I’m OBSESSED with moderation, and why marathoning is better than sprinting (as a philosophy).

So, as I finish up my dialogue from my lunch and learn on Dining out, I realize that I can sum up my entire presentation by chatting about MODERATION.

In the end, most of my dining out presentation boiled into a few short tips:

  •  Order what you want, and eat half, or eat until you are no longer HUNGRY
  • Order what you want, eat half, and have it with a big salad
  • If you want dessert, have dessert, just don’t eat it every time
  • 80 % of the time when dining out make a choice that is tasty, AND is healthy for your body.

I feel like this works.  I feel like by truly listening to what your body wants, needs, and makes you feel good, balances out in the end to Optimal health, and promotes a healthy weight.

I know for me, and many of my clients, when we try to hard to ‘be good’, we end up making even worse choices later on.  For example, if I am dining out and am absolutely CRAVING a burger, if I choose to not have it, I will most likely think about that burger for another week before I end up going out again just to get one.  Whereas, if I realize burgers are on my mind like crazy, I choose to order one and eat half of it, I satisfy that craving, and feel sane (and not burger crazy) for the next week.

I have never been able to maintain my weight, at the same time as my health and happiness, as I do now.  It always used to be a one or the other for me.  If I was eating healthy and making good choices, I was feeling deprived, missing out, and not enjoying food or my life!  If I wasn’t eating healthy I was gaining weight, and feeling crappy.  It was always extremes for me.

The solution came when I decided enough was enough.  I want to eat ALL foods in moderation, still feel happy, look healthy, and feel good.  Holy cow was this a scary process to go through.  Initially I couldn’t stop myself.  Once I gave myself permission to eat what I wanted to I went over board and gained weight.  But you know what happened?  Eventually the thrill wore out, I didn’t want banana bread every day anymore!  Eventually I realized that once or twice a week I really crave something like chips or chicken fingers and so I have them!  And you know what?  Nothing happens to my weight, I feel happy, I feel indulgent, I feel satisfied.

I worried that I was going to eat unhealthy food forever and continue to gain weight.  I think that’s kind of the way we are trained to think from society.  If you eat junk food you will end up like the majority of our population, overweight or obese, and then you will need to start a diet program.

I started to notice that when I ate banana bread for breakfast and had chips with my lunch I ended up with sore swollen hands, upset stomach, feeling tired and fatigued, and was feeling grumpy.  I began to see the connection between choosing these types of foods regularly and how I feel.  This REALLY supported me in realizing that I didn’t want to eat processed crappy foods regularly, and that once in awhile I could have them without feeling crappy.  It helps to practice moderation when you are in tune with how your food choices affect your overall physiology.

If you are in fact looking to be very slim and that’s your main goal (ahead of health, happiness, and life enjoyment), maybe you don’t want to listen to my advice.  Maybe you want to give up indulgent not so healthy foods so that you can achieve this ideal weight.  Props to ya!  Like I mentioned, I can’t restrict like that and always feel sane and happy, so perhaps I am not the person to be following 🙂

Instead I’d like to preach to those out there looking to just enjoy food and drinks in moderation, feel fit, strong and healthy in their body, without worrying about ‘limboing’ the scale, “How low can you go!?”.  (I just made that up, I hope it works and isn’t too corny).

On the same note, I am really looking at the power of consistency in terms of diet and exercise.  Truly, in terms of long term health there is nothing better than staying consistent both with exercise and nutrition.  For example, health means getting your heart rate up and being active regularly.  Many people assume that to be ‘healthy’ we need to go to the gym 5 days a week.  And in fact, this is a large commitment that a very small proportion of the population actually meet regularly.  So I advocate, rather than ‘sprinting’ to the finish and always making it 5 days a week, instead focus on the marathon.  Commit to 3 days a week long term.  Any more is bonus.  In the end, you are less likely to burn out and HATE going to the gym, and are more likely to create a long term consistent fitness routine (which is the healthiest of all).

Same goes for nutrition.  Instead of cleansing and following programs and cutting foods groups etc. the only way I have figured out to maintain my weight sustainably is to practice consistency and moderation.  When I cut carbs and ‘sprint’ the the finish, AKA lose weight quickly, it’s all going to come back and more once I start eating that food group again.  If I try to stick to 1200 calories a day, it’s way to low for my system, slows down my metabolism, and in the end I feel so starved and deprived after eating this way long term that I can’t control myself to eat moderately.  In the end, the ‘marathon’ wins again.  Consistent moderation each day, each meal, each week, brings you to the end result.

Really, it all comes down to asking yourself a few questions.

  •  Am I hungry
  • Do I really want this right now
  • How am I going to feel after I eat this?
  • Am I full
  • Can I split this
  • Have I had many foods like this lately
  • Is this going to make me happy, healthy, and feel good?

Following these rules regularly will allow you to marathon your way to a sustainable health and weight.  Sprinting is good- in the gym on a treadmill, or up a hill.  Marathoning is better when it comes to diet and exercise for health and happiness.  Small, regular choices that support all aspects of who you are as a human being 🙂

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