Is Everything in Moderation Setting You Up for Failure?

ModerationFailureIf you’ve read more than one post on this here site, you’ve probably come across the phrase “everything in moderation.” We use it all the time—and live that philosophy—because we believe that there are no foods that should be completely off limits. I think I’ve used this analogy before, but it’s like when a server at a restaurant tells you a plate is really hot. What do you want to do? Touch the plate. If I get it in my head that I can’t have something, what do I want? That. SO MUCH THAT.

But for us, enjoying healthy foods much of the time and allowing for splurges, well, it takes away the power of the Uncrustable (or insert your guilty pleasure of choice). If you know you can have it, it becomes less tempting. And heck, sometimes allowing yourself to have it will help you discover you can live without it. I’m not even kidding when I say that more than 10 years (!?) after high school, I still cannot have a packaged Rice Krispie treat or an ice cream sandwich because I had one too many at the a la carte line.

I came across this article recently with the idea that the “everything in moderation” philosophy can keep you from hitting your goals. Sure, moderation can be a slippery slope. A little of this and a little of that can quickly become a lot of this, that and the other. But for me, if I tried to go too clean and eat too perfectly, I’d probably spaz and do the opposite of moderation. The nutritionist says that the philosophy gives a little looseness in the diet that gives you a way to add small things in on a daily basis. And I’m sure she’s right that it doesn’t work for everyone. But for me, it’s that looseness that keeps me on track and keeps me from feeling deprived.

How about you? Does “everything in moderation” become a way to overindulge? Or does it give you just enough wiggle room to stay on track? —Erin

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  1. I agree with you. Everytime I decided to give up something i found myself having it more than before with the idea “ok this is going to be the last one”. Now instead i learnt to postpone my cravings. Every friday we come together with my friends and it’s a good time for a bit splurge, so if i want to have a creamy pastry i postpone it to friday. This keeps me away from yummy but unhealthy things during the week. And everything is much more tasteful and satisfying when you’re with friends 🙂

  2. Couldn’t agree more, and have found this philosophy works well for most of my clients, as well. (Unless it’s a major trigger food- then tread cautiously of course). Love reading your take on it- well done!

  3. Moderation does work for me most of the time. However, there are apparently some foods that I still can’t control myself around. I made a batch of cookies last Friday. 4 days later and my boyfriend and I had finished every single cookie. SEVENTY-TWO COOKIES. In four. Days. I’m not usually a sweets person and I do fine without them, but somehow when they’re around I have absolutely no self-control. Something I’m going to have to work on, but for now I won’t be making any more cookies.

  4. Sometimes this philosophy does get me into trouble, because there is so much temptation out there! However, I would also agree that sometimes that one little moderate serving of the “forbidden food” is all it takes for me to say the next time “it’s not worth it.” I would say everything in moderation has helped me maintain my weight loss, but it has also kept me from finishing what I have started.

  5. I hear the whole everything in moderation idea, but it just doesn’t work for me. It’s a license to let my inner Sugar Monster get out & it wreaks havoc. I wish I could find the balance, but I do SO much better on a strict eating plan, one without sugary carbs. Everyone is different though, & it’s just what works for me.

  6. Moderation is the only thing that works for me. I don’t think I have real trigger foods though. If I think I’m being deprived of something I’ll eat way more of it than I’d ever really want.