The Food Moderation Mystery Revealed

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Finding Your Sweet Spot

Today’s topic is going to be a little let’s say triggering. The topic is all about moderation, and it is finding your sweet spot. And I know for a lot of people that’s the goal, the hope. They want to get to that golden zone; they want to get to that magical place where unicorns are flying around and there’s glitter and so forth. But for some people, they’re like, “Moderation is not for everyone. I’ve tried to get to moderation and somehow I find a way to fuck it up and then I’m back to that binge-restrict cycle, I’m back to my rules, and I got to keep my rules because my rules keep me safe.”

I live here in Boston; I have a really good friend who is a marathon coach. He coaches several teams to run the marathon from “you just decided you want to run a marathon” to “you’ve been running a marathon for as long as you can run a marathon”. I asked him – at the time I worked at the last mile of the marathon – I said, “John, how is it that these elite runners who have just run 25 miles and they’re sprinting, they are running like they’ve just started down the street?” I said, “How do they do it?” And he said, “It takes a bit, but they find their sweet spot, they find that pace that they can just do, it’s just, “I can run at this pace all day long.” And then when they get to roughly six miles out, which kind of makes me gag, six miles out someone is going to look at each other and they’re going to say, “We’re going to sprint this last X number of miles.” The idea of me sprinting, that’s what I do when I see the meter maid at my car, that’s my idea of sprinting. 

Rub The Lamp

If we think about our health and our fitness as a marathon, it’s a long journey, it’s not a sprint. And how do you get to that sweet spot? How do you get to that golden zone? How do you become your own magical unicorn? Because I believe that everyone has a little magic in them, and it just takes a little bit of time to find it. I’m going to call this a fable, but correct me if I’m wrong, Aladdin, in that story a guy finds this old tarnished lamp, it looks like crap, people are picking over it and he’s like, “I think this is beautiful.” He rubs it, a genie comes out and all is changed in his world. That’s where I want you to think about. I want you to think about you’re that lamp. You’ve overlooked yourself for all these years. You’ve put yourself on the back burner. Now, here’s where we are going to start to rub that lamp, make it get pretty, make it get beautiful.

Put those eye-rolls on the shelf and let me tell you my story.

I struggled with this whole moderation thing. I was like, “Girl, that is just not for me, that’s for other people. But thank you for sharing that’s possible.” And I know that a few of you are like that. I felt that if I wasn’t following a plan or following a program to the T, I couldn’t live. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t trust myself not to look at, “What should I do today? What’s on the good food list? What’s on the bad food list?” I couldn’t trust myself, and the plan made me trust myself, the plan kept me safe. The plan kept me from running around like a sailor on shore leave.

The Yin And Yang of Moderation

I want you to think that it’s about finding that yin and that yang. If you think about the old school scales where you put something on one side and the other side goes up, and then you have to kind of fool around with how many marbles you take off and put back on so that it comes into balance. I know some of you will be like, “There’s no such thing as balance.”

I do believe there is balance, but balance looks different for every single person. There are some days that you are going to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off and there are going to be other days you’re going to be Netflix and chilling. You know that rhythm, and that’s what moderation is, it’s finding your rhythm, it’s finding your balance so that you’re not brought down to your knees because of a holiday and you lose your stuff and you can’t find a way to get back on track. Balance and moderation is not having these hard-fast rules that you can’t live up to day in and day out, and when you do open the lid it’s like champagne flowing out. I want you to think about that, how do you get a little bit of that self-trust back in?

One of the ways I started to find my moderation and kind of keep my A++ personality in check is I start with a weekly plan and it’s me sitting down every single Sunday and saying, “What does my week look like?” And us ladies of a certain age, most times stuff doesn’t just pop up, we know what we’re doing. There might be a vague something, but it’s penciled in, you kind of know what’s going to happen. It’s rare that someone is going to call you on a Tuesday and be like, “Let’s go out for drinks at [5:00]”, because for most us, once you get home and your bra comes off you’re not going back out, let’s just be honest about that. I want you to think about creating that weekly plan, and you’re sitting down and you’re looking at your calendar and you’re saying, “This is when I’m going to work out” realistically. I’m not asking anyone to work out seven days a week, that’s not what I’m asking. I’m saying my commitment to myself is I am going to work out at least three times, and I know I can do that. Usually I work out four/five times, but I know I can minimally hit three and definitely hit four, and five is my stretch goal. I want you to think about that. When I put down my week, it’s my good, better, my best, and so I want you to put down something that you know you can nail, because as you’re starting to get in the moderation groove you want to have these small wins, and small wins keep you wanting to do stuff, don’t they? 

Reverse engineering your success

Or if you have a schedule that isn’t as stable as mine you can definitely start with a 24-hour plan. You sit down and you say, “It’s Tuesday, what does tomorrow look like? Can I fit in a work out? What does my food look like?” And just map it out. Maybe it starts with, “This is when I’m going to bed” and then you map it backwards. Or you put in the commitments that you have that day and then you fit your food and your work out around those particular commitments. And as I’ve said, I’ve come up with these non-negotiables, and that way I honor myself. Because if you think about it, we as women honor everybody else before ourselves. We’ll run kids to XYZ activity, birthday party, try out, whatever, we will contort ourselves to get them there on time. We’ll contort ourselves for our spouses, we’ll contort ourselves for our family, but when it comes to us, “I’m being selfish” or “Tomorrow” or “Next week”, and we always find a way to put ourselves in the backseat. So, this helps me to put myself in the driver’s seat, and I’m come up with three non-negotiables, and it helps me to say it’s okay for me to have Kim-time, and so this is me giving you permission you have you-time. 

The Law of 3

It’s three simple things that I know I can commit to week in and week out.

  1. I work out at least three times a week. When I say work out that’s not me going to the gym and banging out for multiple hours, that’s me having 30 minutes. It could be anything, it could be going for a walk, it could be doing something in my home gym, it could be actually taking a class. But it’s three times for at least 30 minutes I have to move my body in a week.
  2. I have a big ass salad with some protein item, and that way I can get a ton of veggies in. I know that I’m getting my veggies, I’m getting my fiber, and I like salads, and I know that I can go anywhere on the planet and get a salad.
  3. My sleep because I know that when I don’t sleep, I am hungry and a bit of a bitch. That’s a simple way to test – I want you to track your sleep for a week, and when you track your sleep and you get less than seven hours of sleep I want to know at what point do you start getting those sugar, caffeine cravings to give you that extra bump to get you through the day. Because I know when I get less than six hours of sleep, me and my coffee makers are BFFs. I’m like, “Bring on the coffee.” And at [4:00] I’m like, “Hmm, what sugary treat could I have?” And let me tell you, it’s not me reaching for the cotton candy grapes. That’s why I know I prioritize my sleep. So, I want you to think about does that same scenario play through for you?

This was me changing three habits, just three. And I know everyone wants to change… “But I have “this many” habits that I need to change, and I need to change them right now.” Here is where you change that thinking, I want you to think about your bare minimum, it starts a good habit. Once you have good habits then you can build a routine. Once you have a great routine, you can build consistency, and it’s the consistency that gives you results. A lot of times I talk to my clients, they’re like, “Ugh, I ‘m not getting any results.” And they’re complaining and ask the question because WHY. It’s because “You don’t have consistency.” And they’re like, “But…” and they give me the litany of excuses, and I was like, “Let’s go back to habits, give me three habits that you would love to either create or break.”

Because it’s the habit that drives the routine, and it’s our routines that we work on autopilot. Think about it. Think about your routine of washing your face and brushing your teeth. What do you do first? Do you brush your teeth first, or do you wash your face? That’s a habit, that’s a routine, you just do it over and over again. When you have coffee in the morning, do you put in the cream before the sugar, or do you put the sugar in before the cream? It’s what you do. So, I want you to really think about where can we create some great habits that can turn into some amazing routines that can turn into that consistency that can turn into results?

Patience breeds success

Results and consistency take time. It’s slow, I know. It’s slow. But I want you to think about the Grand Canyon. That giant ravine, I don’t know how many miles long it is, Google that, but that didn’t happen overnight. That was years and years of the river carving through rocks. That is how change happens; it happens over time. I know we all want change to be some type of action movie where I walk through a door and boom, bang, everything happens. No, my queens, not at all. It is a slow thing. And so, when I break things down into small bite-size chunks, you know how I am, I really like to check things off the box. So, the more I can give myself these mini goals, the more checkboxes I can have and the happier I am because it looks like I’m on my way somewhere. But when I’m always looking that I have to lose a thousand pounds, I have to lose 40 dress sizes, that’s a long freaking way.

Pace yourself

I started this show about marathons, and one of the things the marathon coach told me is that they take it a mile at a time. They’re like, “How do I do that mile? How do I do that mile?” And they’re checking their watches to see, “What was my pace?” They’re checking in, “What’s my hydration?” They’re always checking in. And that’s what I want you to do, as you start going through your goal, what are the milestones? Because that’s how you get to moderation, is that you’re checking in with yourself, seeing how things are going, and if things are going well, you’re like, “Yes, things are going good. I can continue down this path” and start to feel the groove, start to feel like this is what it feels like and feel amazing. Because so many of us, we’ve been dieting for so long we don’t know what it’s like just to be. And when you let the reigns off… I know that many of you feel like, “Aw snap. If I let the reigns off there’s no getting this horse back in that barn, because once I get a taste of something, I am free, I’m free.” But what if that wasn’t the case, what if that was just a story you told yourself? What if someone did leave the barn door open and you just went out and you just graze and you felt okay, and when you were tired of grazing you went back in the barn and you went to sleep? That’s possible. 

Why do we have to have in our mind the worst possible case? “If I do not have it planned, if I don’t have any rules, I should just pull up to the old country buffet with some maternity pants on and just let it go down.” But what if instead you’re like, “You know what, I’m just going to eat till I’m full”, even if that means leaving some things on your plate. And I know that when I was a kid we didn’t need to clean our plates. I’m grateful to my mother for this. When she was a kid, she was raised you had to clean your plate. She would say she wasn’t hungry. She was raised in that family that took your plate and put it in the refrigerator and you ate it until you finished, and that was before the microwave, so it was cold. She decided that is not how I will raise my kids. So, I’ve never been someone who has been a member of the clean plate club. As soon as I’m done, I stop eating, as soon as I was full, I stop eating. I didn’t want to push food into my mouth. Some people say to me, “I don’t know when I’m full. If it’s in front of me I’m eating it till it’s done.” Here is where you need to start taking breaks when you are eating so that you can check in with yourself and ask are you hungry are you full?

Split Your Meal With Yourself

What I encourage my clients to do is eat half their meal, whatever you’re eating, eat half of it. And take a pause for two three minutes and just tune in and check in because the travel time up your nervous system between your tummy and your head, there is a little delay. Have you ever been on a Skype call or a Facebook call and you’re talking and then they just freeze and then you wait and then they catch up? That’s how your brain is to your stomach. So, just take two/three minutes, check in, ask your question, “Am I full?” “Am I not full?” And it’s not wasteful – if you’re at a restaurant, doggy bag; if you’re at home, have it later, split up your meal in two. Maybe you had a bigger portion than you were hungry for that particular day. I hope that you’re picking up what I’m putting down here, because one of the ways I was able to break free of this whole perfectionism or the fact that my meal plan called to eat X number of carbs and X number of fats. I just had to break away and I had to start asking myself better questions. And one of the questions I asked myself was, “Was my quest for perfection costing me? What was it costing me, this ‘I had to follow the plan to the T’? What was it costing me?” And then was it pushing me further from my goal, because when I got frustrated, I would sabotage? And was I using diet and exercise to control my life because I had things in my life that weren’t controllable? 

Again, I told you I was type A++, and at the time, at the height of my diet mania I had a really hectic job and I had things that I couldn’t control. I had a hectic and chaotic boss, and so I couldn’t control that, but I could control food. And I see it play out sometimes with my clients. One of my clients, she is a new mom, she runs a business, trying to be a good wife, trying to be a good mom, rock her business, and she is literally picking her body apart because that’s the only thing she feels like she has control over. She hasn’t found her rhythm yet in this whole mommy hood. And one of the things I told her is that, “You have to take this giant step back and figure out what is your new life with your little nugget. How does your nugget play into everything else that you’re trying to do? Because you might need to stop doing some things just because you have to take care of your kid. You might have to delegate some things because you have a kid now, and so maybe that free time that you had is now you’re being a mommy and then being okay and comfortable with that’s what has to happen.” So, that part of moderation comes with you doing an internal look to see are you trying to take on too much to prove to yourself “I can do it. I am woman, hear me roar”? Because if you’re burning yourself out, who’s going to hear you roar? Or they’re going to hear you scream when you pass out on the floor. 

Do You Have Realistic Restrictions

I want you to really focus in on, “With the restrictions that I’m setting up for myself, is that creating a life that I can live in the long-term?” And if you can’t live that life long-term or you always find yourself cheating on said “plan” This client she’s always like, “This is what I’m doing this week.” I’m like, “Great, let’s do it.” And then the following week I’m like, “Hey, how did we do?” And she’s like, “Well, it was a really rough week, so the wine and the chocolate came out.” And that right there, I tell her, “The wine and the chocolate is your response to stress. And so, every time that wine and chocolate comes out, you have to look at what’s causing the wine and chocolate to come out.” If that sounds like you, it’s time for you to really evaluate what you’re doing in your life that needs to change, because if you want to see a change in your body and you keep reaching for wine and chocolate, moderation is going to be like pfft, it’s pretty much like traveling to Mars for you. And I don’t want that, I want moderation to be maybe for some of you driving across the country, some of you, traveling across town. Maybe some of you are already there or you are on the town line and you just need to make a few tweaks and you can stay in that magical golden zone. In order for me to get through to moderation I had to break up those rules. I had to break up those rules and start really listening to my body. I had to stop saying, “I needed to have X number of meals a day” and really just trust and eat how I felt. Now, I know that that takes time, and again, remember I said this is a marathon, not a sprint.

When it comes to food, one of my biggest breakthroughs when it comes to the moderation for food is that I had to balance satisfying versus satiating. Satisfying is up here – my brain sees something on my plate and it’s like, “Yeah, get in my belly.” And when I eat it, if I’m full, I feel fullness, that’s satiation. That’s all the blood vessels in the center of my stomach saying, “Alright girl, we’re full.” But I also have to have it up here, because if my brain looks at something on the plate and is like, “I’m not feeling this”, I’m going to be a bottomless pit. And so, I want you to think about how many foods are you eating that gives you that visual, that brain candy if you will? And how many foods are you eating because it’s on the good food list? And so that’s where I want you to really kind of tune into your body that says eating chicken, broccoli and brown rice, is it satisfying in your brain, or is it satisfying in your gut? What’s happening? Pay attention to that, because that’s when you really start to honor yourself and you start to eat differently and eat better foods that will keep you fuller longer. And the goal is to stay fuller longer so that I’m not constantly in seek mode, because usually when I get into that seek mode, I’m seeking foods that I really know that aren’t good for me. I’m going for the quick fixes of the junk food so that it’s, “How quickly can I get another dopamine hit up here in my brain for something that is satisfying versus satiating?”

Work Your Workouts

And then workouts – “I want to work out for at least 30 minutes.” Yes, 30 minutes! I know that it’s kind of scary to step away from those two-hour workouts, because trust me, I was that girl. I remember going to the gym with my husband and we would always walk in together, we would say, “How much time do you need?” For me, a good workout was 90 minutes.
If I couldn’t get a 90 minute-ish workout, and if he had to leave early, I remember I would be so mad, like how can we not work out for 90 minutes, seriously? And I was just like, “Okay”, and meanwhile on the inside I’m like, “I’m mad. This workout should be 90 minutes or why do it.” If I had less than 60 minutes my mindset was, “I have no time to come back to the gym to finish my workout.” Fast forward to today, like, “Oh, sweet Jesus, how much time did I spend at the gym?” Now I’ve become way more efficient with my workouts that in literally 30 to 45 minutes I can kick my own booty and feel sore. So, I want you to really look at what you’re doing for your workout, and is it more of a mental thing than a physical thing? Because, trust me, there are some crazy kick your booty workouts that can be done in 30 minutes. And so, for those of you guys who one of the reasons why you’re not able to find moderation, you’re not able to find the consistency,

especially when it comes to workout is because you think a workout has to be this marathon session at the gym, holla at your girl, because I can help you out.

On my Instagram I do every Friday a fat burning Friday (#fatburningfridday) and it’s probably no more than five exercises that are done either for time, done for rounds, and its body weight exercises or requires very little to no equipment. And it’s things you can do at home, so if you’re someone who is like, “I don’t have a gym membership or want to have a gym membership”, or maybe you have kids, you want to work out at home, it’s really simple. 

I have a good friend, Kerri, she has a two-year-old, and she sits him over in the corner and he’s playing with blocks or coloring and she pulls out a10-15-minute workout. And sometimes it’s a couple minutes during the day or sometimes it’s just 15 minutes, wherever her son’s tolerance is at that particular day. So, I really want you to start thinking about rounding out what does that type of moderation look like to you. But the big take away that I want you to take from this session is one, be flexible. Be flexible but be committed and finding time. Commit to yourself just like you commit to other people.

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