I was thinking the other day about how "deprivation" seems to have become a curse word in the health community. Many people I've met want to achieve their goals without feeling deprived, but the fact of the matter is that deprivation is not a bad thing; in fact, it's necessary and beneficial. Especially if you're "depriving" yourself of things that 1. inhibit your goals and 2. hinder your health.
I think deprivation is necessary, and this can be translated into any arena wherein you want to grow. Making a lifestyle change toward health and fitness means I am absolutely depriving myself, regularly!, in order that I might re-train my desires and build new habits. Bruce Lee is credited with admonishing, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” And I often think of this quote whenever I'm experiencing the difficulty of breaking bad habits or fighting against tendencies that oppose my goals and how I want to live my life.
The truth is, as I see it, that I have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable if I'm going to achieve what I want and become the person I want. Tricking myself into good habits or trying to make my journey easy has NEVER WORKED for me. It wasn't until I told myself: "Get over it. This is life, now, and you'll be better for it!" that I began to make progress. It wasn't until I accepted deprivation as part of the process that I was able to work through the challenge of changing my habits, and over time my appetite changed as well.
Reader, do not take this personally. I am neither judging nor advocating everyone give up their cheat days. But, I no longer participate in them. As a general rule, I do not cheat. I save times of indulgence for special circumstances like a wedding, birthday party, dinner party, or a surprise treat a friend might purchase for the table during a night out (which happened this weekend). At the end of the day, one must do what works for him or her. But, from my perspective, deprivation is no longer a four letter word. It's the key to winning. Winning at my goals and winning at self-control (which I have struggled with for yeeeears and am finally mastering). Furthermore, it's just occurred to me that I don't even think deprivation adequately describes cutting off harmful foods and habits from one's life. The way I now see it, I've *deprived* myself the power of self-control and the growth that comes with the difficult journey of transformation for far too long.
Embrace the sacrifice! This post isn't meant to offend anyone; please be open-minded when reading and consider what I've said before responding. That is, if this post doesn't get reported like my other one most likely did ;-) (honestly, it was no big deal; just being cheeky!)