I Don't Do Moderation

by HEAB on September 2, 2009

Hello my almond butter loving friends. If you're new to HEAB, you may like to subscribe to my RSS feed or receive my posts via email. Thanks for reading!

Thanks for all of your comments on my Sweet Tooth post.  Many of you responded with stories of your own sugar addiction, and some of you thought I was being a little too hard on myself.  After reading everyone’s advice, I had a few more thoughts I wanted to share.

All or nothing.  With me, it’s always been all or nothing.  If I have one diet soda, you might as well hand me a 6-pack.  1 scoop of ice-cream usually leads to the whole pint. 1 piece of pizza? Try 4.  Let’s just say I was never the I’ll just have one bite of dessert and be satisfied kind of girl.  Everything in moderation doesn’t work for me. I wish it did, but it doesn’t.  I know which foods I can eat in abundance, and sugar is not one of them.

Honestly, I don’t think sugar is good for anyone, and I believe Marissa summed it up best when she said, Poison in moderation is still poison.  I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again.  We do not need cake, cookies, candy, or ice-cream. We don’t, and for me, the 30 seconds of joy it provides my taste buds is not worth the destruction it does to my insides.  Yes, I do eat sugar.  I love So Delicious Coconut milk ice-cream, dark chocolate, and raw desserts, but in general, I try to stay away from the white stuff, and the honey, and the agave, etc. Sugar is sugar, and once I start, I just want more and more.   I’m not saying I won’t enjoy sweets sometimes, but I just really want to get out of the habit of always eating a dessert with every meal. It’s so not necessary.

Am I a perfectionist?  Am I overly obsessed with eating healthy?  Am I too hard on myself?  Perhaps, but I’d rather be a little hard on myself than be a 100 pounds overweight. I’ve been down that road before my friends, and I am not going back.  I know what I need to eat to stay slim, healthy, and strong, and sugar is not part of the plan.  So, please understand where I’m coming from when I get on my no sugar soapbox.  

I never want to be overweight again.  I never want to develop Type 2 diabetes.  I never again want to get laughed at behind my back.  I never again want to be referred to as that one, the heavy-set girl over there.  I never again want to hear the words, but you have such a pretty face. I never again want to shop at Lane Bryant, and I never want my favorite pair of jeans to not fit.

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Me in my favorite Joe’s Jeans.

LOVE THEM  

Kicking myself for not buying 2 pairs.

 

 

 

 

You can call me vain, obsessive, stubborn, maybe even a little crazy.  I prefer to call myself happy and healthy…OK, so I am a little crazy, but in a happy sort of way. :)

Yes, life is too short to not enjoy some sweets on occasion, but for me, staying away from sugar has done nothing but prolonged my life.  If it’s all or nothing…I think I’ll choose nothing. That is what works for me.  

On that note, I present you with my breakfast: warm quinoa mixed with vanilla rice protein powder and fresh berries.  

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Now, why on earth would I fill by body with sugar-laden nutrient lacking junk when I could eat this delicious bowl of goodness instead? The answer seems obvious to me.

I leave you with a quote from Scott, who started his own wonderful blog not too long ago:

I believe that until we get back to eating “the old fashioned way” (whole, fresh, simple ingredient foods) on a consistent basis, our health as a species will continue to suffer.

Well said Scott. I couldn’t agree more. 

{ 134 comments }

Deb September 2, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Heabs, gotta hand it to you. You KNOW yourself. I totally respect your decision to kibosh the sugars from your life if you can’t do moderation. I think that everyone who was suggesting that life is too short to deny yourself- did not know about your issues with moderation. I did not know!! But now that it’s established, I know that we are all going to support you!

Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks Heabie- good for you for knowing yourself well enough to be emphatic about your decision!

BiG HUG!

Deb

joelygolightly September 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm

I have to say kudos to you for posting this… It was wonderful to read, and I have to say I am of a similar mindset. Above all else, you have to do what makes you feel the best and the happiest.

Steph September 2, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I’m happy you know what works for you. and you really do look healthy and gorgeous!

Ellen (Peace in Motion) September 2, 2009 at 10:47 pm

I love that you stand up for what works for YOU. You’ve done the research and figured out what makes you and your body happy. I’m beginning to think I need to go down the ‘all or nothing’ path with a few foods myself. I think I’ve been tricking myself into thinking I can do ‘everything in moderation’ but I’m not sure it works for me. Guess that means keep experimenting!

Maggie September 2, 2009 at 10:51 pm

OH my goodness, that quinoa looks delicious. You know, I bought some a while ago (I think because of something I saw on HEAB) and it’s still sitting in my pantry. I was going to try sprouting it… maybe it was your raw granola? I forget. But that looks like an awesome way to have it too :) And I feel like if I’m going to eat grains quinoa would be the way to go.

I was talking to Bobby today about cleaning out the cat litter (his job) vs. cleaning the toilet (my job) and he thinks I got the crap end of the stick (pun intended). Humans are probably the most toxic creatures on the earth, and it’s absolutely because of what we eat. I will not eat stuff that makes me feel like crap! Sugar makes me feel like crap, I can’t stop myself once I start eating it, and I KNOW that it’s bad. Have I recommended “sugar blues” to you yet? I still haven’t read it but my mom keeps telling me that I have to.

Dee September 2, 2009 at 10:56 pm

I so relate to your all or nothing way of eating. And sugar is really wickedly addictive (but gee, it’s wickedly delicious).

And about jeans–I can’t find my favorite pair of jeans made by L.e.i., even online. Sob! Wish I would have bought a closet full now.

Thanks for your blog, Heather!

Jillian September 2, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Good lordy Ms. Heather…I can not be more like you when it comes to the all or nothing…and, in all aspects of my life! Food, exercise, people, sleep, goals…the list could go on and on.

I absolutely know the feeling of being on or being off on the food/sugar thing. Competition eating was difficult for the first 2 weeks…then the next 6 months, eating that way seemed normal. Since then, I’ve been on this I’ll eat great most of the time, for a good stint…then I hit the “when it’s convenient/enjoy too many treats” period. Uff. Need to still find my perfect balance I guess.

Kudos to you for your stand against sugar. I absolutely agree that it is in no way helpful for the bod. Training your taste buds to find natural foods sweet is truly the hardest part.

You are not crazy…you are 100% happy, healthy, beautiful.
Love you friend.

Julia September 2, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Thank you sooo much for sharing this with us.
I think you really hit home the fact that different things work for different people. You obviously know what works for you – you are fit, beautiful, and you seem very happy! So if cutting back sugar is what helps you stay that way, then why wouldn’t you do it.
I also never want to go back to where I have been with my weight in the past – both the ups and the downs, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes (in a healthy way of course) to lose the last of the weight that I want to lose and then to stay there.
Enough, but thanks again for such an honest post!

Ruby Red September 2, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Love this post! I love how you so know what you body needs and pursue it wholeheartedly! Moderation is hard for me too and I am still practicing. I definitely don’t agree with the “everything in moderation” phrase – for me, meat is not an option, and for me and everyone else on this entire planet, trans-fat should not be eaten AT ALL, not sometimes, not ever. Gross gross gross!
That being said, your awesome food combos have always rocked my world. Love the oat bran, the chia, the almond butter, the roaster winter squashies, the quinoa berry treat! Purely Dec coconut milk ice cream is at my top 2 favorites. Of course, I would love to live without ice cream, but I am definitely not there mentally! Gena’s banana soft-serve is rocking my world, though.
Have a lovely night! :)

WholeBodyLove September 2, 2009 at 11:44 pm

You are so in touch with your body. Some things are just not worth it, period. However, I have trouble with being too much of a perfectionist. I have to remind myself that there is sometimes a gray area for me. We are all different and as you have said before: you know what works best for you.

Kate G. September 3, 2009 at 12:35 am

Heather,

I have been reading for w little while, and have been hesitant to comment on this sugar debate until now.
I must admit when you first addressed the issue i was a little put off, but this post is so HONEST and personal that i understand where you are coming from and completely understand your opinions on sugar, and now i can completely agree!

Thank you for your honesty, it is extremely refreshing :)

PS- delicious breakfast, i want to try quinoa sometime in the morning soon!

Sarah (LovIN My Tummy) September 3, 2009 at 1:20 am

Preach on girl, you know I am right there with you. That is why any and all Reeses Peanut Butter cups are banned from my house. Happy Halloween indeed.

Layla September 3, 2009 at 2:50 am

Hi heather,
Although I admire your honesty and respect your opinion, I have to say I completely disagree. As a recovering bulimic, trust me, I COMPLETELY understand the all-or-nothing mindset. In my bad days, i would not eat any bread, fat, sugar all day, week, month long (i lived on my own and avoided friends to avoid these foods) and when i visited my family, one peice of bread with butter would send me into a frantic binge, consuming the whole loaf, cake, whatever.

Ok, this is obviously very disorded eating and very different from your type of all or nothing eating, but one thing I have learned through my treatment process (which is still not over- if it will ever be!) is that by banning a certain type of food (and one that is present in most basic natural foods- not something fake like HFCS or trans fat) you obsess about it and your body begins to crave it much more than it would if it got some of it once in a while! I dont believe any real food is BAD. Even processed grains- i try to avoid them, but when I think of the millions of people who rely on white rice for their survival, I remember that I am SO LUCKY to get any food at all!

I am half french, and I am always so amazed how my french family eats when we are together. Typically, they will have a lunch consisting of 5 courses- salad, entree, main, cheese, dessert, and all downed with red wine! Yet, NONE of them are fat, overweight, obsese, NOTHING! And they do this everyday! A study I once read mentioned that when americans hear the words “chocolate cake” they associated it words such as guilt, fat, shame. The same was done in france, and you know what they replied?

Celebration! Happiness! Pleasure!

Sure, it isnt the best thing on the world for you, but food IS a source of pleasure, and taking pleasure in it wont make you FAT!

ok, off my soap-box

balancejoyanddelicias September 3, 2009 at 3:01 am

I agree with Layla, banning a food is a way to get obsess about it, at least in my own experience. When I more want to avoid certain thing, I just think about it more intensively and get upset of forbidding me eating it, it seems that my whole body asks me to get it when in a normal day when I let me to eat it, or not putting “NO THIS” in my head would.
But of course, that’s personal, for some people, the total avoidance of certain food, either sugar, carbs or meat, just don’t do good for them and it might exacerbate the original problem and for some other people like you, this works to keep your weight in control and at the same time feel inner peace about it. Either way is good, no right or wrong, we just need to know ourselves better and know what’s best for us.
Thanks for sharing your sincere thoughts, Heather! :)

M September 3, 2009 at 3:36 am

Thanks for this follow up post, Heather. I was definitely in the “no, it’s good to have SOME!” camp, but I completely identify with the all-or-nothing mindset. There are some foods that I just can’t have because I lose all control when I take one bite (cereal, for example). My doctor advised NOT to buy it, not to keep it in the house. Keeping it here and trying to portion it out reasonably is simply setting myself up for failure. Sure, it would be great if I could stick to a serving or two. I can’t. Period. I know my limitations. So I don’t buy it. And, yes, when I go elsewhere that it’s available, if I have one bowl, it turns into the box.

It’s better that I avoid entirely, and my doctor agrees.

Carolyn September 3, 2009 at 4:04 am

Eating sugar for me, and i feel most of america, is almost like telling an alcoholic they are going to be surrounded by it but they have to figure out how to drink just a little bit and then just leave the rest sitting there. It can’t happen…I can’t have it in my house…There is no plate of cupcakes that will not get totally eaten. A bowl of holiday M&M’s used as decoration is pointless…

I also had a real lightbulb moment when you said you don’t eat fruit for the most part.. That was very empowering and makes so much sense for me too…..berries or a small apple before exercise, maybe…

Your post was my childhood Heather…and good thing there is not a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies sitting around right now…

Hello pumpkin pie smoothie!!!

I have been posting food pictures/ingredients on my Facebook page…family and a few friends only for me…After the initial jokes about Oatgurt being morter and “i thought smoothies were supposed to taste good” real discussions have started and yes they might think i am crazy, but MY jeans fit…

Carolyn September 3, 2009 at 4:10 am

I think a discussion on jeans would be fun…What is everyone wearing?… I just bought Levi 505′s for the first time…They’ll do…

But what are the best??? And where did your Joe’s jeans go that you can’t get more…

I must have 25 pairs of jeans and i would never throw a pair away… ever… now that i am thin…They are like girl scout badges of accomplishment…

Shelby September 3, 2009 at 4:21 am

I am so glad that you have found what works for you Heather! I can’t handle too much sugar, which is why I love me some stevia! My favorite dessert would have to be dark chocolate. Not too sugary and filled with healthy antioxidents. But I completely understand where you are coming from, it’s hard to stop at just one piece.

That’s why I don’t buy Tortilla chips anymore, knowing me, the whole bag will be gone in less than 2 days! I’d rather stick with more whole, natural food.

Erica September 3, 2009 at 4:49 am

I hear ya- gotta do what works for you! In terms of sugar…I do try to limit it and I prefer it in its most natural form (well in my mind)=Fruit! Lots of fruit does well with my tummy so I am going to keep enjoying it. I think everyone needs to go with what works for them and keeps them happy and healthy! Adorable pics of you – love those jeans

livingfreeforever September 3, 2009 at 5:02 am

I was just saying on my blog yesterday about how I am an ‘all or nothing’ kind of person. I was talking about exercise in my post, but I am like that with everything! Sometimes I think it’s a curse:) I totally LOVE this post!! I am SO like this with gluten and sugar! I’ll say, I just want ONE bite and it turns into a binge and then I’m SICK!! I am FAR better off staying FAR away from the stuff. My ND told me the other day she was going to have to hit me if I didn’t stop cheating:) I have done WAY better this week-I really don’t feel like getting smacked:)

Oh, and I totally love that picture of you in the green shirt and your fave jeans! I need to find me a perfect pair of jeans!

The Healthy Hostess September 3, 2009 at 5:16 am

I have a hard time with moderation too! When people ask me why and how I cook so much and so often, I always say because I love food and I want to be able to eat lots of it. If I cook it, I can leave out all of the junk and make it so I can eat it without going overboard or thinking about it if there could be bad stuff in it. Also, cooking healthy things with tons of veggies means you can eat more!

Mara @ What's For Dinner? September 3, 2009 at 5:20 am

I could’ve written this post… I’m an all or nothing girl too. Except when it comes to exercise, then I’m just “nothing” because I can’t get past the “i dont like it” point. But thats a story for another day.

Erin September 3, 2009 at 5:24 am

I love you, Heather! And quinoa. Yum Yum.
Good for you for doing what works, and for being a little crazy. I like to embrace my craziness. I’m sort of awful at moderation too. Okay, abysmal. I always look in shock at those people who order something completely decadent, have a few bites, and then just sit there without eating anymore! If it’s in front of me, it goes in my belly.
Sugar is a vicious cycle for me. I used to have very little and didn’t crave sweets but I started using stevia sweetened things and they have messed with my mouth! That stuff is too darn sweet. I need ween myself from it I think.

Francesca September 3, 2009 at 5:30 am

Hey Heather… I completely agree with your moderation post… I am the same exact way… All or nothing for me!!! I love all yours post you hit great topics and I think you are succeeding in doing what many people wish they could do with their diet! You have great discipline that most people can only pray to have. “A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips” haha thats what I say when i’m struggling to avoid sugar!

Dori September 3, 2009 at 5:33 am

I agree so strongly with what Scott said. I wish more people realized this!

VeggieGirl September 3, 2009 at 5:46 am

You’re not crazy at all!! You’re amazing. Period.

Yasmin September 3, 2009 at 6:09 am

Everyone is different. Since I started eating healthier I don’t even crave the processed sugary stuff anymore!

Kathleen September 3, 2009 at 6:16 am

Heather I could not agree more. I call it the sugar wheel – yup the one that the hamster runs on. Get me on it and I can’t get off. Sure, I treat myself occasionally. But when I start bringing the stuff into the house, it’s gone in less than a day because I just end up overindulging.

I think it’s awesome that you know your limits. It’s taken me 30 years to get to a comfortable place with my diet. Fresh, whole foods baby.

Love your blog. Love your honesty.

Lori September 3, 2009 at 6:17 am

What a great post! You have to do what works for you and you what that is better than anyone else!
Are you enjoying those quinoa flakes now? I’ve had some sitting in my cupboard forever – they just don’t seem to compare to oatmeal or oatbran…

April September 3, 2009 at 6:18 am

As long as i’m eating healthy i’m okay. Once I get a taste of sugar i’m the same way. Or pizza as you mentioned. I hate those girls who say “I only had 2 hee hee” “I nibbled on carrots while I cooked hee hee”. Okay hate may be a harsh word but if you have a control problem you know you read “their” post and roll your eyes too.

When people ask me to try these, just one bite and I say no I wish they would just leave me be. This is how I am. I eat chicken, oats and broccoli 24/7 not to ruin my health w/ 1 bite of crap.

Pam September 3, 2009 at 6:20 am

I don’t do moderation either. This is a grea post I can competely relate to… Definitely makes me think!

ProteinGirl September 3, 2009 at 6:25 am

Great breakfast! Have you tried stirring in the poppyseeds yet? Or adding them to salads etc. They make fantastic dressings, and will homemade nut butters they are so good! Just throw them in the processor, or sprinkle them on after. Great in banana soft serve!

hayleycepeda September 3, 2009 at 6:31 am

This subject is something I am very confused with, because on the one hand I completely agree with you – I am always black & white about everything in life..not just food (my dad is the same way). I spent a big part of life never touching “trigger foods” that sent me into a binge. On the other hand, I agree with Layla in that often times the more I tell myself I can’t have something, the more I want it and the more I overdo it. This is why I’m actually able to eat PB and AB now – in the past I would finish off half a jar in one sitting, but now I can actually have it in moderation because it’s not banned. However, I still struggle a lot with cereal. There is no such thing as one bowl – it has to be at least 2 maybe even 3.

That wasn’t much help was it? What I really wanted to say is that so long as YOU are happy it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or does. If you don’t feel deprived then stay away from sugar and other foods that don’t mesh well with your body. I think it’s great that you put this out there..you look very happy and very healthy so you’re doing something right! :)

What kind of jeans are those? They’re so cute…

Whit September 3, 2009 at 6:35 am

Aw, Heather. :) Well said. Well said.

Andrea@WellnessNotes September 3, 2009 at 6:37 am

I think it’s so important to figure out what works for you (at this point in your life). And you are doing that! No one can tell any of us what we should do; we all have to figure it out on our own… That’s why following what anyone else is doing too closely can be so dangerous in my opinion… I have recently made some changes in the way I eat, and overall I love how I’m feeling. But there are certain parts of the “program” that just don’t match with my life. When I read other blogs that do the “program” seemingly “perfectly” it’s easy to think I should do this too… But no, I should do what works for me and my body!

I can relate to not being able to eat/drink things in moderation. I used to drink sooo much diet coke, but now I won’t touch it. The other day I had one small slice of pizza and was able to eat it very mindfully. Hubby actually commented afterward that he saw how much I was enjoying it and how he loved watching me eat it. He could see a real difference in how I used to eat… This was a first and huge for me… So maybe moderation in some parts may work for me at this point…. We’ll see… :)

Happy Thursday, Heather! :)

Rosey Rebecca September 3, 2009 at 6:45 am

I agree with the poison in moderation is still poison theory. My brother came to visit last weekend and as I was pouring a packet of stevia into my coffee, he asked “what’s wrong with regular sugar?” Like I was stuck up for not using plain old sugar. He also scoffed at the skim milk in my fridge. It’s really inspiring how you stick up for your healthy habits because in the end, it doesn’t matter what people think of them. All that matters is that YOU feel good about your body. Your blog motivates and inspires me so much! Thank you for this post!

brandi September 3, 2009 at 6:54 am

i’ve had so many “all or nothing” days in my short life already that it’s a bit ridiculous. There are some things I can have in moderation and be fine. BUT – there are others that I can’t, I know I can’t, and for those…it’s better for me never to start.

Do I miss some things? Sometimes. Is it ruining my life that I can’t have _____? Not one bit.

Sarah (from See Sarah Eat) September 3, 2009 at 7:03 am

Amen girl, PREACH IT!

I love your blog and I’m so thankful for you because I feel like I’ve found my “twin” even though there is a slight age difference ;-)

What I mean is I’ve found someone with a similar background (including big weight loss) and someone with the same mentality as me. I am also all or nothing. Which is why right now, I have to go back to nothing because all is getting in my way again.

I also hate sugar! It’s been slowly trying to creep back in but I’m stopping it in its tracks.

Thank you Heather, keep fighting the good fight :)

charlotte September 3, 2009 at 7:03 am

I have a really hard time with moderation too. That said, I haven’t been as good as cutting it out as you have! I went 90 days for an Experiment with no sugars and actually felt really good but the cravings overtook me and I caved. Sigh.

Emily September 3, 2009 at 7:04 am

Hi Heather! I think it’s great that you understand your body and know yourself so well. Although I do believe in the moderation concept, I know that it doesn’t work for everyone and certainly not for every food. Like you, I refuse to keep refined sugar laying around because I would probably eat it all.

I do have to disagree with you about our bodies needing sugar, though. The nervous system (including the brain) are obligate glucose users…they can’t use any other type of fuel! Also, glucose is the preferred fuel for the body and can be used in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Some of the glucose you consume is also converted to glycogen for storage (can be later used to make glucose when the body’s fuel is running on empty). Maybe I’m confused about the type of sugar you’re referring to. Actually all carbohydrates (including the good complex ones that are in whole grains, oats, and vegetables) are considered sugars.

Refined sugar is what possibly leads to health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity (through insulin resistance). An excess of carbs (even complex ones) can lead to weight gain because the body will continue to use glucose as a fuel and will not mobilize stored fat for energy.

Sorry for the biochem lesson. I think you were referring to simple sugars because you obviously eat carbs in the form of oats and veggies. :-) I just thought some of the other readers might be confused.

Have a beautiful day!

Metta September 3, 2009 at 7:05 am

I’m so with you Heather. I’m totally an all or nothing person. It’s why I’m puzzled by people who say, “I ate ½ a banana.” What’s that? Why not eat the whole thing? There are foods that I just have to say no to, or I’ll go over board. Some of my family think I’m not fun, but those are the same people who complain about their jeans not fitting the next day.

Anne September 3, 2009 at 7:08 am

Hi
Nice post. I am in the “moderation” camp. And I do like my honey and maple syrup :)
What about this Rice protein? I have vanilla and chocolate, so is that counted as sugary?
That quinoa looks great! How do you prepare it? I am wary to have that stuff because right now exercise is not part of my life (serious injury), but hey grains are a good thing right?

JENNA September 3, 2009 at 7:13 am

I can’t believe i’m just now falling in love with your blog!! where have you been my whole life?? :) I’ve always been a ‘everything in moderation’. Most of the time I can handle just a one bite ….but as I get older I’m seeing my ‘most of the time’ is changing!! yikes! thanks for showing us life can be delish without suga!

BTW: how do you cook your quinoa? and….LOVE YOUR JEANS!!!!!!!!!!! they are so cute!

JessicaR September 3, 2009 at 7:18 am

I couldn’t have said it better myself! I don’t do “moderation” either when it comes to sugar and processed foods. It’s great that people can, but I just can’t, nor do I really want to. There is so much food available now that wasn’t available 100 years ago, yet people who don’t want to partake in those types of food are viewed as “weird,” “orthorexic,” “not fun,” “a health nut”… the list goes on.

I lost my dad three years ago due to complications caused by obesity. He died at 66 weighing over 350 pounds. He was stubborn and ate sugar and junk no matter what health problems it caused him, and it eventually cost him his life. I refuse to live my life that way.

Ozlen September 3, 2009 at 7:18 am

All or nothing.. I am the same way ~~ sigh~~ it is not so good as I would like to be able to stock soem coconut milk ice cream in the house w/o having to worry that I will eat the entire little carton. it is little but still. I cant buy it. Cant. ~sigh~

Kat September 3, 2009 at 7:52 am

Wonderful read. I am also one of those people who can’t do moderation and it took me a long time to realize that. It was frustrating growing up because my mom is one of the people who does moderation perfectly . . . she can open a candy bar cut off a third and wrap up the other 2/3rds and leave it for another time (or in her case, forget about it and then throw it out later). I am the one who opens up the candy bar (or whatever), cuts off a third, eats it, cuts off another third, eats it, and then eats the last third. It is all or nothing which is why i don’t even keep sugary-type stuff in my house anymore. If i really want ice cream or a bite of cake or something, I will go out and eat it so that i can have a bite or a taste (or sometimes the whole thing) and be done with it. There are no leftovers at home.

justrun September 3, 2009 at 8:01 am

I totally understand the all or nothing thing. Totally. That is why when I ran all the time, I had to run ALL THE TIME. I had to do every race, I had to try all kinds of training plans. That’s just who I am. That may also by why now I have no desire to do any race, any running, and I’ve thrown myself completely into yoga. Hmm, ya think?
The thing is, I think knowing yourself is the key. I know I want balance. I know I want running and yoga, eventually. And for what it’s worth, I’m totally with you on the sugar. It’s an occasional thing for me, which is probably the broadest definition of moderation you can get.

Margie September 3, 2009 at 8:09 am

You’re not crazy, Heather, you have a sugar sensitivity. Here’s an interesting article on the topic: http://gotracey.com/bittersweet-time-out-ny/

I recently read a book called “Little Sugar Addicts” because my daughter, like me, can’t stop eating sugar once she gets started. In fact, I don’t think she’s ever not asked for seconds. The book discusses sugar sensitivity at great length, which validates what I’ve always felt instinctively about the addictive, dreaded white stuff. When I was a kid, my mom didn’t allow any desserts in the house. When I was about 4, my dad ordered a box of shortbread girl scout cookies and wanted to give me 1 each Sunday. My poor mom had an absolute fit and was convinced he was ruining my diet. Dad soon learned that the reason she was so upset was because she couldn’t have sweets in the house without overindulging herself. So, there are 3 generations of sugar addiction in my family!

Holly September 3, 2009 at 8:16 am

I’m quite the all or nothing girl myself. :-) People don’t understand when I turn down cake or cookies, it’s because it lights a fire under me.

I hate to compare it to this, but it’s what I’d imagine an alcoholic feels after “just one drink.” It consumes your mind and has you thinking constantly of the next fix. For me, it’s just easier to avoid these foods 95% of the time.

jacobc September 3, 2009 at 8:30 am

You are so right Heather.
I think people are just jealous you have will power.

I love the poision quote!

Evan Thomas September 3, 2009 at 8:46 am

I can’t say I agree with everything here, but I do appreciate your honesty and openness and strength in opinion. Personally, there’s nothing different than a portioned out meal and a portioned out serving of ice cream. I agree that the state of America right now is not perfect and a lot of people have health problems that could easily be avoided, but I think the key to avoiding them is learning how to say no and when enough is enough rather than avoiding it alltogether.

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) September 3, 2009 at 8:47 am

Obviously this is a touchy subject! But I hear ya–I have similar tendencies in that I’m more all-or-nothing than moderation, but as I come to know my habits better, I realize that it also applies to specific foods. I’m with you on ice cream–it’s pretty much the whole pint, or else I’d rather just have a square of dark chocolate. Makes no sense, but whereas I’m a happy camper with a reasonable amount of chocolate, I’m not satisfied until all ice cream is gone from the house. So generally I don’t keep it around, but when i’m out it’s not forbidden. When I don’t keep “triggers” around, I know I must reallllly want something if I’m willing to go out and get it to satisfy the crave. If I’m not willing to get off my butt, then no point in having it in the first place.

You seem to have found what works for you and exist in a happy place. Some people might find your thoughts restrictive/obsessive or whatever other words you brought up, but to me, finding what works with your individuality trumps adhering to what’s widely accepted as moderate or reasonable or whatever other non-controversial descriptive you choose. So long as you’re not hurting your body, that is! But by the looks of you in your fave jeans, you’re far from it! Hawt. And with a plenty-sweet, refined-sugar-free b’fast to boot. Rock on, sister friend.

Claire September 3, 2009 at 8:50 am

That was summed up from a great quote from Scott…I do try EVERYDAY to reason with myself about “if I just eat one…”it will be ok. When I do try,nope.I always over do it.You are sooo right,Heather.I just need to stay away and feed my body the “healthy” things that I enjoy with out trying to make fit what just doesn’t work for me.Thanks for the pep talk(even if that wasn’t what you were aiming for).It makes so much sense ans helps so much…cc

Lara (Thinspired) September 3, 2009 at 8:54 am

Heather, I am SO all or nothing, too! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “I don’t DO moderation.” I think the more time passes, the more I realize how true it is for me. I am trying to manage it with calorie counting, and that is the closest to “moderation” I can get (having the agave, just measuring it and then hiding the bottle). But it is always a struggle.

Thank you so much for being honest about never wanting to be fat again. I have those feelings, too. They are valid. They are normal and healthy. You have worked hard! And I love your jeans :) My favorite pair are Joe’s, too! The Rocker, I think…darker wash than yours though. Had them sized down in March :)

Lara (Thinspired) September 3, 2009 at 8:55 am

Just re-read that…I probably shouldn’t have used the word fat. Hope that doesn’t come off the wrong way.

Kyle September 3, 2009 at 9:02 am

Thankyou SO much for posting this! I’ve felt this way for a long time, but I’ve always felt kind of sheepish, and I felt as though I’d be labelled an “orthorexic” if I outright said “I DON’T believe in the whole ‘moderation’ deal!”.
I agree, poison in moderation is STILL poison, which is why I eat A LOT like you (only vegan! ;) ).

I’m so much more satisfied when I’m not eating my trigger foods in “moderation”, because I don’t get that stress that comes along with it….”will I be able to stop eating this cake after one bite?!”. I am way happier eating whole, nutritious foods, that are JUST as delicious and satisfying as “conventional” treats that our society is used to.

Kyle September 3, 2009 at 9:06 am

Oh, and I also want to add this: a lot of people have sugar sensitivies, or celiac disease without knowing it, and those substances can act as opioids on those individuals, which can leave them feeling like failures when they can’t *do* the moderation thing! Some people just can’t have certain things “in moderation.”

Unfortunately, most people still believe in that, and my mom, who HAS celiac disease, is always told “just a couple bites won’t hurt, your body won’t recognize it, will it?!” – to which my mom has to reply “no, actually it WILL, because gluten is essentially a poison to my body – I can’t have that poison in moderation!”

ratzx31 September 3, 2009 at 9:17 am

totally cool with your decision!!! :P wish i could be as resolute in what i believe too and i actually totally agree with your thoughts however, i lose that steely age to cut them out… sigh.. almost succeeded once for a few years then i slipped… oh well… hope some day i can do the same like you too!! thanks!

missyrayn September 3, 2009 at 9:21 am

Heather I so agree with you. I believe we don’t need sugar and when I do have it I tend to go overboard. That diet soda comment is me. I can go months without it and then once I have one it takes over my mind. I just drink them. I tell myself that I’ll only drink them when I go out and then that turns into I’ll only buy one and then soon I’m buying one every time I’m out. I need to learn that there are natural sweet things to feed my sweet tooth such as fruit instead of the icecream. But for now I don’t know how to squash the sweet monster.

I totally hear you on the not wanting to go back to being the 100 pounds over weight. I’ve worked too dang hard to get here and I know it’s easy to go back. So I push myself to work at it. Somedays are better than others but I’m not…I repeat I’m not going back.

Lara September 3, 2009 at 9:42 am

I can do moderation but I do believe that some people just can’t. Banning a certain food makes me want it more but if it doesn’t have that effect on you then no problem.

Heather Ezell September 3, 2009 at 10:17 am

Thank you for writing this entry, Heather. I’ve been REALLY struggling with sugar moderation the past few months. I seem to be unable to control myself from putting heaping dollops of agave into my coffee (stevia scares me!) or baking “healthy” (AKA bread with cups of maple syrup or raw sugar) vegan cookies for no real reason. I’m addicted to sugar, and like you, I’m an all or nothing girl. Sugar is definitely something I’m striving to cut out of my diet.

So, really, thank you for this. It was extremely motivating.

… And I say that as I sip my morning agave-tinted coffee. :P

anne September 3, 2009 at 10:19 am

Thanks for your honesty! I really enjoy your opinion on the “sugar” subject. I too am trying to break the habit of wanting dessert after lunch and dinner.

CoconutGal September 3, 2009 at 10:20 am

I love ya girl. Preach it! I am so the same. Just this morning I meant to make 2 servings of oats, one for breakfast and one for later. Do you think I ate all 1 1/2 cups of oats (plus 2 bananas, AB, etc) for breakfast and didn’t save any for later? You bet. Ahhh why is moderation so hard!?! I do think you shouldn’t cut out a dessert every once in a while when you are REALLY hankering for something sweet. I believe in enjoying lifes pleasures and trying to relax a little too. Because not enough relaxing does a lot of damage to our bodies as well. But you know all this. Glad you agree!
That quinoa looks AMAZING! and HUGE! Love it! How much is it? Looks like 1 1/2 cups too!! Yummmm Heaby!! <3

Leianna September 3, 2009 at 10:20 am

I’m totally a all or nothing girl too. I try to stay away from all things sugar or else I’ll inhale it all! I;m trying to et over diet pop as well because once I take a sip, I want it all!
So thank you for saying what some of us don’t normally want to put out there! You inspire me to be true to myself, moderation doesn’t work for me!

Teresa September 3, 2009 at 10:35 am

Heather this post is AWESOME! I love how well you know yourself and are true to yourself, regardless of what others might proscribe for you. I think that if you want to get out of the dessert with every meal habit, than you should. And of course I know that you will find a balance that works for you, because no one knows you better than yourself. It’s always inspiring to see someone who is so confident and happy. I love reading your blog!

btw… what kind of jeans are you wearing? You and your doggie are so cute together!

mandyrd September 3, 2009 at 10:46 am

I tend to agree with Laila’s comment, though I can totally relate to your post. I think the subject is really complicated, and you really have to be honest and understanding of yourself.
For me, I can have certain foods around the house because I have gradually desensitized myself the way Laila described. (Peanut butter, cereal, bread). In the past, I could never have handled them at home. However, the “all-or-none” principle never worked either. If the mood struck, I could just buy some, eat it all, and use the excuse that I’d “stop tomorrow.” If I know I CAN eat it, then I won’t want it as much.
I do agree that sugar is unnecessary, whether in “healthy” agave form or white sugar. Like you, I do avoid sugars for that reason, but I’ll never say never.
Great post!

Tiffany S. September 3, 2009 at 10:52 am

Beautiful post, Heather.

Coming from someone who tried moderation and is back losing the same 20 pounds for the THIRD time, you are not crazy. You are one of the wisest people I know (and Marissa’s right up there too. I saw her transformation first hand, and it was stunning).

I think you’d really feel strengthened by reading “The End of Overeating.” See if your library has it (I’d send you my copy but I’m not sure I can part with it yet). It really details how the food industry has turned us into addicts. He uses the term “Hypereating” which I like a whole lot better than “overeating,” but same thing.

Stick with it, sister! We all borrow your conviction when we need it!

Jenn September 3, 2009 at 11:01 am

Heather, once again (even though you don’t have to) thanks for explaining YOUR personal take on the whole sugar deal. I hope there aren’t people out there giving it to you for YOUR opinion. Readers, again, have to take everything into perspective as to what works for THEM. Everyone is DIFFERENT!! Thanks for taking a stand! Have a great Labor Day weekend!!
Jenn

Erika September 3, 2009 at 11:05 am

I think it is great that you are willing to commit your self to being happy and healthy. We each need to do what works for us best and yay to you for knowing your limits. And aren’t we all crazy in our own ways!? :)

On another note, Deb (my fave smoothie girl) told me that you maybe can suggest some yoga dvds/downloads to get me started? Unfortunately, I have taken classes, but can’t get to them outside the home often. Any suggestions would be so appreciated!

Susan September 3, 2009 at 11:21 am

I think it’s all about considering what’s most important to you. Like, some days I’ll have a beer put in front of me and in that moment, it doesn’t seem worth it. But other days, when I’m in large social environments that I want to participate fully in, I’ll accept that beer. In that moment, having the beer is worth whatever consequences may or may not follow.

Hope that makes sense! If you’re an economist, it’s a food “cost-benefit analysis” of sorts :P

Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) September 3, 2009 at 11:22 am

Great post and ya know, there’s nothing that hasn’t already been said except: You look hot in your Joe’s jeans! The way you feel about your Joes is how I feel about this one pair of Hudson’s that I have. Ok and there’s a True Religion that I have that’s a close runner up :)

That said, to each her own in doing what works for *her* body. I have finally, finally at age 33 really feel like I have come into my own, have found what’s right for me, and am on this path…for life. My 20s were spent experimenting with all kinds of different diets and eating styles, but the past 3 yrs I have really honed in on what works for me: vegan, gluten/soy/dairy free, lots of fruits and veggies, minimal grains, with ample vegan protein sources. So I still eat sugar, and it works for me. For some, it won’t and who cares what everyone else is doing, ya know ? I know you know :) Do what’s right for you, rock on, thanks for the honest post b/c I know these types of things generate lots of ummmm….feedback.

Jennifer September 3, 2009 at 11:29 am

Heather, you are THE BEST. I can testify to the fact that eating sugar only makes you want more and more; it’s a vicious cycle. In the past month, we’ve had several birthday parties and, unfortunately, a family funeral to attend. There was a ton of food at every event (there is always so much food after a funeral, including sweets). I’ve probably eaten more sugar in the past month than I have in a year and let me tell you: this week has been BRUTAL…I’ve done nothing but crave sweets. And I was not craving them 2 months ago. I can’t wait until the cravings subside.

organicashley September 3, 2009 at 11:33 am

you are seriously amazing Heather and definitely my inspiration. I love how you know your self soo well. I hope that some day I will be able to do that. Do you have any suggestions to remembering what works for you and what doesnt? (do you write things down, from the blog etc.) I am just like you I am not a moderation girl! I have half a brownie and all I can think about is that freakin brownie grrr… everyone is different and I think girls who are or have been overweight that are curvy have different ways of thinking about food then skinny girls who have small weight issues. Thank you heather for always making me feel like I am not alone.

Marissa September 3, 2009 at 11:33 am

I am completely with you on all counts. I don’t do moderation. What I do do is treat myself every now and then. Lately it has been with Coconut Bliss Ice Cream once a week. The only bad thing in there is the agave. Since I shun agave at all other times, I figure once a week gives my liver time to detox. But even so I am not going to lie top myself and say it is “healthy”. I know it isn’t. Denial and excuses are what kept me 150lbs overweight, and getting rid of those are what made the 150 lb drop in fat EASY.

I find it interesting when people say that they are fine with sugar. I challenge them to go without sugar for 28 days and then tell me that they don’t feel better.

fitforfree September 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

Way to stick to your guns, naysayers and all :-) My mom is exactly the same way as you — to her, sugar is a verrry slippery slope that she chooses to avoid altogether!

Laura September 3, 2009 at 12:14 pm

As always, inspiring! And you took such a big heavy elephant out of my chest :p
I feel like I may sound so crazy and obsessed when family and friends look at me, what I choose to eat and say “come on, what is life without something sweet?” “you’re going a bit too far now, don’t you think?”. It’s so frustrating and I even doubt myself sometimes… am I going too radical? No! I want to live long AND fully! And feeling the best I can for ALL the years I get to live.
So thank you for reminding me of that.

And thank you so much for the advice, once again. I just found quinoa today!! Can’t wait to try it :D should I soak them? cook them for how long?

You go HEAB, self-assured, beautiful and glowing!

Chelsea September 3, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I agree with the others who say you just have to know yourself. I will eat sweets out but I will not make or keep them in the house. I have no problem eating a small ice cream at an ice cream shop, but at home a gallon could be gone in two nights.

That said, I don’t like it when people call sugar or deserts poison. I know it’s hyperbole, but I don’t like demonizing food.

lola September 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I agree with you!!! im an all or nothing gal myself…too bad it’s usually “all” but im trying to change that. A lot of food can be so triggering i’ll start with a little and end with a lot.

Edith September 3, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Love your Joes jeans! They look great on you!

Missy (Missy Maintains) September 3, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Thanks for your honesty! I think this is so true for me too. Gum for instance…still addicted. I think I can chew one piece but it turns into a pack or 2. Same with ice cream, and cereal. I should probably just realize I am not a moderation kind of girl either and stop buying this stuff! I am happy you found what works best for you!

Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now September 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I don’t think cookies or cake is bad for everyone. Obviously, this is just my opinion, but I think there are many people out there who can enjoy a single cookie and be satisfied, and I really don’t think that’s done any harm to their body. Maybe you don’t do moderation, but I think it’s an important thing for people who CAN to learn.

Faith September 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm

im glad you know what’s good for you and your body. i do still hesitate about the all or nothing mindset. i think part of that comes from my background, some of which others have even commented on, and also that i just appreciate all aspects of food as an art, nourishment, and what you can do with it. i’m not necessarily sayiing i would look to sugar for my utmost nourishment, but man can you sure carmlize some bangin’ onions with just a tad raw sugar added at the right time with sea salt, vermouth, and a tad butta’…yes, a bit indulgent, but still true cooking. in general everyday cooking, i choose true wholesome foods. still, every ingredient out there can be appreciated as something, and unless it kills you (i know u can bring up an argument here :p ) but im talking immediate death upon consumption, im sad to see it called poison.

kalhendr September 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I have to say, I think I need to STOP reading food blogs because of discussions like this. I mean, everyone says something different: eat whole grains, don’t eat them, eat low-carb, don’t eat low-carb, moderation is key, moderation isn’t key, raw foods are the best, blah blah blah. I hate to be negative, but I just get so depressed thinking of it. I will never be good enough, so perhaps I should just stop reading food blogs. :(

Kiersten September 3, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Thank you for sharing your story with us Heather. We are not perfect, we all have our flaws and weaknesses. I used to have a really big sweet tooth too, but I have learned to tame it over the years. I still eat a lot of fruit, but I’d prefer to get my sweets through fruit than something like ice cream. I’ll admit though, every now and then I crave chocolate or some kind of dessert. Giving in once in a while is okay, one dessert won’t make us gain weight!

glidingcalm September 3, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Omg! Oh my goodness. Omg. This is why I adore you. You get it. Or at least you GET me. I can relate 100% completely. I love you for this, and thank you for sharing and allowing me to not feel alone. I completely agree. Thank you thank you thank you Heather!!! I shared this with a few foodies friends even, who understand this problem. Thank you. I love you.

Alix September 3, 2009 at 7:27 pm

kalhendr,

I totally get that confused, stressed out feeling. When it seems like everyone has it all figured out, it really makes you question what you’re doing. But you know what? There is no perfect formula. We really are all different. I firmly believe that our bodies tell us what works best for us if we listen. The trick is actually listening!

I think if you pay attention, you will discover what works for you. It might take some trial and error, but it will happen. In the meantime, I think the healthiest way to look at food blogs is not for dietary guidance but for ideas. I’m not raw or vegan, but I have eaten some AWESOME raw vegan meals this week that I never would have tried without reading blogs. Be confident in your choices!

lessonstolearn September 3, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Given the number of responses, there are a lot of people who have opinions on this! I have a very hard time eating sugar in moderation. If I have a little, I want a lot. I think everyone is different, and for some people, like me, sugar has an addictive quality. It’s important to know what your own body needs. I haven’t been able to cut sugar out completely and right now, I have been eating way too much. But I do need to cut back because when I do, I feel better. That may not be the case for someone else, but that’s what makes me feel best. Now I just have to do it! Thanks you for posting this and being so honest!

Annie September 3, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Damg I like you. Yeah, I completely know where you’re coming from.. being a card carrying member of the all or nothing club.. interestingly (at least to me) my approach is trying to get awaaaaaaay from that type of thinking… for me, it consistently leads to failure, guilt, give up, etc. so what could have been a “I screwed up one meal” ends up being a week, a month or more of “being bad”. I’m trying to brainwash myself by “giving” myself nutrition rather than focusing on depriving myself.. i.e. it’s NOT that I’m not eating refined foods it’s that I AM giving myself whole foods with all the nutrition.. I have found myself fighting the urge to “go vegan” or “go primal” or “go raw”… ohhhhhh the thought of any of these is like crack to me.. sooooo appealing but I’m psychic and can already predict how it will all end… I’ll focus on not eating meat or grains or whatever is taboo… and before I know it, it’s all I crave.. yedda yedda yedda

One of the things I like about your blog is that you do focus on what’s working for you… i take what I like and respect what makes me go “huh?”.. I’m exactly 100lbs overweight (have lost 27lbs so far).. and can so identify with where you’ve been and the things you never want to experience again – as I am still in the midst of experiencing them daily… sigh.. so BLOG ON sister.. stay away from the crack errrrr sugar… and thank you!

Oh, I got my Jay Robb stuff in the mail today.. haven’t tried it yet.. any suggestions for the first try???

Tyler September 3, 2009 at 7:46 pm

i definitely have trouble with sweets in moderation….especially ice cream! i really think i need to stop buying it because i always eat the whole pint within 12 hours! last one i had was ben and jerry’s “mission to marzipan”….its an almond flavored ice cream with cookies in it! omg! i was just going to have a “taste test” before putting it in the freezer, and then i accidently made it my dinner! you are right on with this post…sugar is sooo addictive!

MarathonVal September 3, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Heather, I just wanted to tell you thank you for that post, plain and simple. I could go on and on about how it resonated with me (which it did in a major way), but clearly you have about 1000 other comments to read today haha so I will spare you – but again, thank you for bringing this up and sharing your opinion!

Samantha September 3, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Kalhendr-I completely agree.

I know most of the comments are saying how much this post is completely on par with themselves, but this post actually brought tears to my eyes because of the guilt it brought on. I usually like to have a piece of chocolate or a cookie with lunch and dessert. Am I ever going to be eating well enough that I will not be poisoning myself on a daily basis?? It sure doesn’t feel like it. I know that was not your intention at all in this post and that it was more directed towards doing what’s right for oneself, but I just felt like since everyone else was being honest I would too.

Sarena September 3, 2009 at 8:23 pm

I love this post! You know what you have to do for you. I think that is the biggest problem that people have when they are trying or wanting to lose weight. Unfortunately, sometimes, elimination is the only way. Everyone has to find what works for them! I don’t eat cookies anymore. Instead, I have replace a lot of my “treats” with healthy indulgences…like decadent bowls of oatmeal. I appreciate what you are doing and I love that you share what works for you. I think we could all learn from each other!

Also, I tried the oatgurt and I have fallen in love with it. I will be blogging on it soon and completely giving you credit…I am just mad I did not come up with it first!

Thanks for sharing!

Cherie September 3, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I’m so glad you added this post. I relate to it so much I could have written it myself!! I share that struggle too (so once a month I have to make sugar-free gluten-free brownies to help me through!!) and like you, I will control it too. I will NEVER go back to being that sick miserable fat girl ever again either!! I’m still fighting the fight to get healthier, but I won’t complain, just enjoy how far I’ve come! We need to remember to celebrate what we’ve accomplished, a lot of people never obtain that. So Kudo’s to you Heather!!

Jillian September 3, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Section 16, Chipotle, Adams, and us girls all miss you too dear Heather:).
We all went to Amandas Fonda this eve to celebrate Dani’s bday tomorrow…we pretended you were there:). Hugs.

Sarah Jio September 3, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Hi there! I just found your blog. I’m Sarah, the health and fitness blogger for Glamour magazine. (My blog is Vitamin G, and I also have a personal blog at http://www.sarahjio.com). I love what you had to say in this post (and, P.S. I have about 9 clothing items, jeans included, that I wish I had 11 of! Too bad I didn’t know they’d become my favorites at the time of purchase). Anyway, great blog–I’ll be checking back. xo

Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl September 3, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Heather, I TOTALLY understand what you’re saying–and I’m a lot like you. I’ve lost over 100 pounds and I strive daily to not gain it back. I never want to go back where I came from. It was horrid. My health was awful and it does hurt to be gossiped about and mocked.

I’m also someone who’s all or nothing and I never understand how anyone could have just one cookie or one chip–it’s absurd to me. So, I have also found myself on a journey of avoiding white sugar and a lot of other foods. Now I’m eating high-raw (95%+) and that means mostly raw veggies, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and SOME fruit–mostly berries. I also have steel-cut oats, organic Greek yogurt, or an omelet on occasion. I did have cake and ice cream for my birthday but I don’t eat it at other people’s birthdays. I have to be really careful or I’ll fall off the wagon!

Hugs,
Michele

buffmuffy September 4, 2009 at 12:03 am

i have a really hard time doing just one bite too. i normally am very all or nothing myself.
i can do a serving, but often if its really junky i eat 2-4 servings. its poison, so why not just poison more? lol.
your hair looks so pretty down in the second pic wow girl! love it !
i agree with old fashioned eating by far. i still enjoy sugars, but i prefer them natural like fruit or honey. i know you cant do em hardly but yeah lol.
-muffy

Leah @ Simply fabulous September 4, 2009 at 12:24 am

Thank you so much for your honesty Heather. We need to see this more in other blogs and i’m so glad that you aren’t afraid to say what you feel. I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t want to be the person I used to be either.

Some people say to me now “does anyone like you more now that you are skinny? No, people love you just the same as when you were bigger. So eat that cookie!”

But for me it’s not about other people. It’s about how I feel about myself and I don’t want to be that bigger person ever again.

xo

Deva (Voracious Vorilee) September 4, 2009 at 7:10 am

I think that it’s great that you’ve found something that works well for you. I am someone who can do a little of everything in moderation, though it took a long time for me to learn that. I don’t think that what works for you would work for me, but that’s what makes us all so wonderful – we’re all different and unique and awesome in our own ways.

Lily September 4, 2009 at 7:25 am

I just want to say how much I respect you for being so honest because unlike some of the other blogs Ive been following, you dont act like you eat over 2600 calories and stay slim by exercising. You acknowledge that eating habits are important and dont pretend that there’s never any internal struggles. Im so glad there are other ppl with the same “Dessert after every meal & saving calories for little snacks” mindset. Keep up the great posts!

Rebecca September 4, 2009 at 8:25 am

Thank you Heather, for saying all this. It’s good to see that you have weaknesses, and that you know yourself well enough to stay away from what is bad for you. I’m like you, in that as soon as I start to eat something sugary, I realize that it does taste good and I want more…no moderation, just all-out craziness, so it does me good to read what you do. Thanks for being balanced and sensible about what you do. :)

Gena (Choosing Raw) September 4, 2009 at 8:27 am

Nice post, Heaths. I used to be very all or nothing, too, but thankfully, more moderation has come with time. It’ll never be my mantra, but I can experience it more than I used to. In any case, what is important is NOT to be moderate, per se, but to KNOW THYSELF. And you do!

Nellie September 4, 2009 at 8:30 am

Amen! I am totally an all-or-nothing girl. It’s easier not to even take a bite of a tempting dessert than risk eating the entire thing in 30 seconds. You have to do what works for you. If you can enjoy desserts you like in moderation, who cares what other people think? Your health and happiness is worth more than others’ opinions!

Somewhat related question: How did you find out that your body can’t handle the fructose in fruit? I’m a total fruit lover, but realize that I become SO bloated after I eat it, I think I might just float away. Did you see a doctor for the diagnosis? Or is is just something you came across on your own?

Liz September 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

“Poison in moderation is still poison” is an amazing quote! That really makes sense! I’m in the same boat with you. Sugar is a trigger for me. I eat something sweet, and then I want something else sweet, until I overeat, yet I’m not fully “satisfied”. I’ve gotten better at it, but ya, it can be a problem. Good for you for trying to fight a sweets addiction. We can all learn so much from your way of life. Thank you!

Sina September 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

Heather, this is a great post. I also think everybody should just listen to their body and eat what’s right for them! This might be burgers and french fries every so often for some people and whole grains and plenty of fruit for others. There’s no PERFECT diet that fits for everybody. Some people have yet to understand this.

Your breakfast looks delish, BTW.

Trilby Drew September 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I swear HEAB, I think we were separated at birth. I am exactly the same way. I used to read all of those chirpy women’s magazines that would say, “And when you’re craving something sweet, just have one brownie and call it quits! It’ll satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet!”

Whatever!

There is no “just have one” with me. I am completely all or nothing. And it has definitely gotten me into trouble in the past. I used to feel like I was a failure if I couldn’t just stop at one. Like I was lacking in moral fiber or something. And it always stung when people treated me like I was just a little piggy with no will power. But I have come to realize that this is just the way I am. Some things just trigger me, and will power has nothing to do with it. It’s better for me to just steer clear of certain foods completely.

In other news, I’m finally back in town (and have the internet back) and I have missed you terribly! Now I get to spend the day catching up on the latest HEAB posts!

susie September 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm

that is exactly what i say about moderation, i am know to always say the phrase, “its all or nothing” so reading that from someone else that has a handle on their health is really encouraging. Thanks!!!

N.D. September 4, 2009 at 1:37 pm

this is a great post. YOu do moderation in some things…like almond butter! I could eat the whole jar.

psychoj1 September 4, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Love this post Heab! Luckily I’ve figured out that balance of moderation, but it’s not easy! I love what you eat and I’d rather have a big sweet potato with almond butter than a piece of pie! Well, most of the time ;)
<3 jess
xoxo

Liz September 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

I totally agree with you about the inability to “do moderation.” It’s interesting to me that so many people don’t. What you’re saying actually follows with the End of Overeating by David Kessler — that we’re programmed not to know how to say no to tempting sweet foods. I’ve had to do the same thing — occasionally at Thanksgiving but otherwise I really can’t just do a little every now and then.

Dori September 5, 2009 at 9:56 am

I admire you for knowing yourself and being able to stick to what makes you feel good and look good. I can’t help myself from having sugar basically every day, but luckily it doesn’t do as much harm to me. High fiber foods, on the other hand…. sigh. We are all different and just have to do what is best and makes us happy and healthy!

Alisa - Frugal Foodie September 5, 2009 at 10:05 am

You certainly aren’t alone (well, perhaps the 100+ comments before me show this, but I am a bit behind on my blog reading!). I used to save space for “ice cream” every night. It seemed harmless enough, but was really taking away from a good meal.

People would often look at me as a model of moderation; I could take just one cookie and be happy. Yet, that cookie kept the sugar flame going. I don’t think many people realize the addictive powers of sugar. I find it so much harder to cut out completely than dairy! Just a little added sugar gives you this high, so everytime you are drained or when that wears off, you just need another “hit” of the sweet stuff.

I listen all the time to people who tell me they aren’t really a sweets person. Only to watch them put several teaspoons of the white stuff in their coffee, and nosh on something from the vending machine.

My husband and I have cut sugar waaaaay back, and are working on taking those added sugars down to next to nil. So I share in your plight! Keep on enjoying those dinners!

Sammie September 5, 2009 at 11:09 am

Sweet Heather I totally agree with you. I think that when I consume too much sugar I get all jittery and that is not a good feeling. I would rather a nice sweet piece of fruit and avoid that icky feeling. I hate when someone tries to get you to eat something by saying “oh you are thin, you can afford it”. Well that is because I exercise and eat healthy. I do eat sugar every now and then (frozen yogurt, flavored yogurt), but I never add sweeteners to my tea or coffee. I use cinnamon and fruit to sweeten my oats. I think that we all know our bodies and know how much of the sweet stuff we can handle. I think you have a very positive and healthy approach to your diet and I commend you for your honesty.
Now my question to you – How did you get that quinoa so creamy? I want to take a spoon to my computer screen.
I hope you have a great weekend.

Amiee September 5, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Thank you for sharing your journey! As I was reading your post I started to cry because I could feel your passion and it was like you were speaking for me too. Many have commented that not allowing yourself certain foods, like sugar, can make the cravings worse. This is something I have battled in my head the over last year. I have made a choice to stop eating certain foods. I tell myself that I’m allowed to eat anything I want in any amount. But the key is that I really think about how the food I put in my body makes me feel. Is is going to fuel my body and make me feel strong or is it going to react like poisen and pull me down. After years of emotional over eating and depression this has been a difficult journey but 50 pounds are gone (hooray!!!) and hopefully more will fall away in the months to come.
Only you know your body and it is key to listen to what it is saying. If it says that sugar is bad, then do what you have to do to live and feel the best possible. A healthy life is normal, a sick half life is not.
P.s. I’m sooooo addicted to Quinoa!!! I don’t know how I ever lived without it!

Jules September 6, 2009 at 8:38 pm

It’s awesome that you know yourself so well, and it’s great that you’re so inspiring to the rest of us to be healthier :)
I came home tonight after a trip to Cape Cod and I found the rice protein powder waiting for me. I’m so excited to try it tomorrow with breakfast :)

Caitlin September 6, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Heather, this post is wonderful, as your own personal experience.

However, I am kind of sickened that over 100 responses from the food blog community have been “OMG me tooo I am so all or nothing!”

I want to feel safe in the “healthy” food blogging community, but things like this remind me that it is a very disordered community. It is Healthy to give in to cravings – especially for mental health. The fact that the majority of bloggers in this community can only restrict, or alternatively binge, is not a good sign.

twizler2 September 7, 2009 at 7:15 am

I Think i just found a new soul mate, lol. Ive been thinking on the same thing recently about overall processed foods in general and whether or not to avoid them, and that quote from scott totally sums it up for me.

I also relate becuase i used to be extremely overweight and never want to go back there again… i agree with the moderation thing (my weakness is kiddie cereal) but, to be honest, i have cravings for bananas now more than cinnamon toast crunch (even though i am packing a box of organic cinnamon squares in the pantry at the moment)

Whats your take on things like HFCS and partially hydrogenated oils?

justine September 7, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Love you Heabs!! Where are you!! Call me!!

~Justine

kim September 7, 2009 at 8:43 pm

I’m getting to this post a little late, but just wanted to chime in and say I’m glad you put this out there, and I really admire your confidence in setting those limits for yourself. I’m still learning to say no and mean no when it comes to eating things that I shouldn’t eat when I’m out with other people. I know that I’m feeling so much better since I cut sugar and wheat out of my diet, but I’m definitely guilty of “cheating” when other people insist. Your post is a great reminder that I could stand to have the same steadfastness when it comes to standing up for healthy eating habits that go against the grain.

Sarah September 7, 2009 at 9:27 pm

One more voice to add to the pile.
First, I am so proud of you for speaking your voice so clearly. We all needed to hear that.
There is this certain communal critical voice around abstaining. Like…”What? It’s going to kill you?”, “She must be really vain/obsessed/one-of-those-girls”, “That’s just not right/normal/healthy/what I do”. I don’t know about you, but over time I’ve internalized that BS. What you want to do with your food is your choice.
You need feel no shame about the way you eat-even when you aren’t in control of it.
By avoiding sweets (or triggers) you are setting yourself up for success. It’s a beautiful thing.
Our diets are always a work in progress-this is just where you are now. And thats okay with us.

elise September 8, 2009 at 11:20 am

great (quote) scott! i love quinoa, so that massive bowl of gooness at the end has me intrigued. im definitely loving your sugar attitude – as usual you make such great points, and you really know yourself well enough to say what does/doesnt work for you.
anyways, i got the POM too, so maybe ill try those ice cubes…definitely $$ so i wanna use it well.

Jenn (eating bender) September 9, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Heather,

I am way late on commenting on this, but I needed to. I could not agree more with everything you said. I certainly do not do moderation, and realizing that is the first step in figuring out a way to eat “everything” you want…but nothing you don’t need. I realized after going through bags and bags of candy in one day that perhaps if I just don’t BUY it, I won’t eat it and can fill up on something much more satiating. It’s taken a lot of trial and error, but like you, I believe it’s better to be a little hard on myself than fill myself up with unnecessary foods that aren’t going to help me live my best life in the long run.

Thanks for this post. You rock, as always!

catie September 9, 2009 at 8:48 pm

As another commenter noted above, its troubling that the supposedly “healthy” food blog community admits they can either binge or restrict and can’t actually do anything in moderation.

The entire tone of this post is quite simply scary. Not because the sentiment is *wrong* per se (I don’t fully agree, but I get the idea behind why you say it)…but because its dangerous.

Eating disorders aren’t always the result of wanting to resemble your favorite celeb. They quite often emerge due to “healthy” habits that become obsessions. (Its why so many runners, skaters, gymnasts, etc end up ending their careers due to eating disorders). And I’m speaking as both 1. a recovering anorexic 2. a recovering alcoholic. Your intentions may start out 100% for health, but your behaviors don’t always line up with it.

I happened to notice you’ve left a couple comments to other posters about how being thin is so wonderful. Fine. It is nice to feel fit and athletic. But you claim to be someone who cares about health…yet recently your posts have become pretty opinionated and pointed. They don’t seem to promote health, they promote being THIN and being thin by controlling everything you eat. And having been someone who did this for YEARS…its hard to see others do this and have NO idea what they sound like.

Regarding your claim that “poison in moderation is poison”…I’m sorry, but the context in which you use it is silly. (Speaking from a chemical standpoint, certain bodily functions DO benefit from sugar…and I mean, Christ… eating an apple will do you no harm.)

I spent a couple years in outpatient treatment for my anorexia following months of inpatient. As I began to reexamine my relationship with food, I began drinking. Months later, my food obsessions had simply been transferred, and I soon found myself in AA meetings. Given what I’d learned in ED treatment and what I learned there, I found myself overwhelmed by…well…rules and restrictions. EAT THIS, DON’T EAT THAT, DON’T DRINK, DON’T GO NEAR A DRINK…

Guess what?

The only way I learned to be at peace with my urges was quite simply, to relearn my relationships with all of them. Reading about nutrition…and not fearing alcohol and the harm it had onced caused me. I may have hurt myself with my own behavior…but it was an injury. And I rehabbed it. And I’ve now learned to drink in moderation (generally no more than a glass or two of wine and only socially) and to think about proper fuel without putting things off limits. And despite nearly killing myself with restrictions years ago I’ve now gotten myself into the best shape I was ever in, and I’ve done so eating mostly healthy food…and not beating myself up or fearing the occasional “bad” food that used to make me run and cry. I’ve learned to drink without doing so for the wrong reasons. Its taken me years (I’m 31; my problems began at about 15)…but I’m there. And it looks amazingly clear on this side.

I guess the reason I am telling you all of this is your words remind me of the discussions I had with fellow competitive runners as a teenager; fellow competitors who ended up along side me in treatment. In those days, talking about what you refused to eat wasn’t done in the blogosphere…it was hush hush. Now it seems to be done out in the open and labeled “healthy.”

While there is nothing wrong with deeply caring about what you eat, once you care about nothing other than being thin (which seems to be the case with you, despite your weak protests to the contrary), its a problem. You make outrageous claims (sugar does NOT chemically turn to fat) and you claim to be talking about health…but its gone far beyond that. I get that you are scared of being overweight again, but you really ought to be careful.

Kelly Turner September 11, 2009 at 3:08 pm

i eat what i want, when i want. its just good that most of the time i want healthy foods because i want to be a healthy person. great attitude- and adorable puppyface!

nikislosingit September 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I’m just getting to my “happy weight” and working to solidify my healthy lifestyle. I am working on learning moderation, but am not sure if I can “do” it either. It was good to read this post, Heather, as it made me think. About my priorities (being healthy) and how I might have to give up the quest for moderation, if it means I can stay at a weight that I feel good, comfortable and confident at. I am still hoping I possess the “moderation gene”, but I’ll give myself then next few months to work on it and then decide. :)

Thanks for sharing!

Michele September 13, 2009 at 4:52 am

@Catie:

Here’s part of what you said:

As another commenter noted above, its troubling that the supposedly “healthy” food blog community admits they can either binge or restrict and can’t actually do anything in moderation.

The entire tone of this post is quite simply scary. Not because the sentiment is *wrong* per se (I don’t fully agree, but I get the idea behind why you say it)…but because its dangerous.

With respect, I’d like to address what you shared. While I can sympathize with your thoughts and feelings, I don’t think Heather (or most of us other health bloggers) are trying to be “dangerous” or anything like that.

I’ve lost over 100 pounds myself and I didn’t do it by keeping white sugar in my diet and I haven’t kept it off by splurging on white sugar either. I did have cake and ice cream for my birthday but I have to be very careful or I’ll get in a habit of reaching for something I shouldn’t too often.

I think it’s really awesome that you’ve been able to get to the place of moderation you’re at but while you have found a place of eating and drinking in moderation, there are other people who aren’t like you in those ways. I’ve met people who are now sober after years of alcohol or drug abuse and they won’t even take a prescription medication because they feel they can stay sober easier and longer if they avoid them.

It’s an individual preference and we’re all different. That’s what’s so amazing about being able to blog. While Heather shares her sugar-free life, someone else can share their gluten-free life and you could also (if you don’t already) share your life of balanced moderation via your own blog.

I really don’t believe Heather would say anything with the intention of harming anyone who happens to read her posts; I also don’t believe it’s wrong to be proud of maintaining a 100 pound weight loss (or any amount of weight loss). Unless you’ve been 300 pounds and experienced the long, long journey of losing it and trying to maintain it, plus all the ridicule and heartache that comes with it, I don’t believe it’s possible to totally relate or understand it 100%.

I don’t believe we need white sugar in our diet to thrive and survive. There’s stevia, agave, honey, and other alternatives.

In the end, whether it’s food, drugs, or alcohol, I think it’s best to be considerate and mindful of others’ choices. We are, after all, completely different individuals just trying to make it in this world the best way we know how. :-)

Healthy blessings,
Michele

Becky September 25, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I know I’m (very) late on this, but…

I think it’s great to know your body and what works for you.

However, I do disagree here. I know the “all or nothing” way of eating. Sometimes I am like that. Sometimes, I have a spoonful of ice cream and I end up eating the pint. Sometimes I have four pieces of pizza. But you know what? That’s okay! Do I blow up like a balloon? No. Do I gain even a pound? No. Do I feel like I have to eat like that day in and day out? No.

I’m a healthy person. I eat tons of veggies, lean proteins, fruits and whole grains MOST of the time. I exercise. So it’s okay for me to have the occasional “all” eating experience. It’s about balance. I know that I’m usually healthy, and it’s okay if I give in to cravings and overdo it once in a while. It’s NOT a catastrophe.

I worry that the fear of food drives too many people to say “I can’t.” “I can’t eat that. I’ll eat it all.” Okay. And then what? Will the world end? Will you get diabetes? Will you get fat? Will you be an “unhealthy person”? NO! This is a diet dictated by fear…fear of “relapse,” fear of fat, fear of losing control…not empowerment. I used to have this fear. Empowerment is much healthier.

trustingmyintuition October 3, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I strongly agree with you and know where you’re coming from. I also have an all or nothing attitude, and that’s how I’ll always be. We don’t need sweets. at all.

Nicole October 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Hi Heather. How did you break the sugar habit? ( cold turkey or by cutting it out slowly?) I need my morning coffee to be sweet and creamy, and I detest the taste of Stevia. I’d prefer to avoid agave, honey and all that because I’m an all or nothing gal. I’ve heard that some brands of Stevia are better than others. What brand do you use? Have you ever used the actual green powder that Paul Nison sells?
How long did the cravings last when you quit? I have tried several times and usually only last one day before binging on every sweet thing in a 5 mile radius. LOL Thank you. I love getting your emails everyday!!!!

HEAB October 2, 2010 at 5:57 am

Hi Nicole,
Well, when I gave up sugar, my weight started dropping like crazy which told me a lot. My body simply cannot handle it, even in small amounts, including fruit. Yes, I still eat sugar here and there, fruit included, but I really try and watch my intake.

Basically, the thinner I got, the more determined I became to say no to anything sweet, and my taste buds adjusted. Honestly, I can’t remember how long it took the cravings to go away. They definitely lessened over time, but I’ve never cut out sweets entirely – I simply HEABify my desserts. :) Like I said before, dessert to me became an oven baked sweet potato or a plain bowl of oats with nut butter. Back then I also used artificial sweeteners and drank a lot of diet soda. Now, I try and stay away from Splenda, etc., but it does slip into my diet every so often. As far as coffee goes, I used to love sugar French Vanilla Coffee Mate – oh yes, I did. I eventually switched to using heavy cream plus NuNatural french vanilla stevia drops. Mmm, so good, and I miss my morning cup o’ joe. NuNaturals is the best stevia I’ve tried – the powdered packets are pretty good as well. I’ve never had the green powder that Paul Nison sells – not even sure what that is.

Fast forward to the present – when I got pregnant, I craved some pretty junky food in my first trimester. Sugary cereals, candy bars, etc. I was so sick and hardly able to eat anything, and so I just went with whatever sounded good, Pop-Tarts included. I came to realize that I was really restricting my diet, and decided that the occasional sugary treat was not going to kill me. So, yes, I am eating a bit more sugar these days, but I am learning there is really something to this everything in moderation concept. However, I still keep my intake low as I honestly believe that none of us need any sugar in our lives.

Hope this helps, and please email me if you have any other questions.

Lauren @ The Raw Cure August 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Oh my goodness, thank you for this post. I’ve never actually read your blog before (that changes today) but my friend Morgan (over at endorphaholic.com) tweeted me today, saying this post reminded her of me. & oh did it remind me of me too! Reading how you described yourself not doing moderation – that’s how I feel too.

But I’m having a hard time coming to the same conclusion as you. Like, how does that look… out there? Amongst people? Boyfriends? Celebrations? If you can give me any insight, let me know (on my blog just two days ago I asked for people to tell me about their thoughts on moderation, no one said anything though).

Thank you.

HEAB August 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Hi Lauren,
Again, so happy to hear this post spoke to you. I have to admit that things have changed since I wrote this post. Last year, I was pregnant, and simply went with my cravings. Because I was so ill during my first trimester and lost weight, I just decided to eat whatever sounded good. So, I did, and it was fine. During my 2nd and 3rd trimesters, I felt great and was able to eat my favorite healthy foods, but I still listened to my cravings and ate the cookies, ice-cream, etc. and I have to say it was really nice and thought to myself, OK, perhaps I can handle this whole moderation thing. So, now I’m not as strict with myself, but I’m back to avoiding sugar for the most part. My body simply does not like sugar, and I make no apologies to anyone for not eating it. I am at a healthy weight and feel great, and if people give me a hard time for skipping dessert, then that is there issue, not mine. Do not take on other people’s stuff Lauren. We have to have some rules these days with all the junk being manufactured out there and sold as “food”, and there is nothing wrong with not eating it. Restaurants serve huge portions that our bodies weren’t meant to handle, and I see nothing wrong with preferring to eat sensible meals made at home with real whole foods. That does not make you a freak or mean you have an eating disorder. It means that you want to feel good about what you’re putting in your body, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Stay true to yourself and do what makes you feel best.

Hope this helps and please know that I am always just an email away. :)

Taylor K. November 8, 2012 at 12:13 am

I LOVE how you think!! Im the same way…all or nothing! What’s CRAZY is that I was just telling somebody that today about myself and then I happen to stumble upon your website. Amazing! I’m currently going to school at the Global College of Natural Medicine and this is exactly what I love. Learning about how everyone is different, and what everyone eats that makes them healthy and happy. Out of all of the blogs, websites, etc. that I’ve read, I would say you are the most like myself. I TOTALLY make up my own concoctions that accommodate my sweet tooth, and its guilt free! Who WOULDN’T do that?! Feelin’ you girl!

HEAB November 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Hey Taylor,
Glad you found me. I’m not as hard on myself these days – lightened up a bit, and I have a more balanced approached to food since becoming a mom. Just want to set a good example for my kids…but I totally some odd HEAB concoctions. Ha, I won’t even go into what I just ate for dinner. ;)
Anyway, thanks for reading and best of luck in school.

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