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When moderation becomes an excuse for continuing bad habits

April 20, 2017

Yesterday I received an email from a client in which was talking about being unable to have “moderation” with something that she just can’t seem to get a handle on. She wrote “ If I could do it with moderation I’d be doing it all the time, but I just can’t find the “off” switch for it.”

Moderation is a popular idea, as it should be. It’s sensible, accessible, and effective. Unless, you can’t have moderation with something. And that is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it something to bullshit yourself about. So I am going to say what the real problem is. It’s not those trace minerals or fish oil you are lacking in your diet. It’s not because you aren’t having enough carbs or fats in your diet that you are craving the sugar. It’s not your stress or emotional problems or your negativity & lack of self-love. It’s simply one thing. You like (insert whatever food you binge on) so much and you don’t have enough willpower at this point in your life, to not eat it.

So, what is the practical advice I have to give you? If you can’t trust yourself with something, then just don’t allow it to be in your house. Don't purchase what's obviously a problem. A bad habit takes time to overcome & why on earth would you put said bad habit right in front of you while you are trying to overcome it?

If you can control yourself with foods commonly known for being “junk” that is highly palatable & you can’t stop overeating a certain food, then keep it off your shopping list. People say that removing something from your diet only makes you want it more. But I don’t buy that (pun intended:). Sounds like another way of bullshitting ourselves into buying it anyway. Sure, the first couple days will be a psychological struggle as you learn how to go without it, but that gets easier to the point that you won’t miss it much anymore. And it may sound crazy, but you can't eat what's not there. It is actually refreshing when you can look at your problem in a practical way and find ways to fix it.

This period of going without your favourite food is a good time to find alternatives that hit the spot. Do they have to be textbook nutritious? No. You don't have to snack on raw kale to lose fat. But they do need to be better than what you were eating. Make some healthier alternatives. Or lower calorie options. If you like savoury treats like, try swapping it with something like popcorn. For sweets, you can make healthier protein balls with dried fruit and nuts. If it’s chocolate that you just can’t stop eating, try mixing chocolate whey protein powder with Greek yogurt (it’s really good and tastes like chocolate pudding). This goes for alcohol too. Try something healthier like sparkling water with lemon or kombucha.

I am aware these aren’t even remotely the same as the real thing, but at least they will keep you full and the extra protein will help keep you satisfied. Then go and spend your time working on a hobby you love. Art, design, photography, lettering, writing, sports. Anything.

To be successful, you are going to have to endure the unpleasant feelings that come along with learning anything new. Think of it as starting training or taking up exercising again after stopping for awhile. It’s not fun at first and you feel sore and it’s hard, but you do it because you know eventually it will turn into a habit and get easier. It’s the same with food. Stop with the bullshit you keep telling yourself about needing it because you don’t want to deprive yourself and you need to have moderation. Train yourself to handle going without these things and it will stop feeling unpleasant. Eventually you'll look forward to all the better alternatives.

And last bit of advice: Make sure you actually swap the unhealthy snacks with healthier alternatives. If you slash your calorie intake all that’s going to happen is you are going to be ravenous and likely overeat on something else later in the day. Start with simple easy healthy swaps, get satisfied on good alternatives & stop buying the things that are causing you to overeat.

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