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Where Do You Deprive Yourself?

Lately, many people have been talking to me about their food issues. Whether they are trying to lose weight, feel that they turn to food for comfort or can’t seem to change their eating habits for healthier ones. I was a food addict for over 15 years. I consider myself a recovered food addict and have been for the past 12 years. The secret for me had to do with deprivation. I deprived myself of so many types of foods that when my guard was down, I would totally stuff myself with all the sugary foods I could get my hands on as if I would never have a chance to eat them again. They were so forbidden that I held on to a belief that I could never eat them again. It’s like the kid who is not allowed to have sugar and when his parents are not around or they are at a friend’s house, that child sneaks candy or donuts and can’t have just one. Also, it’s like when you have to get a blood test or any other medical test that requires you to fast for a certain amount of hours, and you go into panic mode. You feel as if you have to eat or drink more than you would normally do before the times is up.

When we are told we can’t have something, whether it’s your own voice or the instructions of someone else, we immediately feel constricted, anxious and usually resist the orders. After all, who wants demands placed on them. However, what is interesting is that most demands are placed on ourselves by ourselves.

Most people I know deprive themselves of something. For some it’s sleep, self care, love, connecting with others, food, sex, money, alone time, etc. When we deprive ourselves, we create feelings of emptiness, loneliness, lack, sadness, being less than, undeserving, or unloved. Why do we deprive ourselves? Usually it comes from a place of should, shouldn’t, or fear. I shouldn’t eat this piece of cake because I will gain weight. I should stay up two more hours because I have to get things done and if I don’t get those things done, I will feel less than or inadequate. I’m afraid that if I’m successful or make a lot of money, people will be jealous of me or reject me. I better not workout because my partner will resent me because he/she doesn’t have the same free time I have.

I learned to stop depriving myself especially in the area of food. Many years ago, I saturated myself with all of my favorite foods and after I did that for a while without the judgment of being “bad” for it, I came back to a place of balance. I eat any food that I want but I never overeat or overindulge and my diet is overall healthy. Because I don’t deprive myself, there’s no need to overeat. A natural state of balance occurs and I can consciously choose to eat just one piece of chocolate versus the whole bag. There is no guilt or limited beliefs fighting in my head when I look at a piece of chocolate. I make a simple choice to have it or to not have it without the guilt. I know it’s always available so I chose to have it when I want it versus because I haven’t had it for such a long time and feel so deprived. I believe that the thoughts and beliefs that we have when we do something that we have labeled as forbidden are more harmful to us than the act or thing itself. If I agonize over a piece of chocolate for half an hour before eating it and have a negative conversation about it in my head, I believe that creates more havoc in my body than if I just ate the pice of chocolate that is filled with sugar and fat without the negativity. Every thought and belief we have affect our physical body. Next time you agonize over doing or having something you’ve been depriving yourself of, first check out the mental chatter. Is that more harmful to you?

Have you ever saturated yourself with what you love or enjoy without judgment or guilt? In the shadow world, I would ask you, “What kind of person would deprive themselves?” Someone who is feels inadequate, fearful, unloved, not good enough, undeserving…and then I would ask, what kind of person would not deprive themselves? Someone who is fulfilled, confident, trusting, whole…….so, what shadow whether it be a dark shadow or a light shadow do you need to integrate yo not deprive yourself and find balance? Is there something you can give yourself today without any guilt attached to it? Living without guilt is total freedom and total enjoyment! Be generous to yourself this week.

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