Moderation is having a moment.
I feel as though it’s all anyone ever talks about these days, as if it’s the singular solution to all our dieting woes and weight loss struggles!
I don’t entirely agree, and we’ll get to that, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the irony:
The pendulum’s swung so far away from meal plans, strict diets, food elimination, and the like that we’re now in a moderation no-man’s land where only a select few actually know their way around!
It’s like when it comes to health and fitness, there’s no such thing as “the middle”.
The way people get so militant around it, moderation’s the extreme alternative to traditional dieting!
There’s no nuance, which IMO, is completely unrealistic!
And while I am by no means innocent of promoting moderation as the “ideal” (I still believe a version of moderation is, by the way), the way many fit pros talk about, practice, and teach it needs a MAJOR overhaul.
What we’re doing now isn’t working, and I’ve come up with 5 reasons WHY:
#1: People don’t really know what moderation is
Moderation is one of those concepts that so difficult to define because it’s so personal to the individual.
While I understood intellectually that moderation is does not mean eating 50% healthy and 50% unhealthy, the simple fact that I was suddenly “allowed” to eat foods that I’d previously avoided (for good reason!) threw me for a loop!
When I first tried to implement what I was learning about moderation, my food obsession actually got worse!!!
I was thinking about food even more, and I wasn’t just feeling guilty for overeating…I was feeling guilty for feeling guilty for overeating!
I struggled to reconcile what others shared on social media as examples of their “Moderation-365” lifestyle, with my reality.
My attempts at moderation were being thwarted left and right because I lacked a basic understanding of how certain foods affected me hormonally, something that the moderation folks often fail to mention.
#2: Fit pros who practice moderation withhold critical information
If you search the hashtag #IIFYM or #moderation365 or something similar, what you’ll see is a small sliver, a glimpse into what moderation looks like for the fit pros who practice it.
You see the 10-15% of the their diets that’s “unhealthy”, as opposed to the 85-90% that’s clean, healthy, and BORING.
I didn’t realize it when I first started my moderation journey, but I hate the hypocrisy of the whole thing. I hated that what you see if not the whole picture.
And while many who I followed then did (and still do) admit that “what you see is not what you get”, I think this is disingenuous.
Just because your “normal” diet is boring and looks mostly like💩(I’ve never seen a pretty chocolate protein shake IRL!), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share it.
The fact that so many fit pros intentionally leave THE REALITY out is why so many people like me struggle to implement moderation in their daily lives.
#3: The examples of how to do moderation are unrealistic
Everyone who practices and teaches moderation approaches it slightly differently, with different tools and strategies, but the basic principles are the same:
Make sure every meal is satisfying by building in a little “nutritional relief” (some cheese or bacon on a salad; a couple of peanut MnMs with your post-workout protein shake, etc.)
Learn to satisfy yourself on just a couple of bites
Eat to 80% fullness
Practice not cleaning your plate
These are all great tools, don’t get me wrong! In the right context, they work very well.
But to the newbie or the individual who’s only frame of reference is binge-restrict and years of yo-yo dieting, it’s a recipe for disaster.
#4: People jump into moderation too soon
As in my experience, trying to do moderation too soon and without sorting through all that “diet trauma”, can actually trigger more and worse food obsession.
Without taking a period of time to get back to basics and earn a baseline where our hormones are balanced; energy is stable and predictable; cravings are controlled; and triggers are recognizable, we will fail at moderation, but only 100% of the time.
#5: Real moderation looks more like traditional dieting than most are willing to admit
We (fit pros) are doing people a disservice by showing them what moderation could be, not what it actually is.
We’re selling an ideal, not a reality, and this means we’re doing our followers and clients a disservice.
And I think it all comes down to fear of judgment: because of this massive shift away from traditional dieting, so many of us are afraid of being caught red-handed with a perfectly portioned-out Tupperware!
We’re afraid of being labeled “obsessive” or being pigeon-holed as “unrelatable”. So many are afraid to let people see that they ACTUALLY HAVE TO WORK HARD TO HAVE A SIX PACK!!!
How DARE you model discipline!
How DARE you show some self control and self restraint and actually USE YOUR WILLPOWER!
How DARE you pursue your own physique goals with the same determination you want your clients to cultivate!
How DARE you tell it like it really is!
But because I pride myself in helping people cut through the diet BS, the truth is that in order to achieve sustainable fat loss,
moderation can’t be your starting point.
It’s NOT something you can jump into and hope for the best. You have to establish a baseline, and it’s only from there that you can begin to understand how moderation *could* look for you.
You have to put the hard work in first in order to earn the right to effortlessly manage your moderation lifestyle.
Does this sound like something you’d like to try?! If so, great!
It just so happens that starting next week, I’m opening up several spots to my insiders on my email list to help beta test my new 28-day fat loss jump start program, Cut the Fluff.