Hey Readers 🖐️,
One of the most common problems with the “diets” that I assess from clients, is deprivation. That, and under or over eating.
But, for this blog, I want to talk about depravity and how it can, and probably will, if not already has, throw your whole “diet” into a downward spiral of hard work & misery.
I’m not here to bring a downer on you or “neg you out“, as they say. But I believe in being honest… Not just with my clients, but in all of my methods of sharing information.
I will say it as it is! 😁
We are probably all women here, and guys if you’re reading then – keep going, this applies to all 😊, but as the majority of my followers are female 🚺, I’ll talk woman to woman!
We’ve all been there, looked in the mirror, stepped on the scales or pulled on our favourite skinny jeans and felt a little bit shitty about our body. If you haven’t, well, then you are in a very small minority.
But as a result of how we feel about our body size or shape, we throw ourselves whole heartedly into some crazy diet plan that Jeanette from work did, when she lost 3stone for her wedding… 😬 🙄 Yeah, it worked for her, so of course it’s going to work for me! 😁
But, this crazy plan comes with some crazy tough outlines…:
- You Cannot drink alcohol!
- You Cannot eat any sugars!
- You can only eat things that are green!
- You must liquefy your breakfast & lunch
- You must drink 4 litres of water every day
- You Cannot eat any snacks or nibbles
- You can only eat solid food between 3pm & 5pm
- No carbs are permitted!
- No calories are to be consumed after 7pm
I mean, it sounds fool proof, right? Whoever created this “diet” must have been a genius! Short of sewing closed your mouth… It’s perfect!
Come on? Really? Reality Check!!!
Does anyone ever think that a “diet” like this is a good idea? Something that you would be able to stick with? Something that is it going to make you feel better or healthier?
You’ve probably noticed that I keep using inverted commas when I say “diet” – that because, wait for it…
DIETS DON’T WORK! FACT! END OF STORY!
There is no argument to have here, diets have an expiry date, at which point, inevitably, old habits return & so does the weight… And some!!!
But again, that’s a different topic! I’ll cover that more another day!
But back to the main point though.
“Diets” come with restrictions, some of which can be completely absurd, and it is these restrictions that have been causing the problems for the large majority of people.
By restricting yourself of ALL enjoyment and avoiding all of your favourite foods & drinks, you are basically causing a lot of inner arguments. These arguments sound a bit like a child asking for sweets…
“Can I have…”
“But I have been good!”
“But I really want…!”
Eventually, something cracks and whether it is today, tomorrow, the weekend or some time next week, the response gradually weakens, and changes to…
“No, but, oh just one! It won’t hurt!”
Have you ever heard yourself say “just one, it won’t hurt!”?
We all have, right?
But, was it just one? Did you maintain your self control or did you buckle and scoff a whole pack of chocolate digestives or jaffa cakes?
You see, depriving yourself of EVERYTHING will only make you feel worse – miserable, unhappy, unenthusiastic, demotivated, hungry, tired, bored, DEPRIVED and so on. From the very moment that you say…
“I can’t I’m on a diet“
There is only one thing swirling around in the back of your mind, only one thing that you want, only one thing that will settle the child like argument in your head! Satiate the cravings & urges and squash the unbearable temptation…. And that is…
The one thing that you Can’t have!!!
There is a lot of “psychology” going on in this one particular situation, and a great deal of it, is associated to the language that is being used (& your upbringing).
There is a lot of can’t! Not allowed! Not permitted! No, no, NO!
It’s all a bit, well, negative!
Plus, it all feels very restrictive, depriving and bloody hard work! It’s almost impossible to maintain, or build a good relationship with food when every thought surrounding it is negative.
So, we cave in to temptation, we binge eat the things we shouldn’t and we rebel, just as the child that always hears “no” would.
I mentioned psychology a moment ago, and that’s because it has been found that a child who is constantly or frequently refused a particular treat, let’s say chocolate in this instance, is likely to develop bad eating habits as an adult, and potentially over eat chocolate and sweets. Rebelling against their parents actions, even though the actions no longer affect them.
Similarly if a child is forced to eat their vegetables in order to receive a dessert, you know the line “Clear your plate or you don’t get pudding“, then they are also likely to develop an unhealthy food reward behaviour later in life – any act of discipline or action that they believe congratulatory, which includes “weight loss“, is rewarded with pudding.
But there is another problem, when we “binge“, we spark a new psychological issue, a new mental state😬, we simply feel like we have failed… Again! Another diet attempt that ended in tears. Another reason to not bother to try again. Another negative reaction to diets, so we start to feel as though we will NEVER achieve our goals, we are not “good enough” to be that person. So, we keep getting on and off the “diet merry-go-round” until something good happens, or we just give up all together.
But, and I speak from experience here… Don’t give up! Don’t get off of the Merry-Go round just yet, and here’s why…
You didn’t fail, you just signed up for something that was badly designed & designed to fail!
It’s flawed! It’s unsustainable and it’s just not going to work… EVER!
It’s tough right? We all want to see results immediately. We all want instant gratification and to feel like we have achieved something. So maybe we should actually measure our results and our efforts in a different way. Or at least in the initial stages of our journey.
How would it affect your attitude if every night you could go to bed satisfied. Knowing that you had achieved something? You knew that you had given your very best?
You’d feel pretty good, right? 😍 Strong, empowered, proud!
You could wake up each morning with a new found determination to be a little bit better, which would lead to even more efforts & inevitably better results.
I always tell my clients “1 day at a time – just be better today than you were yesterday, but not as good as you will be tomorrow!”
Slow & steady wins the race! 😁
But, how is this helping to overcome the sense of deprivation?
How can we prevent the self-sabotaging binges?
How can we stop ourselves from thinking of it all, as a diet?
It’s easy for me to sit hear, behind a computer screen and write out tips and advice (tappety tap tap), things are much easier said than done.
But, I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I’ve got the t-shirt and I understand how difficult it can be to change life long, learned habits & behaviours.
So, I look for ways to enjoy food, whilst maintaining a healthy diet and still managing to make changes to health and body shape. I transform my language and my mindset, in order to transform my “diet” behaviours.
For example, I use to love a Big Mac, so on one occasion, I actually chewed the food and tasted it. After a few seconds, once all the sauce had gone, I got my first real taste of the food. It was bland, tasteless, and not very nice. In fact, it tasted like cardboard.
I loved Cadbury’s Caramels, but one day I decided to tell myself that I don’t eat Chocolate, rather than I cannot have chocolate. This didn’t just stop me from eating Cadbury’s caramels, but stopped me eating all sorts of chocolates. And, I felt better for it, almost immediately.
I removed milk from my diet, I told myself I no longer drink it, because I linked it to bloating and suddenly, once removed, I stopped feeling bloated.
I stopped having sugar in my coffee! I stopped eating red meat as often (although I still have it sometimes), because the cows are pumped full or hormones & antibiotics which affect our hormones…. PLUS, my body is incredibly slow to digest it….
By finding a powerful enough reason to change something in your diet, you can DO IT. You just need to practise it, make it a habit, say no and feel empowered by that! And before long, you will feel better, clearer, stronger, healthier and more energetic, which will only fuel this behaviour change.
We all have weaknesses, we all experience temptations and we all just think “sod it” sometimes, but learning how to manage your eating habits without feeling deprived is going to change your body, your health and potentially your life!
So, if you are removing things from your “diet”, you need to have an effective replacement ready in the wings. And finding these isn’t too difficult.
So, here are some key pointers that I give to my clients to help them stay on track, happy, satisfied and above all progressing.
- The 90/10 Rule
Every day/week, aim for 90% good and 10% wiggle room. By this I mean that for 90% of the day or week, make the best possible choices in your food and exercise. Knowing that you have a small 10% window of “wiggle room” allows you to make some small hiccups or less than perfect decisions with minimal damage.
Some people save up their 10% for the weekend, whilst others choose to use it daily for a stress busting piece of chocolate or something else.
Obviously you don’t have to use the 10% if you don’t feel the need. Having that tempting treat won’t be as urgent, if you know that you are “allowed” some.
- Good Quality Swaps
Swapping out some of your less healthy food choices with a healthier alternative, can help to curb those pesky cravings, without the calories or processed chemicals. A few firm favourites are swapping tea to herbal tea, chocolate to dark chocolate and crisps to nuts.
Honestly, I do not expect every single person to be able to suddenly change habits over night, it takes time. But smaller changes are much easier to maintain.
A few of my personal changes have been:
- Milky to black coffee
- Tea to green tea or ginger tea
- Chocolate to a high protein, low sugar chocolate spread
- Bread to rye bread or crispbread
- Butter to olive oil/olive oil spread
I have also written a full blog on good alternatives, which you can read bout here: Healthy Swaps For your Unhealthy Choices!
- Reduced alcohol intake
This may be a tricky one for some people, but try to reduce the amount of alcohol that you consume.
If you have a glass of wine every night when you get home from work, try and make it every other night, and then every three nights. Keep building on this behaviour until you only drink a couple of glasses on a Friday or Saturday evening. And don’t try to make up for what you haven’t had during the week!!! Keep your intake low to moderate to avoid the hangover.
Alternatively, try and pour smaller measures, or use a smaller glass. OR by a smaller bottle!!!
If you are a beer drinker, try and go for a lower calorie beer, and similarly try to reduce your intake as I explained above with the wine. Buy Smaller bottles or cans to reduce your intake, or serve in a smaller glass.
If you really want to reduce your calories by reducing your alcohol, then maybe swap your choice of drink from wine, alco-pops and beer to a short. Whisky and Gin with a slimline mixer are the lowest calorie yielding alcoholic drinks, and due to their higher ABV% you won’t need as much to take off the edge after a crappy day at the office.
As I mentioned above, you need to make some slight adaptations to your use of language. Rather than using the word “can’t”, as in “I can’t eat that I am on a diet!”, change your attitude and words.
You could say,
- “I don’t eat chocolate as it is not good for my skin/waist/health/focus”
- “I would rather not, as it makes me feel bloated and lethargic”
- “I do not really like that?”
As just a few examples.
By changing your language, you change your own perception and belief, but you also strengthen your ability to occasionally consume the tempting item, without losing control of your decisions.
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude towards the problem!”
- Drawing A Line
If you do eat something that you feel that you shouldn’t have, don’t beat yourself up! Don’t wallow in self pity or guilt, or let it carry on into your next choice.
Would you stamp on your mobile phone if you dropped, just to ensure it was definitely broken? Of course not!!! You would pick it up and be a little more careful for the rest of the day, not to drop it again!
The same applies with your food choices.
If you make a mistake, take ownership of it! Be responsible and accountable for your own actions. Admit to it, take notice of it and then just draw a line under it, and move on, being careful for the rest of the day not to do it again.
One mistake is not enough to undo all of your hard work from other days!!!
And there you have it! Some useful tips to help you overcome the feelings of depravation. I hope that they have helped.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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