Why It’s Time to Drop the ‘Diet Deprivation’ Mindset

Although you may think restricting eating and setting up strict food rules would help you lose weight, it really only leaves you feeling deprived.

And in the long run, strict dieting along with a limited eating plan can also be a recipe for weight regain.

Here’s why it’s time to drop the diet deprivation mindset:

1-Diet Deprivation Can Lead to Cravings

Rather than finding healthier foods you enjoy to add to your diet, diet deprivation focuses on all the foods you should not eat. And often the list is a long one.

This may leave you eating meals and snacks you don’t find satisfying. You may also become bored with your new eating routine.

What I recommend instead is to slowly tweak and progress your current diet to include healthier foods that you also enjoy. I call this progressive meal planning.

Progressive meal planning allows you to make small changes to what you are already doing instead of creating an entirely new plan.

2-A Diet Deprivation Mindset Uses All-or-Nothing Thinking

Looking at foods as being either good or bad or healthy or unhealthy doesn’t give you a realistic picture of what healthy eating can be.

For example, life is too short to not be able to treat yourself now and then. Treats can be a part of a healthy eating program when you plan for them.

Also, all food groups can be incorporated into a healthy diet plan, including carbohydrates.

Rather than banning all carbohydrates from your diet, you just need to learn about the healthier carbohydrates that can keep you feeling full and satisfied.

3-A Diet Deprivation Approach to Weight Management is Hard to Sustain Long-Term

Because it’s hard to follow rigid rules for a long time, your diet deprivation mindset can quickly lead to stopping the program altogether.

This can lead to ‘yo-yo’ dieting or losing and then regaining weight and feeling like a failure.

In contrast to being rigid in your thinking, we know that being flexible in your approach to weight management has longer staying power and success.

Studies show that being flexible in your approach to eating and losing weight is associated with a healthier body weight, more success in keeping weight off, less psychological distress and improved well-being.

Healthy eating and living are all about finding foods and activities you enjoy and without feeling deprived.

It’s time to stop depriving yourself and give to yourself!


Robert Kushner, MD

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