Thursday, July 4, 2013

When it comes to the word moderation I can tend to get a little wound up!
Especially when it’s used in the way that most people phrase it, the diet industry especially is ‘Everything in moderation”.  Hell if moderation had of worked for me then I would never have gotten so huge!

The reason I'm writing this post is mostly for myself to come to peace with where I am at! However I know that there are several others out there that feel like they are broken because frankly they just can't come to grips with everything in moderation.  I'm here to tell you that neither can I.  I've never been able to do moderation, this is my personality type.  

For years I've thought this was a fault and something to be ashamed of, as I've gotten a little older and wiser I'm starting to come to grips with my reality that it's OK that I don't do well with moderation!

The word moderate means: "Being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme"

Now I'd love to say that I can be moderate but it is without a doubt that I am NOT a girl that can do moderation!
I’m extreme.
I'm Intense.
I'm overly Passionate.
I‘m over the top.
With everything!
I’m a lot to handle for some who don’t understand me.
This is one of the reasons I don't drink alcohol, I don't consider myself an alcoholic but I know I could easily become one.  My father is and I tend to have the same tendencies as him so that is one area of my life that I just have to abstain.  When it comes to food however one cannot abstain because we need food to live!

So I'm a perfectionist, if I set out to create something (and this is my job as I'm a sewer), you can bet it will be the best and if it's not then I will start again, I'm extremely determined, that's the nice word, my husband calls it stubbornness.  I can be relatively demanding, opinionated and sometimes argumentative but on the flipside of that I'm extremely loving, caring, and loyal and I will go above and beyond for those I love.  Unfortunately I often have high expectations of the people around me and it's only because I have high expectations of myself.  I am also quite a relaxed person and I can joke around with anyone but I have no time for pussy footing!

So why am I writing this post? Mostly to come to grips with my dieting/eating/exercising history!

I’ve been Primal for coming up 5 years now, it’s worked for me! Now I have trialed a few different things throughout my weight loss/weight maintenance journey over the years.  I’ve done it all, low carb, high carb, intermittent fasting, nutritional ketosis, calorie counting both high and low, you name it I’ve done it and more recently I have tried a slightly higher carb version of Primal which has included safe starches.
This experiment has left me gaining weight.  I feel that I am just one of those people that cannot eat starches or sugars in moderation, I just can’t , I’ve tried a combination of it all, I’ve done more carbs and less fat, I’ve trialed different calorie amounts and I’ve also tried not counting my calories and just eating to my “natural hunger”.  What I’ve found is that I cannot eat that way and feel 100% at the same time.  I’d love it if I could but it turns out I can’t.  I don’t feel my best and I certainly don’t look my best.

What has worked for me for the past almost 5 years has been my original version of Primal where I never counted calories but I did keep track of my food in a food diary and had a fair idea of my calories (probably around 1500-1600 a day while in weight loss mode) I like to keep my carbs relatively low between 20-70 which includes lots of veggies, some fruit (berries), moderate protein and plenty of fat, and that’s what works for me, frankly I should have known better but I’m a bit of a experimenter, as they say if it ain't broke then don't fix it! I should have taken my own advice!

However I will say that I’ve learnt an awful lot about myself in this process.  This recent experiment of mine has left me gaining 6kgs and my beloved jeans don’t fit! Now don’t get me wrong, I think that the ‘safe starches’ debacle is great and for so many out there that really struggle with super low carb as I have in the past when going to low it’s great to experiment to find what works .  When I have my carbs too high (up over 100gms) I start craving all sorts of crappy food and I feel like I’m a heroin addict looking for my next fix! I think for me that there is a chemical reaction with these kinds of foods that send me on a downward spiral.

Mostly what I’ve learnt is that I don’t do well with moderation of any kind and I’m coming to a place of peace with that.  I cannot eat just one biscuit, I eat several, I cannot eat just one piece of pizza, I’ll eat the lot! And I cannot for the life of me just eat one potato, I will eat more than a person should!  I have trialed this on so many occasions that I’ve just had to realize potatoes might have to take a back seat even though they are my favourite thing to eat! Sigh!

So where am I right now? When I started my journey back in October 2008 I weighed 107.1kgs.  I lost 42kgs initially and got down to 65kgs (bikini picture on my blog), then I stabilized at 69kgs where I have stayed relatively stable for 4 years now (the last 6 months or so I haven’t weighed).  I broke my non weighing rule today after feeling like I needed a bit of a wakeup call! I was a bit gutted to see that I’ve gained back 6kgs from my stabilized weight so I’m now weighing 75kgs (as pictured to the right below).  I'm feeling pretty brave to be sharing this, I could just hide and not be honest?!! but the whole reason I started this blog was to have accountability, so here it is even though it feels somewhat scary this time around. Maybe it's because I have so many more followers than I used to!I’m not going to dwell on this but I need an action plan! 

So where to from here? Back to basics, back to what I know best and that is 80/20 Primal, not 50/50! I know that it works for me and it feels completely natural.  What else it means is no more trying to kid myself that I can do Moderation! It might work for you but it sure as hell doesn't work for me!


  1. Well done on writing this post. I personally feel that while we shouldn't be ruled by our scales, they are important to measure what we are doing. I think perhaps weekly or monthly weighing in necessary to know if we are on the right tract. Personally I need to weigh but would like to get it to say once a week or so.

    You can do this - you've done it before. Back to basics - Good luck.

    1. Thank you so much for your support Lynda! Yes I know it's a tough one with the scales, I feel a bit angry with myself for not weighing as otherwise I might not be the weight I am today but in saying that it was a good lesson to learn. Yes back to basics for me, I sure know what to do :) x

  2. You're brave for posting this and I respect you more for it! It's so nice to hear that other people struggle with the same things. Reading your story is like listening to someone describe my life. I'm excited for you to get back to where you want to be! You are only slightly lighter than me right now, and I have the same goal weight as you. So I will be following along! We can do it.

    1. Thank you Amy, so nice to hear that :) I sure feel brave posting my "not the best" photos but it feels so good to keep being real even when the results aren't ideal! Yes we can do it :)

    2. Thanks for the post, I too share exactly the same problem, I started experimenting with safe starches and ended up eating a lot of crap food! Back to basics for me as well, your post just gave me the inspiration I needed and to face my reality that I am all or nothing as well, and that's ok because like you I don't do 'moderation' well! You're amazing! :)

    3. You are so welcome, glad that my post was helpful for you :)

  3. We really have a lot in common. I too lost a lot of weight adhering to a strict Primal diet, and within that I also learned that moderation is not something I am capable of when it comes to food. Trying to allow myself occasional cheats just ended in me binging on those treats and feeling sick, tired and all around junky, yet I couldn't stop myself. Potato chips were my weakest link; I started having them occasionally, thinking that as cheats went they were a pretty safe one, but before I knew it I was looking for a daily fix (and getting it!) I've known my inability for moderation when it comes to alcohol for a long time, and had also abstained because of it, but realizing that I also had the same weakness for certain foods was a bit of a tough pill to swallow. I wanted to be stronger than that! But then I realized that by making the choice to avoid them altogether, I AM stronger than them. When I'm not eating those foods that I know lead me down a path to destruction and instead enjoying all the other wonderful things I can safely eat, I am making that choice consciously. I am choosing what is best for me and forgetting about how others insist I should live. (I can't tell you how tired I am of having "everything in moderation" shoved down my throat.) I think simply by making the realization that moderation just isn't the right plan for you is a huge leap forward in your journey, and I hope that you continue on successfully with it! All the best :)

    1. Thank you Marny! Yes it sure can be a tough pill to swallow! I've been told that any healthy person should be able to eat whatever they like in moderation, while I find the idea nice it just doesn't fit with my personality. Thank you for your support :)

  4. I loved this post - so real and good to see. I recently read a blog post somewhere regarding "are you an abstainer or a moderator" when it comes to eating. Everyone is different, so the saying "everything in moderation" is not really accurate (for a variety of reasons IMHO ;-) but right now I'm just referring to eating as you mentioned).

    It was also interesting to see what you've tried and what is working. It sounds like we eat similarly - I aim for the same with my carbs and do primal. I've found it works really well for me to maintain my weight and feel great. It certainly does take a bit of "tinkering" to figure out what works best for each person. :)

    For what its worth, you look fantastic despite gaining a few kg. But I completely understand finding that place you feel comfortable in your own skin and feel your best health wise! I can relate :) I'm positive you will reach your goals!

    1. Hey Stephani, I love that blog post and 100% agree with what she says about that some are abstainers and some are moderators, it's very refreshing to see that I'm not the only one :) Thanks so much for your comment!

  5. Great post Michelle, heart-felt and brave. Telling it like it is. You could be telling my story. I can't stop at one slice or a few nuts or whatever...once I start, it has to be the lot. I love potatoes too but my biggest trigger is rice, a so-called safe starch. Not so safe for me! "Everything in moderation" is as much of a crock as "a calorie is just a calorie" for some of us.

    And like Stephanie above, FWIW I think you look beautiful despite the extra kilos. But I understand that "looking great" is not the point, it's all about how you feel in your skin.

    1. Thanks Judith! Great to hear from you. It's certainly something that I've struggled with mostly because of being told I 'should' be able to eat in moderation, now that I've given myself the permission that it's OK that I eat the way I eat then I don't need to feel like I'm failing. Quite an epiphany really :) Hope you are doing well x

  6. I've been following "Just eat real food" on FB and clicked to your blog today.
    Thanks for your honesty. I've often thought something was wrong with me as I can't do "moderation" either. I'm a big girl in my eyes and will never be the 5'7" 120 lb size 2 that seems to be the trend these days. Instead, I am currently a 5'7" 155 lb size 8/10. Not the healthiest I've been and certainly uncomfortable in my clothes.
    This particular blog post has encouraged me not to give up and find what works for me.
    BTW, you look great and thanks for having the courage to post your pics.

    1. Thank you Carrie, I know us abstainers can be made to feel like there is something inherently wrong with us when really it's just our personality, sure moderation would be great but I cannot count how many times I've failed because of trying to adhere to a 'moderation' type of diet. I do better with boundaries because that's my personality. Great to see I'm not the only one :)


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