Recently I was chatting with Laura about weight loss, the 90/10 Rule and food and she asked me a really great question. I realized that I never wrote about the topic before. Her question was “Did you ever feel deprived when you were trying to lose weight?”

I paused when I read that and thought, Did I feel deprived? When you are so far from where you started it’s often easy to “forget” how it was in the beginning. I’m assuming a lot of my readers are in the first stages of weight loss. Let me say this: please do not get discouraged. The first few weeks are going to be hard, but so worth it.

So here goes.

I felt “deprived” twice in my journey to lose weight. The first time was obviously when I first started. I went from eating and drinking at least 5,000 calories a day (and that’s a low estimate) to trying to eat 2,000 calories a day. There is definitely going to be a rumble in the tummy with that drastic of change.

The first few weeks that I was staying under 2,000 calories a day was hard. It was a minute-to-minute struggle. Food was always on my mind. When could I eat again? How many calories can I have for my snack? Oh my god, I’m wasting away, I am so hungry! Yes. Dramatic. But that’s how I felt. My stomach felt hollow and I was not satisfied after eating my meals.

Not only was I eating more than half of what I was used to, I also started swimming. Swimming created a hunger like no other activity and I would be in a frenzy during the drive home to eat something. I quickly learned eating a 100 calorie protein bar right after swimming helped.

I got used to the 2,000 calories and stopped feeling deprived. It was the norm. I was also steadily losing weight so that was encouraging me. In those first few weeks I drank a ton of water and a lot of diet soda (not the best idea) to curb the hunger.

The second time in my journey that I felt deprived was after I reached my goal weight. It was kind of a perfect storm for me. I was at goal weight + I started running + I stopped counting my calories. I didn’t think I needed to. I had it down! I could “eye-ball” everything and keep a tally in my head! Totally!

Hm, not so much. The running program made me really hungry and I justified eating a lot more than usual “because I was running so much” and I felt deprived. I told myself I had to have “fuel” for my running. I also wasn’t being very accountable to myself. I committed the worst infraction a maintainer can do: I stopped doing what worked to lose the weight. 

Gaining weight snapped me out of my fog of deprivation and I went back to what worked: counting all my calories and recording them every day.

Currently, I do not feel deprived. I stay within my calorie range almost every day, I eat healthy most of the time, and have a treat (or two)  every day. This works for me. I don’t feel like I’m denying myself anything. I think about food less and less. I feel like I’ve created a much healthier balance with myself and food.

QUESTION: Do you feel deprived? How do you combat that?