By Scott Mowbray, editor of Cooking Light
Had an interesting conversation with David Allison, Ph.D., an obesity expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and one of the clearest thinkers on weight-loss issues I know. Allison feels that, outside actual clinical environments (where clinical language is used), experts are nervous about discussing the extent to which deprivation is a part of losing weight. It's as if it's a bad word -- as if there's a magic way to get there in which you don't feel deprived, don't feel you're making a sacrifice.
Allison thinks this is counterproductive because acceptance that you will be somewhat deprived, that your desires will be unfilled, is one of the things that motivates. Think of it in terms of athletics: we celebrate the pain that athletes go through to make their goal. Or in terms of the all-nighters students pull to ace a test: sleep deprivation is a badge of honor.
Getting what you want involves sacrifice and deprivation. We all know this -- people who try to eat less know it more than most. The challenge is that eating is a several-times-a-day activity in an environment saturated with messages of indulgence.
Allison also pointed out that while it would be nice to think that once we reach our goal weights, we can ease up on the throttle and cruise along without further sacrifice, many people who have lost weight permanently adjust permanently to some sacrifices. The reward for doing so: knowing you're staying at a goal that you reached the hard way.
Fellow dieters: Do you feel deprived? How do you deal deprivation? Comment here, email Scott_Mowbray@timeinc.com, and tweet @ScottMowb or @Cooking_Light using #SocialDiet.
Note: This post originally appeared on the Cooking Light blog, Simmer & Boil. Check in on their progress at CookingLight.com/WeightLoss.
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Photo: Photo: Getty/Michel Setboun
Scott Mowbray is the editor of <em><a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/?xid=huffpo-ckl-social-diet-073113" target="_hplink">Cooking Light</a></em> and believes that every meal of every day should be absolutely delicious -- just a bit less of it to be eaten from now on. He's set a 20-pound weight loss goal over 20 weeks, by Nov. 1
Erin handles PR and loves all things food -- cooking, baking, eating, and drinking. Working at <i>Cooking Light</i> is a pretty sweet gig, even if it comes with some occupational hazards (you <i>can</i> have one too many bites or sips!). When she’s not writing press releases and pitches, she’s in her home kitchen with her husband cooking and baking up a storm. All <em>Cooking Light</em> recipes, of course!
Allison is a contributing editor to and spokesperson for <i>Cooking Light</i> magazine. 2013 is a big year for her; on Valentine's Day she became mom to two delicious baby boys, and in October, she'll be birthing <i>Lighten Up, America</i>, a cookbook she wrote in collaboration with <i>Cooking Light</i>. Her goal is to lose the baby (or babies) weight by the time her book comes out.
Allison works on all things digital at <i>Cooking Light</i>, and in between posting and tweeting, she spends her time chasing after 2 little girls. Her weight loss goals are focused on fitness and spending just a bit more time on herself (spending any time will be an improvement).
Michelle lives in Manhattan and -- with moderate success -- juggles a demanding marketing job at <em>Cooking Light</em> and <a href="http://MyRecipes.com" target="_hplink">MyRecipes.com</a>; a patient and forgiving husband; a hyperactive 7-year old son; and a way-too-sparse social life. It took 7 years, a combination of Weight Watchers (she’s a lifetime member), regular personal training sessions, and a colorful assortment of mid-life crisis’, but she is proud to be fit and back to her pre-pregnancy weight.
Patrick Pittman is 44, went to nursing school for his midlife crisis, works in an ICU in Birmingham, and takes care of twin 7-year-old boys during the week. He played soccer nearly all his life, but stopped when the twins arrived. While he doesn't miss the competition, he wants to be back in shape and just healthier in general. People think of him as patient, but he really thrives on quick, noticeable results.
Sean Kelley is an editor, writer, and video producer of health and wellness content. He splits his time between a small farm in Alabama where he raises two kids amongst okra, peas, and honey bees, and Atlanta, where he works for Sharecare. His goal is to lose 20 pounds by Jan. 1.
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