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Old 06-24-2012, 07:46 PM   #1
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Default How do you do things in moderation?

Looking for tips. This is my big problem. I don't want one of something; I want six or seven.

I am going away for a few days next week. The last thing I should do is think about food, but I find myself looking at online menus. There is a well-known pastry shop there. I looked at the menu, and there are three things I want: a cinnamon roll, a raisin snail, and a bear claw. A normal person would choose one and be content (actually, a normal person wouldn't be staring at online restaurant menus all day, but Tate's a different issue). I am thinking about how I would like to order all three. Better yet, get half a dozen and eat them in my hotel room after dinner.

I would love to be normal and practice portion control: a small breakfast in the morning, maybe pick up a sandwich so I can have a picnic lunch while I'm hiking, then one dinner. But no! I'm thinking about getting a pastry AND a couple of bagels from my old favorite bagel place for a picnic, then maybe a take-out breakfast so I have something on the way to the trails, and finish off the day with a pizza: grab a medium with everything, including extra cheese, then just eating it in my car in front of the ocean. And then maybe having dessert at the hotel

How do you practice portion control? How can I get my mind wrapped around the idea that one portion: one bagel, one breakfast, one piece of chicken, etc, is enough?
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:52 PM   #2
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Make yourself believe it! I often split up my favorites meals, so I can savor them twice. Same portion, just split in two.

I make this killer Alfredo light pizza and had it for dinner tonight. I was full after two pieces, but I allotted myself four. I would have scarfed those extra two in a heartbeat, which is rare for me, but we all have a few foods that you just enjoy the TASTE and EXPERIENCE, you know?

So I make myself break it up, and it has been such a treat. Eventually this habit helped make my stomach smaller, and now I almost always have to break up meals so I won't feel overly full.

Buy your FAVE and commit to have half in the morning and maybe half in mid-afternoon with some good tea or coffee.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:05 PM   #3
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Boy howdy, what a question. I have done exactly what you describe too many times. I also have tried the trick of negotiating too: I'll buy a bag of taffy and dole them out instead of the pastry. Result: fail. I finish the taffy and then figure what the heck I've ruined everything anyway why not have the sweets.

The bottom line is that I decided that I would make sensible choices. The only way this worked for me is when I admitted that I can't stop at one pastry, so I don't even attempt it. It's easier to say no than stop.

Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:15 PM   #4
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I self-analyze a lot. I realized that mantras like "just eat 3 bites, the rest will taste the same. Enjoy the taste, but fill up on the healthy stuff" just never cut it for me. I only feel the satisfaction when I have enormous quantities of tasty treats.
I did the Eat Stop Eat method when I stayed with a friend and I only had access to trigger foods - sugar and carbs - I am VERY sugar sensitive since I've had high blood sugar. I fasted for around 24 hours. Then I ate those foods but I counted my calorie level way more strictly than I do when I eat my regular diet, so that the fasting and the calorie counting helped me stay at a moderate cal deficit. If I know that I can't actually eat just a few bites of a danish, muffin etc, then I just don't get it. Years of lying to myself made me aware of that gut feeling that I get when I really know that I really WILL eat all those desserts instead of just a few bites. I don't try to convince myself of anything - I don't tell myself Yes I will have this in moderation - but instead I listen to myself - because sometimes I can have a bite of cake and be fine and other times (like if I have been eating a lot of sugar and therefore going thru a sugar high) I know that I won't be able to stop - so I don't start. So how I eat depends on how I feel.
I think about WHY I want all those desserts - is my stomach growling for all three? Am I "really hungry" for all those foods? Or am I obeying my cravings? and if I am obeying my cravings for many desserts, what about my craving to reach my goal weight? Usually the goal weight desire is what lingers the longest so I try and satisfy that by avoiding even grabbing those desserts unless its on days when I know I can have a little and walk away.
I actually couldn't wait to get back home and go for my home cooking!
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:39 PM   #5
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I know exactly what you're going through! I have a difficult time with moderation, portion control and just stopping after one or two.

One thing I do is if I'm going to buy some treat, I'll buy the single serving size instead of the full bag. For example, if I have to have powdered gem donuts (love those things), I'll buy the little 6 pack instead of the big bag. Six of those things is still bad, but better than 24 or however many come in a bag! I've also been known to eat some of it, and then dump the rest down the garbage disposal because i don't trust myself not to go digging in the trash and justifying it later (well, it wasn't touching anything gross, or it wasn't in there for that long).

I calorie count, so sometimes it helps when I'm thinking in terms of how many calories I've eaten already, how many calories I have left for the day and how much exercise I might have to do to work off that thing I want to eat. I say sometimes. Sometimes self talk doesn't work and I still end up eating too many.

At a restaurant, get a to-go box with the meal. Put half in the box. Out of sight, out of mind.

Sometimes it helps to decide to have it or finish it later, and then later never comes. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself that you can always have the item after you've finished losing the weight, but now you don't need it.

Of course the number one thing is to just not buy it in the first place. But if you do venture in to the pastry shop, buy one, not 3. You don't need all 3! Make yourself go back for #2 and #3 later if you decide you have to have more. Sometimes the idea of having to go someplace to get something is enough to make you not do it. And if you do get in the car to go, during the trip you may be able to talk yourself out of it. Seriously, if it's such a well known pastry shop, unless it will send you spiraling out of control, I don't see anything wrong with a little treat. Just don't buy 3 treats!

I think the best thing to do is keep trying. Practice makes perfect. Accept setback and stumbles and move on. Praise yourself when you make good choices. Keep your goals in mind with every decision and every bite. It gets easier. Even if I still stumble from time to time, and even though I still struggle with moderation and portion control, I do way better than I used to!
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:45 PM   #6
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In a nutshell, you have to decide that you're greedier for life than for your trigger foods, and you have to unlearn a lot of the garbage that we've been taught about weight loss.


I never did moderation very well, either - and for most of my life, I just thought I was sort of "broken."

I would try to restrain myself, and for a while it would work - and I'd lose weight, but if I ever fell "off the wagon," I didn't just fall, I took a big honkin' death leap. One off-plan bite would often end in a huge, full-on 15,000 calorie stuff-fest. And then I'd "start over" or "start fresh" on my diet, the next day - unless the next day was a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday - then I'd start fresh the closest Monday. Unless it was later than the third week in the month, then I'd start fresh the first Monday of the following month - unless it was past mid-October, then I'ld "start fresh" after the first monday of the next year (or until I had regained all the weight I'd lost, plus some extra).

And of course, I'd binge like mad until the next appropriate "starting fresh" date.

I'm still not good at moderation, but I am much better at it, ever since I gave up the idea of "starting fresh." I started telling myself that there was no starting fresh, only moving on.

The "starting fresh" concept and the starting over points themselves aren't something I invented (though at times, I thought I did). We're "taught" them by watching the people around us do it. It's the socially correct way to diet. We don't call it "correct" in fact, but we learn what we see, not what we're told.

It's like the Starman movie scene where the alien learns from watching the leading lady drive that a yellow traffic light does not mean yeild (or slow down and see if it's safe to go through the light) it really means "go really, really fast through the intersection."

We learn to do what we see, even if we're told it's not the way "good people" behave - we just learn to judge ourselves to be "bad people."

So, to learn moderation, I had to "unlearn" all the extreme excesses I had learned (and didn't even realize I had learned).

I still don't do moderation well, but I'm learning (and unlearning). Some foods I've learned aren't worrth eating, because they make moderation more difficult (The books, The End of Overeating, Refuse to Regain, Primal Blueprint, Neanderthin, Good Food Bad Food - and other lower carb and grain-free diets helped tremendously). I learned that when we talk about foods we can' eat moderately - they're always high fat/carb/salt food. No one has green bean addiction. Avoiding "addictive" foods (but not jumping on the guilt train if I do eat them) has helped more than just about anything else.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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Since I don't eliminate foods, I make sure I allot my fav foods into my calorie allotment for the day. For example if I want a piece of cake or pizza, I
Make sure I pair it up with other wholesome foods like a salad or veggies. Or I eat a balanced meal and the eat a slice of cake so that I am satisfied.

I also check my emotional state at the time, if I am stressed trying a potential binge food is def a bad idea... For me it comes down to being mindful of my choices. Hope this made sense!
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickieChicks View Post
Make yourself believe it! I often split up my favorites meals, so I can savor them twice. Same portion, just split in two.

I make this killer Alfredo light pizza and had it for dinner tonight. I was full after two pieces, but I allotted myself four. I would have scarfed those extra two in a heartbeat, which is rare for me, but we all have a few foods that you just enjoy the TASTE and EXPERIENCE, you know?

So I make myself break it up, and it has been such a treat. Eventually this habit helped make my stomach smaller, and now I almost always have to break up meals so I won't feel overly full.

Buy your FAVE and commit to have half in the morning and maybe half in mid-afternoon with some good tea or coffee.
I love this idea, and I'm going to try it.

OP, I wish I had some advice for you, but I'm also one who tends to look at menus online. Fortunately, I can eat quite a few calories w/out gaining (I exercise a lot), and I cycle calories, so normally when I eat more than a regular portion, I can make up for it by cutting back one or two days (so the weekly average is the same). However, one of my goals is to eat more moderately, so I'm glad you started this thread.

One thing I've realized is that if I have someone to share the food with, I am satisfied with just my half portion. What bothers me is leaving any portion of something that I love. So, if I get a really yummy pastry, I'm satisfied with half of it if I am sharing it with someone. But if I'm eating it alone, I have a compulsion to eat the entire thing.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:56 PM   #9
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When it comes to having treats, I figure out what's reasonable before ordering/buying, set myself a limit, and stick with it. No questions asked, no changing my mind. I've realized that if I let myself agonize over what I should eat or how much, I'm more likely to make poor decisions that I'll later regret.

And yes, I know it's easier said than done. It takes a lot of practice and self-discipline to get down and I still have my off moments. But more often than not, I have it under control. And to be honest, I think the only way I managed to reach this point was by eliminating my trigger foods until I stopped craving them so deeply. Just cut myself off cold turkey, and slowly reintroduced some of them in moderate amounts after avoiding them for months.

The taste of food can be wonderful, but keep in mind how fleeting the enjoyment of it is, that much of it is most likely in the anticipation; compare the difference between already fantasizing about it to actually having it. Chew, savor, and enjoy rather than only stopping because you're stuffed. Let it be about quality over quantity. I still rarely allow myself to have sugar, but when I do, I really let myself enjoy it so that a small amount be can enough. This is coming from a person that couldn't buy a package of cookies earlier this year without wanting to eat them all in one sitting, or a carton of ice cream that would be treated as two servings rather than twelve.

Once again, figure out what's reasonable ahead of time and stick with it. Don't give yourself the option to change your mind and take more in the heat of the moment. If you have to, put it in writing before you step into the shop; not to show anyone else, but as a reminder for yourself. Be willing to be accountable for your own actions, and remind yourself why you've decided to make healthier choices. Take a moment to ask yourself if the choices you're making will bring you closer or take you further away from your goals.

It'll be very difficult at first, but with lots of practice this new pattern of thinking will become second nature. It's this very pattern of thinking that's enabled me to, say, cut a dessert in half, or say no to an unplanned treat without feeling deprived.

Be strong, you can do it!

ETA: Be kind to yourself if you slip up. Dust yourself off and plan better for next time.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:00 PM   #10
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I use measuring cups and / or the kitchen scale to get the portion.

I accept some foods are triggers for me, send me into blood sugar wacko, I snarf up ridiculous amounts and will NEVER be able to moderate a portion of that. So I moderate my EXPOSURE to it. (ex: cupcakes, cookies)

I resist once at the store so I don't have to resist a million times at home
When I am exposed or know I will be exposed to it at a birthday? I eat before I go, I try to workout, I try to eat one and walk AWAY from the food tables and engage in a game with the kids or convo or something AWAY from the trigger food. I tell myself if I still want it in a week, I can get another. There is no famine here, I will not die without a second cupcake. There are many cupcakes in the world, there is no shortage.

Keeping up with a good vitamin regime and eating clean helps with cravings too -- I may have EMOTIONAL craving for the thing, but it's not being made that much LOUDER by a physical craving for nutrients I'm low in.

Like if I've been wheat free for a while? I can easily skip the cupcake. Meh. But if I stepped on the wheat train? The craving is harder to manage. I'm not allergic to it, but I know it messes with my congestion and sends my blood sugar wacko.


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Old 06-25-2012, 12:39 AM   #11
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Enjoy something you want, then remind yourself you'll have the chance eat again at your next meal. Try "padding" with fruit and veggies. Get that raisin snail--with a big fruit salad. Enjoy your pizza--with a big salad.
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:56 AM   #12
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One off-plan bite would often end in a huge, full-on 15,000 calorie stuff-fest. And then I'd "start over" or "start fresh" on my diet, the next day - unless the next day was a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday - then I'd start fresh the closest Monday. Unless it was later than the third week in the month, then I'd start fresh the first Monday of the following month - unless it was past mid-October, then I'ld "start fresh" after the first monday of the next year (or until I had regained all the weight I'd lost, plus some extra).
This made me smile and reminded me of something really crazy I used to do in my 20s. I would buy a diary in which my first entry would be "Starting today," followed by a long list of lifestyle changes. I would invariably fail at at least one item on the list, so I would buy a NEW (pristine, fresh) diary and start the cycle over again. I must have bought at least 20 such diaries during this phase. I'm still prone to the "starting today" mentality, but not quite as obsessive about it.

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Old 06-25-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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sounds like you are struggling with the inner two year old who wants it now! while struggling with the <these calories don`t count if i eat them in private demon>.

Been there. The way i cope with it. is by telling the 2 year old a firm no. You can`t have everything no matter how much you whine...

Then, also reviewing: will i be back at this bakery ever again? Will i have an other opportunity to eat these things? If the answer is yes, i either have nothing or one thing and promise myself i can come back another day or on another trip and try something else.

For the eating in private demon: I had to keep repeating to myself. Why would i lie to myself? Those calories count just as much. The only person i am hiding from and hurting is myself...

Good luck.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:21 AM   #14
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You have lost over 100 pounds! Surely, this issue has arisen before. I feel you on the difficulty of eating in moderation. For weeks, I've been wanting a donut. Don't know why - not a big donut eater normally. But it pops into my mind about twice a day. And if I get to the point where I feel like I'm eating garbage because I'm not giving in to that craving, I'll go buy and eat the stupid donut. But for now, it's not important enough to me. I am loving my renewed commitment to exercise, the cravings that I legitimately have for my new food regime, and the results on the scale. And I know that one donut might result in additional poor choices. So, for now, I'm resisting.

Maybe you're sick of being good. Maybe you're confident that you can get right back on the wagon if you fall off. And maybe you can. Your post sounds like you're in the throes of the addiction, however. Some people can have "all-out cheat days" and get back into plan mode the next day. I can't, because then I would be fantasizing about food and writing posts like yours.

I think you have two choices, one riskier than the other. 1 - Do exactly as you've described. Then, when you're back at home, get back on plan and correct whatever damage you've done. This is a lifelong commitment. If it makes you saner to feel like you don't always have to be on plan, it might be the right thing. Make it a choice, and you don't have the guilt involved that triggers other eating. However, this is a risky choice. Too many people would follow that binge with additional binges, and might take months (or years) to get back on plan. That would be me. If you make this choice, it would probably be best to have detailed plans on how you're going to get back on plan following the planned binge, though.

2 - Treat this as you treated your initial crisis point. The one where you decided to commit to a weight management plan. Maybe you're bored with your current plan? You're going to the ocean. Maybe plan a physically-challenging activity while you're there? Something you would have had tremendous difficulty with over 100 pounds ago? It's summer - maybe they have a farmer's market with unusual produce that you can try. Figure out some way to renew your excitement over your weight loss goals, and maybe even commit to a greater-than-usual loss while you're there.

I traveled to San Francisco last spring with a number of normal-weight people. They ALL obsessed about the food, and many of them spent a significant amount of time looking at menus online before we left. Don't worry about the normal/not normal dichotomy if you can help it. You know your triggers. You know what eating like you describe has done to your body. You know how scary it is to completely lose control. Don't obsess about "normal," cuz it will drive you crazy. I can't eat like my "normal" friends, or I will get fatter. That's the way it is. Embrace your strengths, acknowledge your weaknesses, and figure out the best way to use these/handle these to get what you want in life.

Good luck! Have a great time!
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:00 AM   #15
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There is a well-known pastry shop there. I looked at the menu, and there are three things I want: a cinnamon roll, a raisin snail, and a bear claw.
This reminds me of a recent experience I had in Montreal, where I grew up. I was there on business a couple of weeks ago, after not having set foot in the city for 17 years. I was really looking forward to visiting an authentic French pastry shop I used to go to, which had the most delicious and high-quality pastries I'd ever eaten (even better than in France). I was nervous about the calories I was going to consume, but I decided that I HAD to re-sample all my old favourites. When I got there, I learned that they had capitulated to the forces of cheap economy and were no longer making the unique and insanely good pastries they used to. Instead, they had standard middle-of-the-road pseudo-French fare. I bought one item, and it wasn't good enough to finish. I was both disappointed and relieved.

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