Is “All Things in Moderation” a Crutch?

ice cream sundae

photo credit: Neil Conway

Has "just a little" morphed into "a little too much"? Have you rationalized the phrase "all things in moderation" to actually be more of an excuse to eat crappy food and slack off on exercise? If yes, you are definitely not alone. I found myself doing it recently with sugar. I'm currently gluten-free and dairy-free (basically a Paleo diet) and I've been very good about not cheating ... But I've been feeling a bit deprived with my new food restrictions (due to adrenal fatigue) so I've been sneaking in some sugar. It first started with a handful of carob chips mixed in with some blueberries ... then some real chocolate chips ... then a whole bunch of other items "sprinkled" into my diet. Not to mention reaching for sweet fruits instead of crisp vegetables. It was mounting up to a pretty good amount of sugar, but I kept telling myself "all things in moderation." Then I got on the scale ... The truth is a bitch sometimes, that's all I'm saying. Are you nodding along to my tale of woe? Is your own version playing out in your head? I think we're probably all universally guilty of this. The marketing practices surrounding health and fitness do not help. These days it's all pound, pound, pound workouts ... The "all things in moderation" fitness industry has definitely skewed to the "go until you puke" mentality, which I find both gross, and ultimately injury and burnout provoking. Anyone think Jillian Michaels is going to tell us to rest and take it easy anytime soon? Thought so ... Some of us recognize this and know we need to find a healthy balance, but exactly what the heck would that be? Sometimes the balance turns into doing nothing for a few weeks, then wondering why you can't button your jeans. And we're back to that "the truth is a bitch thing," eh?

How To Reverse Your Slide

The first step to fixing a problem is to recognize that you have one. Figure out what you're doing or not doing and correct accordingly. The second step is to keep yourself accountable. Use whatever works for you ... journaling, online resources, telling your bestie or spouse ... just make sure you keep honest. You can start by declaring your bobble below in the comments section. Perhaps we can get a little cheering section going ... whattaya say? Studies have shown that telling people publicly what a new goal is means you're more likely to hit it. Me? I'm ditching the sugar (again) and keeping fruit to a minimum. I bought a big bag of greens from the grocery store on the way home tonight.  What are you doing? Cheers, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.


7 Responses to Is “All Things in Moderation” a Crutch?

  1. Malita August 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    I need to form good habits that will last a lifetime and that’s my ultimate goal, going sugar free isn’t realistic for me and reminds me of the good old fat free days, and the salt free days, and the carb free days and…same story wash rinse repeat. Everyone I know that does restrictive diets end up on this crazy shame ride: victory, failure, guilt and shame. I don’t want to live like that, and none of them are able to keep to it and keep the weight off…sigh.

    So having said ALL that I do recognize a need to incorporate beneficial sugars like raw honey, berries etc. oh raw honey, you are so magical, and expensive enough that I don’t over splurge on you and sweet enough that I’m completely satisfied with just a tiny bit, unlike the syrup honey.

    So this is my thing, incorporating healthy sugars, sugars with health benefits and not overdoing it on any foods, the “oh it tastes so good just one more bite” thing when I’m already satisfied and full, that’s the hard one. I think that’s the real kicker, the fact we tend to over ear on these foods.

  2. TraceyJoy August 13, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Lisa that picture is just sinfully deadly naughty naughty ROFL ;)

    Jillian was the reason I quit watching the biggest loser. The contestant was Heba (I think) she worked that girl until she puked they filmed it and showed it and I turned it off and never watched it again.

    Everything in moderation. That has been my golden rule that helped me balloon almost to the weight of any NFL Teams front line player if not out weighing them. Is a little bit of cocaine OK if it’s in moderation? NO!! Some foods are just that deadly and addicting to my health as cocaine is. I have to treat it as such. Some foods even in cute little bundles and nibbles are still deadly for my health. I struggle with it daily, we self sabotage with that mentality. It’s easy to slip slide away into bad comfortable habits. Sugar, diary and good old processed to death boxed packaged food. Yep, the instant butter garlic broccoli cheese noodles guys, the frozen mac and cheese guys, the chips that come in the tall can you get excited when you hear the “pop” yeah I can eat a can by myself watching MONK on Netflix, don’t let me forget the deli. I went nearly 4 months didn’t touch any of it slide right back into it at a friends party. Then I started buying it again having it in the house. I have to force myself DON’T go down the aisle where it is when shopping. Not even a little bit don’t have it at all. I shop the perimeter of the store. I make much better choices in my food, guess what I even have more money who knew. Moderation is a fail for me it’s better not to touch in the first place. I did kick all carbonated drinks from my life, no soda, sparkling anything including my beloved Fresca and La Croix :)

  3. Lisa Johnson August 14, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    TraceyJoy, I love your honesty you are so refreshing … :-) It’s that slippery slope we start on with that little mantra in our heads … “moderation” is a moving target afterall what does it mean to you (me) on any given day?

    Malita you are reminding me to go back to the raw honey and tea ritual I had going for months (and which totally helped my allergies). And yes, I’m cutting back/off the sugar again. Sigh.

  4. JoAnn August 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    For some things, moderation just begins a quick, downward spiral. I avoid sugar and other sweeteners at all costs. Same for processed carbs. Whenever I have even a little of these the cravings begin. Nothing short of extraordinary willpower keeps me from going back for more (and I don’t always win that battle.) The truth is, these are not health promoting foods and the ones that are don’t require moderation. No one ever told me to keep my broccoli intake in check. The thing that truly works for me is to not focus on those on those foods I limit or eliminate. Rather I put my focus on fueling my body with whole foods that really contribute to health: vegetables, lean protein, good fats and nuts plus a bit of fruit. Hard to feel deprived that way.

  5. Lisa Johnson September 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    JoAnn, that’s a really healthy attitude and I agree with you on the sugar. If I let myself have a little the slippery slope often begins.

  6. Colin Stone October 25, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    I found that I have never been able to have just one chocolate bar. It always leads to another and another just as you described above. What I find is the key is getting into the mindset that there are huge industries out there trying to make us fat with bad products and evil marketing designed to get us hooked and keep us that way. I know that thinking like that motivates me to beat them. I am now 3 months without chocolate, fizzy and alcohol. My weight has fallen steadily since. Its easy when you eat right. Dont let those huge industries ruin your health to make them profit.

  7. Lisa Johnson October 27, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    Nicely put Colin … that is a great way to think about it.

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