Do I believe in moderation when it comes to a diet/nutrition plan? Yes and No. You see, the answer is a little more complicated than a one-syllable answer. Do I believe in moderation when it comes to maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle? YES, of course I do! BUT (and that’s a big but) I also believe in giving your goals 100%; and if your goal is weight loss, it is important to be consistent in order to get results. When losing weight, moderation is often anything but consistent.
Plus, the word, ‘moderation’ is kind of tricky to define and understand. What does that even mean in terms of food? Does it mean being able to have a cheat meal once a week, indulging in a small sweet treat daily OR does it mean eating right all week long (Monday – Friday), and then going to town on the weekends?
The problem is it can mean different things for different people, and being able to find that happy medium is really hard. It takes a lot of work to be able to figure how much indulging your body can really handle before the scale starts tipping in the other direction again, or until you physically feel that you have overdone it. (I get it. I can’t have just one cookie.)
Besides, f you’re not already at a happy place with your health and fitness (regardless of what the scale says) not only will all these little bites of “moderation” make it harder to get there, it WILL take longer to find that happy medium, which I view as that perfect mix of eating right for your goals and healthy lifestyle yet being able to occasionally and fully enjoy some of your favorite foods with family and friends, without guilt or fear of backsliding.
I’ll use myself as an example: I love sweets! And, salty foods! Let’s face it, the combination is sinful. I’ve learned over the years that I have absolutely NO CONTROL when it comes to sweets or the salty-sweet combination. I’ve tried moderation, trust me. I’ve tried just one bite, just a little bit, just a tiny piece, I have.
Maybe you can relate this situation: You go to a family party and there is a table. I mean, a big-ass table full of cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, and all your favorite sweets. You tell yourself that you will only have one. Only one. Just one of your favorite treats, that’s it, that’s all. Just one. After all, you’re doing so well. One isn’t going to kill you. Everything in moderation … right?
So, you have one. And then your eyes practically roll back into your head because HOLY FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS!!! Absolute heaven. And, well, maybe just one more won’t hurt. They’re not that big anyway, and it’s a party. Besides, you never eat sweets. One more will be just fine.
AHEM. Somehow after the second, you lose your grasp on math. And the bites multiply. The food is just too freaking good. Soon, you calculate that you’ve overdone it, and there’s no turning back. So, you switch into full-on COOKIE MONSTER mode!!! Your body is humming high on sugar, and your eyes get big, and your body screams, ”COO-KIE! Gimme, gimme, gimme!”
What was suppose to be just one cookie turned into a half dozen; and by the end of the night or the next morning, you feel crappy, guilty, and are beating yourself up over your lack of self control. Sound familiar? This is NOT moderation, even if it does only happen a couple of times a year.
That said, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo sweets forever. I certainly don’t. Instead, I save these moments of moderation for when the hubby and I are out on a nice dinner date, or at a birthday celebration. I certainly can’t pass up some good birthday cake! 😉 But I’ve learned to savor every single bite of the cake. To slow down and really appreciate that I can enjoy sweets in moderation.
Paying attention to your body is critical. You need to know what it craves and how it might react to certain foods. If having a cheat meal once a week helps satisfy those taste buds and cravings enough to keep you from wanting to indulge further later in the day or week, by all means, enjoy that cheeseburger! Nom. Nom. Nom. BUT if that cheat meal tends to turn into a cheat day (or weekend) of not-so-good foods and drinks, then DON’T DO IT! Put your hands up and step away from the greasy-ness. This WILL derail your results and leave you feeling guilty, heavy and overall probably pretty crappy.
Enjoying something in moderation should not leave you feeling like you’ve ruined your hard work. It should not set you back in reaching your goals. Moderation should, rather, leave you feeling satisfied, guilt-free and right on track with living a healthy and fit lifestyle.
So, the next time you’re at a party with a full-spread of sweets (or your trigger food), step back before you indulge. Think about how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are today, then give yourself permission, if able, to indulge in moderation. Or, if that’s just not feasible for you, pat yourself on the back for choosing to stay true to your goals. Use the words “I choose not to” versus “I can’t have” when making your decision to abstain.
Remember, the key to weight loss is consistency.