The word deprivation has a terrible connotation…well and denotation for that matter. When do you ever hear that word and think of something positive? Sleep deprivation, emotional deprivation, sensory deprivation, deprivation of liberty…..none of these things are positive. In fact, one could accurately label them as not only negative but even harmful. Why then is it any surprise at all that when someone goes on a diet and they start listing off the “no-no’s”, then they feel deprived and eventually fall off the bandwagon?? If deprivation is bad and I am feeling deprived, then the logical thought would be I need to stop doing whatever it is I am doing. To me, especially as a therapist, it would make perfect sense for someone to eventually give up on anything if their mentality or perspective is that they are feeling deprived. No one likes to feel deprived—it is pretty uncomfortable.
So if a diet is merely deprivation of all things that taste good and look good, then failure is an inevitable path. Clearly I have conjured up much scientific evidence to support my opinions here today….are you liking all my links to outside resources?? Ha! Seriously, back to the meat here….if diets = deprivation then diets are stupid. Diets are stupid. Don’t diet, just make healthy choices!
If we are wanting to be successful in our healthy eating endeavors then we need to keep our perspective or “filter” in check. Instead of looking at food or beverages as Yes or No, start using filters like “what is best for me today”, “which will make me feel better” or “what does my body need” — Not only are these filters more positive in general, you are increasing your own self-awareness with regard to your food intake. If I look at a cookie and think “No, you can’t have that cookie.” then the rebellious side of me would want the cookie even more….but if I look at a cookie and think “does my body need this?”, then I can easily answer that question (No) and move on. We have to find a system of filters that work best, to help us reach our unique goals as individuals. If you are running around, eating clean and constantly wishing that you could swing through your favorite fast food joint and munch down on a burger and french fries then you may need to change your filter. Don’t let your feelings of “deprivation” be the thing that keeps you from consistently making healthy choices. Changing your filter, changes your habits, which can change your life!