Are you deprived or depleted?

Have you ever been to a party, zone in on the dessert table and start thinking about which ones you’re going to sample? You want to stay “in control” of what you eat because you don’t want to overindulge too much, but you also don’t want to feel deprived. The second you think of limiting yourself to one or two desserts, you dig your heels in and feel the urge to rebel.

What if the deprivation you’re afraid of feeling if you only have one dessert is actually something else?

This was an experience a client had at a social gathering, but she was confused because she knew she had a choice and could eat the carrot cake and cupcakes if she wanted to. She didn’t think she was actually feeling deprived, but she didn’t know what exactly was happening and was leading her to eat the carrot cake that she didn’t really want.

After digging into the situation, what we uncovered was she was feeling depleted and deprived from not having time to herself. She had just gotten back from being with her family, which tends to deplete her. And, the reason she comes home feeling depleted is because she typically accommodates her family and doesn’t use her voice. She also feels like she wants to control situations that are outside of her control and when she’s not able to control them or share her perspective about the situation, she feels stifled.

So, the deprivation she thought she would feel from not eating the carrot cake was really about feeling deprived and stifled throughout the previous week from not using her voice and feeling depleted emotionally and physically. The sugar was a way to refuel herself and to bring her pleasure she was lacking elsewhere.

When we look at food and eating out of alignment with our goals as a symptom and protective behavior, we can bring curiosity as to what we’re really craving. Once we have clarity, we can see we actually have other options we may not be considering when we’re operating in automatic pilot. And then we don’t need to rely on food to try to fill a void, make us feel better, or provide satisfaction.

If any of this resonates with you, the next time you’re feeling depleted or deprived, ask yourself:

  • What will help me recharge and feel replenished?
  • If you’re feeling stifled from not using your voice, how can you test speaking up for your needs in small ways? When doing this, think about what you need and want from the situation and how you can come to a collaborative solution if another person is involved. (Hint: If you don’t know what the other person needs you may need to ask).

What you think might be lack of self-control or discipline around food, is often a symptom there is something else that needs to be explored.

If you’re ready to transform your relationship with food and finally get to the bottom of why you self-sabotage and fall off track, let’s chat during a Curiosity Call. You’ll fill me in on your challenges with your relationship with food and will have a safe space to talk about what’s been swirling around in your mind. (There’s absolutely no charge for our first chat.)

About Laura:

Laura is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and holds a certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She has supported over 100 clients who know what they should be eating but have a hard time sticking to it by helping them identify the familiar patterns keeping them stuck so they can radically transform their relationship with food.

Laura is a facilitator of the research-based Truce with Food® process, which helps clients achieve sustainable results by getting to the bottom of why they fall off track and aren’t able to remain consistent. She’s also the creator of the self-paced course, “Behind Your Cravings” and the creator and facilitator of the free, online Behind Your Cravings Community.

After successfully losing 60 pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura’s mission became helping others get to the bottom of their self-sabotaging patterns.

Laura coaches clients one-on-one, in small groups, runs workshops, speaks at summits and conferences, and has been featured in Voyage Chicago. Laura can be contacted at or [email protected].


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