Is it really ok to eat everything in moderation?
You’ve probably heard it said time and again in the diet and weight loss world, “everything is ok in moderation. “ But is it really? Is there truth to sugar in moderation, Cheetos in moderation ? What about French fries in moderation?
If you really want to know what I think…it’s a resounding NO, and Yes. No because, sorry, I do not believe it’s ok to have twinkies and donuts and fast food meats, as long as it’s “in moderation”. There’s no redeeming nutritional value in these foods.
And, moreover, your definition of moderation and my definition of moderation may differ GREATLY. One twinkie, or donut, or candybar a month sounds pretty moderate to me. Or were you thinking more like one twinkie a day, or even one twinkie a week? See what I mean? We can talk our way around anything to make it work for our definition of “moderate”.
I answered Yes to moderation because I can see a way for moderation to work for some, after having read Gretchen Rubin’s work on “The Four Tendencies” and “Happier at Home” . She makes the argument that actually some people cannot “moderate” their intake of unhealthy food, or their participation in unwanted habits. They have to “abstain” completely or risk almost certainly falling off the wagon. So, as she describes it, there are two camps of people, the “moderators” and the “abstainers”. Moderators can have 1 chocolate chip cookie, and that’s it. They are done. The one cookie does not then cause them to take a nose dive into the whole bag of cookies, and cakes, and whatever else sugar laden dessert that’s around. Abstainers cannot do that. They are fine, and stay on track as long as they abstain from the vice or unwanted habit. But, as soon as they give in, or try to say “I’ll just have one”, that one turns into 20 before they know it, and all their hard work is for naught.
(You can read more about Abstainers Moderators in Gretchen Rubin’s own words here):
I, for one, am an abstainer. As soon as I remind myself that I am a person that does not eat gluten, or white, refined flour, or desserts, or whatever definition I want to give myself, I am fine. I am not tempted, because literally my identity does not allow me to eat those foods. I abstain from them.
But, once I give myself wiggle room, or say, “It’s ok, I ‘ll just have one, this time only”. Well then, the wheels come off the bus and I’m left with the empty box of cookies wondering what’s wrong with me. You know what, there’s nothing really wrong with me! It’s simply knowing my personality and how I work, so that I always set myself up for success. So, for now, I am the one who doesn’t eat gluten or refined foods. I am on a whole foods diets, because that’s what makes me feel best.
What about you? Are you an abstainer or a moderator ? If you’re unsure, give yourself the simple test of “Can you just eat one ____?”. You fill in the blank. You know what it is for you. For some it’s cake, or chocolate, or potato chips. You’ll know. And if you cannot eat just one, but find yourself in control when you completely abstain from that food, well then you are an abstainer my friend. Just like me. But, if you have the whole bag of M&Ms or Hershey Kisses in your desk at work, and find it still there a year later because you just feel like having one every once in a while. Well, congratulation you are a moderator.
And I’m jealous !
Let us know in the comments below if you are a moderator or abstainer.