That saying annoys me – “Everything in moderation”…said the doctor, said the personal trainer, said the magazines…but moderation was not a word in my vocabulary. The definition of moderation is: the avoidance of excess or extremes; and it is synonymous with temperance and restraint…I am chuckling as I write this, knowing that I rarely show any of these behaviours!
What is the hype about moderation? We all want to enjoy ourselves, and things that we find enjoyable or comforting lead to us wanting more. The problem lies within the issue that the more of something we have, the more of it we need in order to get those same feelings we once experienced…hmmm…addiction perhaps? I won’t discuss the addiction angle today, but want to look a bit more at moderation.
For the first time in a long while there have been packets of crisps in my cupboard for more than a day! I am being entirely honest when I say that a packet of crisps would rarely find itself in the cupboards before being eaten…and when I say packet, I mean multipacket. Usually, they would stay within arms reach (or mouths reach!) and be lurking somewhere at the side of my chair. A six-pack of crisps was for me the equivalent of one normal packet for someone else. So on serious binges I would find myself gorging on a giant multipack – twenty packets…and I recall thirty six packets lasting little over a day once. You can use all of the words you wish to describe this – shameful, disgusting, sickening, desperate…but it was me, and I am happy with me…I am just not happy with the way in which I dealt with my eating.
Moderation was a dirty word as far as I was concerned. How was I expected to go from what I was doing and how I was behaving, to a total overhaul and change in my behaviour. Moderation to me meant deprivation. I just couldn’t think about it, didn’t want to think about it, and therefore ignored it and carried on. So my shock and surprise at seeing a few loose packets of Hula Hoops in the cupboard was refreshing. It made me realise how far I have come. I knew they were there as I saw them last week…and they must feel like the luckiest crisps ever…I am sure my reputation precedes me in the crisp world; I must be a legend around the Walkers factory!
Clearly, the reasons for moderating our behaviour are obvious. If we just went around doing and saying as we pleased, we would upset people, probably have few friends and no jobs! So why are we so good at holding our tongues at times, yet cannot show the same restraint when we are eating? Is it because we hold our tongues and restrain our emotions too much, and we need an outlet? Or is it because we just don’t realise the impact of a lack of moderation when it comes to food? Surely not the latter…a lack of moderation is clear to see…take a look at your muffin top – or muffin aisle in my case!
We know we need to moderate our eating, yet it can be so hard to do. There are people like the old me who can’t have temptation around them, and there are people like those that I am becoming who can. A pack of Mr Kipling cakes can be enjoyed of an evening, but will last a whole week. I still find this amusing, as it is so far removed from my life over the past ten years…how can a packet with such small cakes last that long? But this is what they are designed for!
When I first began Slimming World in earnest again, back in August last year – the previous six months didn’t count as I was not following the plan! – I decided that I would have to remove temptation. I would buy my snacks on a daily basis and so would my other half. Nothing could be left in the cupboard unless it was something healthy that I was unlikely ever to binge on…so the lentils were safe! Eventually though, temptations started to creep back into the house. You have all heard about and seen some of the food that my other half eats – stuffed crust pizzas, multiple bars of chocolate etc – and he will occasionally forget that he bought it…and it will be left lurking around, calling my name. The Hula Hoops are an example of this. He bought them, along with a big party sized pack of Hula Hoops at some point over the past couple of weeks, and forgot about them. Funnily enough, now that I feel I am making progress and can feel the benefit of losing weight, those Hula Hoops don’t seem so important. I can no longer hear them shouting, “eat me, eat me!”, and I am content that they can stay there quite happily without my intervention.
I am wondering if I will ever become one of those people who can leave snack-type foods in the cupboard without ripping into them in a frenzy. Perhaps. There have been difficult times over the past couple of weeks, and the little green packets – my favourite flavour! – have remained unopened. Maybe I am changing – which scary stuff in itself! Maybe I will be able to let food take a much lower priority than it did before. I realise now that I can have these foods every now and again…and they actually taste so much better. In fact, the results of a recent study by Cornell University showed that those participants given larger portions of food such as chocolate, crisps and apple pie consumed 77% more food, a difference of 103 calories, and were equally as satisfied as those who consumed smaller portions. There is something to be said for this moderation malarkey after all!
For me, total abstinence of some foods has happened. I have not had cake, or biscuits in a long while. I cut right back on my ‘proper’ crisps and only allowed myself to have them once a week. Chocolate is a rarity, and if I do have any it is a mini bar of dark chocolate rather than the sickly-sweet dairy milk stuff. Alcohol is something that is as rare as rocking horse poo in my house! This approach wouldn’t work for some people, but for me it has helped me to recognise how I was shoving my emotions down inside myself with food. I can now enjoy a single packet of crisps, or a mini bar of chocolate, without worrying what their ‘friends’ in the cupboard are up to! I still have my treats though…you are probably fed up with the pics of my Snack a Jacks…prepare for a shock tonight!
I am so far from perfect yet though – and I doubt that I ever will be perfect when it comes to my eating. The change though is immense, and it is all down to that hated phrase! “Everything in moderation” is even mentioned in the Slimming World books. So far from the, “Eat as much as you want” mantra that people throw around when discussing Slimming World; even they recognise the importance of moderating…perhaps we should say, “Eat as much as your body needs – not your emotions!”.
This is why I have a bee in my bonnet about things like the half-syn cakes…I feel that they encourage overeating. Fair enough if you make one and share it with five people, but I have a feeling that lots of members make one and eat it in an evening. For me, this is just feeding emotions and not true hunger. If you are eating a decent breakfast, lunch and dinner, and having your syns for things you like, there is no need to eat a whole cake for half a syn. But you know what, if it is working and you are losing weight, then do what you want – I am not the Food Police! Just be mindful that if you stop eating in the Slimming World way, that whole carrot cake you might stick in your shopping trolley has way more than 0.5…if you get into the habit of eating whole cakes, it can be a hard one to break.
Anyway, I have done enough now – I like moderation…in moderate doses!
I woke up extra early to get in thirty minutes of treadmill and my weights before working for a while. I then had my sister knock at the door early as I was taking her to work, my niece to nursery and looking after my nephew. So I did the first two jobs and then bought my nephew home…we had a Peppa Pig marathon whilst I tried to work for another couple of hours, interspersed with more treadmill sessions. We then headed off to the horses, and collected my niece from nursery – who was telling me all about her sponsored ‘toddle’ this morning for Barnardos. Apparently I sponsored her £5! She said that it was good to give to people who didn’t have what we have…and as I am a big supporter of charities, I couldn’t argue. She then went on to tell me about how she had used her manners yesterday when a little girl at nursery gave her a sweet she didn’t like…she ate it anyway because it was ‘manners’ and she didn’t want to upset her. Bless her…maybe that was my problem…far too many manners to say ‘no’ to sweets! We then popped to the shops and then home – or off to my sisters until her hubby woke up from his nightshift. I then decided to make lunch, but whilst doing that I got distracted and ended up defrosting my freezer, blowing up one of my hairdryers in the process…I am sure that it is not a good idea to defrost them with a hairdryer, but I had food that needed to go back in there quickly. Anyway, it took me over an hour and I still have ice-cold fingers…and lunch was delayed until 4pm…not one of my better ideas! Tonight has been fairly sedate and I am off to read a new Healthy Food Guide magazine soon.
Breakfast: Two Alpen light bars (1 x HEB) and a banana.
Yummy – Hula Hoops…the least important meal of the day ‘snacks’ but that little packet was very much worth the syns! The rest of the day was okay too. Lunch was a weird concoction of various veggies – spinach, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onions, cabbage – thrown in a pan with lentils, garlic, chicken stock and mixed herbs. It turned out okay…I am on a tight budget this month and so am attempting to create delights from the freezer section along with the not so fresh looking veggies in the fridge section! Dinner was good too – nice and simple and tasty.
Exercise: 4 x 15 minute treadmill sessions and 1 x 15 minute BodyPump / Swiss Ball session.
Another good exercise day. I have noticed that my heart rate is slowing down, so I am playing around at increasing the incline on the treadmill, and messing with the speed as I go. The heart rate thing must be an indicator that this old body is getting a bit fitter…woohoo!
Weight Loss Bitch xxx