We all know the old adage “everything in moderation” but when it comes to diet is moderation really best? When should we completely cut something out of our diet? And why are we afraid to do this?
Speaking from (my) experience, if a certain food is a trigger for you, maybe consider removing it fully from your diet instead of continually trying (and failing) to effectively eat this food in moderation. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m defining “trigger” as something that sparks destructive behavior (this could be binging, restricting, purging, isolating, etc.)
If you believe that certain foods have addictive properties, then you can understand why moderation might not always work. For example – If you take a drug addict and you tell them to just do drugs in moderation… or an alcoholic, and you tell them to just drink in moderation… we know enough about these addictions to know this isn’t possible. So, why would it be any different if you have someone who can’t control themselves with sugar. Why would we say, just eat cupcakes in moderation. Why are we afraid to say/admit “I have NOT control around sweets – I can’t eat them.” If sugar triggers a binge eating (destructive) habit, why are we so quick to preach the moderation theory and base that persons success off the self-control exercised around eating cookies? Sometimes one CAN be too many.
As someone who measured my self-worth in pounds for many many (many) years, I know my trigger foods and I know I can’t eat these in moderation. I don’t see this as a failure; it’s a safe boundary I’ve outlined for myself to maintain my health.
Moderation has it’s place but it can’t be applied to all situations. Saying no to trigger foods doesn’t mean your (poof!) anorexic. You just know your limits and sometimes a little restrictive behavior is better than the alternative.