“Everything in moderation” is not helpful

Oh how I hate that old chestnut.

Theoretically, “everything in moderation” makes perfect sense. But in reality, it sends some very unhelpful, unhealthy signals.

Moderation implies that you are a moderator. That line of thinking:

  • Puts you on the slippery slope of arbitrary counting (“I can eat 10 gummy bears every day….actually though wouldn’t 9 be better? Well wouldn’t 8 be even better than that?” etc etc).
  • Piles on feelings of guilt when you don’t eat “right.”
  • Suggests that you should be able to control the force within you that makes you binge, if only you just tried hard enough.
  • Sets up “everything in moderation” plans like Weight Watchers and Beach Body to swoop in like a hero.
  • Redirects attention away from the disastrous effects that past or present calorie restriction has had on your brain.
  • Places 100% of blame on your conscious self.
  • Ignores the source of the binge and indicts the symptom.

Feeling out of control around food is a byproduct of the human body’s primal starvation mode misfiring in a diet-driven culture. And the answer to feeling out of control is not to exert more control. If you’re feeling lost, try something different this time around: give yourself the gift of letting go.

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