Moderation- Not Just A Fairytale

Moderation- Not Just A Fairytale

This is the follow-up to the post, Don’t You Dare Say the “D” Word begging you to reconsider how you diet and urging you to take a more balanced approach: moderation. Of course I didn’t expect that everyone would be enlightened by my last post and rejoice, “I’ll never diet again!” (although that would be nice). In order to make that kind of commitment, you need tangible advice- real steps, a game plan to provide some kind of direction for this great of a change.

How does one live in moderation? Well, it’s arguably the most difficult mindset to embrace. It requires reprogramming the way a lot of us feel and think about food.  Most of us are familiar with extremes.  We know gorging or we know deprivation; something in between is often completely foreign.  For those of us who suffer from food addictions, this seems like an impossible undertaking.  It’s comparable to asking a recovering alcoholic to only drink socially.  For obvious reasons, this would be ill advised.  This is perhaps why the majority of people fantasize about one day living a balanced life and having a healthy relationship with food, but are lost as to how to get there.

The first shift necessary in achieving moderation is to have realistic expectations for yourself.  You’re guaranteed to abandon your efforts and attempt something else when you’re setting too lofty of a weight loss goal. Consequently, pressuring yourself to see drastic results asap- like yesterday!  The weight didn’t creep up overnight, so it’s ludicrous to expect it to melt off so quickly.  Make smaller, achievable goals of 1-2 pounds loss per week and then celebrate your victories.  Besides, when losing weight too rapidly it’s usually a combination of fat, water, and muscle mass that you are actually shedding.  As soon as the eating habits regulate, the body quickly restores (and then some) everything that it lost.  On the contrary, when you experience healthy weight loss you are losing mostly fat and your body has had time to adjust to the loss. In other words, your body received the weight loss memo in time and is willing to work with you to keep it off.  Remove the pressure to achieve instant results and tell yourself you will continue to push no matter how long it takes.

The second step is to reevaluate your mindset of “all or nothing”.  This mindset bleeds into punishing yourself when you didn’t have a perfect day, week, or month.  This mindset presents in those who have “the last supper” before committing to their weight loss journey, fooling themselves into thinking that they will never again consume these foods.  The complication is inherent in you being a human, not a superhero. Undoubtedly you’ll cave from time to time and indulge in your favourites. Fast forward to day 6 of your new regime and you caved already- oh the shame!  You become so remorseful for succumbing to your weakness that you punish yourself with food and snowball that one innocent slice of pizza into a toxic food binge.  Talk about kicking yourself while you’re down!  Worse yet, you then write off your entire week because of one moment of weakness and delay your restart date to the following Monday.  This will NEVER work. Enter with the mindset that you will still have (from time to time) a slice of pizza or even the most unfathomably unhealthy type of food. Rather than waiting to restart the following week or day, stage your recovery for the next meal.  Remember deprivation is not the answer- but moderation is.

Lastly, you need to prepare and expect that your motivation will not be constant.  Often a powerful catalyst triggers us to embark on a weight loss journey, committing us to adopt positive lifestyle changes.  You feel pumped, ready to do whatever it takes, your motivation is at an all time high.  However, expect that powerful feeling to begin to simmer.  Anticipate that motivation is like a wave; it ebbs and flows.  It’s only natural to have days where you feel defeated.  When an overwhelming sensation engulfs your being whispering not to bother, that you’ll never make it, that you may as well just give up.  Somehow you begin to believe this inner saboteur as though it’s the voice of reason.  It’s unrealistic to hope that you won’t have moments of doubt and weakness. The best way to combat this is to remind yourself that this too will pass.  Cliche I know, but nevertheless entirely true.  If you survive your darkest days, before you know it the sun peaks out from behind the clouds welcoming you back to bask in it’s glory.

  • Amelia

    Brilliant article ! And how true !