Not too long ago I put up a post on Facebook saying that I’d be showing my inner circle peeps exactly how I eat for fat loss vs how I eat for moderation. I actually planned a whole email series around it. However, what I’ve come to realize after working with my online coaching clients and following my #simplesanesuccessful guidelines myself is that there’s actually no difference between the two.
In fact, moderation actually LEADS to fat loss.
Yup, you read that right. Giving yourself permission to include things like chocolate, cheese, sandwiches, margaritas and wine into your diet mindfully and moderately actually help us lose weight. After we give ourselves the OK to indulge smart, cravings will go down, we’ll overeat and/or binge less, we’ll feel less pressure to be perfect on our diet and our thoughts and stress around food will decrease dramatically.
Here’s how it all works:
Reduced Cravings & Less Overeating/Binges
Restriction causes intense cravings, feelings of guilt and puts us in the perfect situation to overindulge or binge. Say you want some chocolate but you don’t let yourself have any. After a while, one of two things will happen. You’ll either a) try to cover it up with things like sugar free jello, sugar free hot chocolate, gum, herbal tea, etc. or b) you’ll try to resist, your willpower will run out and you’ll be diving headfirst into a bag of Lindt truffles. Wouldn’t it just be easier to let yourself have a little chocolate in the first place?
If you’ve been reading my stuff for any length of time, you know about my past Pop-Tart issue 😉 I would eat an entire box in one day, sometimes a few times per week, but once I started incorporating more treats into my diet (aka things I actually wanted) I saved a lot of calories and started losing weight…Yup, I lost weight by treating myself more and taking foods off of the Do Not Eat list. Here’s some math for proof of how this works…
A box of Pop-tarts (1600 calories)
Replaced with: Two pieces of dark chocolate (105 calories) + an ice cream sandwich (440 calories) + some candy (220 calories) = 765 calories
1600-765 = 835. Over 800 less calories every couple of days while STILL having lots of treats. I also didn’t have all of this stuff every day so the deficit was even lower then.
I was eating treats more frequently, at a higher quality, at a less quantity and I started losing weight pretty effortlessly…not a bad deal if you ask me. This is what my coaching clietns are experiencing too and it’s so fun to watch! They’re able to go to weddings and go on vacation without going nuts because they don’t know what to eat! They’re eating mindfully and moderately and are still losing pounds and inches. It just works!
Less pressure to be perfect
The entire diet industry sets us up for failure. Meal plans, food lists of what’s OK and what’s not OK, cutting out major food groups, living off of shakes and pills, there’s nothing sustainable about it. There’s no way we can stick to a set meal plan 100%, never have bread, wine or sugar, yet that’s exactly what we’re taught we have to do in order to be successful at weight loss.
Something I stress to my clients is that life keeps going even though you have a weight loss goal. Temptations and treats are everywhere and sometimes you’ll want to partake and other times you won’t, but you always have a choice. In my mind, there’s no such thing as perfection when it comes to nutrition. There’s only choices and progress. Make a good choice, great. Make a not so great choice, great too because you can learn from it.
Giving yourself permission to eat moderately takes the pressure off of being “perfect” on your diet. Since no food is off limits and you don’t have a strict meal plan to follow, you have access to anything and everything you want so long as you’re being mindful about your choices. There’s no on or off the wagon or on/off track because you’re just kinda cruising along making the best decisions you can each time you eat.
Besides, what is a perfect diet anyway?
Reduced Food Stress
A few of the girls in my weight loss coaching group listed one of their goals as not having to think so hard about food. They wanted to reduce the amount of time they spent thinking about what they ate, what they’re going to eat next, if what they’re eating is OK and they wanted to stop stressing over having some chocolate or having a beer.
Weight loss seem SO stressful and seems like a huge undertaking, especially if you’ve been a chronic dieter. Weight loss can certainly be both of those things, but when we allow ourselves to eat moderately we don’t have to keep track of what’s off limits, weighting food, counting macros, asking the waiter if something is Paleo-friendly etc. There’s no need to stress over those things.
Allowing yourself to eat moderately also doesn’t require making a major overhaul by throwing away all the sweets and goodies out of your house so you’re not tempted. You don’t have to tell your friends or family that you’re on yet another diet, you don’t have to say no when your friends are going out to dinner and you don’t have to pack your own meals when you go to a cookout. You can just eat normally being mindful of how much you’re eating and balancing it accordingly throughout the day.
Look, I know weight loss can be scary, it’s hard, it’s a mental game and we can get all wrapped up in the good, the bad and the ugly, but I’m hoping that you’re seeing that it doesn’t have to be that hard. Weight loss requires mindfulness and tapping into your hunger and fullness cues. It’s work, but it’s not super-hard-overhaul-your-life work. Allowing yourself permission to eat mindfully and moderately is a great way to set you up for success. No restriction, no deprivation, just living your life and not having it revolve around a diet.
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