Are you an abstainer or a moderator?
It seems as if every day there is a new headline floating around the web about the “best diet” or “foods to avoid” or “best fat burning foods”. It can become very overwhelming and confuse those of us who are trying to reach our health and fitness goals.
We all know what it takes to lose fat. You must burn more calories than you eat – that’s it. Seems simple doesn’t it? Well, we all know it’s not that easy. Chips, cookies, chocolate and cake can definitely attest to the fact that it’s far more difficult than that.
The science out there says that everything is ok in moderation, which is very true. They say it’s the healthy way to live, from a psychological perspective. Moderators are great at having a little bit of the things they love, wrapping it up and putting it away. However, we can all agree that there are at least a few foods in our lives, we’ll call them “trigger foods”, that we simply just can’t control ourselves around.
Diet and lifestyle changes are not a one-size-fits-all protocol; not even close. Some people simply have to abstain from foods that they know they absolutely cannot stop at just one bite. And that is completely ok! It is ok to abstain from things that you know you can’t control yourself with. Moderating your food and controlling your portions takes a lot of practice and a lot of brain training. You’ll find that as you re-train your brain, you can slowly re-introduce these trigger foods over time. Sometimes you can’t, and that’s ok too. There is more to life than to obsess on the one or two foods that you can’t control yourself around.
A good technique is to remind yourself that these trigger foods are designed to be hyper palatable so that they can be purchased again and again by consumers. When was the last time you saw someone binging on apples, broccoli or carrots? Producers of junk food know that the combination of fat, salt and sugar are going to keep you coming back for more. It’s nothing but a mind game that you have 100% complete control over.
So what can you do? Keep your trigger foods out of the house, simple as that. Don’t eat them and don’t try to replace it with a “healthy” version of them. Some packaged foods that are marketed as healthy or organic have just as many calories as the generic version. Remember that it’s completely ok to say no to something that you know does zero good for your health and body. Ignore all those people that say “you should do that” or “this is what I do”… that’s great, but the only thing that you should be doing is what works for YOU and only YOU.
If you’re a moderator, that’s amazing too! Enjoy small portions of the food you love. Chances are, you’ve been practicing this for a long time and you should be proud of how well you’ve trained your metabolism. When you’re starting a fat loss program, just remember that as your body loses fat, your body has to adjust to a new metabolic set point. This includes re calibrating your hunger and satiety signals. That’s why it is so important to know what a proper portion size looks like. Your body always wants to stay where it is, as that’s where it has to do the least work. Your hunger and fullness cues will likely take time to fully adjust to its new input and output and aren’t always completely reliable. It’s not easy, but you must fight through it!
After you read this article, do us a favour… Get rid of anything and everything in your pantry that is going to halt your progress. If that’s difficult for you to do then think about what your end goal looks like. Is that box of Tim Tams more important than your end goal? Is it more important than your health, your body composition, your happiness and your life?