Julie’s Blog: Language counts

I received a great comment from a reader and self-described ‘professional dieter’ gone ‘successful dieter’.

I’ve worked with this reader, who is also a friend, and know her struggles with food.

She shared with me her thoughts on the deprivation conversation…such that sometimes to be ‘successful’ you need to deprive yourself and make choices that are uncomfortable. She referred specifically to a night out with friends where they all ate pizza, and she had the “big bowl of organic greens veggies, goat cheese with chicken breast, olive oil, sea salt and lemon for dressing. It was awesome!”.

She went on to say, “I probably feel a little deprived but I’ve accepted this is why I’ve lost 32 pounds. It’s  acceptance that I had a hard time embracing. I tried the healthier substitutions so I didn’t feel deprived. Unless it’s a lifestyle change that you can accept and appreciate , you’ll have to be deprived. Honestly. I don’t think I ever wanted this more than now.”

First of all, I appreciate and respect her honesty and real-world challenge. How do you embrace the choices you make for betterment, without feeling the deprivation of those choices?

What I want to point out is that in the same breath as “I feel deprived”, I also heard that the salad was awesome, and that her personal motivation and desire are showing up as commitment with incredible results! I also know that this friend has found freedom in her body, and has a life-changing trip planned as part of her new health and fitness. Bravo!

So what about you?

As you learn to accept your new choices, how can you view your situation differently? Yes, it’s a bummer that pizza can’t be a regular choice, especially if you focus on what you can’t have. I know I’ve had to talk myself out of this one a few times!

But what if the focus is on what you’re gaining, rather than what you’re losing? Deprivation means going without – absence, lack, need, want.  But look at my friend.  She’s not lacking at all! What I hear is abundance, joy, freedom and expansion into a life of travel and fitness that wasn’t even on her radar six months ago.

Okay, so does that mean you can never feel deprived? No. Feeling deprived is a function of the brain that uses familiar language to keep us rooted in old beliefs. So it will most likely come up again.

What I would suggest is that every time you feel ‘deprived’, replace the language to match the bigger picture. Big-picture statements could be, “I’m so lucky that I like healthy food so that this process will be easier”, or “I’m blessed with supportive friends and family who embrace my choices”, or “What a gift to have free will so that I can choose this trip over a few moments with pizza.”

And with all of that, you may still feel deprived. So when you do, try to bring some humor into it. Remember you’re not alone, and remind yourself  that it’s all unfolding perfectly. You are richly blessed.

If you can relate to my friend and want to comment or offer congratulations or support, please comment below.


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