Ep #11: Handling Feelings of Deprivation


Today on It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight, I'm covering a topic that all of us face in one way or another on our very human journey of learning how to process strong emotional responses without overeating or overdrinking. I'm talking about deprivation.

Deprivation certainly conjures images of famine and homelessness, but it also conjures up another vision – one of emotional deprivation; desperation and loneliness. The fear of deprivation is in our genes. In the course of our evolution, deprivation meant death. But what about in today's time of plenty that most of us in the developed world are experiencing? Can having "too much" cause deprivation, as well?

Join me on this episode as I share how deprivation plays out in modern times, where the feeling of deprivation comes from, and how you can learn how you can get a handle on your own choices by looking at when and why you feel deprived.

If you'd like to take this work even deeper, come join me in my Private Facebook Group, It's Never too Late to Lose Weight.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • The definition of deprivation.
  • How to consider limiting your food choices without feeling deprived.
  • What deprivation looks like in the modern world.
  • How certain foods keep you trapped in a loop of desire, reward, more desire, more reward.
  • Where the feeling of deprivation comes from.
  • How to get a handle on your own choices by looking at when and why you feel deprived.

Featured on the Show:

If you have any questions or ideas for upcoming episodes, send me an email at pat@beauprecoaching.com

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight, a podcast for women approaching 60 who have been successful at everything but reaching their weight loss goals. Tune in each week for tools and strategies to help you lose weight, create a strong body, and support a healthy mind. Here's your host, certified weight and life coach, Pat Beaupre Becker.

Hello, my dears. Today is an amazingly beautiful and very bright day. It's really got - spring is in the air and it's very exciting. I just got back from a two-day retreat on the ocean, and I want to share something that happened to me and how I processed it without overeating or overdrinking.

I wanted to share this because quite often my clients as me like, "How do you do this work?" So this is exactly how I do it. Just before I left my home, on my way to the retreat, I learned that I had failed at a teaching gig and I was asked not to come back. This was a highly valued position for me, one that I was honored to have gotten, and the failure stung deeply.

And I asked myself how come I was not going straight to that little snack bowl sitting on the table and stuffing my emotions with food, or pouring myself a large gin on the rocks. And I thought, "This is a very different reaction that I'm having than I would have done maybe 15 years ago."

And so as I was thinking about processing my own emotions, and I was thinking about you guys, and I was thinking about myself because my emotions, which were insecure, embarrassed, and shame, and lots of disappointment were very powerful. And I took myself for a walk on the beach to process my emotions, right?

And I really have to tell you, I felt like I was having a heart attack. My stomach was very tight, my heart was pounding in the center of my chest, and my eyes were tingly and teary, and my throat was so tight, it just felt like there was a vice grip.

Now, this was the second time I was emotionally processing this episode since I had heard the news, but there I was on the beach, which is my favorite place for spiritual nourishment, so it was such a gift. So I had to ask myself what I was thinking because I knew that this feeling in my body was because of my thoughts. But I knew I wanted to do this differently.

So knowing that my thoughts are creating this pounding in my heart, I looked to those thoughts, "You're so stupid, you can't play with the big kids, you'll never learn. Everyone's going to talk about you, you are a failure, you're never going to succeed." Now, these thoughts I knew were actually a choice, and I didn't want to do it this way again. I wanted to have my own back. I wanted to stick with myself. So I started doing my self-coaching, which as I expressed, is lots of time as I'm talking to myself. So as I'm walking and I'm thinking, even though I was fired, I'm not going to fire myself. I looked at the way I prepared for the class and could see that that preparation wasn't successful, and I needed another plan of action. Maybe I could take better notes.

And as I was doing this work, I put my hand on my beating heart and I would say, "You're enough, you are whole. You can learn to teach. You can teach lots of places and get experience. You have so much to give. I hold you. It's okay. Even though you were fired, I am not going to fire you. I'm going to stay by your side." And I started to think of myself like as my own employee, right? Like, if I was going to fire myself and how some of my behaviors and maybe ill-preparedness for that teaching could be improved. And again, the whole time I was like, "You have enough, I have your back, you are love, I love you. This doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you."

So I finished my walk and I went back to the retreat, and I was able to be present, participate, I had a regular dinner, and I didn't overeat. I didn't need to punish myself with food; I didn't need to feel sorry for myself. Well, okay, I did feel sorry for myself for a little while, but I really needed to take a lesson from this experience and move on. And I chose to do this; I decided to do it. Now, this strong emotional response to a situation might be very similar to what you experience when you are deprived; when you're feeling deprivation, and this is our subject today. So deprivation conjures images of famine and homelessness, and for me, I imagine Dorothea Lange's - that iconic 1936 photograph of that woman and her child.

And there's also a family I have of my grandparents and their children and my aunts and uncles in the backyard in Brooklyn on Sackett Street is very much the flavor of the grapes of wrath and poverty. The word deprivation also conjures up another vision, one of maybe emotional deprivation, maybe feeling desperate and feeling lonely and unloved.

And of course, the fear of deprivation, that discomfort that we feel when we experience deprivation is in our genes. In the course of our evolution, if you were deprived, it meant you were probably going to die. And so if your brain has any inclination that you might be depriving it, it's going to stir and get ready to mobilize to take action.

And partly what happens is as your brain is hijacked, you won't see the happiness that may be right in front of you. You may not be able to experience the abundance that you have. You certainly may not make the best decisions.

So how do you consider limiting your food choices and not feel deprived? That's what we want to explore. So when my nana, maybe your nono, or your nona, or your bibi, was dreaming of your future, we know that she or they envisioned a life where we had a good education, free from poverty, free from war, and free from starvation.

Now, if you're over 60, our grandmother's generations and our grandparent's generation, they really understood food deprivation. Wartime food was scarce and there were so many horror stories about the Irish potato famine with people starving on the side of the road. There was World War One, World War Two, food rationing, visions of death camps and people being starved to death. And then, of course, we don't have far to look around the current conflicts around the world where there's so many refugees and hunger, and they're deprived of their home, they're deprived of warmth and the basic necessities.

And if we look it up, the word deprivation is actually the damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society. Or the disadvantage that results from the state of being kept from something, being kept from enjoying or using something. And then there's one more I want to tell you, which is the lack of something that you need in order to be healthy, comfortable, or happy.

So how does for us, the fear of not having enough food impact our self-care in a world of plenty? Especially if you're trying to lose weight? What is deprivation in this modern world? I think it's insidious. I think part of our lifestyle, we have so much stress going on in our lives, we're being bombarded with so much information, and then we have these modern foods. And all of these are depriving us to some extent of our health and of our nutrition. And I don't think our parents could have ever seen that coming because I think right now that we are dying from too much, too tasty, too available. Dr. Mark Hyman, a functional medicine doctor who has just written a new book called, Food: What The Heck Should I Eat? He states that industrially made drug like foods hook our taste buds with every bite, and they hijack our brain chemistry and our metabolism, and they give rise to everything from heart disease to cancer, dementia, diabetes, depression, and so much more. Now, you may have a lot of desire for that bowl of ice cream and your brain goes, "What a treat." It really is excited about it. But what I'm saying is that that abundance of ice cream, those bad of Cheetos, and maybe too many pizza nights, those are depriving you of your ability to run, to jump, to dance.

I know when I was struggling with my weight and food, I was constantly thinking about food and I had so much food chatter in my brain. And when that brain chatter went away from food, I realized that it was depriving me of living my purpose. I ask you to choose 100% real wholegrain, organic foods that satisfy your hunger and provide for your fuel and energy and nourishment. And what happens? You feel deprived.

And I get it because I remember the absolute terror I had of committing to a diet because I ate like crap and really, making the change, I was happy and miserable at the same time. Tried to stop overeating or stop eating sweets on so many occasions because I really had no idea how these foods were keeping me trapped in a loop of desire, reward, more desire, more reward.

I just knew that I felt diminished and hopeless. And of course, isn't that creating yet another level of deprivation? I mean, I looked to my past and I feel deprived of joy because I'm judging myself. I'm failing over and over, I don't believe I could succeed, and what happens? That deprived me of taking a risk of another opportunity today.

But deprivation is a feeling. Depriving is an action. And you feel deprived because you have an over desire for these unhealthy foods. And if I ask you to take them away, that creates your feeling of deprivation because of the way you're thinking about it. You know, remember, if you don’t care about something and I say you can't have it, you're like, "No problem." But if it's something you still desire, you might be like, "No way." But I want to take another look here. Let's look at when we have chosen deprivation in our life. It's often true that we're so willing to deprive ourselves of time and travel and parties and different things when we have kids, right? We're willing to give up our disposable income. I remember tai chi lessons, Irish dancing lessons, and then there was the dress and the wig and the shoes. Volleyball camp, theatre camps, private high school, college.

Now, this doesn't feel like deprivation because you believe creating a family is important. You believe it's worth it, right? You make choices and it may even create the feeling of pride. So can you see here that the feeling of deprivation doesn't come from the facts but from your thoughts and your beliefs about why and what you're choosing to give up?

Now, I think a problem for us woman at 60 is that we say, "Look, I've lived a long life, I've sacrificed so much for others, why would I choose to be deprived now? Isn't this what our parents and grandparents wanted for us? Abundance, freedom? Isn't this an insult to my ancestors who sacrificed to ensure that I had more than they did?"

Well, how is that going for you? If you're overweight, you're one of two billion people worldwide, and 600 million of us have obesity. And if you're on a diet, you're like, one among 100 million people in the United States alone.

The problem is that culturally, we have spent the last 50 years developing fast, cheap, calorie and fat dense convenient foods that were meant to save us time to increase availability, to help us live longer. And that - those qualities are totally aligned with our primitive survival brain. Seek pleasure, avoid pain, and use the least amount of effort.

So doesn't it make sense that when we try to change that reliance of that quick, inexpensive and easy food, we take it away, of course, we're going to feel deprived. Like, our brain's going, "What's gone wrong here?" What I want you to ask yourself is what has gone wrong here. What happened to the freedom our grandparents wished for us? I mean, we could just sit here and scratch our heads because we know so much, yet it seems so impossible to do anything differently. But this is where we here listening to this podcast, we are privileged because we know a way out. We have a little secret, it's called The Model, and it's because we have a brain. We know we can solve our own problems. And my clients use this work to lose weight and they're at the ages of 56, 66, and 70 plus. And I'm proposing that you can get a handle on your own choices by looking at when and why you feel deprived, and if that prevents you from taking action. So I've got three ideas of how we can look at our brains in three different ways. The first way we look at our brain is we go back to that formula for the model that we talked about early on, in episode three. And if you remember, it's your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, and your actions create your results.

If you remember, it was CTFAR, and it goes like this: the C is for the circumstances, T is for thoughts, F is for feelings, A is for actions, and R is for results. So let's do a model. So let's say Saturday night you're having dinner with your friends, and you're thinking, "I deserve dessert. I worked hard all week, I don't care about my diet anymore." And your feeling is desire. And then your action is to eat. You're going to eat that dessert. And then the result is, well, you don't care about your diet and you gain weight, right?

Or a second case, you have that same Saturday night dinner with friends, remember, the circumstance never changes, and you're thinking, "I can't have dessert. This sucks." And you start to feel deprived. And then you might eat it, and then you might think, "This really sucks because now I gained weight," or you might not eat it and think, "This really sucks because I'm feeling so deprived." But once you can see that it's the thinking that's the problem, not the food, not the dessert, it's your thoughts about it, then you can find the motivation to stick to that plan because it's what you really desire.

So let's look at a third case, and this time we'll have a little bit of transformative thinking to get a better result. So it's Saturday night dinner with friends. Your thought might be, "I decided not to have dessert tonight, I'm focusing on enjoying my friends." The feeling might be confident, it could be curious about what's going on with your friends. And then your action would be not to have dessert, but to talk and share stories with your friends. And the result is you're focusing on enjoying your time with your friends, and it's not about the food.

So I want your new mantra to be, "Our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings create our actions, our actions create our results." And I want you to repeat that as often as possible. Now, here's a second way to look at our brain. So expressing gratitude every day, this is the part where you have to ask yourself, "Am I really deprived? Or am I grateful?" What can you be grateful for? It could just be your vision, your ability to see, your health, your home, your pet, something in your life that you can have gratitude for.

And as you look at that thing that you feel grateful for, you ask yourself, "Am I deprived or am I grateful?" Another thing to do is to recognize the things that you already have that you want. So I know for me, I always wanted a house. I actually wanted my own little pet and I wanted a family, and now I wanted to be a coach. And these are things that I wanted that I have, and if I consider the things that I have that I wanted, I can ask myself, "Am I deprived or do I have enough?"

There's another trick that somebody shared a couple years ago, and you could actually take an inventory of what you have. Can you imagine? You can write a list and you can put down all the pairs of pants you have, all the shoes you have, the dishes you have, and then you can say to yourself, "Am I deprived or do I have enough?" And then the third way I want you to look at your brain is to look at your thoughts and your feelings of being emotionally deprived. And ask yourself, "Am I deprived of my own friendship or am I willing to be kind and generous to myself? Am I deprived or am I enough? Am I depriving myself of support or do I have my own back?" Even if I have an epic fail or say something stupid, or make a mistake, or even eat off plan, I will not abandon myself, I will not deprive myself of my own support.

So in summary, I want to say that deprivation conjures up all these images of people starving from wars past and present. Maybe sadness and loneliness too. And then our brains are confused by highly palatable food that it desires for the survival, but it's unfavorable to today's survival.

Our own thoughts about ourselves sometimes deprive us of a basic acceptance and love. We want to learn to make choices from our evolved brain to see that the long run is what we need to pay attention to, not the quick, fast, and transient reward.

Saying no to what is killing you sweetly, ultimately, is a loving act. And it's not the - as we look at the definition of deprivation, it's not the act or instance of withholding or taking something away from someone, or something that causes them to thrive. Use your new mantra, "My thoughts create my feelings, my feelings create my actions, my actions create my results." And practice your new thinking. As you use gratitude to transition from, "No, I can't have my favorite junk food," to, "I get to have this amazing, health-giving food."

And now we go to my favorite things. So I wanted to talk to you about spices and spice blends, and the reason is that I've always been attracted to herbs and spices. I don't know why, just something about walking up to a plant and touching it and getting all these amazing aromas and all these flavors, and all of these health-bearing qualities I find totally amazing because they're so simple. So I was looking online for some spices and spice blends to share with you, and I came up with Simply Organics that you can get through the link on my kit. And the reason I chose Simply Organics is that spices come from all over the world and there's lots of different regulations. And when you choose spices, if you can get organic spices, that's the best way to go.

Now, there are many local spicing, if you have local spices in your area, then you want to find them and go there because it's so fun to go through and look at all these different spices you never heard of and smell them and maybe get some ideas from different recipes. The other thing I love is that you can take a simple meal, let's say of chicken and broccoli, and you can turn it into an inflammatory busting meal with turmeric or Indian spices, or you can turn on that Mexican fire. You can choose different kinds of spices to turn a simple meal into a little bit more of a difference so that you have lots of different choices for your food.

If you have any questions or ideas for upcoming episodes, send me an email at pat@beauprecoaching.com, or come on over to Facebook and join my private Facebook group, It's Never Too Late To Lose Weight, where you can join like-minded women who are on a journey to learning how to lose weight, evolve our brains, and really enjoy the next part of this life. So I look forward to talking with you next week and I want to thank you for listening. And join me next week when we talk about stress.

Thanks for listening to this episode of It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight. If you liked what you heard and want more, head over to never2late.info/guide, to download your quick start guide to jump start your weight loss plan and begin creating an amazing life you love.

Enjoy the Show?