What do you think?

For me, what happened when I attempted to completely deprive myself of a certain food or activity was this: I began to want that food more and more each day. And the more I thought about the food the more I wanted it, and the more I wanted it the more I thought about it. Until finally I cracked. I didn’t just eat 2 or 3 cookies, but instead I made six dozen chocolate chip cookies and ate at least half of them the minute they came out of the oven. Even as I was eating them I know I should stop but just couldn’t. And after I reached the point of feeling a bit ill the guilt would set in.

Why had I done that,” I’d silently say to myself. “Why couldn’t I resist the lure of chocolate cookies?”

Everyone reacts differently to situations, but I realize that I had deprived myself of something to the point where I could no longer approach it rationally. Instead, it became all I wanted to eat. Even as I was chewing through a salad, or walking down my neighborhood street I thought of cookies (or whatever). I had to have it. So I did.

During my successful weight loss year I allowed myself to say no to chocolate for about the first month or so of my journey. I chose to do this because I honestly was addicted to chocolate. So a “cooling off” period was definitely in order. During that first month I didn’t feel deprived because I wasn’t eating chocolate, rather I felt myself becoming more in control over my feelings concerning that particular food. And after the first month or so I ate a little bit of chocolate here and there as I desired it.

For me, deprivation backfired every single time. I declared a moratorium on chips and crackers but that backfired in a big way. So I learned to incorporate things I wanted in the proper portions, thus allowing myself to feel as though I really could eat anything I wanted to without blowing my attempt at weight loss. And it worked.

And that’s still have I live my life. There are times where I say, “I’m not going to eat any sweets this week,” and I’ll follow through on that, but for the most part, I choose carefully what I eat, and eat what I love. Of course my tastes have changed over the years and I truly desire healthier foods now than I did even five or six years ago.

What are your thoughts on depriving yourself? Do you see any benefits to it? Perhaps in the area of self-control or increased willpower, or is there no room for deprivation in your diet?  Diane

55 thoughts on “Avoiding Deprivation

  1. Fran says:

    I’ve had periods in which I said to myself: you can’t have this or that and that always resulted in eating too much of the stuff that wasn’t in my eating plan.

    The journey I’m on now allows me to eat everything but less, especially chocolate f.e. And knowing I can eat everything but I don’t have to eat it makes it much more easier this time. Sure I fail every now and then, like last weekend, but overall I’m doing okay.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Monday January 25th 2010 =-.

  2. Marcelle says:

    I saw this comment you made after I made mine..

    That weight will come right off because you know you didn’t eat an extra 14000 calories! *3500 calories per pound* That would be a lot of food!

    3 500 calories are what you need to burn a week with your workouts to lose one pound…Not what you need to eat.
    I’m sorry if it didnt come across the way I meant it to be.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..Week 9 on new WW program =-.

  3. Laura Jane says:

    I really go back and for on this issue. At times, I think that I need completely avoid my most-loved, least healthy foods altogether. And I have done that successfully. (Successfully as in actually did avoid eating the food for a specified period of time, not that I think that was necessarily the right approach.) I went six weeks without any sweets or chocolate on a couple different occasions. I don’t really think it made me want to eat those foods less. However, when I did start eating them again, it did make a normal portion seem like a sufficient amount. I’ve also tried the eat a very small amount of chocolate (like 50 calories or so) daily, so you don’t feel deprived. Works for a few days until I eat another piece and another and so on. At the moment, I’m striving for moderation instead of saying no altogether.
    .-= Laura Jane´s last blog ..Weigh-in Results! =-.

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