Stop Depriving Yourself! Make Successful Health Choices

In a conversation with a friend the other day, I mentioned one of my favorite financial gurus. “The reason I’m drawn to him,” I tell her, “is that he doesn’t talk about depriving yourself to live within a specific budget. Rather, he tells you to approach money with an attitude of what can I do to have what I want—going out to eat when the urge strikes, taking family vacations more than once a year, etc.” It’s deprivation that trips people up, in my opinion.

Then it hit me … that’s exactly how I feel about my diet. And it’s exactly what holds me back from total success—my attitude of deprivation.

When I sit down to put our weekly menu together, the first thing that pops into my head are the foods I need to avoid. There is a handful of foods that simply do not agree with me and I feel much better when I avoid them. It’s only a handful out of the bazillion and one food options out there and yet these are the first foods I think about when I’m planning my meals. I start from a place of depriving myself.

Could a simple shift in thinking and approach make a difference in how successful I am with my healthy choices—eating the way I know I should and being the healthiest person I can be? This is when I start talking to myself: “For crying out loud, Paula, you have a degree in psychology and you’re a certified personal coach. You know the answer to this one.”

A simple shift can make all the difference in the world—for me and for you. Focusing on what we can have just feels better. Here are a few examples from my everyday life:

  • When I tell myself every morning that I am a tea drinker instead of pouting about not being able to have that delicious cup of coffee, the tea is more appealing and even tastes better.
  • If I only buy organic corn tortillas for our family’s Taco Tuesday dinner (rather than the soft and luscious flour variety I need to avoid), I remind myself that their smaller size helps with portion control while still giving me that taco shell taste I crave.
  • Asking for full-fat coconut milk in my occasional chai latte splurge, rather than whole milk, gives me the satisfying beverage I crave without feeling like something is missing and I avoid pasteurized milk.

Focusing on all of the things we can have not only feels better, but it makes us more likely to accomplish what each of us wants—to be our best, healthiest selves. Stop depriving yourself and start allowing yourself to have what you want.

What area of life have you been approaching with an attitude of deprivation?

Image from iStock/ViewApart

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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