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