Food Deprivation and Dieting, that is, the denying someone of food, is not a good approach when trying to lose weight. You see, deprivation always results in an elevated level of desire, so the more you deprive someone of say chocolate the more they will be thinking about it. It always ends in, or at least plays a part in dieting failures: it’s a fact that food deprivation is counterproductive when it comes to losing weight!
This well known quotation “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” is attributed to Albert Einstein. And still dieters restrict and deprive themselves in their quest to lose weight!
When people talk about food deprivation they are often relating to one of two possible, scenarios. Firstly: total food abstinence, such as when a person decides, for whatever reason, to commence a period of fasting for a given period of time. Secondly: deprivation involving a specific item, for example, when a person, who is a self-confessed chocoholic, is completely denied their daily chocolate fix.
There are many published articles available to read on the Internet around Fasting and the associated pros and cons. In this short article we are relating to the overweight person going through a temporary period of food deprivation; denying themselves either a complete food group, such as refined carbohydrates, as an example, or maybe just abstaining from chocolate, to stick with our earlier example.
Many dieters, when going through a prolonged period of being deprived of their chosen food item, become disillusioned: it is often a precursor to them throwing in the towel, throwing the toys out of the pram and just allowing themselves to go completely off the rails. To be truthful, there is a synergy in their Cognitive processes at that time to those trying to wean themselves off Cocaine.
Food Deprivation and All-or-Nothing Thinking
It’s very common for people to have, what is described in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy terms, as an “all-or-nothing” attitude when it comes to food. Unfortunately, this negatively-biased mentality means that they invariably end up sabotaging their own efforts to “be good”: by putting themselves under so much pressure in their quest to be absolutely “perfect” with their eating, the slightest setback is automatically blown up out of all proportion, and perceived as a catastrophe. If you truly believe that as soon as you’ve eaten just one biscuit, the “damage is already done”, and you may as well go ahead and finish off the rest of the packet, then realistically you’re probably never going to manage getting through a whole week before you fall off the wagon!
Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., is the President of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Her father is the famous Psychiatrist, Aaron T. Beck, who is widely regarded as the “father of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy”. Dr. Beck explains how they help people overcome their all-or-nothing behaviour with food. The paragraphs below are taken from her daily diet solutions:
Two people go to the same dinner party. After dinner they both limit themselves to two cookies from the lavish spread of dessert. Why does one walk away feeling great while the other walks away feeling terribly deprived? The answer is that deprivation is in the eye of the beholder.
When clients first come to see us as part of the Cognitive Behavioral-based program that we’ve developed to help dieters lose weight and keep it off, we find that they often initially feel a sense of deprivation when they limit their food intake. When they have just one slice of cake at a wedding, they think, “It’s so unfair that I can’t eat as much as everyone else is.”
One reason dieters often feel so deprived is because of their history of depriving themselves. When they “dieted,” they cut out whole categories of favorite foods, such as bread or cake or ice cream. Our program teaches dieters that they shouldn’t eliminate any food that they will eventually want to eat again. Instead, they need to learn how to eat their favorite foods in reasonable portions, noticing and enjoying every bite. Many of our dieters, for example, decide to have one dessert a day. They initially find this “legalization” strange because they have traditionally labeled dessert as “bad.”
We help dieters understand that there is a huge middle ground between having none of their favorite foods and having way too much. We address their automatic thoughts, e.g., “I shouldn’t have eaten that cookie. I’m not going to let myself have cookies again for a long time so I’d better eat as much as I can right now.” They often write a coping card for themselves with a message such as the following: “I can have a reasonable portion of cookies every single day if I want. Desserts are an important part of a lifetime eating plan. I don’t need to have more right now because I can always have more tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.”
When our dieters realize that they can have a reasonable dessert every day, they break through their former all-or-nothing eating approach and recognize that they never need to go overboard because they will always have the opportunity to have more dessert the next day. Their sense of deprivation decreases significantly. In fact, one sign that dieters are ready to “graduate” from our program is when they leave an event, having followed their plan, and feel so good about the extra food they didn’t eat.
So, the dieter who goes to a party and feels really deprived about eating only two cookies is probably thinking, “I wish I could have more. Dieting is terrible. I never get to eat my favorite foods,” while the dieter who feels good about limiting herself to two cookies is probably thinking, “I’m so glad I ate those two cookies slowly and really enjoyed each bite. I don’t need to have more now because I can have more every single day, if I want. Besides, when I stick to reasonable portions I can have it both ways: I can eat cookies and lose weight.”
The concept of being tempted by “forbidden fruit” is, of course, referred to in the Bible: Adam and Eve are instructed by God that they are allowed to eat the fruits from any of the trees in the Garden of Eden, EXCEPT the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. The idea that this “fruit” is out of bounds simply makes is seem even more appealing, and the temptation to have it becomes irresistible.
And the rest, as they say, is history!
At the Elite Clinic in Southern Spain, Martin & Marion Shirran have spent the last decade helping people not simply to lose weight, but to lose it permanently, using their own registered treatment, the Gastric Mind Band (GMB).
Their successful approach to weight loss, (GMB) researched and developed over a ten year period, was, and remains, focussed on proven psychological interventions. The treatment is now regarded by many as being the Gold Standard in non-surgical weight loss. You can read Martin’s thoughts on the Origins of Obesity here.
The treatment, which is completed during multiple sessions over either three or four days, continues to attract both celebrities and members of the public to the clinic. It now involves an extended dedicated session around Time Perspective skills, and incorporates elements of Neuroplasticity awareness, allowing them to help overweight people reprogramme their thinking around food. You can read more on the About GMB page.
Keep up to date with the latest news and trends around everything regarding Dieting, Weight Management, Nutrition and Exercise by visiting our Blog page. With new in-depth info being added every week make sure you book mark the page and visit regularly. Click here to see what everyone is talking about, feel free to share the link with your friends.
So if you’re tired of yo-yo dieting and weight loss gimmicks that don’t work and are ready to permanently change your relationship with food, email us today using the contact form and we will be pleased to answer any outstanding questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you soon and maybe meeting you and helping you change your life for the better. More information can be found at gmband.com.
For a brief introduction to the GMB treatment view the short animation video below.