How can I avoid feeling deprived while dieting?

Lisa Lillien
Nutrition & Dietetics
You can avoid feeling deprived when you diet by finding healthier ways to satisfy your cravings and still eat the foods you like. Watch "Hungry Girl" author Lisa Lillien explain how finding the right food swaps can help you diet more successfully.
Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
I advise my patients to go ahead and indulge - that's right… go off your diet one meal a week. Don't go crazy now and eat that whole pizza, but allow yourself to have that off-limits food once a week. You'll look forward to it all week and you won't develop that internal feeling of anger that results from the self-induced punishment. Yes, it will take you longer to reach your goal. But remember, it's not a race to a healthy weight. Sustained healthy eating and gradual, but long-term weight loss will help you keep those pounds off.
Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics

You can choose one of the following things to stay motivated, depending on what you like: Allow yourself a small favorite item 3-4 times per week.  It could be a small candy bar or 100 calorie snack option, but limit yourself to just one as it can be tempting to have another. If it's a meal that you crave, then have it once a week as a reward for sticking to your diet the rest of the time. If you love a specific dessert such as cheesecake or a hot fudge sundae, allow yourself to have it as a treat once per week. Another way to stay motivated is to put a picture of your "thinner" self on the refrigerator as a reminder of how you want to look. Finally, ask your family and friends for support.



Many people believe deprivation means they are “doing weight loss right.” They can usually pull it off for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. They sometimes say that the feeling of hunger makes them feel virtuous. Some even build in “cheat days.” The so-called cheat days are viewed as the exception and they are often a dysregulated mess -- a day when the person is finally back with the food they want and after a week of steamed vegetables and skinless chicken, they embrace that pasta like a lover’s kiss after a long absence.

I firmly believe in inviting the demons to the table at every meal. Demons get their power by sitting in the darkness where they can taunt us. When you invite them out, they lose a lot of that power. Instead of “cheat days,” bring the foods you like into every meal and learn to be with them in a reasonable way. One slice of pizza with that salad. Half the sandwich and the vegetable soup. The great Chinese food dish, skipping the rice. Half the brownie with your tea. Feeding yourself should not be illicit or forbidden, and it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Let the scary foods in.
You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life

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You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life

An intelligent, timely, and prescriptive book that shows how your attitude towards food often reflects your attitude towards other areas in your life--jobs, relationships, money--and how you can...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.