Many people, including the “experts” recommend that eating in moderation is the way to stay fit. But how many people do you know that are trying to lose weight have actually lost weight with this strategy?
I’ve come to the conclusion that this doesn’t work for many people for several reasons:
1. People have different ideas of what eating in moderation is. How many cookies can you “moderately” eat? If you normally have 10 cookies, then are five cookies eating in moderation? What if someone normally has 20 cookies, is eating 10 in moderation? They may think so. If someone normally has two Big Macs, a large order of fries and a large Coke, is half of this entire meal OK?
I went to dinner with friends who were indulging at the dessert table. One of them had two plates of dessert. It was a lot of dessert, at least 2000 calories worth. At the end of the meal she said that she was glad that she didn’t overdo it. It further supports my theory: eating in moderation is relative and not clearly defined.
2. Eating a lot of different foods “in moderation” adds up. If you sit down to dinner and have a moderate amount of bread (2 rolls instead of 4), a moderate number of drinks (1 instead of 3), a moderate meal (which is normally huge at most restaurants), a moderate amount of an appetizer (you split it with someone), and a moderate amount of dessert (once again you split it), you may think (kid yourself) that you’re eating in moderation.
However, you just ate a lot of calories! Maybe each individual item was eaten in moderation, but when combined, it’s a lot of calories. You will be gaining weight, not losing weight.
If you eat the bread, skip the appetizer and dessert. You have to make a trade-off. Also be aware of how you’re feeling and stop eating when you are about 80% full.
3. There are some things that people can’t eat in moderation. If you think about the foods that tempt you the most, these are foods that you probably consume in excess amounts even if you intended to eat a small portion. Chocolate is a great example. If you love chocolate you probably won’t eat just one piece. It’s like a drug! If you keep this type of foods in your diet and you can’t control yourself, you will never be able to eat it in moderation.
I’ve noticed that many diet plans claim that no foods are off limits. They do this so that people will buy into their program. This usually doesn’t work in the long run because you will probably eat too much of your temptation food if you go off track and continue your craving for it by eating it. You need to eliminate certain foods from your diet.
We cling tightly to certain foods that we claim that we just can’t give up. Don’t worry, you can live without it. I know that this is an unpopular recommendation, but it definitely works.
Be aware of what you’re eating, in what quantities, and the ingredients. Look at calories based on how many you need per day instead of what you think is moderation. Also don’t eat anything if you don’t know the ingredients. Certain foods have a lot of sugar which will definitely cause you to gain weight, so be aware of this and eliminate these foods.
I recommend trying new recipes and new foods that you know are good for you, and eventually you will “crowd out” the other foods. Essentially you’ll start liking these new things and you’ll crave more healthy food.
A good place to start is to eliminate the foods that you don’t like that much. Haven’t you eaten something that you could take or leave? If it’s unhealthy, leave it! At least you won’t miss it.
The bottom line is that eating in moderation in many cases doesn’t work, but eating healthy food that you like and being conscious if you’re feeling full, in addition to exercise, will help you stay fit for a lifetime.