Finally Finding Moderation

I’ve always been an all or none kind of gal — someone who would either feast or famine. I was not a moderator, more of a binger.

It applied to nearly all aspects of my life.

I was either 100% compliant on a fitness or diet regimen or zero percent.

I am either up all night voraciously reading a book or have zero pages read.

I will binge a TV show in two days, color an entire coloring book in a week, or just be blah.

This pattern began to change after working with Fleurish Health two years ago when I reshaped my life into habits that reduce the amount of self-discipline I need to maintain.

But I still … STILL … find myself wanting to binge anytime I am around junk food.

Now I don’t mean eat-until-I-puke binge, just eat-way-more-than-I-should binge.

My children are another story. I have seen them leave a mostly uneaten bag of Cheetos on the table because they were full. I have seen them not finish a cup of ice cream because they don’t want anymore. I have seen them stop eating cookie cake because too many sweet things make their tummy hurt.

All of these healthy behaviors are things I still struggle with … as an adult and parent. Recently, this thinking was triggered by a post on Instagram that a friend shared. It got me thinking about why and here is my little theory.

controlling cravings

It all goes back to feast or famine.

I grew up in the 90s in what I affectionately refer to as The Golden Era of Junk Food. A time of Bagel Bites jingles singing the praises of “When pizza’s on a bagel you can eat pizza anytime,” although we all know Pizza Rolls reigned supreme. A time of double stuff Oreos, Dunkaroos, and Surge. Doritos expanded their flavors and even made themselves 3D to be consumed by the beautiful Ali Landry. All the junk foods stepped up their game and we bought it.

Well, other people bought it. We didn’t have much junk food at our house. That was reserved for times of celebration like birthdays and the occasional chip and dip on holidays. Our home was filled with healthy foods and homemade treats. It was really a fabulous way to grow up. Except that when I did see those tasty junk foods placed out at a party, I felt a compulsion to eat them as much as I could while I had them. The problem with this is when I became an adult and was in charge of purchasing my own foods, I still felt this compulsion. I could not see these foods in my pantry and not immediately need to consume them. It was like my mind still treated them as these amazing treats, but they were available all the time instead of a few times a year.

It wasn’t until like a week ago that I realized that other people who grew up similarly have the same struggle. It taps into our base instincts as humans to hurry and eat before there is no more, except we are not in a life or death starvation scenario.

It was truly empowering to realize the root of this behavior that has been such a struggle for me. In realizing also that by allowing my kids some exposure to these foods and not treating them as forbidden foods, I have allowed them to see them as they truly are: simply foods to use as fuel. They can decide which ones are good fuel for their bodies and which ones make their bodies feel crummy. Armed with this information, they have made surprisingly great choices on which foods they will eat.

Sarah Keating
Sarah is a 30-something mom of four children under six and wife to her high-school sweetheart. She returned to Acadiana two years ago following her husband’s completion of medical school and residency in Shreveport. After the move, Sarah switched gears from full-time pediatric speech-language pathologist and working mom to full-time stay-at-home mom to her brood. Her current hobbies include “speech-therapizing” her children, re-reading the Outlander series, catching up on her Netflix queue after the kids go to bed, completing XHIT videos at naptime, and taking her medication every morning. She loves and respects the sacredness of motherhood, but sometimes you just have to let go and laugh it out. Motherhood has been the most humbling, and empowering journey she has experienced.


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