Everything (and Nothing) in Moderation

mod·er·a·tion

[mod-uh-rey-shuhn]

noun: the quality of being moderate;

restraint;

avoidance of extremes or excesses;

temperance.

This is the story about how I went from crazy to crazier and ended up just a little crazy. I call that progress.

I have lived my entire life in a toxic, self loathing relationship with my body. I grew up chubby, with a Father (whom I love dearly) constantly joking that I would have to be “greased through doorways” when I grew up. I know that a lot of you look to me for advice and inspiration and I am writing this today to tell you that you are not alone in your struggles. My journey has evolved along with my perception of my own body, but it’s not over. I’ve gone from calorie counting and macronutrient balances, to Intermittent Fasting and a primal style of eating; I’m still healing.

Summer 2009

A few years ago, I underwent knee surgery which resulted in a loss of function and a subsequent increase in body fat.  I was in a hell of a lot of pain, and ridiculously uncomfortable in my own skin. So after an overly dramatic emotional breakdown, I bought a food scale, logged all my calories on My Daily Plate, and became an avid follower of the frequent feeding model (eat small meals, 5-6 times a day, every few hours). I weighed ALL of my food except for my cheats; every last little caloric morsel, including sauces and vegetables. I legit had a dry erase board and a calculator on the wall in my kitchen to log macros while I cooked.

(See? I told you, cray cray.)

But guess what? It worked. I lost 4 pounds in one week and continued to lean out to 11% bodyfat, which, by the way, I maintained consistently. My lifts got BIGGER and my confidence grew exponentially. That summer, I experienced a leanness that was foreign to me. I was effing ripped. I bought shorter shorts and skimpier bikinis. For a girl who was used to covering up her thickness, it was physical freedom. Except for the hunger. Oh, and the food obsession.

I was a slave to meal timing and macros; inevitably I cracked.

I didn’t realize I had started to crack because it came on slowly. I would cheat just a little more on Saturday, indulging in pizza, cookies and wine. Eventually cheat day turned into cheat weekend; cheat weekend turned into an all out binge fest. I would often find myself searching for something to eat Sunday night, even though I wasn’t hungry, just so I could feel some respite from the clean eating that would commence on Monday.

 Moderation? Psssh. To hell with it. 

As you can imagine I put my body and mind through complete hell. On any given Friday I would feel lean and weigh in around 121 pounds, and on Monday I would typically be back up to 128. I treated my body so poorly that I packed on an obscene amount of inflammation over the course of two days, subsequently returning to complete restriction mode in order to get lean again by Friday. I did this for months and months. It was absolute insanity.

 Binge, restrict, self-flagellate, repeat.

It was a downright abhorrent cycle that left me ravaged, mind, body and soul.

Until I just couldn’t do it anymore.

So I said a tearful goodbye to my food scale and moved forward with the intention of finding balance. I began cutting out grains, limiting dairy and sugar, and eating massive portions of meat and veggies. Perhaps not so coincidentally, I also purged my life of some seriously toxic, unhealthy relationships. And a funny thing happened-I leaned the eff out!

 (Side note: I am not suggesting that the food scale is evil or that calorie counting is senseless. These things have merit in that they create a better understanding of what constitutes an honest portion. I simply do not believe these methods to be sustainable.)

It was then that I embarked on what would become an epic journey; a quest to heal my relationship with food and the deep rooted dysmorphia that had antecedently guided my actions. Against everything I had previously known to be true, I began Intermittent Fasting, which played a considerable role in my healing process. For the first time in my life I felt free from food.

Until I started eating too much and ended up a little squishy.

Here’s the thing about fasting: it’s not a free pass to eat more than your fair share. This little girl can throw down some food, let me tell you. So when my fasting/feasting got out of control I had a painfully reluctant epiphany:

It wasn’t my style of eating that was a problem, or really even what I was eating; it was my complete lack of self control and my inability to embody the term “moderation.”

I’ll be the first to admit it-I have never been a girl who can do things in moderation. I am all or nothing and I am not ashamed of it. If a bottle of wine gets opened in my house, it does not get corked. If a bag of chips wanders into my lap, it winds up mysteriously empty. And if a batch of chocolate chip cookies gets baked, well get ‘em while they’re hot because you’re lucky to find one left the next day.

This was something I had failed to recognize as I embarked on my various nutritional journeys. I should have been more aware of this, given my family history of addiction and my propensity to go balls to the wall on just about everything. Alas, I thought I could control myself and that’s just not the case. I can’t eat just one cookie or have just one glass of wine. And you know what? There is NOTHING wrong with that; that’s just not who I am.

This realization was the missing link for me. It wasn’t the frequent feeding model, the calorie counting or the Intermittent Fasting that made me lean. All of these methods work. Paleo works, nutrient timing works, Carb Back Loading works. There are a thousand ways to get results, but you’ll never get there without finding your own path.

You’ll never get there if you keep sabotaging yourself because you haven’t taken the time to understand your own psychology.

It’s taken me years to understand the fact that moderation, for me, is not proportionate to balance. Self control does not necessarily equal the ability to stop at one cookie (who the eff eats ONE cookie, anyway?). Self control is the ability to recognize that I can’t stop at one cookie. It’s all cookies or no cookies!

Now I know a lot of you might be reading this and thinking I am encouraging restriction and binging. Let me say once and for all: that is NO way to live and I am in no way insinuating this.

Simply put, find out if moderation is something you can embody. If not, find a new strategy; don’t continue to berate yourself for not being able to adhere to moderation. Physical leanness and sanity can coexist, I promise you.

Everything in moderation

The opposite of moderation.

This is where I found balance, and here is how: (Necessary caveat: This is what works for me. I am not suggesting that you do any of these things, merely that you should find out what creates balance in your life.)

  •  Intermittent Fasting. I keep my fasting windows long (18-24 hours) and my feeding windows short. This gives me very little time to stuff myself which makes it nearly impossible to overeat. I will also do a long fast (roughly 36 hours) after a particularly indulgent weekend/trip. This is in NO WAY a binge/restrict cycle as some would have you believe. It’s perfectly healthy and normal to take breaks from eating and allow your body time to reset to neutral. I actually thoroughly enjoy fasting, which puts the restriction argument to rest in that regard.
  •  Planning vs. Damage Control. These two go hand in hand. I can plan ahead before a party and bring foods that I know won’t sabotage my nutrition. Or I can fast all day, eat and drink like it’s my last day on the planet, and do damage control the next day by incorporating a longer fast. Either way, I am making a decision to be in control. Again, it’s not binge/restrict, it’s a well thought out plan.
  • The “Wheat Free Cheat”. I wish I could give credit to the person who tweeted this but for the life of me I can’t remember who it was. I do this instinctively, because wheat just bloats me up. Incidently, corn causes my body to have an auto immune response so I avoid that, too. Majority of the time, I keep my cheats in the realm of “whole foods”. Meaning,  I will eat things that do not directly support my goals but do not directly undermine them either. For me, this usually entails a cheese tray with salami, dried fruit and spiced nuts. 

One of my favorite wheat free cheats

  •  Every once in a while, eat something truly wicked. This is where moderation comes in, for me. I just don’t want to eat one slice of pizza. Instead I eat pizza once or twice a year and eat the whole damn thing.

NYE ’11 in NYC

  • Enjoy EVERY SINGLE thing I put in my mouth(I know, I know, I set myself up for that one…). Seriously, food is meant to be enjoyed. We have ventured so far from our primal roots that we are now “eating on the go” and settling for less than amazing. I never settle for food that doesn’t knock my socks off.

  • Don’t keep in the house. If I can’t control how much I eat of it, it has no place in my kitchen. If I have something leftover I’ll give it away, or if I have to, I’ll even throw it out. John Romaniello made a very good point (several, actually) in his most recent post: Eating past the point of being full isn’t going to make starving kids in third world countries any less hungry. If you want to help, make a donation.”

  • As much as possible, eat with others. This accomplishes two things for me: I eat less, because I’m less inclined to stuff my face in front of someone else, and it encourages human interaction while partaking in one of life’s primal needs. Imagine that. Michael Pollan talks about the importance of eating as an act of communion in his renowned book, In Defense of Food.
  • Stop taking myself so damn seriously. Real talk-I don’t need to be shredded. I just need to feel comfortable in my own skin to keep myself sane. Do my favorite Lululemon leggings still look amazing? Okay, then I’m still in my comfort zone. Please pass the bacon.

Baking protein cookies in my Lululemon Wunder Unders

With these strategies in place, I can safely say to hell with moderation. I am still legitimately crazy, but in a way that I am completely comfortable and at peace with. I hang out around 16% body fat and I feel damn good in my Lulu. I lift heavy stuff and eat lots of bacon. Most importantly, I am insanely happy.

So what say you? Everything in moderation or is moderation an unattainable virtue? Are you more inclined to go cray cray on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, or are you satisfied with just one scoop? Figure out what balance means to you, and I am confident you will find your own nutritional path.

  • http://de10sistekiloene.blogg.no Anna

    Oh my goodness, you ARE me!!
    Reading this made me a little crazy too, you were so spot on my experiences with food and the lack of moderation (hey, it’s just not me!) and I love the way you put things in perspective for me :D
    I love you for that!
    I’ll keep fasting, lifting heavy and rocking; so will you!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      It is most definitely, not just you :). SO glad you enjoyed it and keep up that lifting and fasting regimen. It’s a recipe for badassery!

  • http://lauradevincent.wordpress.com/ toughas

    “I don’t always eat pizza. But when I do, I eat the whole thing”

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Classic!

  • http://www.niashanks.com Nia Shanks

    Hey, girl.

    I absolutely love this. This is dang near exactly what I do. Great minds think alike, huh? But, really, super simple and flexible – just my speed.

    Oh . . . and regarding one of your tips . . . . . . that’s what she said.

    :)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      You, me and bacon, Nia. Forever.

      And yes, that IS what she said!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07082170830922903487 Sabrina Marthaler Hoppe

    OMG. You just detailed out what I’ve progressed through almost exactly, from calorie counting to Paleo to IF to zero ability to moderate, ever. I am still working on “my” balance to exist sanely within the extremes…so I’m using this post as evidence that it WILL be found!

    Thank you so much!!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Thank you for reading, Sabrina, and I am really glad you enjoyed it!

  • http://www.sweatlikeapig.com Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    Hi Neghar. I’ve been lurking on your blog for aaaages but I finally had to comment :) I find your journey so inspirational and I can really relate to it. When I first got serious about lifting I was preparing for a comp, and my eating just became so restrictive and obsessive. Being like that just isn’t worth it!

    I do think I live my life in moderation, although I do wonder what “moderation” really means. For me, moderation might mean having one scoop of ice cream per week, but for someone else it might mean “only” having dessert after one meal per day. It’s a very subjective term! Since I stopped obsessing over food, I’ve embraced a freedom. Eating is enjoyable again and I don’t stress out when I have off-plan meals or don’t hit my macros for a certain day. I haven’t counted my calories in over a year now and it makes such a difference to my overall happiness. Great post!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      It’s an interesting concept that moderation is a subjective term. Essentially, we must all find our own path and I am happy to hear that you are finding yours!

      Btw-thanks for lurking :).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05138577741624184568 Maria

    Awesome blog. I’ve done that stuff too- measuring, counting calories, binging. And coming around the next turn, I’m just like you- MODERATION. I too love bacon (ooh with some chocolate fondue please)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Thanks, Maria! Ooooh, chocolate bacon fondue sounds like heaven right now!

  • http://edibleposts.com Sophie

    An amazing post. This is just what I need in my life right now – balance is so hard to put into context, but this makes so much sense. I love my food and I love my training, but it’s about listening to my body more, and practicing moderation (even nothing at times).

    Thank you.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Sophie! (Such a beautiful name, btw.) I love food and training too, so I feel you. Listening to your body is integral to creating your most successful self.

  • Jill

    You are bang right on~ moderation is not a skill that everyone has so why beat yourself up? Make your program work within your own personality or it will never last. Like you say, you crack. Go crazy. Anyone can hold it together for a while through sheer determination and stubborness but eventually your true colours come through and you can’t take it anymore.
    Thank you for this wisdom and the permission to embrace your true self~ and still make it work!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      So true, Jill! I often found myself holding it together by virtue of my inherent stubbornness. That is certainly not sustainable.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14830590857700833233 Jamie Paul

    Excellent post! Like Tara, this post hit home just enough to draw me out of my lurker status and hit the coment section. I just wanted to thank you for your honesty and let you know that you really have inspired me (with this post, and many others) to be a better version of myself. Im a relatively young trainer myself, and i hope that ill be able to help as many people as you do in the future. Keep it up! Ill be reading :)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Thank you for lurking, but I am so happy you decided to join in :). I gain so much from all of your comments-it means the world to me. I’m honored that I could inspire you and best of luck in your new career!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17864566227783771287 J D

    Great post!! I feel like I’ve been on a similar journey as well (though not quite at 15% BF yet, though counting calories did get me there before). I’m still a little food crazy, but it is so good to know that I’m not the only person who has been struggling with the idea of balance, since my balance is so all or nothing – and I haven’t seen anyone embrace that before. Thank you Neghar for sharing this! Do you still worry about macros? Do you end up doing a lot of fasted training? I workout before work and since my feeding window is generally 11am-6pm -ish, my training is fasted – was just wondering how you marry the nutrition with your training?

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      I’m so glad that you could relate, JD! I do still pay attention to macros, I just don’t measure them. I eat mostly protein, sufficient fat and go very easy on the carb front. I train exclusively fasted.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12134652720523247042 AnaLucia

    I am truly not alone! So glad to see there are so many crazies like me out there.. Moderation is super hard! It’s like you are inside my head or something! Great read! Thank you!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      No, you’re not :). Thanks so much for reading, Ana Lucia!

  • Risto Uuk

    I actually see myself in this post as well. I haven’t been a good “in moderation” person. I quit eating all kinds of junk food about two years ago and since then I’ve lost all cravings. I can be in the same room with a person eating all kinds of junk food and not even get an increase in saliva production.

    But when I eat junk myself, I still have a little bit difficulty controlling myself. Yeah, I can put the thing down, but I’m still heavily craving it. I don’t like that feeling. I rather avoid junk food completely than have these cravings of not feeling completely satisfied.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      That’s awesome that you’ve been able to curb your cravings. Often abstinence is the only way to remove the addiction. I find that the more sugar I eat, the more I want. Inevitably, it’s better to avoid it altogether.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07145632890314385871 Damon Brobst CSCS

    Wow! This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I have no “eff’in” clue what moderation is, I’m balls to the wall or nothing at all! Just glad that more people are like me and I’m not the only person who finishes a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and looks in the freezer for more chocolate goodness. I try to stay lean year round (200lbs.) though proper training and relying on meat, veggies, and fruit 90% of the time. Pretty good for a former fat kid who weight 265. Keep up the good writing!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Thank you, Damon! I always say “Balls to the wall, or no balls at all.” IMO, Ben & Jerry’s is too damn good to leave out of your life, so it’s just important to learn to control not only the consumption but the guilt associated with it. Guilt over something that should you bring you pleasure takes away from the experience!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10283221288486037431 Dan

    I would say I believe in moderating, just not moderation. Does that make sense? I definitely hit the crazy wall about 9 months into what turned out to be a 100lb transformation. Sent me heading back the other direction, as well. Took some time to learn to forgive myself for not eating perfect 90% of the time. After an injury last year that wrecked any strength I had, and with about 30lbs to lose, I went about it from the ground up. I think knowing it would be a long-haul made me realize right out of the gate that my old unsustainable ways of “cray cray” would not work this time. I don’t know starting bodyfat %, but then again I don’t really care. In the end it’s the way my clothes feel now (I’ve dropped from a tight size 38 pants to a loose 36, probably 34 soon and am back around the weight I should be and leaner than ever. The kicker, I still enjoy myself. Yes we only have one body and need to take care of it, but life is also short, and I won’t lose the forest through the trees again. Thanks for your writing, I’ve enjoyed finding you through Jon Goodman.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Dan, it most certainly makes sense. Congrats on your transformation and thank you so very much for reading!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02633137095928547690 Megan

    WOW, great post! I can relate SO much to what you said, especially about the cheat meals becoming cheat days.

    Now, I’m just trying to repair my relationship with food through intuitive eating, not restricting anything and not counting macros etc. I have accepted that I may gain weight (I also can’t exercise at the moment), and that’s fine.

    I think the most important thing I’m learning is that there is no magical diet plan that is going to solve my eating issues, I AM the problem!

    Thanks for a great post :-)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Those cheat meals can certainly go on forever, can’t they?! The healing is a journey. As long as you maintain this wonderful attitude, Megan, you will arrive at the place you are meant to be :).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03776420534440308810 Naomi(Onefitfoodie)

    this whole post ROCKED I just want to say that first and foremost…you are so amazing, and sharing your story for your readers, well thats just incredible in itself. I know that SO many people can relate to you!! I remember the good ole days when I tried calorie counting. OH MY GOD. talk about no life and obsession. I cannot tell you how many people ask me how many calories I take in day. I have no effing idea. I havent counted a calorie or macro/micro in about 4 years. I have a life now. I listen and respect my body and EVERYTHINg including exercise in moderation. Now I know this is easier said than done for some people, but it just something that you sort of have to learn on your own. Once the intuative eating and moderation takes place, you will transform into a new person. I always tell clients, that if you feel good about yourself, able to move well, feel strong and LOVE what you see, everything else will fall into place. self respect and body respect first and foremost :)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Respect of one’s self is certainly paramount. It’s so easy to fall into self deprecation of one’s body, and much more of a challenge to learn to love yourself for all your forms and flaws. Thank you, Naomi-I always appreciate your comments so much!

  • Concetta

    Lurker, but couldn’t pass up the chance to say thanks. Looking in the mirror is tough, reading it first helps. Makes perfect sense. Knowledge is easy, practice is the tough part.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Thanks for coming out of lurker status, Concetta! I absolutely love hearing what readers have to say, and am so honored that I could positively impact you in some way.

  • http://storiesandsweetpotatoes.com StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    There is so much truth in this! Even “moderation” can be something people torture themselves with and at the end of the day we are just ourselves, and that’s never going to be any kind of standard…even if that “standard” is “normalcy”. Nothing and no one is normal.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      No, we certainly are not “normal” :). Because truly, what *is* normal? We are all just perfectly us, in every way.

  • http://wordsandcoconuts.wordpress.com Monica

    I am sitting in my cubicle at work and am on the verge of laughing and crying all at once. Thank you so much for your brilliant, brutally honest post. I am so thankful and overcome by joy to hear your decision to embrace the go hard or go home mantra that’s in your blood because you’ve learned to work with it, not fight against it! I cannot for the life of me “do moderation” either, and though the all-or-nothing mentality has helped me excel in certain areas of my life it completely self-sabotaged others because I felt like such a freak for being extreme with work, health, or a new hobby. Your cycle of eat clean, go buck wild, and then self-flagellate deeply resonated with me, as I have been on that roller coaster for the past five years, and I too have recently found some form of salvation in IF. But I think the biggest relief recently for me has come in realizing that it is easier for me to not have a bite than it is for me to stop after three and being OKAY with that and letting other people chill when I refuse “just one cookie.” Being okay and at peace and in control of the chaos (ironic but yes!) seems to be working! And then I read your post! Seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope I can hug you one day, Thank you for sharing your story, you really have no idea how much you made my day, week, year! Also, I really appreciate the level of detail you went into about the length of your eating window and the once/twice a year feasts =) As someone still tweaking with IF windows and portion size, I found it incredibly helpful. okay, i’m done with my essay of a comment, again, thank you!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Monica, your detailed response has deeply touched me! Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and reaching out. I am so honored that my story could serve to benefit you in some way.

  • http://wordsandcoconuts.wordpress.com Monica

    I am sitting in my cubicle at work and am on the verge of laughing and crying all at once. Thank you so much for your brilliant, brutally honest post. I am so thankful and overcome by joy to hear your decision to embrace the go hard or go home mantra that’s in your blood because you’ve learned to work with it, not fight against it! I cannot for the life of me “do moderation” either, and though the all-or-nothing mentality has helped me excel in certain areas of my life it completely self-sabotaged others because I felt like such a freak for being extreme with work, health, or a new hobby. Your cycle of eat clean, go buck wild, and then self-flagellate deeply resonated with me, as I have been on that roller coaster for the past five years, and I too have recently found some form of salvation in IF. But I think the biggest relief recently for me has come in realizing that it is easier for me to not have a bite than it is for me to stop after three and being OKAY with that and letting other people chill when I refuse “just one cookie.” Being okay and at peace and in control of the chaos (ironic but yes!) seems to be working! And then I read your post! Seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope I can hug you one day, Thank you for sharing your story, you really have no idea how much you made my day, week, year! Also, I really appreciate the level of detail you went into about the length of your eating window and the once/twice a year feasts =) As someone still tweaking with IF windows and portion size, I found it incredibly helpful. okay, i’m done with my essay of a comment, again, thank you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11291284682945120563 Natalia

    Lots of wisdom (and laughs) here. One of my favs: “There are a thousand ways to get results, but you’ll never get there without finding your own path. You’ll never get there if you keep sabotaging yourself because you haven’t taken the time to understand your own psychology.”

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Natalia, even though I wrote it, it keeps resonating with me as well. I’m so glad you enjoyed it (and laughed some, too!).

  • https://twitter.com/mabalch Marissa

    O MY LANTA, not sure how I stumbled on your blog months ago, but I THANK MY LUCKY STARS! Every post is better than the last. I, too, have ZERO self control when it comes to food. I feel bad for the lonely lingering chips in the bottom of the bag if I do not inhale them all (C’mon they will cry), I feel like a little wuss if I can’t down a plate of steak and taters like my boyfriend can so macho-ly accomplish, and I convince myself I am downright wasteful if I only eat one cookie out of the batch I made. Weak sauce!!!!

    Food is my obsession. It is so refreshing to hear another girl ENJOYS food and the act of eating as much as I do. But with that, also LOVES boss hogging and slinging weights.

    You are the Real McCoy! But forreal, how are you not shaky after a 24 hr fast?

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Marissa, thank you SO MUCH for your kind words. You have no idea how touched I am. Also “boss hogging and weight slinging”? Haha. Yes, please.

      With regards to fasting, I just posted a long article about it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08325195498166382290 Brooks Tiller

    This post is almost as great as your “Full Mug Pistols”. Really relate to this and thankful for your talented writing. You are a great inspiration to many. Thank you!!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Wow, Brooks! Thank you! Yes, the pistols were fun :).

  • Johan

    Hi. Interesting read. As always :-)
    I was just wondering how you approach specific goals. For example strength goals where you need to put on muscle to get stronger or shedding some fat. Or when you feel like your stalling.

    My experience with IF is that I nearly always end up near maintenance cals when I just eat normally(always high protein) which means that everytime I want to shed some fat or get stronger I need to find my kitchen scale and start counting cals. Otherwise nothing will happen in either direction.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Johan,

      I have, on occasion, put myself back in check with the food scale or the macros. But only for a week or so, and then I’m regulated again.

  • Casey

    Neghar thank so much for writing this. I just discovered IF last week and can’t believe the stress that has been lifted. I’m trying now to cope with the extra brain resources I have that use to go to willpower and sticking to my food plan.

    I feel great, I want to keep IF in my life but I’m consened that IF isn’t as good for women as it is men, based on Stefani Ruper article.

    http://www.paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/

    I wonder if the reason I feel so great is that my adrenals are working harder and I have higher cortisol levels (that fight or flight response I know I’m addicted to).

    How long have you been IF and what do you think about burn out eating this way for women.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      I have recently seen some articles regarding women, hormones and fasting. My personal experience, and that of my clients has been all positive. But, I will definitely look deeper into this. One thing to consider is that although IF is nothing new, the research is. Let it all shake out before making hard and fast decisions. I hope that helps!

  • http://www.fabulouslydomestic.com Natasha Kay

    I find it so interesting that you and I have remarkably similar body types and exercise preferences (kb) and then reading this post, add to that list our inflammation responses to wheat and corn and our “balls to the wall” personalities. I’ve always thought that there are only a certain number of “types” of people in the world and reading your posts (as if the words came right out of my own mouth) makes me believe it even more!

    Keep up the great writing! I’ll be sharing this post with my health coaching clients on the Domestica Fitness Train. :)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      Thanks, Natasha! Interesting how so many of us are kindred spirits :).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13445328388069160421 Unknown

    I love your article. seems w are ALL in the same boat here. We all need to pray for strength :-). However when u say fast, are fasting from liquid too? cause sometimes water causes weight

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117157035822714899 Neghar

      I absolutely hydrate during fasts. It’s essential.

  • Chub Chub

    Fabulous
    I’ve come to a similar conclusion myself recently, without ironing out the finer points. I need to eat, and when I eat I like to feel satiated and content. Therefore 16 or 18 hr to 24 seems good for me. It don’t work all the time, but 80/20 rule mindset I can manage.
    Also I’m an addict too. And just as your story says, some how you have to find peace with who you are and what you can manage. I eat the whole god damn pizza too.
    What can ya do?
    This has been rattling around in my head for a few weeks now, cause I can’t seem to manage bugger all else in the world of diet strategies. And believe me, I’ve tried. Albeit the primal way seems about right. Keeps the insulin levels down etc…

    So sod moderation, I can’t do it very well. Some form of intermitten looks about the only way for me. Renegade diet, Warrior Diet…….one of them. Can’t manage Eat Stop Eat….. haven’t the capacity to go that long without food. I go mad…

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      It is really important to assess your personality and lifestyle, accept it, and use a strategy that works for you. Like you said, ESE doesn’t work for you, but the Renegade diet does. We are all so different and there is no “one way” for everyone!

  • Tara

    This post was so inspiring! Throughout reading this I found myself saying out loud “yes!” and “me too!” It truly is a comforting feeling to know there is other females who are motivated to eat healthy and take care of their bodies but also accept their personalities- and well girly indulgences. Such a helpful post both in terms of nutrition and mentally! Thank you :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      You’re so welcome, Tara! I am really blessed to be able to share myself so freely with the world and have people actually relate to me :).

  • justjuliebean

    After much mental training, I’m happy to be content with one cookie. Maybe two, if exceptionally good. I eat a small not-too-sweet chocolate chip oatmeal one every day at lunch. Moderation definitely makes things easier, less dramatic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      That’s awesome! I’m glad you were able to find something that works for you. It’s important to note that it must be exceptionally good! I mean, why eat it otherwise?

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  • Jen

    Great post! I have no idea what my eating style is, but this is a good reminder to remember that you have to find what works for YOU and not others. Plus, I always need to remember not to be so hard on myself :) Thank you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      Being hard on yourself is whack. Love thyself, girl!

  • Ashleigh Fernandez

    Amazing post. I constantly live in the Binge, Restrict cycle and it’s something that I’m reaching breaking point with but I recognize it and am trying to find my own cure. Thanks so much for sharing. Very well written also :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      Thank you! So glad it was useful.

  • Vicki8617

    I completely relate to not being able to handle moderation 100%. It’s nice to know I’m not the only crazy one going trough these cycles. Where can I get more info in the fasting schedule you follow? Wanting to see if something like that is for me too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      We’re all a little bit crazy, aren’t we?

  • Keira

    Thanks so much for your honesty and openess. I cant wait to work with you;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      Yay! I am excited to have you as a coaching client :).

  • http://www.facebook.com/laraandlars Lara Bisserier

    wow I could have written this. :) You are a great writer and so much of what you said rang true for me. Thank you

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.

  • Lisa Rickman

    I too could have written this. Except for the paleo part. I gained 20 pounds when I went paleo. Meats, fats, and veggies have calories too! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/neghar.fonooni Neghar Fonooni

      For sure. No one style of eating is for everyone and I totally see how people can go overboard with paleo and lose track of macros.

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  • Jennifer Brownfield

    Fantastic! I relate to what your saying so much. The toxic cycle of not being able to be moderate and the self loathing that results is so awful. I just want to have a healthy relationship with food- because I LOVE it!!
    Thanks so much for the advice, honesty, and hilarious delivery! (I am actually 14 hours into my first fast as I am writing this- hoping to find what works for me.)

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  • Karim

    Hi Neghar,

    I randomly came across your blog and i really do like your style. I echo exactly what you say and believe in the fundamentals that you stand by. Unfortunately i cant seem to be attracting the right people to read and view my blog posts. While this is a long shot im sure that you had to start somewhere and know how hard it is to break from a shadow blogger to a global icon. Would mean the world to me if you took the time to have a read of a similar article that i wrote regrding our dysfunctional relationship with food (i suffered from this too and overvcame it through intermittent fasting a bitch slap wake up call lol). Would be great if maybe you could share my post. While may not be much to you would mean the world to me!! Thanks and i must say, Fanstastic job!!

    Karim Arafa aka thefitnessgrail

  • Karim
  • Kellie Maier

    I would like to start off by saying THANK YOU for this post. I really needed to read this. I started working out with a personal trainer a couple of months ago. He gave me a meal plan and is having me log all of my meals in training peaks. I don’t mind logging them at all, but I’m having a hard time sticking to meal plan. Sometimes I just really want something unhealthy and then I end up feeling guilty and ashamed. I feel like I have to lie to him about it. It’s almost like I’m sneaking food.

    After reading this it kind of put things into perspective for me. I will fall off the wagon and its okay because everyone does. I shouldn’t feel ashamed of that. I just need to acknowledge it and then get back on the wagon.

  • CrosbyTee

    Nice face. Uggh body. Too masculine. Sorry.

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