The night before starting a diet, have you ever eaten like it was your last feast? I know I have.
There were many times I imagined never, ever being able to eat cake, chocolate and ice cream again. Because of this, I must consume as much of it right now before the food is off limits – FOREVER!
When we think this way, we start to feel deprived even before we start depriving ourselves.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about being disconnected from your body and how that leads to overeating.
Now I am going to talk about deprivation, the other reason you overeat.
Technically, to deprive yourself means to withhold something from you.
Whether you have dieted or not, I am sure you have withheld a certain food, or food group at one point in your life.
Let’s take chocolate for example? Maybe you have decided to not eat chocolate because you are trying to lose weight. When you make that choice to remove chocolate from your life, what is the one thing you always notice? Chocolate, right?
It’s like you can’t get away from it! And every time you see chocolate you are probably thinking that it really sucks you can’t have it.
Then one day you find yourself stressed out, or upset. What’s the one thing you really want? Chocolate…And since you have been keeping it from yourself, you decide to allow yourself this one exception and eat as much chocolate as you can get your hands on. Until you feel sick.
This cycle of depriving yourself, then overeating to make up for the deprivation is a vicious cycle and leads to yo-yo dieting.
When I started changing my relationship with food, it was really scary to think that I didn’t need to deprive myself. After all, it worked once and a while. But it always made me obsess about the thing I couldn’t have, to the point where I would overeat other stuff to try to fill the void of the food I wasn’t allowing myself to eat.
This really is a mindset thing. You have a list of things in your head that you probably think you shouldn’t be eating. And if you diet, then you definitely have a list of foods that are off-limits!
In order to eliminate the deprivation mindset, you have to start noticing what foods you tend to think are off limits. Why do you think this? How do you feel when you think you can’t eat something? Does this feeling make you want to take positive action toward weight loss and health? Or does the feeling make you want to eat more?
Here’s an example for you:
Thought: I can’t eat chocolate if I want to lose weight
This thought causes me to feel: Deprived, bored, and agitated
When I feel deprived, bored, and agitated I: want to eat something else or give-up.
The result of this is: I eat chocolate and gain weight.
The result of gaining weight and eating chocolate just confirms your original thought that you can’t eat chocolate if you want to lose weight.
But yet, you will test yourself over and over again, not allowing yourself to eat chocolate, hoping for different results. Insane.
Now try this:
Thought: I can eat chocolate and still lose weight
This thought causes me to feel: happy and content
When I feel happy and content I: eat some chocolate here and there. I pass the candy bar aisle and either choose to have a candy bar, or decide that I don’t want one right now – because I can always have one later.
The result: I eat chocolate, lose weight, and don’t feel crazy around chocolate.
See how this thought could get you a different result?
Try it out for yourself. What is something you keep telling yourself you can’t have? What would happen if you allowed yourself to have it whenever you wanted it?
You may be surprised with the results. One thing is for sure, the less you deprive yourself and place rules around food, the better your relationship with food will be. You will also get yourself out of the diet/binge cycle, because who wants to live their life with that craziness!
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