I used to be the queen of deprivation. I used to think that was the best way to get what I wanted, not just with my weight, but also when it came to spending money – with everything – but now I realize I was so wrong.
I can remember every time I started a new diet I would pretend I was happy about it when I was really miserable inside. When I’d be out, or at work, I’d look around at what everybody else was eating and despite salivating I’d think okay, once I get this weight off, I’m gonna down a whole box of cookies, but first, I need to lose the weight so for the next two months I’m not going to eat any cakes, candies or cookies or anything else I like to eat, and then I will.
Looking back, I think to myself, “How much sense did that make?” I mean honestly. It’s utterly insane yet I did it all the time. Sometimes as often as every few weeks! I used to come up with these crazy rules too, i.e. I would start a diet at 1pm on a Friday and I had until 1 pm four Fridays from that Friday to lose ten pounds. There was no strategy in place mind you, I just had to achieve the goal by that date.
Then, another time, in an effort to not deprive myself, I went on the all pudding diet, where the only thing I could eat was pudding, which you can imagine after so much pudding, you don’t want any more pudding. That completely backfired.
One reason it did backfire though was because I was in fact depriving myself, just in another way. I wasn’t getting any greens or protein or good fats so my body starting sending me signals to force me to start eating other foods, which, in my mind, translated to failure because I couldn’t stick to just eating pudding.
I also used to suffer from anxiety as a kid and young adult and when my anxiety would peak, I couldn’t eat, which I saw as a good thing because I’d always lose weight. Sometimes my panic attacks lasted weeks or even months, and I’d always drop fat, so that was one strategy I used to lose weight too, but it’s not one I would recommend. In fact, none of these are! They’re silly ideas we come up with when we get desperate.
Chronic dieters are commonly known for depriving themselves, which just sets them up for failure because the state of deprivation causes your body to think you’re in starvation mode, as if you’re on a desert island, so it slows down metabolism, shuts off fat burning, and stores fat. So starving yourself by depriving yourself doesn’t work either.
I was programmed from a very young age, as most of us are, that there are certain food rules that we must follow in order to lose weight and one of them is to deprive ourselves of all the foods we love. We begin to believe that it’s absolutely essential to the process and if we fail at depriving ourselves, then we fail at weight loss and I can tell you that from my own experience that nothing could be further from the truth.
For starters, I don’t know how to deprive myself. I am just not good at it. When I want something, I want it and there is no stopping me, so I get it. I don’t think about the money, I don’t think about how fat it’s going to make me, I don’t think about what anybody thinks. I just get it.
And the same goes for food because if I tell myself no, I’ll just keep thinking about whatever it is I want. My desire for it isn’t going to miraculously just go away. It’s not going to disappear and go b’ bye just because I use my willpower to make it go away.
So I eat it, and I’m not fat. I don’t eat heaping handfuls of whatever it is, but I eat it, but if you want to know a secret, the truth is sometimes I do binge on it and overeat, and I’m still not fat.
Because there are times when I overeat or binge eat, because I have my moments like everyone else, but I’m not fat. It’s not all day everyday like it once was. Not even close. But I do and I just let it go. I figure that I either didn’t eat a balanced meal last time I ate so I got too hungry, or it’s so good that I eat beyond being satiated, or I’m avoiding something – whatever the case may be. And so what? I’m not perfect. None of us are. But I’m in much more control that I would be if I tried to deny myself and not eat whatever it is I’m craving.
When I left my job, I virtually stopped binge eating and overeating altogether. It became practically nonexistent because I stopped hating my life. I started to live with passion, and began loving what I do, and my focus became my work vs food so I now know that when I do binge or overeat, it just means something is off, physically or emotionally, and I fix it and move on.
I look for the reasons behind my actions and determine what made me react that way, without self-judgement, because I love food and I am not about to go through life not eating food that makes me happy. Because it does. It just does. Food is one of the greatest pleasures we have so it doesn’t make sense to.
We have a skewed view on pleasure in our society anyways, in that something that brings us pleasure should make us feel guilty. I’d love to know who came up with that.
One caveat I have though about what I eat is that it is the highest quality food. Organic, hormone free, gluten free, dairy free food. Low sugar and raw when possible. Those are my food rules.
By eating this way, there is never a need for me to feel guilty and I don’t feel deprived.
When you deprive yourself, you just wind up way worse off because it becomes an obsession and when you finally do give in (because you will), your binges will last for weeks, sometimes years, so just let yourself have it now, just upgrade the quality of your food and balance it out. That way you’ll never feel like you’re missing anything and you’ll take your focus off the food on your plate and put it on non-food forms of food such as inspiring work, quality relationships, or moving your body in ways that you love.
When you do that, you’ll be fed in ways that food itself could never feed you.
If your New Year’s Resolutions have already become a thing of the past, then join me for more secrets to natural weight loss on Wednesday, January 25th @8pm EST/5pm PST for my FREE CALL: How to Make 2012 Your Year to Lose BIG and Gain Calm, Confidence and Clarity