Friday, December 12, 2008

Moderation...and why I SUCK at it!

Thanks for all your comments on yesterday’s post. It really emphasised to me what I have been struggling with and come to terms with this year in particular- “All things in moderation”. It seems very wise and common sense enough but I can’t seem to follow through with it in practice. What is moderation? How do you know if you are achieving a ‘balanced lifestyle’?

I have been calling it my ‘all or nothing’ or ‘perfectionism’ approach. And come to think of it, ever since I labelled it, I have struggled more than ever.

Here’s my dilemma:

My meal plan as its written is fairly strict, fairly onerous in terms of the amount of food prep involved, lower carb, high quantities of fibrous vegetables and a high intake of water. Of course, when I follow it consistently = I get great results. Thrown in there are 10% meals which are allowable deviations for meals ‘off the plan’ but similar macronutrients as the meal you are supposed to have, eg chicken sandwich instead of chicken with brown rice. I don’t usually bother with these because I have my food prepped for the week anyway and used in their strict sense they don’t really taste better, they are mostly for variety and convenience. Then there is…… the cheat meal. One meal per week where I am allowed to have ‘whatever I want, in one sitting’.

What does this sound like? A binge! It doesn’t have to be of course. I hear about the 200 rather than 2000 calorie rule and although I agree with it, what I have found is that I simply can’t follow it if I choose to eat something with fast acting carbs/wheat/simple sugars.

The loss of control is quite frightening. Once I get going I find it incredibly difficult to stop. I still don’t know whether it is psychological, physiological or both. I’ve tried pretty much every week to set myself a limit and failed on almost every occasion. I tried cutting out the cheat meal and eating more moderately during the week instead but ended up gaining 2mm of fat that month when it was my goal to keep losing. I was told that physically, the best approach for my goal (fat loss) was to only have that insulin spike of the cheat meal once a week rather than every time I ate a unplanned simple carb (even if its healthy one) during the week. So I went back to being 100% during the week, planning a cheat meal with all sorts of junky treats, getting all anxious about it, eating uncontrollably to the point of feeling sick and spending the next few days feeling incredibly guilty- and lost 8mm. Sigh. I want to get results AND be happy!

Here’s my attempt at solving the dilemma:

I may have failed a thousand times in the past but I will never ever stop trying. It all lies in my mindset and the way I approach my relationship with food- I have decided that I am going to stop labelling and trying to ‘fix’ myself. I make my own rules and I am going to continue to work toward finding a way that not only helps me achieve my goals but that I feel comfortable with, even if its not the norm.

Focusing on nutrition and what foods will improve my health, rather than all the foods I ‘shouldn’t have’ has been the key for me. The more I educate myself, the less I see the point of eating the processed, sugary carbs that send my body and mind crazy. The more I focus on improving my health instead of ‘losing weight’ the more efficient at sculpting my body I become. If I know that I cannot eat these in moderation then perhaps they are best avoided! Why continue to beat myself up over this? I can’t say I haven’t tried!

Overall, I prefer the taste of healthy food and when it comes to a cheat meal what I really want is to have a break from restriction (big appetite remains despite shrinking body). Moderation in terms of portion control might still be out the window here but it certainly takes less of unprocessed foods to make me full anyway and most importantly, I know naturally when to stop because I am not only physically full but satisfied. I couldn’t believe it the last time I had takeaway (KFC) and I could just eat and eat and eat without it touching the sides- it was so refined it was like it had already been chewed for me! I am also generally disappointed by its lack of flavour and less than impressed with the toxic side effects on my stomach and digestion.

My last post talked about the dangers of sugar to health. I strongly believe that processed foods, sugar, trans/saturated fats, artificial ingredients and preservatives consumed everyday lead to a poor quality of health and life in the long run and it makes me angry how companies will refine a product, add fillers, cut corners at the expense of quality to save money and make more profits. I also avoid ‘diet products’ which are junk disguised as health products and a massive industry. I worked for a weight loss company and pushed expensive, frozen, processed and packaged foods onto desperate people. At the time, I was dazzled by the idea that I could eat foods I liked as long as I didn’t go over my ‘calorie limit’ for the day. But what is the point of eating such empty calories when what you eat literally becomes you. Imagine my shock when I started eating well over 2000 calories a day of real food and losing fat! This way I am providing my body with more essential vitamins and nutrients, giving it something substantial to digest and raising my metabolism- its not as convenient but oh well!

When it comes to comp prep, I am also kicking moderation out the door because this IS a DIET – a temporary change in lifestyle for temporary results and that is perfectly fine and the goal. I want to go for it and not stand in the way of my own progress. I am going to have to do some pretty extreme things during the latter stages of comp prep to get as lean and in the condition I want to be in- there is no avoiding that no matter how well prepared I am.

I would never swear off junk food 100% because labelling it as totally forbidden would illogically make it more appealing. I like to remind myself that Im a free person and can eat whatever I want whenever I want, as long as Im willing to deal with the consequences. And there are of course, some non healthful foods that I still really like the taste of, like fresh scones with jam (white flour + sugar). I will still always choose real food, over foods with a lot of artificial ingredients, colours etc. For example if I want cake, I’ll choose one made of all natural ingredients with fresh ingredients like banana and walnuts. It will still have the sugar and fat but it is less processed and therefore better tolerated by the body. My tactic when I want to incorporate these kinds of foods into my cheat is forced portion control- I never buy a family size, big pkt of anything I don’t care if its cheaper because I know I won’t stop at one serve. I also always make sure to take note of the effect these foods have on me, the instant cravings I get for more and decide whether or not the taste was worth it…


Anonymous said...

I lost 13 lbs in only two weeks by obeying this one easy rule

Stephanie Davis said...

Wow, acai berries are apparently a super laxative, nice! problems solved! lol

Anonymous said...

I lost 13 lbs in only two weeks by obeying this one easy rule

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