What it Looks Like to Eat in Moderation (for me)

December 19, 2016

I can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away!  It’s exciting but I must be honest…there are a few last minute things I need to do to be 100% ready.  Anyone else still have a wee bit of shopping left to do? With the holiday season in full swing, I have seen countless articles […]

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I can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away!  It’s exciting but I must be honest…there are a few last minute things I need to do to be 100% ready.  Anyone else still have a wee bit of shopping left to do?
With the holiday season in full swing, I have seen countless articles and blog posts about how to eat healthy (or at least not completely blow a diet) this time of year.  I am by no means a dietitian or fitness expert.  My family and friends reading this are actually laughing hysterically as they read this because they know my food and beverage of choice growing up was Lay’s potato chips and Coca-Cola.  But as I’ve gotten older (read: as my metabolism has slowed!) I have become more aware of what I’m putting in my body.  And I have also realized that I actually do feel better when I consistently eat healthy foods.  
But I also love french fries.  A lot.  Like A LOT a lot.  And pizza.  And cheeseburgers.  And sometimes, yes, I still love Lay’s potato chips and Coke.  
So I have come to some conclusions based on my own experience, not tons of research and study on the subject (unless you count cruising Pinterest for fitness pins).  I’m a psychotherapist who is also a recovering junk food junkie.  As I always say, what works for one person may not work for another.
Take what works for you and leave the rest! 
I follow the 80/20 rule.  The 80/20 rule says you eat healthy, whole foods 80% of the time, and 20% of the time you can go hog wild eat other stuff.  Like Doritos.  And french fries.  And even a Coke here or there.  Now, I am not a fan of math (even though I married a math teacher) so I try no to bog myself down with it too much.  I eat most of my meals at home (probably close to 80%), so I eat my healthiest at home.  And the roughly 20% of the time we eat out, I go hog wild eat what I want.  Sometimes it’s healthy anyway.  Sometimes, not so much.  You can learn more about eating 80/20 here.
I start the day right.  Willpower is strongest at the beginning of the day.  I always feel good having a healthy smoothie or eggs with fruit for breakfast.  Starting the day with healthy, whole foods sets the tone for the rest of the day.  Healthy choices tend to beget healthy choices.
I think about how eating or drinking something will make me feel now and later.  I’m not saying I literally have a conversation with myself before I take every bite or sip.  Far from it!  But I also know by now that while one cookie feels like a treat, five cookies feel like indigestion.  If I’ve already treated myself to something sweet or a glass of wine (or a handful of Lay’s) in a day, I try to think about why I want more and how it will make me feel later…usually that is enough to make me choose differently, but not always, which brings me to my next point…
I’m gentle with myself.  I do not berate myself because I ate 20/80 instead of 80/20 on a given day or week.  I do not shame myself or have guilt over things I do or don’t put in my body.  I have spent a lot of time counseling people who do and let me tell you, friends…that is no way to live.  Guilt and shame have no place in our food choices.  End of story.
I think of eating right as self love.  I am really and truly loving myself when, by and large, I make healthy choices about what to eat and drink.  If I love myself, I will treat myself with love and I will not be on and off of diets, but I will simply be making a choice one meal and one day at a time to engage in this act of self care.
And last but certainly not least…
I take holidays off!  Oh yeah, you got that right…Thanksgiving?  I feast.  Christmas?  Feast.  My birthday?  FEAST.  Life is too short to not have a least a few days a year when we can, in fact, go hog wild.
So there you have it.  I plan to 80/20 it up this week and you better believe I’m looking forward to alllll the feasting this weekend.  Tell me what moderation means to you in the comments!

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