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How I Finally Learned to Eat in Moderation

How I Finally Learned to Eat in Moderation

I recently wrote about moderation and whether or not it’s a myth. I said that it isn’t, and I know that to be true because I finally got the hang of it.

It took a (really, really) long time to do it, though.

Let me just say this upfront: I have always loved dessert and I’m not a naturally moderate eater. I remember being a kid and asking my mom why I couldn’t have dessert after breakfast, so I don’t want you to get the impression it was easy for me magically eat a moderate amount of cake or chocolate or even cheese or buttered sourdough bread. It wasn’t.

Okay, so where does the moderation come in? Well, after a dieting phase, and overeating phase, and then an evening-out phase of sorts, I finally landed at a happy place. Here’s how I did it.

  1. I discussed my intentions with my husband and we laid out a plan together. We both felt we were overdoing it on sugar and that we’d prefer it to be a treat, say once a week (instead of an every night after dinner kind of thing). That being said, we threw out the kind of stuff we didn’t want to eat all the time instead of keeping it in the house where it could tempt us. It’s been pretty smooth sailing since then, and now I eat a treat about once a week, say, ice cream out on a warm Saturday afternoon, or a couple of cookies from a local bakery. (And, I admit, I do keep a bar of 85% dark chocolate in the house for emergencies, but since a serving has only 2.5 grams of sugar, I’m okay with that.)
  2. I assessed my “I can’t moderate them!” foods and decided how and when I wanted to eat them. I realized that, for me, cheese should be eaten as a treat, not by the handful while I waited for my grilled cheese sandwich to finishing cooking. Now when I eat cheese, I really taste and enjoy it, and that feels better to me than shoving it in by the quarter pound (ha).
  3. I decided what “moderation” meant for me. There was no way I would ever, ever give up the foods I love, even those filled with sugar or slathered in melted butter. However, I made the decision to focus on veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, and other healthy stuff most of the week, and to save things I love (like a decadent biscuit, egg, and cheese sandwich or a piece of chocolate cake) for just once a week or so, usually on the weekends.

This is what works for me, and you have to decide what will work for you. There’s also trial and error involved; in the past I cut out way too much of the stuff I loved and found myself feeling crazy and obsessed with food, and that was no way to live.

However, now I’ve found something that works for me, so I know it’s possible. The number one shift I made was to start eating in a way that both made my body and mind feel good and which I knew I could do for life. Going on a crash diet is not sustainable, but moderation is.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.