Dr. Jerome Craig is back to talk about the falsehood of “everything in moderation.” This idea of moderation is tossed around so much in the diet industry and they both agree that it’s setting us up for failure.
The Truth About Moderation
- If you don’t want to change, then everything in moderation works great! It maintains the status quo.
- If you want to make health and wellness changes in your life, then moderation is not going to work.
- If you’re using moderation as an excuse for not changing, it’s working – there will be no change.
Dr. Craig provides an example of a patient who is a type 2 diabetic, on multiple medications, life not going well and who wants to change but cannot give up his daily chocolate-coated almonds. Dr. Craig appealed to the patient that he needed to get away from the almonds, that they were a sugar addiction and he needed to give them up.
“The only way to break an addiction to something is to give it up” Dr. Craig explains.
It’s not going to serve you to have only a little of whatever substance you’re addicted to, whether it be alcohol, sugar, refined carbs or potato chips. The substance fires up the pleasure areas in the brain, and releases serotonin and dopamine, so our mood changes, we feel good – and we want more. We consume more, then we crash and feel crappy. We can’t simply have three potato chips or one drink and hope that the addiction stays at bay. That’s why “everything in moderation” truly does not work.
Those NFD focuses on eliminating 5-6 foods for 30 days to to identify which foods are trigger foods for you, as well as get a clean break from them. At the end of the program, participants are guided to reincorporate one food at a time and track their body’s response so they get a clear sense of which foods work for them and which do not.
During the program members are often faced with their friends and family telling them that elimination diets are just a fad and they’ll be fine as long as they use “moderation.” It just doesn’t work like that. Just as you can’t tell an alcoholic to drink in moderation, you can’t say this to a sugar addict either. She supports them in dealing with these external challenges while they make their break.
Stop Saying the “F” Word: “I’m Fine.”
If you want change you have to take some sort of radical steps to at least get started. The radical changes don’t have to be forever, but moderation is never going to serve you in the beginning. Once you achieve your weight and health goals, you may find that you still have certain foods or substances that are problematic for you.
- Defining what works for you and your body
- Understanding what’s happening when we’re back on a ‘slippery slope’
- Life circumstances?
- Trying to self-soothe?
- Not enough exercise?
- Not enough breath work?
- Everything in moderation can lead us back to an old pattern
Christa shares her personal struggle with donuts and wine. These are things that she limits to rare instances, but has learned to pay attention to cravings and to take appropriate action, not the substance, if and when they do occur, ask herself, “What’s going on, what am I doing, or not doing?”
Occasional, Rare, and Never: What Foods Should Go Into Which Bucket?
The ideal scenario is that we can have sugar, refined carbs and alcohol “occasionally,” but through your journey you may find that’s just not possible. Start by thinking what each category means and where you might start to identify opportunities to make changes.
If you’re not addicted to a food or substance and it is not a problem for you, then a few times per month is fine. (4 x/month)
A problem food or substance should only be consumed on rare instances. Using food as a reward or a celebration needs be limited to special occasions, but certainly not on a frequent basis. (1 x/month)
Abstain completely from addictive foods or substances. If you’re triggered by a food to the point where you know it isn’t serving your goals, but you can’t control consumption of it and it takes you back to a daily pattern, it’s likely time to release it for a longer period of time (3+ months) or forever.
Become mindful of what foods or substances trigger something in you and takes you away from your goals so that you can be fit for life, and not dieting. The only true possession we have in life is our body so you’ve got to take care of it so it takes care of you.