Why I Don’t Believe in Everything in Moderation

968eIt sounds great, doesn’t it? “Everything in moderation.” Especially when you’re trying to shed a few pounds and watching what you eat. But that damn scale keeps creeping up. You start wondering why and get frustrated because you’re following all things in moderation. So why isn’t this working? Do you need to give up carbs or maybe try a low-fat diet?

Then you start looking back over your food diary and realize that you’re eating moderate portions of snacks three times a day, every day. And there’s a relaxed eating day over the weekend on top of these daily treats. Think about it, a cookie mid morning, a salty or sweet snack in the afternoon and a square of chocolate after dinner may be in moderation but those treats add up. That’s not including the weekend dinner out, cocktails and the pancakes for breakfast.

There are also the foods you can’t seem to have in moderation: A pint of ice cream, rather than a half-cup serving. The bag of chips instead of one ounce. Sometimes you even sensibly portion our treat out, only to go back for another serving. You think, well I’ll just have a little less at dinner or I’ll skip whatever later on. Except you don’t. We are creatures of habit and instant gratification is a powerful draw.

A lot of the runners I work with feel they deserve a treat for running so many miles per week. I love treats too and I know when you’ve burned hundreds of calories on a long run a doughnut, plate of waffles or cookies can be a powerful lure. While I don’t say no, don’t eat them. I do say eat a healthy meal first, replenish what you lost. Then if you want a treat go for it.

Daily treats become more of a habit instead of something we actually want. And we end up needing more of them to satisfy cravings. Instead of giving in to every craving wait a while, have some water or drink a flavored tea. Still want a sweet, eat some berries. If you’re hungry pair a piece of fruit with a protein. Some easy choices are yogurt with those berries, string cheese and an apple or a small banana with nut butter.

There will be days when you really want that cookie, cupcake or serving of chips. Go ahead, sit down and enjoy every bite of your treat. (Don’t keep extra servings in the house if you know you’re going to go back for more). I also suggest planning it for one time during the day. It may be easier to say no to a cookie when you know you’ll be enjoying that ice cream later on.

Do you have trouble moderating you servings? Not sure why your weight is creeping up? Email me, janinemchale@empowereplate.com, and together we can come up with a plan designed specifically for you.