“You Can Eat Anything in Moderation and Still Lose Weight!”
You’ve heard it before and it’s going to be on the cover of every magazine come January. The idea is that you set yourself up for disaster if you eliminate whole categories of food from your diet. You will feel deprived. You will crave them. You will cave and then overeat them.
I say this concept of “any food in moderation” is crap. If it was true I wouldn’t have been fat. If it was true we wouldn’t have a national obesity epidemic.
There are a couple of reasons I don’t rely on “any food in moderation” as a weight loss tactic.
First, some of us poor, unfortunate souls have addictive personalities and are inclined to overdo stuff. I’m no psychologist and I don’t pretend to be an expert on physiological addiction, but I can tell you a thing or two about addictive behavior. Stuff gets stuck in your head like an old LP record with a scratch; it just sits there and bumps over and over again until you can’t stand it anymore and you act on it. That’s why willpower doesn’t work as a weight loss strategy, as I discussed in Monday’s blog.
Another reason moderation doesn’t work is that most unhealthy, fattening, highly-processed food was not created to be eaten in moderation. There are armies of chefs, food scientists, manufacturers and marketers hard at work every day doing their darndest to separate you from your money. The way they do that is to create hyper-palatable foods that are nearly impossible to resist. I don’t fault them for that, but I also don’t have to play their game.
So I don’t.
Instead, I choose.
I choose how to spend my food dollars. I choose what goes in my grocery cart, what restaurants I patronize, and ultimately what goes in my mouth.
I choose foods intentionally. I place them on my table. All the crap food that doesn’t meet my standard – remember, food on my table must be both healthy and outrageously delicious – is on that great big buffet table that I leave for someone who’s a lot less picky than me.
I don’t try to eat the foods that are on that other table in moderation. I am not capable of it. If you are, lucky you!
I am successful at maintaining my 120-lb weight loss because I play to my strengths and I manage my weaknesses. I acknowledge that I have an addictive personality that gets fixated on certain foods and that I cannot control them. I’m not terribly proud of that, but oh well. That’s me.
Moderation doesn’t work for me. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it doesn’t work for a lotta people.
So never mind what everybody says about moderation. If it doesn’t work for you – if like me, you cannot control those impulses – then acknowledge that and figure out a strategy that does work.
For me, having a table of my own is what works. I choose the foods that go on it because they support my goal to live a long and healthy life.
Is losing weight hard? Don’t make me laugh. It may be the hardest thing you ever do. But it gets easier. And you’re so damn worth it!
Let’s go get it!