Has anyone ever told you that in order to meet your goals around food that you simply need to get used to deprivation?
I started thinking about this after watching an season 2 episode of Top Chef called Less Is More, where the challenge was for the chefs to make a meal of not more than 500 calories for a camp of kids struggling with obesity. Most of the teams figured out a way of providing a dessert but one group used a shake to finish the meal. Their rationale? The kids simply had to get used to going without.
Hearing that made me so angry. Not that I think dessert is necessary at every meal, but nor do I think telling someone to just suck it up is the way to go.
Part of the problem is the feeling of resentment this breeds. If someone is told they can't have a certain food but other people can have it, those going without will feel angry, devalued and stigmatized. A perfect set-up for someone to rebel and go overboard in the opposite direction.
Then there's the fact that it simply doesn't need to be this way. Even people who need to be careful of their sweets for medical reasons don't need to forswear them entirely. Especially these days when there are so many alternatives, including recipes using fruit as the primary sweetener, or agave, or even having a Miracle Berry and eating a normally sour food like a lemon and experience it as sweet.
The key, as always, is moderation, and finding a good balance. Making that be the focus will make everyone happier, as well as resulting in more sustainable changes. And after all, don't we all need a little sweetness in our lives now and again?