Setting Temporary Limits on the Path to Moderation
I have a former client, her name is Amy*.
Shortly after she completed her coaching program, Amy stood up in a women’s networking group that we were both a part of to give a testimonial of our work together. Amy said all sorts of positive things about her experience and how pleased she was with her results and then finished by stating:
“The turning point for me was when Kimberly looked me right in the eyes and said, ‘Amy! You know what you need to do. You have got to stop baking!!’”
I never told Amy to stop baking.
As a general rule of thumb, I don’t tell clients what to do. I especially don’t tell clients to stop doing something they love.
What I DO is help clients identify what it is that is holding them back and then to develop a strategy that will work for them.
In Amy’s situation, she wanted to lose some weight that she had recently gained. At the time, Amy had some pretty stressful, really-big-deal things going on in her life. And she was using to food to cope with some of the uncomfortable feelings that were coming up for her.
She loved to bake and usually this wasn’t a problem for her—she tended to give a lot of what she made away or baked for a special occasion. Stressed-out Amy, however, was baking and then consuming the majority of her baked goods. Amy came to her own conclusion that maybe she should hold off on baking until some of the stressors in her life resolved or settled down.
How funny that she remembered her own wisdom as a command from me to stop baking…needless to say, not one of those women in the room was interested in talking to me about coaching despite her glowing recommendation. Who wants to give up the stuff that brings them joy?? Yeah, me neither.
I know I’ve talked before about keeping certain foods out of my home when I find them too tempting…this can be very effective, but I consider it a short-term strategy.
Keeping certain foods off-limits is a temporary plan of action to be used occasionally.
Twenty-five or so years ago when I first started making some big changes to my diet, I was pretty vulnerable to *caving*. It was super easy to give in and go back to the foods I was used to consuming and, more importantly, over-consuming.
So for a time, I didn’t buy those foods at the grocery store and I didn’t keep them in my house. Breads, cookies, cupcakes, crackers, chips…not in my house!
Not in my house then…now, I could not care less. Really. Those foods have no power over me. I may eat them I may not. My partner frequently has some of those foods in the house and it simply is not a problem.
Still, as evolved as I am (joking!!), when I’m stressed I regress…in other words, there are no foods that I permanently eliminate from my house or my diet, BUT I will stay away from them when I am in a weakened state.
What’s interesting is how what tempts me has changed. Even under stress, I am no longer vulnerable to the sweets and snacks that used to reel me in. Now I am much more likely to overeat foods like peanut butter, cheese, or dark chocolate. All of these are foods that are a part of my normal, everyday diet. So when I *get them out of the house* it is only for a week or a month, most definitely not forever.
Moderation is a moving target, right? You will adapt and adjust as you make small changes in your diet. Things that were once a struggle become easy as your view of normal habituates entirely new normal over a period of time.
What do you think? Does short-term elimination of certain foods that have an emotional pull over you make sense? What are some major shifts you have experienced in foods that once tempted you, but no longer do?
*Her name is not Amy, and even if I told you her real name, well, you probably don’t know her