How to stop the guilt/deprivation cycle

We’ve been talking lately about the many choices that we get to make about what, whether, and how much to eat, and working on making these choices more intentional.  But I want to caution you against framing these choices in terms of Want vs. Should.

“I really WANT to have a bowl of ice cream. But I SHOULD say no.”

This is a lose-lose scenario!   If you give in and have what you want, you feel bad for not doing what you should.  And if you stick to your guns and do what you should, you don’t get to have what you want.

If this is how you are setting up your choices, your whole day becomes a depressing and exhausting series of decisions that either lead to guilt or deprivation.  Who wants to live like that?

As you’re considering what to choose, avoid loaded words like want, need, should, and shouldn’t. Focus instead on the fact that you have options, and that each option has pros and cons.

“I could have a bowl of ice cream. Or I could have a piece of fruit instead.”

“I can have ice cream tonight or I can look forward to that as a treat at the end of the week.”

“I can have two scoops or I can have one scoop.”

“I could eat ice cream until I feel better or I could take a walk and see if I can find a way through this feeling that doesn’t move me away from my goals.”

Consider what you get from each.  How much and what kind of satisfaction or pleasure would you get? How long will that last? (5 minutes? 10?) How will you feel after that? (Stronger? Calmer? Regretful?) How long will THAT feeling last? (A day? A Lifetime?)

Even the difference between saying “I get to make so many choices every day!” instead of “I have to make so many choices every day” can be so empowering.

This week, I invite you listen to your self-talk a little more carefully.  Instead of setting yourself up for a lose/lose situation, see if you can frame your choices in terms of which presents the more meaningful win.