I tried to completely cut out sugar a couple of months ago. The result: I gained eight pounds. How? Because when I suddenly focused on what I couldn’t have instead of what I could have, I craved sugar even more than usual.
I lost the eight pounds, but I gained wisdom into what works for me, and more importantly, what doesn’t. My entire blog and diet strategy is based on focusing on what you can eat and not what you can’t. That is why I created Five a Day the Fun Way. I want to help others discover all of the delicious, fulfilling and fun ways to eat foods that our good for our body, mind and soul without depriving ourselves.
Multiple studies support the theory that food deprivation causes craving and overeating. One study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders reported that when individuals were deprived chocolate, they not only experienced more food cravings, but they also consumed more chocolate than the unrestrained eaters.
Another study, Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet: Effects of anticipated deprivation on food intake in restrained and unrestrained eaters, published in the American Psychological Association, found that merely planning to go on a diet can trigger overeating.
The same healthy-eating strategy applies to kids. When helping your kids make healthier eating choices, don’t tell them that there are “good foods” and “bad foods” or that they can never eat French fries or cookies. Everything is OK in moderation. Focus on making 80 percent of their diet full of nutritious, healthy foods and know that the occasional Oreo is fine. That is exactly why I will no longer take my son to his current pediatrician who made him when she told him, “No more French fries!” Know of a good pediatrician in the area?
Have you ever experienced deprivation backfire? How do you help your kids have a healthy relationship with food? I’d love to hear from you!