Angels, I used to count calories, attempt fad diets, eat only diet foods, and punish my body. And it was only when I stopped depriving myself, and listened to my body and gave it what it needed, that I was able to form a positive, lasting relationship with myself, my body, and with food. And I’ve never been happier!
Dieting, or restricting certain foods or food groups, leads to feelings of deprivation. Ever tried to cut out dessert and felt like you were craving it more than ever, and could barely think of anything else?
The minute you give yourself permission to eat something, you’ll probably find you actually don’t want it as much anymore.
These feelings of restriction aren’t healthy or sustainable, and they actually lead to binge eating, or overcompensating on the foods you attempted to cut out. Instead of depriving yourself, learn to indulge with moderation and mindfulness. I encourage you all to treat yourself a couple of times each week, for a balanced, kind and realistic approach to eating – and one that won’t send you off the rails when you succumb and binge eat all the desserts!
So in reality, deprivation could be causing weight gain from these binges, and encouraging you to punish and scrutinise your body and your food intake!
Deprivation is also unsustainable. You need to think of your health as a long-term lifestyle, not a short-term, quick fix. For a sustainable life, you need to strive for balance. If you’re constantly feeling deprived, you cannot stick to that lifestyle in the long run.
So give yourself permission to indulge! Years ago, when I was a fad dieter, I’d punish myself whenever I indulged, feeling like a failure. As a result, I’d always deprive myself, leading to a toxic cycle of restriction and bingeing.
Finally, when I embraced a balanced attitude towards health, I learned how to indulge with joy, and without feeling guilty.
How to indulge mindfully
Sit down, serving your treat of choice on a plate, and eat slowly and mindfully. Give yourself permission to indulge, and you’ll enjoy the treat more, while also feeling no need to overeat or binge on sweet treats.
Listen to your cravings, and where possible, opt for wholesome treats free from refined sugars. Treats containing protein, fats and fibre are also more satiating, meaning you’re less likely to binge later.
Enjoy your indulgences, and eat with joy! Moderation is everything!