Eating in moderation... Does this work for anyone?

So I had a getaway weekend with friends a little while back and we had no shortage of junk food around. So I decided I was going to have a few nacho chips and a few other things. I normally try to refrain from junk food just because I feel so bad after eating it that it is simply not worth it, but it’s only one weekend and I will “eat in moderation”, right?

So one nacho turned into another and another until half of the “family size” bag was almost gone, this led to a 3 day binge of eating very poorly, nachos to Chinese food to more chips and junk and finally donuts. My stomach was ready to pop and I had muscle weakness, so much so that I couldn't walk a flight of stairs without stopping at least once, I described it as feeling like I had poison in my veins. Not able to physically shove another bite into my mouth but yet, I was still hungry and couldn't stop eating!

So the question dawned on me, what is moderation, everyone’s idea of this concept are very different. Someone that normally eats a whole bag of chips may say that eating half a bag instead is moderation and therefore it’s OK.

As I was on day 3 of my feeding frenzy, it also occurred to me that some foods are impossible to eat in moderation. Not many people can sit down and eat 3 chips and then put the bag away and stop thinking of them, (they call your name I swear) but if you are snacking on broccoli or even eating a steak, usually it’s easier to stop eating, at least for me anyway. (I guess some things can be eaten in moderation)

So the foods that we are “supposed” to moderate are manufactured with this very concept in mind. Food companies actually create products with the perfect combination of fat, salt and sugar that is designed to stimulate the pleasure centers in our brain much like street drugs would, causing an addictive type behavior that tells your brain you need more. The body responds by raising sugar levels rapidly and then ultimately crashing leaving you starving an hour later even though you just consumed 1000 calories in the last sitting.

Eventually you get to the point that your body is begging you to stop because your stomach has no more room and you feel terrible but your brain is saying I need more, I am still hungry! How can this be? It it’s a viscous cycle.

We then begin to internalize our “failures” and ask, why don’t have the will power to stop eating like this, when it really isn’t entirely fault. It is a chemical reaction that is keeping us addicted to these types of foods.

So what can we do about it? Well we have 2 choices, being armed with this information and the information our bodies are giving us, we could choose to continue to overindulge on a regular basis and keep the cycle going or we can break the cycle by stopping the insanity.

So how do you stop this insanity? Finally after 3 days of rapidly deteriorating, I had to say enough is enough, I have to get myself back to normal, I feel terrible! Then I thought to myself, it has only been 3 days, what about the people that have been stuck in this cycle for years, they probably don’t even know they feel bad.

Sometimes you really don’t know how bad you feel until you take some of these addictive processed foods out of your diet. Once you do, you may feel worse initially because you are essentially detoxing from these addictive foods. After a few days, you should begin to think a little clearer, have more energy, lose the cravings and see some stabilization in your blood sugars.

So if you feel like you have been “eating in moderation” and you are stuck in this cycle, you have to make a choice, are you sick of feeling the way you do? Then only you can make the decision to stop. If you choose to continue eating the foods that are making you hungry and sick, then at least you know what is going to happen and that gives you a little more control over the situation. Hopefully those times will get less frequent because you will determine it is not even worth it.

The point is, we all have these daily struggles, and how you choose to handle them is up to you!

Eating in moderation is my mantra. Seriously, I can eat three chocolate chip cookies (23 carbs) and a glass of milk (12 carbs), after taking 2 units and then walk away. Yes, even though the rest of the cookies are singing their siren song!

I do so most of the time, with rare exceptions like last night where I indulged in a cup of stuffed potato soup, lasagna (both vegan, BTW!) and two, count 'em two(!!) slices of large slices of garlic bread. Of course, I was eating out, so I had to SWAG, plus I started a medication that has high blood sugars as a side effect, so I was not terribly surprised when my normal corrections had little to no effect and I had an excursion to the mountaintop some 5 hours after eating.

I use to have horrible (zero) self control, easily consuming half a bag of Cheetos.

Well, five visits to the hospital within a couple months, along with a diagnosis of an 'un-correctable' heart condition and various other maladies finally changed that.

I can now, easily walk past the open bag of chips on the counter without a second thought.

I simply (not simple at all, in reality) decided I want to be around to watch my grand kids grow up, have fun, maybe fall in love, and actually be able to participate.

I'm even helping keep them healthy by giving fruits and veggies as a snack food item. My daughter and SIL are actually very good in that regard. She lived with me all those years after all.

I can even serve my lovely wife a bowl of ice cream and a cookie without the slightest twinge.

We took the grandkids to Mickey D's this past weekend as a special treat and to play on the playground.

I happily sat there and watched them consume burgers, nuggets, fries and yes, ice cream for desert. :-)
Want to know how I felt? Wonderful! I came home afterwards and happily had a delicious grilled chicken salad and some blackberries for my desert.

i' ve had t1 since i was not yet 3
that was 78 years ago
i grew up without sweets
i'm used to it
i do not eat junk food
i've been told i'm strong

I just terminated outpatient treatment at an eating disorder clinic here in Minneapolis. I have given it 7 months with no results.
The overeating (I call it "heavy grazing") seems to snowball on itself once it gets triggered.
The facility I was at believed in intuitive eating - eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full and always include your favorite foods.
I guess I came away with a few skills to work on.
This was a great post. Thank you.

Thank you for your comments. It's tough and I think it is about so much more than just willpower, we are up against a chemical reaction that is taking place in our bodies, that is tough to fight. For me, I find that I feel much better and have far less cravings when I just stay away from it, don't get me wrong, I have my days but they seem to be getting fewer, I just decided, I am sick of feeling terrible.

Well, I think I actually eat in moderation. Granted, I don't bring home food with gluten in them--that means a lot of good stuff that I don't bring home (I have Celiac.) Baked stuff that is gluten-free is expensive--very expensive--not worth it. So I eat food that seems to me to be healthy, even if somewhat high in carbs, such as fingerling potatoes, cantaloupe, apples--in moderation. Portion control. I love ice cream and Dove dark chocolate--definitely taken in moderation. We are all individual, this works for me.

yes I have a gluten sensitivity and I am miserable when I eat it although sometimes I test myself and don't know why, but we are human. I have started making homemade gluten free snack for my kids and I am shocked how easy it is to do for some things, and the kids actually like them. You are right though, gluten free products are very pricey! I am glad it's working for you.

Everything in moderation. Including moderation. We are all different. "If you want to write a book about controlling diabetes; you need to write a new book for every diabetic."

For me---very low carb is the only thing that works. But that is not true for everyone. Test a lot. A lot. That is the only way you will figure out what works for you.....Blessings...Judith in Portland...

Judith, thank you for the part I forgot (Including moderation).

jpulizzii, I also forgot to mention that the way I arrived at moderation was because I discovered how much better I feel, when I don't go crazy eating the things that taste so good, but end up leaving me feeling yucky.

Thanks for this post!

I have to be honest. I often feel insulted by the general philosophy of the health care system. The constant message that I got diabetes or made it worse because of my personal failings because I couldn't control my eating. And at the same time we have the contradiction that sweets and carbs are clearly addicting for many of us but we then turn around and advise diabetics to eat a high carb diet. We don't tell an alcoholic to just drink in moderation. In the end I've found a low carb diet has done wonders in helping me control my eating. And while I've been critical I also agree that I've really benefited from controlling my eating. I regularly fast, try to make good choices when I do eat and snack and avoid overeating.

For the gluten free stuff go to Look for Pamela's Gluten free flour products. I buy one that is her gluten free pancake and baking mix in 1.6 kg packs. I make it a bit low carb by adding in extra almond flour. It makes the best ever gluten free pancakes and cakes. I make all sorts of variations for the kids often with fruits and oils (apple, banana, mango, zucchini, pumpkin, carrot) added instead of water and I try to make them healthy from my children.

I try my best to avoid eating those goodies myself, and sometimes succeed. Howver, the high fat content helps to modulate bs response and make them easier to cover.

I have found that g/f products (even really good yummy ones) are easier not to overeat compared to wheat products. Actually it is really hard to overeat healthy unprocessed foods... but not so the processed ones.

My all time binge food is white bread. Particularly fresh white bread. With melted cheese, or peanut butter, or vegemite and butter. Despite the catastrophic effects on my blood sugar I have been known to eat half a loaf of bread, or 4 full sized buns all by myself..... and I would have kept going, except they were gone.... so better not to have them in the house at all.... I should also be gluten free (but there are others in the house who are not, thus from time to time the temptation arises).

I also find that for me personally intermittent fasting is an excellent way to help control both blood sugar and binge eating behaviours, and even possibly to lose some much needed weight........ I can maintain my target fasting blood sugar for 16+ hours a day, and eat low carb / higher fat (with a glass of decent wine added in for enjoyment) for the remaining few hours that I do eat..... I am nearing the end of a nearly 24 hour fast now and feeling fine. BS has been between 84 and 96 the whole time.... even getting some work done today.

I hear ya...I'm a foodie and I fantasize about my favorite foods often. You're right that eating in moderation means different things to different people, for some it's about portion control, others about cutting out certain foods, others about being disciplined after having an indulgent meal. But the concept of "taking care of yourself" is the same - what does that mean, exactly, and does anyone actually feel like they are near-perfect in controlling their diabetes? I've seen people who are super-disciplined still beat themselves up about stuff we would forgive ourselves for, and people who are really "que sera sera" that are unapologetic about their lack of self care. I figure we need to give ourselves a break and stop beating ourselves up because it is so utterly unproductive. We have the rest of our lives in front of us, so are we going to "get busy living or get busy dying", as they say in Shawshank Redemption? I've been far from ideal, but have been pretty darn good in my opinion for the last several years, and I've had a great life. Lots of travel, good foods, and fun events, and I do try to do it in moderation. Let's start celebrating our victories, no matter how small, and start battling the urge to blame ourselves for the human tendency to enjoy our food to some degree.

I agree angivan, well said, we are all human and not perfect. In fact I just spoke to one of my members about this same thing today, she was down because her A1c went up but she has so much going on in her life and lets face it, that's I tried to tell her that guess what, you are doing great considering what you are dealing with, give yourself a break. there are times when we all overindulge but your quality of life is what is most important. for me, cutting out certain foods makes me feel better and enables me to do the things I want to do, it improves my quality of life. That does not mean that I don't have cravings for things that don't agree with me. I just know that I feel terrible when I have them so I choose not too (most of the time). so that is my motivation to stay on track. we are all so different.