Mostly, I am a moderator. I occasionally will get a really unhealthy meal, I just have to limit it and count it into my calories. The key for me is to not keep too much unhealthy food in the house. I sometimes get a package of something, eat part of it, and give the rest to people at work or to family.
But some things I just can't do in moderation. It's easier for me to completely give up soda than it is to have it once in awhile. Same with jelly beans, and snack mix (Chex Mix, stuff like that). I just have no self control with it, so I never let myself buy it.
current weight: 166.0
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31,477 12/9/19 5:31 A
I abstain from salty, crunchy snacks, because I can't moderate myself with those. Tried. Doesn't work. Thank goodness for HEB Bakery Tortilla strips. They're unsalted, so I can eat those without too many fears, as long as I keep the quantity in check. Usually don't eat more than 1-1.5 ounces.
I'm a Texan, so barbecue sauce, steak sauces and raspberry chipotle sauce can cause me all kinds of trouble. Love all of that stuff, and put it on all kinds of crazy foods. I look for low sodium and low carb options. Or make my own.
Salsa is another food that can get me into trouble. Like most South Texans, I'll slather nearly everything with salsa, if you let me. I manage to moderate my intake with portion control and choosing low sodium options.
Pickles--dills and jalapenos--are another favorite food, but I'm able to moderate with those as well. I look for the lowest sodium alternatives I can find that don't taste too bland. Best Maid Garlic Baby Dills and Old El Paso jalapenos are the ones I've finally settled on, after much research and taste-testing.
I don't have a problem with sweets like chocolate, cake, pie, candy and so on (so how did I become diabetic???? ). I can take them or leave them alone, so moderation works fine for me with those. Sometimes, I get peckish for a treat, but I indulge only if I have the sugar grams at the end of the day for it. If I don't, then I do without, and I don't climb the walls for it. The main problem I have with sweets, including fruit, is that I have a strict 25g daily allowance, and I really have to watch it because so many foods are high in sugar naturally, never mind the piles of it added to all kinds of processed food (the enemy).
Those are the only foods that I really need to stay on top of, but some are obviously easier than others.
Moderator. For years I was an abstainer and I'd lose the weight and gain it back. this time I realized that what I did to lose the weight was what I'd do forever and I knew I couldn't give up some foods forever. Moderation works for me.
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I think that most people easily abstain from the foods that they don't like. When it comes to the foods that they like it is more complex.
A lot of people come in with the idea that everything has to be entirely perfect from the moment that they start on out or they have failed, and for that mindset the 80/20 is a great example to modify perfectionism into something more sustainable. I've always thought of it more as the rule and the exception. The rule is what I do all the time and it is weighted heavier than the exception, which is that one off sort of time. Exceptions can grow to become the rule if you aren't watching, sort of like your moderate yogurt treat was 2-3 times a day.
I would also say that giving up something that you like for Lent is a much easier idea for most people to get their heads around rather than never eating that food again, ever. The other thing that goes along with that is building up a new base of foods that you enjoy and slowly outgrowing what you used to like. Starting out it is harder to say never again, but as you start to outgrow some things it can become easier as you and your tastebuds change. I also think that one of the keys in avoiding some things is having a base of other things that you like just and much and can eat.
I guess I think it's more of a food by food basis whether you are an abstainer or a moderator and that is even going to change based on where you are in your life. I gave up chicken fifteen years ago and it wasn't hard and it isn't something I miss. I probably had about a five year period before that where it was in decline, but before that I ate and enjoyed it all the time. Ice cream is more of an easy moderation thing for me. I have eaten pints in a sitting, but most often pints start to get freezer burn as I have somewhere between a third and a half cup at a sitting, every few days (no agony about when I deserve it) and then sort of forget about it around halfway through until I need to make room in my freezer for something else. I actually poked around and found the receipt where I bought the two pints currently in my freezer. Since 10/04/19 I have had half a pint of Pistachio Haagen Daazs and 3/4 of a pint of Vanilla. This would not have always been the case through all points in m life up to now. I think there is a lot more fluidity and grey than abstainer/moderator, though going with your inclination tends to be easier than trying to make yourself something that you are not.That being said, some effort can make a difference over time.
JERF- as far as your yogurt treat goes, if you don't mind my asking, how long ago did you decide on abstinence and was that the last time you had the yogurt treat?
I’m on a different path, as I’m vegetarian. So there, I have an absolute abstention. I know I can’t “cheat” (something an ethics only veg*n would not do, but my outlook has too many facets to be so absolutist) without over indulging. I tried it in my early years. I’ve experimented recently. No, here I must be absolutist. Flextarian is omnivore for me.
I have other areas where moderation works. To the point that I lose track of when I was allowing myself the indulgence. For example, I like ice cream. But I allow myself only high quality ice cream, either a six or less ingredient dairy version, or specific vegan versions. And I tell myself “roughly monthly.” I think I had some in September. So when the opportunity arises, I’m okay with a scoop. I’m also good at portion control on ice cream, the easy way. I go to a shop and get a single scoop. Nothing in my freezer. I do make nice cream from time to time. Bananas, vanilla extract, berries. I understand other people make this for breakfast, as a “smoothie.” To me, a smoothie has greens, watery veggies, herbs, spices, and some fruit.
I’d like to posit that we are, by definition, moderators of any food or vice we do allow ourselves. I moderate my portions. I moderate my eating window. I moderate fat intake.
It’s with triggers of overeating that we decide if we can moderate, or if we must banish.
I sighed aloud at the nutritionist’s 80/20. ( Maybe 90/10, personally) A 20 percent carte blanche, and that’s how many will use it, is undermining by reinforcing cravings, allowing a cheat mindset, and Is just one more one size fits all answer that doesn’t serve people.
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I am an abstainer. You can eat moderately, if you do not get cravings from that very food, but if I have a Werther's candy, or a 1/4 cup of pasta, or 1 packet of oatmeal, I can't stop eating, even when it hurts to do so. I will eat 10 burritos, a 2 liter, and 4-6 snacks, after I already at my daily calories, if I eat foods with carbs.. so for me, moderation does not work.
I do think most people do not have these issues, but it is more common than people think. I hear people saying they are doing well with moderation, but even they ask questions such as .. what do you do when you have cravings?
I don't have cravings if I abstain from certain foods. I eat chicken, and ground beef, eggs, butter, olive oil, and vegetables.. if I ever have fruit, it is just berries. It is strict, but after a while, you enjoy the food you eat, and I am always full, not eating less calories than I need to be full, like some people, who are always hungry, which I can't live with.
At some level, being an abstainer may be the easy way out. I don't have to choose, or have restraint. I just eat the food on plan, and I am never hungry, or think of food, except when I am cooking it, or eating it. It allows me to eat 3 meals, and a snack, and stay around 2000 calories. Over time, I have lost about 120 calories.
When I do get off track, it is hard to get back on. So I try to stay on track all the time. When the office has cake, I abstain. I don't indulge at holidays, or birthdays, or weddings/funerals. I eat exactly what I do on any other day.. about 78% fat, 20% protein, 2% carbs.
I vary slightly, but cheat rarely. I have no desire to cheat either. I remember food I liked. I am around fudge, and chips at office. We have picnics with friends, and I see potato salad, and hot dogs on buns, and they don't interest me in the slightest. I like eggs, beef, chicken, occasionally fish, butter, mayo,olive oil, some veggies, and sometimes macadamia nuts, cheese, or berries.
I have no reason to think I will ever need more variety, or to stop eating this way.
If moderation was an option, I might do that, but it isn't, and if you are going to be an abstainer, you need to do so 100%, not look for substitutes, or think of it as a loss. You embrace the new foods, and in about a month, it will simply be what you eat. That is a lot harder, if you eat " cauliflower potatoes ", to " replace the taste ".. eventually, you will want the original. You should be trying to forget, and learn to like what you will be eating for the rest of your life.. ideally.
Quote ***When dealing with temptation, I often see the advice, “Be moderate. Don’t have ice cream every night, but if you try to deny yourself altogether, you’ll fall off the wagon. Allow yourself to have the occasional treat, it will help you stick to your plan.”
I’ve come to believe that this is good advice for some people: the “moderators.” They do better when they avoid absolutes and strict rules.
For a long time, I kept trying this strategy of moderation–and failing. Then I read a line from Samuel Johnson, who said, when someone offered him wine: “Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.”
Ah ha! Like Dr. Johnson, I’m an “abstainer.”
I find it far easier to give something up altogether than to indulge moderately. When I admitted to myself that I was eating my favorite frozen yogurt treat very often—two and even three times a day—I gave it up cold turkey. That was far easier for me to do than to eat it twice a week. If I try to be moderate, I exhaust myself debating, “Today, tomorrow?” “Does this time ‘count’?” "Don't I deserve this?" etc. If I never do something, it requires no self-control for me; if I do something sometimes, it requires enormous self-control.
There’s no right way or wrong way—it’s just a matter of knowing which strategy works better for you. If moderators try to abstain, they feel trapped and rebellious. If abstainers try to be moderate, they spend a lot of precious energy justifying why they should go ahead and indulge.
In my experience, both moderators and abstainers try hard to convert the other team. A nutritionist once told me, “I tell my clients to follow the 80/20 rule. Be healthy 80% of the time, indulge within reason, 20% of the time.” She wouldn’t consider my point of view—that a 100% rule might be easier for someone like me to follow.
People can be surprisingly judgmental about which approach you take. As an abstainer, I often get disapproving comments like, “It’s not healthy to take such a severe approach” or “It would be better to learn how to manage yourself” or “You should be able to have a brownie.” On the other hand, I want to tell moderators, “You can’t keep cheating and expect to make progress” or “Why don’t you just go cold turkey?” But different approaches work for different people. (Exception: with an actual addiction, like alcohol or cigarettes, people generally accept that abstaining is the only solution.)
You’re a moderator if you… – find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure–and strengthens your resolve – get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something
You’re an abstainer if you… – have trouble stopping something once you’ve started – aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits
So…do you identify as an abstainer or a moderator? Do these categories ring true for you? *** End Quote
I personally am both! I abstain from crappy processed foods as much as humanly possible and foods I’m either sensitive to or that I’ve deemed unhealthy (added sugar). I also don’t buy foods I can’t control how much I eat (chips, candy), although those foods don’t have anywhere near the appeal as they used to.
I moderate my carbohydrates because of pre-diabetes. I limit foods high in carbohydrates, high sugar fruits, grains and “foods” with no nutritional benefit (cookies). The amount of things like fruit, gluten free bread and potatoes is exercise dependant. If I workout a lot I eat a bit more, if I’m more sedentary then I eat less.
Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 12/8/2019 (07:53)
JERF - Just Eat Real Food
I'm not a doctor or dietitian. I'm just a real whole foods nutrition nerd.
I eat mostly vegetables, fats, meats, some fruit and dark chocolate. Unprocessed and preservative free food. And it's changed my life!
5'4" Maintaining since 2012 42 years old 2 kids
Lowering my A1C and keeping my blood sugar levels steady eating LCHF.