Apr 182012
 
pants

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?

About Lisa Eirene
About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

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  20 Responses to “Deprived”

  1. I’m so glad you wrote about this! Since I last talked to you, I’ve been really thinking about what I’m eating in that 10-20% and why i’ve been feeling deprived from time to time lately. I think for me, it’s mostly stress, but it’s also just deciding what I want to eat for those treats. I’ve always been drawn to the savory/carby/salty side of treats – whereas almost everyone I know is drawn to the sugary side. I realized lately I’ve been feeling deprived of the sugars, but I don’t really even like the sugars to begin with (really, give me chips any day before I eat ice cream).

    I think I’ve just been so stressed that I’ve reached that point of craving sugar (which is so uncommon for me), and therefore I’ve been feeling deprived. But definitely being more aware of when I’m eating a “treat”, salty or not has helped me realize the choices I do make each day and how I’m definitely not really depriving myself – it’s just in my brain.

    Sorry to leave a novel, but thanks for the inspiration to reflect! :)
    Laura recently posted..while the cat is away, the mice play

    • Thank you for inspiring the topic! I can’t believe I never thought about writing about it because it’s so common and part of weight loss. I think feeling “deprived” can also be psychological. If we feel like we are restricting ourselves too much, we suddenly want to indulge and eat things we “shouldn’t.” I think this is why eating everything in moderation worked for me so well. I never felt like I was really denying myself certain foods.

  2. I have often felt deprived, depending on where I was on my journey and what the situation was. The longer I stay on plan the less I ever feel that way. But it often hits me with social eating. Not the social part, per se, but the food temptation that isn’t part of my daily life. If it’s not around me I tend not to miss it. When I see it in front of my face, yes, deprivation is often the feeling that hits. And I’m trying to learn how to balance that with moderation and conquer this social eating challenge for myself.

    One thing I have learned – deprivation is fleeting. A fellow blogger once said she never regrets something she DIDN’T eat. That hit home for me. So true.
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted..Two Thumbs Walk into a Car

    • That makes a lot of sense! It depends on where you are in the journey. Obviously in the beginning it’s going to be harder. And I think you’re right about social eating. When I am at potlucks and things like that I often feel like I have to be super picky with my food and sometimes that can lead to feeling like restriction.

      I think Yum Yucky keeps a journal of all the foods she WANTED to eat but chose to resist to remind herself of how good she’s doing. I think that’s an awesome idea.

  3. My feelings of deprivation are a little different. I’ve been in ‘weight loss mode’ for years and only a few times actually made strong, concerted pushes that produced results. In the meantime, I am always thinking about it. Each snack or treat is eaten with a little guilt and I am constantly annoyed when I select something I *should* eat rather than something I *want* to eat.

    What I’m realizing is that this long-term constant inner battle is ridiculous. You either need to do all in or wait until a time when you’re committed. I remember when I was exercising regularly and seeing weight slowly fall off I indulged in snacks here and there and never felt deprived. I felt healthy and strong. It’s just the beginning that’s rough and you have to plow through it and stay on track to see the results.
    Alison recently posted..Cold and Wet

    • Thanks for sharing, Alison. I know exactly what you are talking about. That’s how I felt in the very beginning–like I was eating what I should and not what I wanted and I was eating very small portions compared to my “old ways”. After a few weeks I had to just make peace with the fact that while I was losing the weight I had to be strict. I didn’t eat pizza for 2 years because I knew I couldn’t control myself. Now? I’m able to eat whatever I want in a normal portion and not obsess about it OR feel deprived. It definitely took time and effort. I think going cold turkey during my weight loss efforts helped me.

  4. I’ve fallen into a bit of a trap..the oh hell I just burned 2500 cals running 20 miles and BRING ON THE FOOD…struggling with maintaining weight loss and training for a marathon….finding my way back.
    Katie Squires recently posted..Struggling and Resetting

    • YES! Good point! That’s a difficult trap. In order to do endurance events you do have to eat more food and weight gain is common for runners and cyclists. It’s a hard balance to find.

  5. Excellent post Lisa. There are absolutely times that I feel deprived of things I like, but also deprived of the freedom to NOT think about calories/points etc. However, it’s all so worth it, and I try to never lose sight of that. Have a great Wed.
    Roz@weightingfor50 recently posted..Thank you Macro and Motion settings

    • Yes, I agree. I once said that I can never “unknow” how many calories are in food. That makes me sad sometimes because I can’t just eat anything I want without care–I just know too much now about what I’m putting into my body. I’d think, I can totally eat this! Then talk myself out of it because I know it’s 3,000 calories or something.

  6. For me, deprived isn’t quite the word because I really enjoy the food I eat and don’t need chocolate every day or whatever. I do feel irritated sometimes at constantly having to decide whether or not to have something and that does get to me. That’s when I feel like having a tantrum LOL! There are those times when I really do wish I could eat with abandon – and without consequence!
    Lori recently posted..Couple of riding questions

    • I’m glad you have those moments sometimes! It is a struggle from time to time to make better or good choices and sometimes it is nice to NOT care…but then I’d feel guilty and talk myself out of it!

  7. I usually don’t feel deprived, but its mainly because when I want something, I find a way to squeeze it in- either by trading something else for it, or by just having a tiny bit (the tougher of the two choices lol). And making sure the “bad” things are in small pre-measured portions helps too in stopping at the right point.
    Deb recently posted..Day 185

    • That’s what I do now and I rarely feel deprived.

      • LOL I’ve been practically dreaming about cheesecake lately. IF I cave, I’m going to halve the recipe, and make them into little cupcakes, AND give half of them away! LOL That’s a temptation I probably can’t stand up against once its in the house.
        Deb recently posted..Day 185

        • That’s a great idea! Send me the recipe if you make them.

          You could also go out for dessert with your hubby and split one piece of cheesecake. M and I do that. It’s nice splitting one.

  8. YAY for 1 (or maybe 2 ;) ) treats a day! I couldn’t lose weight without my treats. I have tried and I just end up binging. This time around I have a treat every day and I am losing weight and I am happy! I have only binged once all year, and because I didn’t have much in the house, it was more like a 400 calorie blip.

    Great topic, Lisa, and I am glad what worked for you is now working for me!

    • I am glad to hear it’s working for you too!

      You know, taking away the stigma of “I can’t eat that” made it a lot easier to eat things once in awhile and pass them up when I don’t feel like eating them.

  9. What a great topic! I very, very, very rarely feel deprived. When I first switched over the calorie counting, I was trying to eat 1,200 a day…WAY too low for me. I upped the allowance to 1,400 and that has been the sweet spot for me. Some days are more, some days are less, usually depending on workouts, hormones, etc, but I try to stick around there. I think on Weight Watchers too I used to feel deprived, the points system made me a little nutty and fat-phobic. If I do feel deprived, I usually just remind myself its only food..it doesn’t have power over me and find a healthy way to deal with the feeling.
    Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not recently posted..Top 5 apps for staying healthy

    • That’s interesting that WW points made you feel nutty and fat-phobic. People have asked me often if counting calories made me obsessed and my answer was always no–it was just a simple math equation. I never associated calories with denying myself something. Why do you think points did that to you?

      1200 is way too low for anyone, in my opinion. My goal was usually 1500 or 1600 but I rarely got that low. My sweet spot seemed to be 1800.

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