I recently heard a great quote, and I couldn’t agree more.
“Abstinence is easy, moderation is hard.”
Basically, it’s referring to our desire as a society to be “all in” or “all out” and the need to seek instant gratification rather than be patient and persistent.
Diet and nutrition has become completely dogmatic. It seems that the more rules we set for people, and the more tyrants we create (carbs, fat, gluten, wheat, non-organic), the more people pick up that flag and wave it with pride. “I’m Paleo bitch” – is what Brittney Spears would say, if she was in fact Paleo.
When it comes to diet and exercise, people are legit cray cray. Many people think that to achieve the results they want (when they want) they need to jump on some fad diet bandwagon, cleanse or fast, and abstain from all the things. You know why…because the results are fast and that’s the fucking easy way out.
You know what’s hard? Moderation. Consistency. Hard work. Patience. But, you know what’s going to work in the long run? You guessed it—moderation, consistency, hard work and patience.
Sounds boring and shitty right? It’s not nearly as glamorous as starving yourself and seeing the scale weight drop instantly. Congratulations, you just ate 800 calories a day for a month and lost 10lbs super fast, your willpower is something to be marvelled…now what?
Anyone can do some low carb fad diet, cut calories and remove food groups for a period of time, BUT is this sustainable? Can you see yourself never eating a carb again? Are you going to live in ketosis for the rest of your life? Are you going to drink some chalky ass shake two times a day forever? FUCK NO. So why would this be a good short term solution?
Until we understand that diet should be a lifestyle choice rather than an aggressive period of deprivation and discomfort, we don’t stand much of a chance for any longevity or real change.
“But Kelley…moderation is hard. If I eat one cookie I lose control and eat all the cookies, it’s easier just to asbtain from sugar all together!!!!”
This is the mindset of someone who has been depriving themselves for too long. Someone who has fallen into this diet dogma and categorized food as “bad” or “off-limits,” resulting in a downward spiral, shovelling an entire bag of cookies down the hatch in one sitting and then feeling defeated and giving up this whole diet thing.
BUT, once you realize that those cookies aren’t going anywhere and that you are a grown ass adult who can eat cookies whenever you want, you don’t need to act as if you will never get another opportunity to eat a cookie again.
I get it, moderation is much easier said than done. Addicition is addiction and telling an alcoholic to drink in moderation doesn’t work, so why expect the same result with food. For many of us, setting hard and fast rules about what we can and can’t consume is just easier. You might even refer to yourself as an “abstainer.” My argument is that, although this might be true…it’s not ideal.
How do we address this mindset and make moderation more manageable?
Step 1: Control your environment. Know your triggers. Just because you can enjoy a night out, have a drink or two with friends, or fit some treats into your life, doesn’t mean you want it around all the time. Controlling your environment allows you to stick to your goals more easily and be looser when you’re outside of that controlled setting. Know your triggers. If you can’t have a bag of chips in the house without going full dummy on it, don’t keep chips in the house. Also, try water wing arms…
Step 2: Try flexible dieting or counting your macros. Weighing and measuring food is not for everyone, but this has proven in many cases to help with managing moderation. You have a certain macro nutrient target to hit and you must stay within those numbers. This allows you to be flexible in reaching your end goal, while keeping yourself accountable. You also quickly realize that eating too many treats is likely not worth it and will leave you hungry and unsatisfied at the end of the day. All that math though #fuckit
If you need help getting started, I know a great nutrition company that can help!
Step 3: Practice mindful eating. This is not easy to implement and requires practice, but it will serve you in the long run. Think about the food you’re consuming. Are you hungry? How will this make you feel? Will this contribute to your goals? Is it worth it? Sometimes…it’s totally fucking worth it and that’s ok to.
Step 4: Eat your veggies first. Your mom was totally right, food is fuel. If you have done all the right things, eaten your veggies, taken in adequate protein, fibre and water, then you are doing pretty good. If you still want to have a little something after all that, at least you know you hit your “must haves” for the day and you are still #winning.
Step 5: Go easy on yourself. The more guilt and stress you associate with food, the worse you are going to feel when you do allow yourself to indulge. Practice makes perfect and the more you can practice good habits and consistency the easier it will become.