Through the lens of diet culture, we often envision “moderation” to be a limit upon how much we can eat. This is code for restriction, which subconsciously leads to a stronger reward response from the very foods we’re aiming to “moderate.” The end result? An increase in cravings and susceptibility to “overdoing” it.
When you’re placing any limit (even that “in moderation” limit) upon yourself and food, you’re setting yourself up to want more. Yes, it can be scary to attempt a lifestyle without any limits over your food choices. “I can’t trust myself, Rachel!” is a common response I hear from dancers. And in the beginning, it might be hard for you to find a comfortable middle ground between under-fueling and over-fueling… especially if you haven’t given yourself unconditional permission to enjoy your favorite foods in years. Your body will need some time to rebuild that trust. It needs to know that it will in fact receive adequate nourishment tomorrow, the next day, the next day, and so forth. Eventually, if you’re listening to your body and staying present at some or most mealtimes, you’ll start to understand what feels good and what doesn’t. You’ll discover what “enough” really is for you and what it means to feel satisfied.
The Bottom Line
Consider this fourth macronutrient (satisfaction) and honor your personal preferences and cravings. I talk more about this here. Experience the tastes and textures of your meals. If you do this without judgment or criticism, you’re better equipped to listen to your body. Learn more about mindful eating here. You may feel full sooner and as a result, be more likely to go home with leftovers. Including satisfaction as part of your balanced plate will help you to find an intuitive “moderation…” not a forced one!
To learn more about swapping the “eat in “moderation” mindset with a more intuitive approach, check out this list of articles: