Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Moderate Thoughts on Moderation

Class, please pay attention!
What about eating moderately? All things in moderation, not banning any foods we like. Just having them in single servings. You know: one slice of pizza, a single square of chocolate, a small piece of cake, just one cannoli - and not all at the same meal/day.

If my mind and body acknowledged the concept of moderation in relationship to food, today I would be 125 pounds and I would have never weighed 385 pounds. I am a food addict. I am addicted to certain foods and have unhealthy food behaviors. It is not a matter of 'can I use moderation?' I can try to use anything (the all-chocolate -all-the-time diet comes to mind). This is a matter of does moderation work for me? 

On a podcast, I recently heard
"A food addict using moderation is like an alcoholic on marijuana maintenance or an alcoholic in beer therapy. It doesn't work."
Once upon a time I tried moderation. More than one time. On my journey I have attempted moderation many times. No matter how hard I tried to brainwash myself into moderate thinking I could not brainwash my addiction into going along with the fantasy. Moderate thinking did not give me moderate actions. My weight would go up and my eating becomes somewhat frenzied in a short period of time.

This is why I am unable to follow a moderate eating plan. It is not from a lack of trying or wanting. It just do not work for me. This is not to say YOU cannot eat moderately. Only you can say what is honestly working for you today.

The word that you need to look at is not moderation. It is work. Does moderation work for you?

Some definitions of work:
  • To exert physically or mentally in order to accomplish something 
  • To have the desired effect or outcome; prove successful 
  • To bring to a specified condition by gradual or repeated effort 
  • Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something
If you have been using moderation to lose weight and keep finding pounds you have lost and re-lost - does moderation work for you?

If you have been using moderation for the past week/month/year but still have binges and food behaviors that are keeping you from where you want to be physically and emotionally - does moderation work for you?

If moderation gave you success for a period of time but you are having cravings and they are leading you to overeat, putting you in a battle against pounds while rationalizing away your food consumption - is moderation still working for you?

Answer this question:  What is working for you today?



that TOPS lady said...

Yeah, I'm not sure that moderation works well for me either. I went through a time when I was (am...I'm still in this time) only eating fruits, veggies, kashi products, milk and chicken. And it's working great for me. Great. So yesterday I allowed myself to have ONE cup of ice cream and although that IS moderation, I remember thinking "I COULD eat the whole carton!" I think I should kick the ice cream to the curb again.

Gerri Helms said...

I know that I'm in the same boat as you, Jane. Oddly enough, I can moderate almost everything else in my life. I have great balance, except for when it comes to food.

My phylosophy is that if I don't have a bite of pizza, I can't eat the whole pie
on two
or three!

I've done that.

You know, I don't miss pizza and some of the other things that stood in the way of an abundant life. It's all a choice - abundance in my mouth, or in my life. Today I choose it in my life! Much better!

Maren said...

I think you raise some good questions! Eating moderately in general is a challenge for me, due to my complete lack of portion control. When it comes to sweets it's all or nothing...

But I aspire to be a moderate person. Time will tell. ;)

bbubblyb said...

Good post Jane, of course you know I struggle with moderaton often. I do think it is about what works for each of us. I really haven't found the perfect balance yet and it seems at times when I think I've figured it out something happens in my life and mentally throws me off. Honestly I think life is an ever changing game for each of us and we have to find what works "now" and work it and when it doesn't then find the new "now". Right now I'm feeling good about it all :) and that's a good feeling.

Anonymous said...

You know what - this got me thinking. Even though I am on a plan that involves not eating certain things, I also even on my plan have to still be moderate. Meaning, I cannot eat all I want of fruit and veggies or lean meat... I still have to moderate those portions. To satisfy myself with less than I want.

I hope that over the couple years it will take to get myself to a healthy weight and composition that I will have learned moderation as a way of life, realize what is possible and not possible (through trial and error)... all by keeping up my awareness and not hiding from the realities of MY health, fitness, compulsions...

It is tricky.

Melanie said...

I ponder this subject often. I know that moderation with certain foods hasn't worked for me. However, there is the school of thought that completely restricting something from your diet eventually results in a binge. The proverbial forbidden fruit.

I do know that avoiding sugar and high fat foods makes things much easier for me right now, and it is working. For now, I will stick with that.

As always, thanks for your thought provoking post!

Cenandra said...

What works for me is substituting my chocolate sugary desserts with another chocolatey no-sugar added desserts.

I am a person that cannot stop eating something I love or it won't work. I was able to give up fast food with no effort because I didn't love it.

You have to find what works for you, I think I have finally found what works for me and without feeling guilty over my decisions.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Moderation has been good for me, BUT it took a long, long time to work. I found that I really needed to eliminate foods for quite some time.

Jane Cartelli said...

Diane, I know you are someone who was able to re-introduce certain foods into your meal plan after many years. You give me hope. At the same time, I need to remember that, as you wrote: It took a long, long time to work and in the meantime you needed to eliminate foods.

"Long time" is not two weeks, 3 months or 1 year. It is several/many/numerous years. SLOW AND STEADY wins the race. You achieved moderation after you had a long successful maintenance. I appreciate the history you have developed on this and I keep an open mind because I do not know what I will be like after keeping the pounds off for nine years. I only know that today I am still not in that place.

Thank you for your experience and honesty.


Jane Cartelli said...

Sheri - Me too! I enjoy my sugar/milk fat free chocolate and I do not feel guilty for it. It is working for me. I have to remember that occasional does not mean daily but otherwise I am enjoying my choices today,

Munchie - read Diane's comment. Her experience with this is really great to remember.


Julie said...

I do not try to do `moderate'. I have an addictive personality, in some ways I am grateful it was food I became entangled with or I may not have survived. I used to joke that if I drank or took drugs the way I ate I would be committed somewhere. I had no idea how true my words actually are. I choose not to eat certain things. I find that when I do that I do not have cravings or excessive hunger. This is not to say I don't sometimes want to eat more of something than I know if good for me, I do. But I can think that I will have more later if I still want it. That almost never happens - I don't think about it again as I move on to something else. I can't say this will work for everyone else. I can't say this will be the case for me forever. But for today it is keeping me healthy and at a normal weight. I think eliminating some things released me from some `decision fatigue'. There are just fewer choices to make when some things are totally eliminated. If it has sugar or wheat I don't go there - loads of options gone in one stroke! No more struggling with a `moderate' portion (what the flip is that anyway?) and having the rest nag at the back of my mind. Maybe one day I can be like Diane but for now I have learned (the hard way!) Today I am not moderate but I am a healthy weight. If I can't have one then I sure will have the other.

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
caryesings said...

I finally figured out I had to give up candy entirely BEFORE attempting to diet for weight loss. I stopped eating candy 4 years before I attempted to diet. That addiction was so bad that there was no way I could have won the battle if I had also been fighting hunger. I read people that say that after a few days/weeks of not eating a specific food their craving goes away. Not me. It was close to a year before I was not thinking about candy multiple times/day.

Oddly, I had candy a couple of times after I lost 100 lbs 5 years later. Testing myself? After those events I knew I still couldn't be a moderate candy eater so will remain on my NO list until 80th birthday (somehow mentally easier than saying I could never eat candy again when I stoppped at age 44)

Vickie said...

if you are interested I would like to see a further post on this topic talking about how you were raised in regard to foods eaten and food moderation. And how that rolled you into your adult food behaviors.

There are some weight loss bloggers who overate in adulthood because of food restrictions in childhood.

there are some weight loss bloggers who overate in adulthood because they grew up over eating.

neither one of those sets of kids LEARNED and then was not able to apply.

I think teaching kids HOW to make good food choices - both in portions and quality and meal time is something most of us missed.

I also think we came from families where food = socialization, family, love, passtime, habit.