Happy Monday, friend! Do you struggle with food moderation?
The holidays are here—I don’t know about you, but at this point in the year, my willpower with food seems to diminish with every hour that passes. And when my willpower diminishes, my excuses tend to increase (hehe).
I’ve shared with you before on my YouTube channel that I’m not a fan of the word “moderation.”
I avoid using it in videos, blogs and emails whenever possible. But I have a confession:
I use the word as an excuse on the daily—especially over the holidays.
Here’s the problem: Moderation does not work.
“Moderation” is an excuse for most people, because it’s intangible and undefined.
If you use “moderation” as an excuse like I do, but don’t realize it—this might make you mad. If you’re irritated, can YOU tell me what it means?
Does enjoying cookies in moderation mean I can eat them once a month? Or is it once per day? What about cupcakes? Or pizza? Are the rules the same for all foods?
Is it okay if I have a donut one day because it’s “in moderation” and then the next day have a cupcake and think that’s “in moderation” too because I haven’t had a cupcakes in the last few weeks?
See what I mean?
So many people, especially Americans, think we are living “in moderation”—but I think we convince ourselves of that, when really, we are just eating what we want to eat and needing a way to feel less bad about it.
And I must be transparent that I’m guilty of using this “moderation” excuse, too, when it’s convenient for me (like, during the holidays).
We used to eat dessert because it was someone’s birthday; not because it’s Tuesday.(Even though today it’s Monday, but you know what I mean.)
Over the holidays, it’s not uncommon for me (and many people, I think) to eat something sweet every single day—some candy, dessert or baked good. We want to celebrate the season!
Food makes us feel good.
I do get it. But is eating a sweet indulgence every day, or even every other day, or every week “moderate?” It’s a mentally and culturally contrived issue that we think we deserve or need some sweet treat at the end of every day. And it isn’t easy to fix. If you’ve lived life for years eating dessert every day, or think the holidays = eating, it isn’t going to change overnight.
The Moderation Excuse becomes so convenient this time of year. I haven’t had a holiday cookie yet this week (even though I ate a candy cane this morning), etc.
The truth is, the idea behind living in moderation is great—IF you have it well defined, which I think is the problem right now: there is no real definition.
So for the purpose of this email, and to hopefully give us all a bit of guidance and intention this holiday season and moving forward.
Here is my basic mantra and definition of moderation that I try to live by:
“I will consume a primarily whole foods diet, consisting of foods and ingredients that FUEL mybody. I will consume as few processed foods and foods that require a package or nutrition label as possible. When I feel like indulging, for a special occasion or otherwise, I will do so in moderation, and in a healthy mental state where I give myself permission to enjoy, and then move on. These indulgences include but are not limited to all NOT food-as-fuel items, such as processed foods, baked desserts, holiday cookies, fried foods, candy, chocolate (including dark chocolate), alcohol, and pizza.”
We have to stop lying to ourselves.
We have to stop justifying the choices we make because we don’t want to admit that our diets aren’t what they could or should be.
I’m not telling you to throw out all of your processed foods or to not enjoy your holiday season and the foods that come with it—I’m certainly not going to deprive myself. I’m simply sending an email reminder to you (and myself) to be mindful and honest.
We are fooling ourselves to use the Moderation Excuse and justify those choices. If and when we choose to eat those foods, let’s accept and recognize that they aren’t fuel. Let it be okay; Don’t beat yourself up. And then get back to giving your body the fuel it needs and loves.
I’ll be trying to be mindful this holiday season, and I hope you’ll join me! Are you an abuser of the Moderation Excuse, like me? You aren’t alone.