Redefining Moderation.

In Handschellen / In handcuffsI used to struggle with my weight. I was never “fat”, it would even be a stretch to say I was “chubby”, but I wasn’t where I wanted to be weight and health wise. I would often yo-yo ten to fifteen pounds at a time.

Then one day I finally got down to that magic number on the scale and loved it! I felt fabulous and confident and I decided right there and then that I was never going back. Those 20 pesky pounds were gone for good. That was about five years ago now, and thus far, I’ve stayed true to my promise.

I’ve found that so many people are constantly in the midst of that struggle; finding a healthy lifestyle they can sustain in the long term while accomplishing and maintaining their physical goals. It’s not easy, but there’s one lesson that I think gets overlooked and can be a real game changer if it’s implemented correctly.

The common advice is moderation. I say it’s about redefining moderation.

People who are struggling to transition to a healthier way of living and finding they’re not getting the results they want, often feel they are already implementing moderation. The problem isn’t moderation so much as what their concept of what moderation is.

For example, when I was trying to get healthy unsuccessfully, I cut back my daily soda habit to one or two times a week, I only stopped for fast food twice a month, and I started making the organic mac n’ cheese instead of Kraft. Do you know how often I do those things now? NEVER. Not once a week, or once a month, never.

Now you might be thinking, hold on, I thought this was about moderation. Never isn’t moderation. I agree.

What I realized was that moderation only worked for me when I took a big picture approach. Rather than thinking about each and every indulgence I allowed myself individually and cutting back from there, I approached my cut backs from a greater perspective. And what I found was that completely cutting out those things that I considered “mediocre”, the things that weren’t totally, mindblowingly satisfying and worth every calorie, gave me a lot more freedom to indulge in the things I REALLY love- chocolate, wine, pasta, etc.

My definition of what moderation is now is vastly different from what it was when I was twenty pounds heavier. Five years ago, moderation was a hot chocolate at breakfast, a soda and salad at lunch, chips for snack, and Annie’s mac n cheese for dinner. Today moderation is having whole wheat pasta with pesto for dinner with a glass of wine and a small square of chocolate for dessert after an otherwise healthy day of eating. And of course making sure I run the next day to burn off the extra indulgence.

I’ve also found the concept of redefining moderation to be applicable to my finances. What I used to think was “smart” spending, eating out a few times a week at cheap restaurants and frequenting local happy hours, is a now a total splurge to me. I used to shop the sale racks for clothes thinking I was being fabulously frugal, now I rarely buy anything in a retail environment; it’s all consignment, gift cards, or hand me downs. Again, redefining moderation.

So how do you know if you need to adjust your understanding of moderation? I’d say continuing to miss the mark on hitting your goals is a fairly good indication. Ever heard that quote on insanity? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So change it up and start with the big picture. How are you defining moderation and how can you adjust that definition to serve you in a better way?

From weight loss to finance- mastering moderation can be a life-changing lesson.

Have you ever redefined your definition of moderation to better achieve a certain goal or outcome?

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