Isn't "moderation" one of those really fucking annoying words? A word that gets thrown around so often and so effortlessly, by people who seem to have all their shit together, as if it's the simplest, easiest solution to all your healthy lifestyle challenges?
"Of course you can eat cake and cookies, just do it 'in moderation'". "Everything in moderation!". Insert eye roll here.
I used to look at the women slinging the "moderation" lifestyle with both envy, awe, and a little dash of "fuck you". Because to me, as an all-or-nothing, in or out, I'm-fucking-doing-this-thing or I'm-not-at-all kind of person, moderation seemed not only unattainable, but counter intuitive.
Like first of all, isn't it kind of against the point to be pursuing health or fat loss or fitness, while also eating cookies? If you're going for gold, why would you add moderation? Isn't that going to slow you down?
And second of all, how easy it is for you to say, you bikini-clad, cellulite-less, goddess looking woman who clearly is at Life Expert Level 97, to just casually add in treats when you feel like it, like it's no big deal. DO YOU KNOW ME? When the box is open, there's no stopping me. What fucking mortal can eat pizza or brownies in moderation?
I pursued the intense, in or out approach to diet for YEARS upon years. I'd feel pretty good when I was "on", but every on period came with an equal (or worse) "off" period. But this was just my nature, as an all-or-nothing type person, so what could really be done here?
It wasn't until I started doing lots of focused mindset work that I realized that actually, I could go "off plan" here or there, without it spiraling into a 3 week Oreo induced coma. The more I practiced self care and acceptance, the more I got to know myself. And the better I got to know myself, the more compassion and understanding I had with myself. And the more compassion I have, the easier it is to handle cravings or "slip ups" with ease, with no guilt or remorse.
In other words, the secret to *actually* living with moderation lies in your MINDSET. How you're thinking about food, the rules you put in place, the stories you're telling yourself about who you are and what you can and cannot do, your feelings about your body, what you feel you should be doing, your feelings of guilt, your idea of perfection, and so much more.
While I do think there can certainly be a time and a place for living on the extreme ends of the spectrum, the truth is this: most of our life is NOT spent in the extremes, but rather, in the gray area in between.
And while I used to think that moderation was for people who just weren't as determined or disciplined as I was (or for alien creatures with no taste buds or soul), time, practice, work, and a lot of experience has taught me otherwise.
Moderation IS actually the way to build a healthy lifestyle, BECAUSE it is what is most sustainable.
"Moderation" isn't eating brownies every day or going HAM on your favorite treat, like I used to think it was: it's simply learning to enjoy treats or "fun" food with no feelings of guilt or remorse attached, and then move right along to your regularly scheduled programming of mostly health supporting foods. That's all.
Plus, it's WAY more fun. Stepping out of the boxed programs and labeled diets, living according to your own rules, and eating how you please is a much more balanced, long term approach to health.
I wrote about why I broke up with paleo in this wildly popular blog post here.
Moderation allows us to even out those crazy highs and lows, offs and ons, and instead live in a steady state in between.
And yes, it IS achievable. But it can take work.
This is precisely why I created The Nutrition Lab: to teach you everything I know about turning the all-or-nothing cycles with food into a balanced, easy, lifestyle.
The bulk of this program is MINDSET work, which will completely change your relationship to food, and even your own body. It will help you claim a lifestyle that you probably didn't imagine could ever be yours, but I promise you, it can be.
This program only opens up to new members a few times a year and enrollment is currently closed. To be notified when spots become available, be sure you're on our VIP list!
Check out these posts for more support on creating balance, moderation, and lasting habits: