One of the main complaints often voiced when it comes to developing healthier eating habits is the issue of feeling deprived. As soon as you start eliminating favorite foods from your diet, they commence to haunt your waking hours and even your nightly dreams with their devilish allure. For most people, it is not that hard to go without favorite treats for a short while, but after a bit of time and frustration has passed, it can often seem better to just return to previous eating habits.
The pull of junk food reaches up to grand proportions, like your very own “Ritzcracker” Ballet of dancing sugar plum fairies. Ice cream sparkles in the frozen food section. Candy seems to bounce off the walls and into your shopping cart. Those chocolate chip cookies waltz their way through your mind, and you begin to imagine what the world would be like if everything was made of chocolate. It is a wonderful world of dancing sweets, salty things, and glistening fats…
…all of which is being burnt to shreds with screaming little pleas of: “please eat me!!!” and “no!” as you pick up carrots instead. There you go, bravely trudging your way on a healthy eating plan, and walking only on the perimeters of the supermarket. Still, all those treats try to allure you with their splendor.
One way we try to use abstinence toward things that are not good for us is to often tell ourselves that we can’t have whatever we are craving. This, however, often does not work to satiate our desires for something. In fact, it turns us into wishful Cinderellas who pitifully sit on a muddy floor praying for a fairy godmother of junk food to come save us. Saying “I can’t go the the ball” is very much likened to the phrase “I can’t have any ice cream,” because both of those statements are more likely to make Cinderella want to cry into a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s than gingerly eat some cucumber. So much for being healthy.
Having an idea in our minds that we can’t do certain things we used to do is restrictive. No matter how nice your eating plan might seem, a list of “can’t haves” means that one is no longer free to do what one pleases. In addition, in most cases, saying you can’t have something is complete nonsense. If you have a bit of cash, a way of transportation, and a normal supermarket nearby, there is absolutely no way that you can honestly say that you “can’t have a donut.” Just because it might disrupt your diet, does not mean you can’t do it. You know you can eat whatever you want. You won’t convince your subconscious to listen to rubbish saying that you can’t have something or do something; it knows the truth. Those glazed pastries are within its tender grasp.
The truth is that you can do just about any action, even if you think you can’t. You can go eat donuts all the time. You can go over the speed limit. You can even go rob a bank. Of course, you could not do any of those things without consequences. Therefore, the chances are high that you don’t want to eat 10,000 jelly filled pastries or go to jail. You would prefer to do the right thing, in most cases, for your own reasons.
This is the key to helping with deprivation. It is not that you can’t have certain foods. You must tell yourself instead that you don’t want them at the moment. Instead of saying, “I can’t eat that,” tell yourself “I don’t want to eat that right now.” Then say in your mind what you do want, whether it is be at a healthier weight, to have more energy throughout the day, or to prolong your life. There doesn’t have to be any law in your mind saying that you can never have another bowl of ice cream. Rather, your thoughts should be filled with the motivation of what one does want that comes with being healthier. The issue is entirely about what you do and do not want. You are entirely free to make whatever choice you want; deprivation has nothing to to do with it.
Just remember to focus on what you want and don’t want, rather on what you “can’t have”, and you’ll never have to be a deprived and pitiful Cinderella again.