I listened to a Jill Coleman (Jillfit.com) Moderation365 webinar today and I'm bursting with happy eating excitement! I'm also sleepy, so I'll just copy and paste my notes for now. :-) There are lots of juicy ideas here. Any thoughts?
Choose the middle path with your eating. One end of the spectrum is deprivation, the other end is overindulgence. Both of those are stressful and uncomfortable. At every meal, ask what is the middle path where I will be completely satisfied and feel great?
The more you restrict yourself on Monday, the worse your eating will be on Friday. The more you restrict yourself earlier in the day, the worse your eating will be at the end of the day. Deprivation is not benign. There's always an opposite reaction.
Is your HEC in check? - Hunger, Energy, Cravings. If those are all out of whack from your current approach, any changes you try to make will not be sustainable.
Choosing moderation = choosing satisfaction. A moderate meal is a satisfying meal. Satisfaction is always the goal.
Satisfaction can be increased both with the food you choose and with the ritual or experience of eating.
Think about your typical meals. Which ones are totally satisfying? You really look forward to them and feel great afterward. Which ones don't quite cut it? Maybe you feel hungry an hour later, or you feel rushed, or the environment is stressful, or you feel uncomfortably stuffed afterward. The least satisfying meals are the ones to adjust first.
FOMO - fear of missing out. Leads us to order the most indulgent over-the-top choice in certain situations because we give ourselves the choice between totally going for it or ordering lettuce, or black coffee, or skinless chicken breast. The middle path is in between blowout eating and restriction. Maybe you do get a salad, but with cheese and bacon.
Don't give up the rituals that are satisfying to you - morning coffee, wine with a friend, taco night.
Tools to avoid going overboard: consistent exposure and mindful eating, especially with "trigger foods." If a food has been a problem before, you want to expose yourself regularly in small doses and be more mindful of hunger/fullness/emotions while eating. If you do overeat (you will sometimes, it's an ongoing practice) resist the urge to tighten up. Why? Deprivation leads to more overeating! Come back to the middle instead. If you overeat at night, you still deserve a satisfying breakfast. Always the middle way. Include enough favorite foods and preemptive treats to take the edge off and keep satisfaction high. If things get weird for a meal or a day, just come back to the middle. "Perfect eating" isn't an option so don't feel bad for not doing it. The idea that it could ever work is absurd.
Q&A - Do I keep exposing myself to tricky foods until I can have them around and not care? YES! Have a small portion every day until you're bored. You don't want there to be foods you can't have in your house because what happens when you're at a friend's house? At a party? At work? You don't want to turn into a trembling moron every time there's cake in the room (Jill didn't say it quite like that. LOL) You want to be able to trust yourself to take it or leave it.
The way you eat is the same no matter what day it is, whether you're at home alone, eating with others, in a restaurant, at a friend's. Sit down to satisfaction at every meal. Break the restrict/cheat cycle.
The goal is to eventually eat intuitively but in the beginning you may need to eat a little more strategically. Think about your current meals, how to make them more satisfying, and how to make them work with your schedule.
Q&A - Breakfast grosses me out. I'm not hungry in the morning. I eat something small and not very satisfying just to get through it. Do I have to eat breakfast? NO! Try waiting a couple of hours and eat something more satisfying when you're actually excited about it. Maybe this will work better for you. Maybe it won't. You'll know based on what happens with your eating the rest of the day. Honor your own process.
Q&A - What if I eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's in one sitting every weekend as a "cheat" and feel physically icky afterward? Eat a smaller portion of Ben & Jerry's every day for a couple weeks until it's not as exciting. Maybe smaller portions eaten mindfully are just as enjoyable and feel better afterward. Limiting ice cream to once a week and labeling it a "cheat" keep it exciting and scarce.
Q&A - How do I share the moderation message with friends who are restricting and doing cleanses? Don't try to tell them that they're doing it wrong. Leave them to their own process of learning and discovery. You do you. Maybe you can be a positive example and share some of your own approach (especially on social media) without ever judging or commenting on what they do.
Additional thoughts about the "HEC in check" part. She's really talking about maintenance. It's important to learn to maintain in an enjoyable way where you like the way you eat, aren't thinking about it too much, and your weight is stable. If you can do that, then you can make one adjustment at a time to begin to create a deficit. If you're currently dieting and your HEC (hunger, energy, cravings) is not yet in check. Making another run at a deficit while you're still feeling restricted and food-obsessed will likely only perpetuate the deprive/overindulge cycle.
Additional, additional thought. She actually doesn't weigh herself or encourage weighing. For maintenance, she means maintaining your size. Like your clothes fitting or your circumference measurements being stable.