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 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.