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Stop Depriving Yourself and Get Healthier

Just about everyday in the clinic I find myself talking with patients about their food habits and how those habits are affecting their health. I know that people want to feel well, they want to be in good health, and yet, so many find it hard to say goodbye to a food or habit that they are attached to. Even when that food is not loving them back. Could it be that some of us are looking at things the wrong way around?

Could a shift in the way we think make a difference in eating healthy?

For some, when they sit down to put a menu together, the first thing that pops into their head are the foods they need to avoid or are unhealthy. For most of us, we have one to three foods that simply do not agree with our health and/or not foods that support good health. Those few foods are only a few foods out of the quazillion food options out there in the world and yet these are the first foods they think about when planning what they are going to eat. That is starting from a place of deprivation instead of abundance. Looking at the couple of things they cannot have instead of looking at all the other options they do have.

Living from abundance can and does change the way we think and then the way we feel about an object or action. Shifting our thinking can make a difference in how successful a healthy habit will stick for the long term. Just think about this for a moment. Try focusing on what you can eat. And then think about how eating all of these healthy wonderful foods will help you be the healthy and capable person you want to be.

To help get how this works here a few examples from my everyday life:

  • When I pour myself a cup tea every morning, instead of pouting about not being able to have coffee and cream, I instead enjoy the warmth and variety that herbal teas give me. In fact, I love having options to fit the day or the mood I am in. Today I get to have ginger tea and then tomorrow a favorite tea blend. It is fun to have a favorites and find new ones too.

  • Since gluten is a no go for our household, I only buy corn or coconut flour tortillas for our Taco Tuesday dinner rather than the soft (gluten) flour variety that I need to stay clear of or go into full blown inflammatory code red for a week. I remind myself that the corn tortillas have a nutty yummy taste and the soft coconut tortillas are wonderfully chewy with a delightful taste that mixes well with the taco fillings. I found that I enjoy both varieties. In fact, it was great that I found that the gluten containing soft flour ones create inflammation, because I found two other options I may not have tried otherwise. Win!

  • Instead of boohooing my lack of turkey stuffing each Thanksgiving, I think about how grateful I am that I found an amazing recipe for roasting vegetables with sausage that not only tastes great at Thanksgiving dinner, it also makes the most amazing leftovers. Plus it is super great as a pre-made just reheat breakfast other times of the year. And I no longer feel bloated and sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner! Another win!

  • Now, when I make spaghetti, I use spaghetti squash and am thankful that this lovely veggie tastes so good smothered in tomato sauce. It also opened my eyes to the world of winter squash....I think you get the picture. Focusing on all of the things we can have, how much we like the healthy option, and how good we feel with them helps us actually get our minds on-board. This shift in focus makes us more likely to accomplish what each of us wants - to be our best, healthiest selves without feeling deprived. In fact, it will likely help you feel grateful and satisfied.

So we suggest that you stop depriving yourself and start allowing yourself to have what you want. Longer lasting health habits that help you feel and be capable of being your best!

PS This concept of deprivation can apply to many of our health habits. What area of life have you been approaching with an attitude of deprivation? How can you turn it into abundance?

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