Do you get super frustrated and want to throw your phone through the window when you see an Instagram fitness “model” post a pic of them about to take a bite of pizza and caption it “everything in moderation!” while flaunting their flawless physiques. I used to, too. I’d get so frustrated because all these women with great bodies were showing off their treats and here I was wondering how the heck they did it while eating my cold chicken out of a Tupperware container. I had no concept of what moderation actually was, especially in terms of weight loss.
I’ve had enough convos with women over the last ten years in this industry to know I wasn’t alone in my confusion and this is still something that needs some explanation. I want to clear up what moderation looks like when it comes to losing weight for two reasons. First because I want to save people the confusion that I went through, and second because it seems like some people take a concept like moderation, which gives us permission to loosen the reigns in terms of what foods we can eat when trying losing weight, and use it as an excuse to make choices that are out of line with their goals and it’s OK because…moderation…but then frustration sets in when progress isn’t made.
So, what does moderation look like when it comes to losing weight?
> A couple pieces of dark chocolate a day
> A glass of wine or cocktail once or twice a week
> Having pizza or takeout once a week
> Choosing the gym over happy hour more often than not
> Choosing a drink OR an appetizer OR dessert accompanying your dinner out (which is made up of protein and veggies) and not all three or even two of those things
MODERATION IS NOT:
> Four days of “perfect eating” followed by three days of going “off track”
> Eating out, drinking booze and ordering takeout more often than prepping and putting some thought into meals
> Sitting on the couch and scrolling thru Facebook while eating a bag of chips and watching the latest episode of Housewives a few days a week instead of going to Spin class
You know by now that I’m all about mindfully eating the treats you want, when you want, eating until you’re satisfied and stopping when you’re done. No guilt, no regret, you simply make the choice and move on. But here’s the thing. When we have a specific goal like fat loss, we actually have to say no sometimes.
Let me paint you a little picture of a story I hear a lot:
You go out on Saturday night with your girlfriends for a couple drinks and dinner. You have two cocktails, some bread out of the bread basket and your meal that’s not totally fat loss friendly, but ok, no biggie.
On Sunday you have plans to watch football with your boyfriend and his friends. The spread is full of buffalo chicken dip, nachos, chips & dip, cookies and beer. You decide that you had a good week and only had a couple drinks last night so you’ll indulge, again, and will do better tomorrow. Tomorrow is Monday after all.
On Monday your friends want to go out after work for Happy Hour. You really want to go because the day was really stressful. What harm could one drink do? So you go to Happy Hour, end up having a couple drinks and a few bites of the apps your friends order. Since you’re late getting home and don’t feel like cooking dinner (and because you mind is a little hazy due to the cocktails) you order a pizza and vow, again, to start over tomorrow morning.
You wake up on Tuesday and think back on the last few days: dinner out, cocktails, game day snacks, beer, cocktails, apps, pizza. Suddenly those “treats” are making up the majority of your diet.
How familiar does this sound? I hear stories like this all the time and I’ve experienced them myself, too. Here’s the thing. You absolutely, 100% can lose weight while eating treats if the majority of you meals and snacks are ON POINT (lean protein, veggies, high fiber starches & fruits and some good fats). If you choose to increase the number of treats you indulge in, losing weight will more than likely be a slower process. The more “on” you are when it comes to your choices, the probability of you losing more weight (and losing it more quickly) goes up.
In order to lose weight and #treatyoself, you have to get really good at picking your battles when it comes to nutrition.
Let’s take the scenario above for example. How different would your Sunday have been if you nixed the beers and brought a healthier food option with you so you could have choices that were more in line with your goals? Probably not very different at all and you can still participate the day, you’re just simply doing it while keeping your goals in the front of your mind.
As far as Happy Hour goes, you always have the choice to skip out on it this time around because Happy Hour will be around forever. Especially after an indulgent weekend and there will be many more opportunities to go out with coworkers. How much better would you feel if nine times out of ten you headed home, went to the gym, ate your planned meal and got a good night’s sleep. Happy hour will be there for the rest of the week, and every week thereafter.
Lastly, remember that you always have options and you always have a choice. You never have to go out for drinks and you never have to eat the nachos instead of eating your planned meals and you definitely never have to watch the Housewives instead of moving your booty. Those are simply choices that you make so in these instances get your mind right and make decisions that move you closer to your goals every.damn.day.
If weight loss is your goal, you have to commit to it-just like you would any other goal-and you have to be willing to do what it takes to make it happen which can sometimes mean a sacrifice or two. If weight los isn’t a serious priority for you, totally cool, you can choose to get stronger, make better food choices when going out to eat, increase your running speed or distance, try new classes at the gym, try new foods, start meditating, start journaling, become more positive…there are thousands of goals you can choose from that have nothing to do with weight loss. If, however, you want to focus on losing weight as goal, if you really want to make it happen, that goal has to be top priority and moderation can’t be an excuse to indulge more than necessary.