10 Steps to Undoing Deprivation Mindset

In May, I had the pleasure of seeing Becca Clegg, LPC, CEDS, author of Ending the Diet Mindset, speak here in Asheville. Becca is a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker and offered a lot of helpful information. I highly recommend her book for anyone wanting to reclaim a healthy relationship with food and body.

As a culture, we are waking up to the damage created from diet mentality. The first step to challenging this diet mentality is to undo the deprivation mindset. In my practice, this process propels my clients on a journey towards learning about themselves, why they have focused on food and body throughout their life, and moving towards healing the trauma and attachment wounds they have been attempting to regulate by focusing on food and body.

Here are ten strategies Becca shared for this first step of undoing the deprivation mindset around food:

  1. When you are eating , ask yourself - Is this food forbidden or allowed? The brain wants what it can’t have. Anything we deprive ourselves gains increased value in our mind. Giving yourself permission to eat certain foods that may have been on your “bad foods” list will create more balance.

  2. Learn to love food again. Focus on what food gives us in the form of nourishment and pleasure.

  3. Reconnect pleasure and food. Bring your senses into the eating experience through mindfulness. As the Zen Buddhism meditation teacher Cheri Huber says, “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Our relationship with food parallels our relationship with life. Be mindful and curious about this connection for you.

  4. Unlearn your fear of food. Practice taking in cues of safety around eating. Orient your nervous system towards safety while you are eating. We ingest and digest food when we are in a calm, alert state.

  5. Tell your brain that food is in abundance. When the brain thinks you are in a famine, it will focus more on food and eating in order to manage the perceived starvation state.

  6. Create a list of foods you LOVE. Post it on your refrigerator to remind yourself of what is yummy about food.

  7. Avoid the urge to restrict and stay in a balanced relationship with food. If you imagine a pendulum, and you pull it back towards restriction, it will naturally go to the other side of binging before it settles back in the middle. Staying out of restriction is the best way to avoid overeating or binging.

  8. Walk the middle path with food. Challenge black and white thinking with food rules, and practice eating “grey” meals - meals that have safe foods as well as foods that may create more anxiety for you.

  9. Focus on what feels enjoyable in your body. Increasing behaviors and actions that are “healthy” as opposed to focusing on your weight is a more sustainable approach to body balance.

  10. Give yourself space to allow this process to unfold. Remember you don’t walk out of the woods in a day that you spent four weeks walking into.

Thanks for all the juicy information, Becca! You can grab your copy of her book HERE.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear what has been helpful for you in this process of challenging the diet mentality and shifting from deprivation to abundance mindset.

Walk in Beauty,

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