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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Delicious Shades of Gray

I’m picking up where I left off yesterday, singing moderation’s praises. It’s an approach that not only works, but it’s maintainable – for life. To me, moderation is really just compromise, something we all have to do in our work, relationships, and finances anyway. Here’s what I mean:

Moderation is NOT:
-Deprivation – it’s not about giving things up, just changing how or when you eat them; and when you do, you can fully savor and enjoy your food!
-All or nothing – it’s not starve all week, binge all weekend
-Second best – it’s not frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, it’s a half cup of ice cream instead of one cup

Here’s a real life example of moderation in action:

You go to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. There are several high calorie menu items you like. You think to yourself, “Hmmm, out of all of those things, what do I really want to splurge on? What’s really going to satisfy me?” You decide that Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake is it. Knowing how big and rich it is, you forego an appetizer and order a light meal. You choose one of their new Weight Management Salads (Pear and Endive Salad served with low cal vinaigrette topped with grilled chicken). When your cheesecake arrives, you savor each forkful, stop when you feel satisfied, and ask for a to-go box for the rest. When you leave the restaurant, you feel full (but not too full), satisfied, and energized.

I know what you might be thinking – does ordering a Weight Management Salad along with Godiva Cheesecake make any sense? Doesn’t the dessert cancel out the salad? No! Quite the opposite in fact. In all or nothing world, you might have ordered the Factory Burger with fries AND the cheesecake (and left feeling absolutely miserable), or the salad alone (and left feeling deprived with a lingering craving that would lead to rebound overeating a few days later). The only order that really makes from a balance perspective is the salad and dessert combo. But, that said, you don’t have to eat the entire cheesecake either.

When no food is outlawed, you can enjoy it without anxiety until you’ve had just enough (rather than eating it in a frenzy and trying to get as much as you can because it’s going to be off limits again).

My personal favorite moderation meal involves French fries! I just love ‘em but I’m very particular – they have to be fresh (not frozen) 100% potato (not made with “filler”), and golden, with just the right amount of salt. Next week I’ll be in NYC again and I plan to visit a restaurant called Pommes Frites in the East Village. The only thing they serve is authentic Belgian fries. My plan is to stop by the deli at Whole Foods first (about 7 blocks away) for some veggies and lean protein and then enjoy my regular (not large or double) order of fries 100% guilt free.

So what do you think? What does moderation mean to you? How do you create balance in your life and in your diet? Please share your thoughts!

P.S. If any of you have been to Pommes Frites on 2nd Ave please send your reviews!

Photo courtesy of Geek Philosopher
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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