The Myth of Moderation

I asked a former Pilates client how her food went over the Holidays, her response left me aa little confused “I only cheated a little, but that is ok right? moderation is the goal”

I cringed because
A) I never told her any such thing
B) what is a little
C) who says moderation is the goal? who gets to define it?

I can’t speak Moderation. I tried to learn it many times, it never took. I was unable to live in a world with candy and cakes and Diet Cokes and packaged foods. I am fine with it as all of those foods gave me brain fog, kept extra pounds on me, and my skin was full. I do not mind forgoing those substances if it means I have more energy for my kids and are way less likely to come down with disease than someone who consumes those foods. Inflammation causes diseases. The foods I just listed are inflammation pure an simple. So why would a little of it be OK?

We can all agree on the existence of feel-good myths in modern day culture. You know: The waitress who splits the winning lottery ticket with the cop since he didn’t have cash for a tip and they win four million dollars, or the guy who sells his VW bus and starts Apple with a friend. These stories give us hope in humanity and make us want to keep on keeping on. When it comes to sugar, I found moderation a myth. I tried it in my post Weight Watchers years, and it did not work. I might not have gained my weight back, but I had every other horrible symptom in the book and was generally miserable.

Moderation told me a calorie is a calorie and I could eat whatever I wanted as long as it fit into my point allowance (daily calorie allotment). You are probably like me, and this did not work for you either. This type of thinking didn’t work for me, as I would have fiber cookies sweetened with fruit juice for breakfast or sugared shredded wheat and nonfat milk plus fruit, tons of Diet Coke, eat high sugar/low fat, and be starving the rest of the day. I was always hungry after dinner. I could not close my kitchen three hours before bed like I can now. I remember eating tubs of Cool Whip with a spoon when my husband was working late, along with mint fat-free meringues. Now this always fit into my point allowance, but I was flipping nuts and always hungry.

Moderation would tell me I could have sugar in small doses, right? Well, my body doesn’t respond to sugar like a normal person. I know this based upon years of beating my head against a wall. I have tried to just have a small piece of cake at my kids’ birthday parties, and I would find myself hours later scraping all the frosting off of the leftover cake and eating it when everyone was in bed. Moderation didn’t work for me. If you’re here, reading this book, I’m guessing it hasn’t worked for you, either.

One of my schemes involved me having candy only in the previews before the actual movie started. Well, I would start to panic that I wouldn’t finish in time and then I would feel sick for the entirety of the movie from eating Junior Mints so quickly. Big love for moderation! There is some major bad blood between me and moderation!

Life is much sweeter if we accept certain foods are not good for us. Sugar, Flour and Artificial Sweeteners are those foods.


Erin Boardman Wathen

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