Moderation For The Masses
By: Robert Maalouf BS, CSCS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
In my last post, I wrote about “Cheat your way to a Fit Body“. While I truly believe that the methods outlined in that post do work if properly applied, I am a realist and understand that for most people, that method may be extreme. I mean extreme in the sense that most people can’t control not eating junk if they have a chance and only eat clean, healthy foods until that cheat meal comes around. So what to do then?
If it’s unrealistic to eat clean 80% or 90% of the time and only eat junk once or twice a week, then moderation is key. Eating in moderation is more realistic for the general population and is more sustainable in the long run. But what does eating in moderation mean? Can I eat whatever I want as long as it’s in moderation? Well, not quite. There are some guidelines to follow so you can stay fit while eating in moderation.
Personally I think the most important thing to remember is portion control. If you keep control over total calories consumed you can maintain control over your weight. Essentially, this means if you want to eat in moderation and be successful, you need to educate yourself. You need to educate yourself on serving sizes and general calorie counting. Eating in moderation means you can snack more and eat things you probably shouldn’t but limiting it to small amounts. The thing is, most people don’t realize how calorie dense most convenience foods are or even what 1 serving of a food is. This leads people to think they are eating in moderation but in fact, they are eating a surplus of calories. So start reading food labels and paying attention to the serving sizes.
I also suggest getting a small food scale and weighing foods to learn appropriate serving sizes. This doesn’t mean you have to weigh and count everything you eat forever, but after doing this for a few months you will have a general idea what certain portions of food look like so you can be aware when you’re over-consuming calories. If you have trouble over-eating this will be a great learning tool. Things like nuts are constantly over eaten-by accident- because people don’t realize just how calorie dense they are! An ounce of nuts is actually a lot less than you would think! I have seen many people make dramatic changes in the weight and overall health but applying portion control changes to snacking and beverage consumption.
The take away message here, is that for most people the moderation approach will work better than a strict diet with cheat meals here and there. Regardless of which style of eating works for you, we always need to remember the basics and try to avoid consuming the obvious “bad foods” (you know what they are!!) in excess and add more nutrient dense foods such as vegetables and fruits into our diets.
As always, make sure to keep following us for all the latest tips on exercise and nutrition. Feel free to comment and ask questions!!!