When it comes to healthy eating, moderation is key. You don’t need to deprive yourself of all the foods you love but you do need to practice food moderation.
What exactly does it mean to eat something in moderation? And how can you achieve this if you struggle with willpower? Read on to find out.
Don’t be an Extremist
When you choose to completely deprive your body of certain foods, you will naturally crave them more. You need to allow yourself to enjoy the foods you love or else you’ll end up binge eating when you finally do get your hands on them. Try finding healthy recipes or substitutes for some of your favorite foods. Try making homemade baked French fries instead of the fried fast food variety. Opt for whole wheat or whole grain pasta instead of those made with white flour. There are hundreds of easy food swaps you can make to trick your brain into thinking you’re indulging, which you are, just in a healthy way.
Don’t Label “Good” and “Bad” Foods
This goes along with not cutting out entire foods completely. Try not to label certain foods as “good” or “bad”. In moderation, everything is okay. This doesn’t mean that every food is good for you but it does mean that even a tiny bit of something that is considered “unhealthy” is better than its complete removal from your diet which could lead to an overindulgence later down the line. Not to mention, what’s good for one person may be bad for another. Instead of seeing things as either “good” or “bad”, try categorizing them by their nutritional value. Consider if this food will benefit your body and its functions or slow things down.
Take Activity Into Account
The more active you are the more calories your body will burn and the more fuel it will need to keep energy levels high and help muscles grow and recover. You need to take this into account when counting calories and choosing meals. Of course, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are all nutritious ways to fuel your body. But if you’re extremely active, other indulgences are also okay and will be burned off quickly during your workout. But just keep in mind that the average 30 minute aerobic workout in the gym only burns about 130 calories. A single patty cheeseburger is approximately 303 calories. Does that put things into perspective for you?
Did you know that it actually takes your body about 20 minutes to realize that it’s full? That means if you keep eating until your stomach actually feels full, you likely overate. That’s because the feeling of fullness comes from your brain’s reaction to chemicals that are released when you consume food and drink. And it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to react and signal your body that it’s full. This is why it’s so important to eat slowly. Give your body time to digest the food and your brain time to register that full feeling. Another tip is to cut your food into smaller pieces. This way, it will take you longer to consume the same amount of food, giving your body the proper amount of time to digest and your brain to react.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
Eating in moderation is all about choices. If you know that you’re going to be eating out that night and probably indulging in some foods that are higher in fat and even some alcohol, then you need to plan ahead. And by planning ahead I don’t mean keep other food stashed in your car. I mean opting for a breakfast and lunch that are higher in nutritional value and perhaps lower in calories. Opt for a protein shake or oatmeal and berries for breakfast and a salad with grilled chicken for lunch. Skip the burger or the large breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast. Leave those extra calories for your night out.
You may also need to up your activity game on those days. Put in some extra time at the gym or run an extra lap or two around the track. You may even want to do a double workout, depending on how much you plan on indulging. It’s important not to deprive yourself but also, to adjust your diet and activity level to help counteract those indulgences.
Indulge on the Weekends
Some people who practice moderate eating do so by following a strict diet during the week and indulging on the weekends. This method can work if done right. This doesn’t mean that you can make healthy food choices during the week and completely lose all self control on the weekends. But it does mean that if you’re extremely strict with your eating during the week that on either Saturday or Sunday (not both) you can allow yourself to eat some of those foods you’ve been craving. Why does this work? For a few reasons.
One, if you’ve been craving French fries or ice cream all week long, by the time Saturday rolls around, one of two things may have happened. You may not want that indulgence anymore and may be apt to eat less of it. That’s because once your body becomes accustomed to eating healthier, more nutritionally rich foods, it doesn’t handle eating fried or high fat foods as well. After a few French fries, you may lose interest. Another good thing about this method is that you’ll see how amazing your body feels and how high your energy levels are on those 6 days of the week that you’re paying close attention to your nutritional intake. You’ll also find out how sluggish and tired you feel on that one cheat day. Depending on your goals, you may decide you prefer how you feel when you don’t “cheat”.
Take Your Time
Eating in moderation means eliminating mindless eating from your diet and approaching meals slowly with time and consideration. We often overeat when we either wait too long to eat or we feel deprived. Try having healthy snacks on hand and not depriving yourself if you’re having an extreme craving for something. Start with a small handful of the food item you want or half of it. This small amount should help satisfy that craving and make it relatively easy to stay on track with healthy food choices most of the time.
Article Submitted By Community Writer