the art of moderation

Hi friends! How’s the morning going? 

Last week,  I talked about some of the things that I learned the hard way, and I thought I’d continue on the topic and share how I learned the art of moderation. Just a heads up: if you think this topic would be uncomfortable or triggering for you, please skip the rest of this post. What we read can impact our bodies and minds, and it’s up to us make smart choices. Sending love and light to you all, and I’ll see ya this afternoon. <3


For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a bit of an “all or nothing” mentality. For me, I think it came from being the firstborn, the Type A in the family. I was focused on perfection from an early age. If I wasn’t “all in,” it wasn’t worth doing. This attitude helped me in certain ways and enabled me to succeed academically, but as you can imagine, it certainly had its drawbacks. I was hard on myself when I didn’t do something particularly. I also strived to please everyone (which I learned over time isn’t possible, and isn’t always worth the effort). My “all or nothing” attitude followed me throughout college and into my journey in transforming my lifestyle.

When it came to changing my health and fitness, I thought it had to be all or nothing or I wouldn’t succeed. I also felt this way because it’s what I’d read in many of the diet and health literature I surrounded myself with: talks of out-exercising a brownie with a hard run, stringent eating plans, and foods to avoid with an ominous, virtual red “X” marked on them. While I did achieve my fitness and weight loss goals, it sometimes affected how I felt about some of my once-favorite foods. Sure, I never felt hungry, and overall, I was eating healthier, but I missed out on some of the things I truly enjoyed. I remember eating my sugar-free Fudgesicles and longed for the real thing (this was also when I ate far more processed foods and lots of diet, low-cal, low-fat and low-carb foods). 

Then, there was the cheat day option. I would enjoy some of the things I craved, but once a week, and in large quantities. When using a cheat day, it was easier to stick to my clean-eating plan throughout the rest of the week, but when you think about it, it was still a variation of the “all or nothing” idea. Don’t get me wrong, cheat days work well for many people, but I realized that the method, if you can call it that, wasn’t the best way for me to achieve my overall health goals. After all, striving towards these long-term goals should feel like a marathon, not a sprint. So instead, I began to enjoy little bits of treats here and there to keep me even-keeled. I found that I could eat all things in moderation because I actually enjoyed the way I felt when I ate healthy (and still enjoy the way I felt after a treat here and there). It does take a little bit of discipline. I try to focus on my fitness goals to avoid too many treats, but if you have a few more than you wanted to, don’t sweat it! Get a good night’s sleep and then get back to eating the clean, healthy meals that’ll help you live a long, happy life. Also, if you prefer and enjoy the structure of a meal plan, you can incorporate some treats and things you’ll look forward to within the meal plan. 

Volcano 3

(This is the legendary family volcano tradition, which involves a bed of ice cream, an outer layer of brownies, with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, a sparkler, and the entire family chanting, “VOLCANO! VOLCANOOOOO!”)

The major turning point for me and moderation was when I became pregnant with Liv. I really had to listen to my body (my hunger cues, my energy levels, the modifications I needed to make to work out). Growing another human made me reevaluate some of my habits and philosophies. It wasn’t about me anymore, and I strongly considered the type of environment and mindset I wanted our daughter to grow up in. I started eating everything, and fitness became a complement in my life, instead of a star. I don’t have the amount of time to waste at the gym that I once had, so I teach a class or get in my own short workout, and get out. 

Gina  High Res 47

(Photo: Danny Chan)

Some of the things I learned about moderation:

-When you allow yourself to enjoy everything, it’s instant portion control. What makes something 1000x more desirable? Telling yourself you can’t have it. 

-Eat what you love. It’s easy for me to pass up on store-bought treats and packaged cookies and chips. When it’s something that’s homemade, or something I’ve never had, it’s worth it for me.

-Eat what makes you feel good. I think we all would love to eat brownies and nachos and donuts all day… but we’d feel lethargic and like crawling into a food coma afterwards. I learned that eating a variety of clean and nutrient-dense foods energizes me, but sometimes nothing will do the trick like a serving of gooey chocolate cake. It really is a matter of finding that balance of food that enables your body to thrive, and food that just tastes really dang delicious. 

-For for a “grand scheme of things” approach. Aim to eat whole, non-processed foods most of the time, but give yourself room to enjoy the other foods you really love. Nutrient-dense foods will make you feel better (more energy, better digestion, more satisfying), but sometimes you’ll be craving something entirely different, and that’s ok. Eat it, don’t go crazy pants on the serving size, and enjoy it. It’s much easier to stay mindful and enjoy your food if you’re not thinking “omg I haven’t had this in so long, must eat as much as I can as quickly as possible.” If you make it no big deal, it will be no big deal, and will not have a negative impact on your goals. 

I share more about my history with diet and fitness in “HIIT It!” (and really poured my heart into the pages), if you’d like to check it out. <3

Did it take a while for you to learn moderation, or is it something that’s always come naturally to you?

What was a turning point or something that influenced your health or fitness journey?

As always, I can’t wait to read your thoughts and comments.



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  1. Paige @ Dimpled Inspiration on March 11, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Love this! This has totally been my mentality through high school and college. Now that I’ve entered a career and had to learn to better manage my time – I’ve really changed my thoughts on exercise and diet. If you want that homemade cookie, eat that homemade cookie. I believe that when I only allow a food to be “okay to eat” for one day, I indulge in waaaay too much of it. Little treats here and there work for me too. Great post!

  2. Jackie on March 11, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I loved this post. Being the younger of the two siblings I adopted that “all or nothing” mentality from a young age. My older brother not doing the best job as one of the children, I wanted to make up for his shortcomings by doing everything with perfection.
    I took that into my weight loss for years. Thinking if it all doesn’t happen JUST RIGHT, then it’s not worth doing. I finally let that go 2 years ago and not only manged to lose 30 pounds, but kept it off!
    Now I’m on the Weight Watchers track again…I’m ready to lose about 10 more…and reading about your take on “cheat days” and the food I want to eat is uplifting and is helping me put a spin on WW this time to truly make it a lifestyle change.
    I will be cheating this weekend at a new restaurant! Hahaha.

  3. Karen on March 11, 2015 at 8:48 am

    ITA! Moderation is the best…only way I’ve been able to enjoy my life and stay fit. That and keeping very active! I never tell myself I can’t have something…I just eat it, then move on. 80/20 is what works for me.

  4. Kyra on March 11, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I’ve gotten much better at moderation in the past year or so. A key thing for me to keep cravings for not-so-healthy things at bay is to make sure I eat consistently throughout the day so I’m never starving and reach for the sweetest thing I can find. I also focus on how certain foods make me feel after I eat them. There are certain foods I love (pizza, a good burger) that I would never give up. Like you said, I savor it and move on!

  5. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on March 11, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Hi Gina, I love how you can pull from your experience to show how you’ve gotten to where you are. And the fact that pregnancy helped you get there is awesome. I like to eat a variety of foods and don’t say no to anything, but prefer to keep those choices to the weekends mostly. It seems to work for me. 🙂 Happy Wednesday to you!

  6. Kristen on March 11, 2015 at 8:57 am

    In highschool and early college years I had a terrible eating disorder. One day, I watched my very healthy (90 yrs old at the time!) grandmother eating a piece of homemade pie. I started asking her questions about her lifestyle and how she ate. She said she never dieted. She just ate real food all of her life. She didn’t have the option to eat processed foods and restaurant foods like we do. She ate homemade food and even had some kind of homemade dessert every single day! And she got her exercise from walking everywhere, working in the fields, and chasing kids around. Obviously things are different these days, but it is still the same concept. Eat real food and get off your butt and do something! It really is that simple. My grandmother lived to be 97 and died peacefully in her sleep of old age. Maybe she just got lucky, but I like to think her way of living had a little something to do with it too 😉

  7. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on March 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I love this post Gina! It is so heartfelt, real and true. I couldn’t agree more with your philosophies too. I do think it be owns a thousand times easier when you do eat what you want. It doesn’t become an obsession then or cycle of binge days. I do have one question. How does this relate to calories? I know for me I still have to track my calories to keep myself honest otherwise I go overboard. I hope a day comes post my 80 pound weight loss that I can leave that behind and eat intuitively. Excellent post!

  8. Anita on March 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I loved this whole post, and I’m loving your book! I read it over lunch and always go back to work feeling inspired. 🙂

    Always, Anita

  9. Taca @ A Side Of Dessert on March 11, 2015 at 9:01 am

    I absolutely love this post! I love that you found your way to moderation and it’s something I truly live by. I’m not one to pass up a slice of cake but I definitely make an effort to keep things balanced overall. I’m Type A as well so in the beginning I had to take quite the effort to keep moderation in mind but now it comes naturally and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  10. Jess on March 11, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I have been an avid reader of your blog for some time now and I love how open you are with your fitness journey.
    I’m not big on adding comments but I felt compelled to let you know that as a 20-something woman who has been on my own journey from junk food lover to understanding the importance of balance and healthy eating that I appreciate your “real talk” on health and fitness! There is so much garbage targeted at women to shame us that I find your page refreshing and uplifting!!

    Sending a big thank you all the way from the east coast of Canada!

  11. Melissa on March 11, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Beautiful post! Balance!

  12. Chrissy @ Pink Polish and Running Shoes on March 11, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I used to an all or nothing girl, which led to some really unhealthy eating and exercising habits. It’s been a little bit of a struggle for me, but in the past year or so things have really started to fall into place as I revaluate what healthy living means and try to make choices that honor my body instead of punishing it. There hasn’t been one thing in particular that’s caused this. it’s more like a subtle mind shift.

  13. kristin | W [H] A T C H on March 11, 2015 at 9:27 am

    i take a similar approach to enjoying everything. one thing that has helped me is to mentally affirm how good i feel after a day of healthy eating.

  14. CW on March 11, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Gina, I’ve read your blog from its very beginning and always enjoy it. I had to take a few years off due to my eating disorder rearing its ugly head again and I found my regular blog reads were triggering some things for me. I’m happy to say I’ve found my way back to a healthy lifestyle and almost every point you brought up is something I’ve lived. Thank you for posting in such a positive manner (and I’m also thankful for your disclaimers at the top in case I’m having a harder day than usual). Thank you!

    • Fitnessista on March 11, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      so happy to hear you’re recovering and taking good care of yourself. thank you so much for reading <3 xo

  15. Deanna on March 11, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I love this! I’ve been trying to lose the weight I gained over Christmas, and it’s been such a challenge because while I’ve been great during the week, I’ve been giving myself cheat weekends. I need to re-learn moderation. And I love that you were able to embrace moderation because of Liv.

  16. Racheal @ Running with Racheal on March 11, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for writing this Gina! I completely agree with you, and am striving to reach that level of comfortable moderation.

    I agree too, that my ideas on diet and nutrition changed a lot when I was pregnant. Now that I am pregnant again, I feel like I am approaching this pregnancy with a much healthier mindset on food.

    I plan to share this article with my friends. Thanks again!

  17. Melissa on March 11, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve struggled with aspects of eating (restricting, food guilt, etc) over the years and I would say that visiting a nutritionist nearly 2 years ago has made a 1000% difference in the way I look at food. Eliminating calling things “good” or “bad” is such a mental shift and something I really feel like I have put behind me.

    I think that’s why I seriously dislike the term “cheat day” or “cheat” because it still puts a qualifier on the food or the action and brings up elements of “guilt” associated with eating something that is meant to be enjoyed. Not calling anyone out on that but I think it goes back to the grand scheme approach and something that Anne wrote about so eloquently a few weeks ago (Being Healthy Means not always being healthy) 🙂

  18. Denise on March 11, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I LOVE this post, keep these honest, soul search-y type ones coming! Two things I’d love to share with you:

    1. I think you’re right in that this worked for you, though I think some people are “moderators” and some people are “abstainers” (check out Gretchen Rubin, who wrote ‘The Happiness Project’ and has a blog, on this), e.g. some people find negotiating with themselves on “moderation” FAR more exhausting and stressful than just giving up something altogether. I think this is truly a personal thing – for a long time I thought I was an “abstainer” and would do better being “free” from certain temptations, but now realize, like you, that I do better if I know I can have chocolate if I want it, but overall eat less of it than when I was having a cheat day!

    2. You’re in a tricky position, because I think readers (like me) are super inspired by your weight loss and lifestyle transformation, but to be honest, your big results in the beginning (as you pointed out, though not super explicitly in this post) did come from very exact calorie counting and making sure you were in an energy/caloric deficit. As someone who has lost a lot of weight recently doing the old school calorie counting, I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see that “moderation” rarely brings on the kind of weight loss transformation a lot of women are looking for. I DESPERATELY wish more fitness folks were honest about this – that the “weight loss” period versus maintenance can look VERY different from one another, and to get the results you want, you have to be way more diligent than a “I’ll just be healthy and do things in moderation”. I think you’ve alluded to this with your “weight loss phase” versus “maintenance”, but I’d love to see it more honestly acknowledged on the blog – moderation is great for maintenance, but there’s no way to lose a considerable amount of weight without being conscious of calorie consumptions, and to some degree, macros.

    • Vera on March 11, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      I completely agree with ALL thatyou have written here Denise. For me, if I am not following a strict calorie counting regimen, I will NOT lose weight, no matter how healthy and unprocessed the food is. I have tried numerous diets that say as long as you eat healthy fat and protein and limit your carbs to an extent, you will lose weight….but it does not work unless you are in a calorie deficit. At least for weight loss…maintenace may be totally different, but sadly I am not at that point of my journey quite yet. I would also LOVE to hear Gina comment about this as well.

    • Fitnessista on March 11, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      thanks for the awesome comment <3
      i'm really interested to read her book! i've heard amazing things about it, and can totally see how different philosophies would work for different personality types
      and you're right; i did lose the weight by carefully counting calories, moderating what i ate, and how i worked out. now, i know that a calorie is a calorie, and you can still lose weight if you treat yourself (and stay within that deficit). BUT, that's not how i did it; i know it's possible, but i can't speak from experience. weight loss and maintenance mode do look entirely different. for me, weight loss mode was declining bread and dessert and wine with dinner. maintenance is having bits of 2 out of the 3. it's largely about habits, but really comes down to calories in vs. calories out.

  19. Cara's Healthy Cravings on March 11, 2015 at 9:50 am

    I have always been a moderation eater. I hate the thought of not eating something or restricting myself if I crave it. Finding balance, in diet, exercise, work etc. is part of an overall healthy lifestyle, in my opinion.
    Especially when my job revolves around food, moderation is key.

  20. Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me on March 11, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Agh, I am currently working on this aspect of my health, and I have a feeling it will be a lifelong journey of fluidity. I think it changes from season to season, and that is perfectly okay! As someone who is recovering from an eating disorder, I need to be careful to make sure I don’t eat “too healthy.” There is a beautiful life out there for me filled with brownies and ice cream. I want THAT life. No one will notice the extra ten pounds on my body except for me, and I can learn to deal with it. I definitely want to be as mentally strong as I can be, because one day I want to be a mom as well. To do that, I need to be able to eat to sustain a beautiful child as well. That is probably my biggest motivation for working through these issues of mine, and I am proud to say I have made so much progress!

    Thank you Gina for sharing your thoughts on the subject. It is always beneficial for me to hear how others approach their philosophies surrounding food, and I am growing from your words. I really appreciate you sharing a voice on the topic!

  21. Jill @ Champagne for Everyday on March 11, 2015 at 10:03 am

    This is a great post! I think the key is listening to your body about the nutrition it wants. It’s not very often I crave junk, but when I do, I have some. I still feel my very best fueling with whole, unprocessed, clean food most of the time, but there are tons of ways to make it taste delicious!

    I do crave Quest Bars (Cookies and Cream) A LOT, so try not to overdo it on those since they have so much FIBER. I could eat 4 a day!

    xx Jill
    Latest post: Opinion of a Fit Girl – The Latest Fitness Trends

    • Fitnessista on March 11, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      do they hurt your stomach? i had one, and it tasted SO GOOD, but the sugar alcohols killed my stomach

  22. Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola on March 11, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Gina- I completely agree with your eating philosophy here. I’m a dietitian, and I hardly see patients be successful with an ‘all or nothing’ mentality. In fact, I think this leads to disordered eating in some ways because someone is now focused on all of the things they can and cannot have rather than having a healthy relationship with food. I think if someone focuses their diet on whole, healthy foods then they will feel mostly satisfied and 1.) not crave unhealthy things quite as much, as well as 2.) find that they have plenty of room in their diet for a treat every now and then. Thanks for sharing your story!

  23. Julie on March 11, 2015 at 10:22 am

    I went through the same journey you did, including pregnancy being a big eye-opener for me. Once I eased up on myself & stopped see-sawing between rigid eating & exercise “rules” & allowed myself treats & rest days w/o feeling guilty, it was life changing! It wasn’t until after I let up on the “all or nothing” mentality that I was finally successful in keeping the weight off (for years now!). I still struggle w/ old habits rearing their ugly head once in awhile, but it’s true that the body will adjust & start craving the healthy options after a few days of gluttony (I’m lookin’ at you, Xmas holiday season). I truly feel so much better when I’m eating right & exercising. Great post!

  24. Linda @ TheFitty on March 11, 2015 at 10:37 am

    I’m Leo a type A personality and i am afraid to let go sometimes because I will spin out of control and fall way back behind, or so I fear. Did you experience this at any point when you started. giving yourself someslack with diet and fitness?

    Also, I feel like type A gets more done and more accomplished,so that’s why im reculant to give her up sometimes, any thoughts?

    • Fitnessista on March 11, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      i totally used to feel the same way, but then i went for it, and none of my fears came true. since i lost a significant amount of weight, i was always worried about it coming back
      i think there are some parts of type a to hold onto (it’s how i get things done!) and others to try and let go (like the self-criticizing).

  25. Whitney on March 11, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Awesome post, thank you for sharing!

  26. Erin @ Erin's Inside Job on March 11, 2015 at 10:50 am

    It definitely too me a long time to get into a healthy mindset about eating. I would be extremely restrictive and it took me learning through trial and error that the more I do that, the more likely I am to fail at my goals. Now when I want something sweet, I will usually eat it. When I spend most of my time eating healthy, I tend to crave sugar less in general so when I want it, I will eat some delicious donuts and gelato!

  27. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on March 11, 2015 at 11:03 am

    When I initially got into fitness I was very all or nothing too. I would eat perfectly and then feel out of control when I decided I could indulge. Now I have little treats here and there and it feels way more balanced. Great post!

  28. CP on March 11, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Great post! Thanks for sharing! I was wondering if you had any difficulties transitioning from the all or nothing mindset to moderation. I am currently trying to eat anything I want in moderation instead of making foods off limits because I end up binging when I do that, but I still struggle with allowing myself to eat anything I want and at the same time not going overboard. I’m not sure if you had any similar issues or if you have any tips?

    • Fitnessista on March 11, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      it was a long and gradual process for me, even from the transition from diet foods to whole foods. i think just take it slowly, and start to add things back in one at a time? i also like the idea to plan out treats or things you may be wanting, so you know you have something to look forward to but don’t have to skip it entirely.

  29. Shae @ Finance & Fitness on March 11, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I love this post. I can absolutely relate and agree with your insights. I feel like I have come a long way by practicing good habits, but it really and truly is a balancing act.

  30. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries on March 11, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Love, love, love this! I’m very similar to you – I’m Type A and totally have that all or nothing mentality. It ended up affecting my eating and exercise habits for several years, and resulted in terrible cycles of bingeing and restricting on both food and exercise. It was finally when I wanted to get pregnant, and my body and hormones were all out of whack when things changed for me. I learned how to better listen to my body, and I really had to reevaluate what was truly important in my life. It instantly changed my perspective, and ever since, I’ve had a much easier time looking at food and exercise in moderation. I’m also much happier and healthier because of it! Yay for moderation! 🙂

  31. Ashley on March 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Love this! I also love your awareness and head’s up to readers about triggering topics. I agree that an all or nothing mindset really sent me spiraling in unhealthy heating habits. The deprivation and fear of food is so exhausting! It feels better to know I can control what goes into my body based on my needs, I don’t need to follow someone else’s rules!

  32. Lisa on March 11, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    My problem is i want 4 slices of pizza not 1!! How do you control your portions so well!

    • Fitnessista on March 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      i eat often throughout the day so when pizza time comes, i’m not starving, just pleasantly hungry. i’ll also usually have a salad or something with my entree

  33. Kerry on March 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Brilliant post! I have the same mentality and find myself doing good all week and then binging at the weekend, I’m currently trying to stop this and allow myself a few treats throughout the week so i don’t feel the need to binge at the weekend! x

  34. Sherri @ fun fit flavor on March 11, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Love this! Everything clicked for me about 8 years ago when I started losing weight/being healthier by adding my old favorite foods back into my diet. It’s amazing what can happen once you’re satisfied. Thanks for sharing!

    • Fitnessista on March 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      totally agree. you don’t feel the need to go overboard if you don’t feel like you’re missing out

  35. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on March 11, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Love this! I had a similar experience going from diet food to eating more whole foods and allowing myself to enjoy the things I love. Moderation is key!

  36. Kate @KateMovingForward on March 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Moderation is something I am still learning. It’s easy for me to give myself too many cheats and let a lot of little things slide which nullifies all the hard work I’m putting out in the gym! Right now I’m using WW which has room built in each week for treats but overall focuses you on eating good-for-you food. It’s working well at helping me retrain my boundaries.

  37. Alex @ True Femme on March 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I really love reading posts like these! I used to struggle with an “all or nothing” mentality, which really got me into trouble because it contributed to developing Anorexia, and my life was really miserable. One of the hardest things for me was getting back into fitness during my recovery, because I thought that if I wasn’t a hard-core gym rat then why bother. I started doing yoga and that was such an amazing thing for me in my early recovery days, because it really helped me get in touch with my body again in a gentle way. I was also able to start running and I got into Pure Barre, and fitness became a way of life. I also realized that I had to fuel myself properly or I wouldn’t have the energy to do these activities. Admittedly, I still have to be really careful because of my history so I can’t label foods “off limits” or “bad” because I don’t want to go back into a pattern of restricting. Moderation is vital for me, because I definitely take things to the extreme. Like you said, when you tell yourself you can’t have something it becomes much more desirable. Nowadays, I don’t get a ton of cravings for things like pizza and donuts, but when I do, I have them. The world won’t end with a slice or two of pizza 🙂

  38. Amanda @ Slimplify Life on March 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Great post! I used to be an extreme yo-yo dieter where I was either having a “good” eating day or a “bad” eating day. My turning point was when I started really getting into running and realized that food is fuel. I really just focus on intuitive eating and my body really does crave healthy, fresh, non-processed foods now. It also makes #allthedifference in my skin. My overall happiness has skyrocketed too :).

  39. Michele on March 11, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Gina, do you know the comments can’t be seen? There’s just like a long grey strip going down the left side of the page.

    • Masala Girl on March 12, 2015 at 12:11 am

      yeah! only on this page for whatever reason… it loooks like it would on a skinny phone! 🙁

      • Fitnessista on March 12, 2015 at 10:17 pm

        did it fix the prob??

  40. Christina on March 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing, this really hits home to me as I too have an all or nothing mentality. I am still working on figuring out how to work moderation into my eating plan but its comforting to know that you were able to get to that place. 🙂

  41. Katie on March 11, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I wish that every single person that is currently “dieting” would receive this blog post in an email! It took me a looooong time to understand moderation because I’m an all or nothing type of girl too, I blame the type a 😉 I couldn’t agree more that pregnancy helps you learn quickly because you’re growing a tiny little human! I also now eat everything & I know if I tell myself NO, I instantly want it more!

  42. Rhiannon @ Bound to be a Buckeye on March 12, 2015 at 4:21 am

    I completely understand the all or nothing attitude. I admit having that notion in the back of my mind growing up caused me to not try a ton of things. I thought if I wasn’t the best, I shouldn’t bother trying and I regret that now. I’m hoping our child has a combo of our personalities because my husband will do anything! My BIL was the one who inspired me to start eating Paleo/Primal. I’ve always been a petite person, but I didn’t take care of myself. Changing my eating and starting Crossfit allowed me to be healthier and leaner. Which were two things I knew I wanted before I got pregnant. If I was going to grow a tiny human, I wanted to create a good environment for that!

  43. Cassie T on March 12, 2015 at 5:31 am

    Great post, Gina! I LOOOOVE your balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle and think you’re setting such a good example for your daughter and readers. I’ve struggled with the all-or-nothing mentality my whole life as well and it’s great to know that others do too.

    I’d love to see a post about how your clean eats vs. treat balance changes between weight loss (or fitness gains) mode and maintenance mode as well as how you maintain while traveling/vacationing/etc. It’s easy to think I’ll eventually reach “maintenance mode” and can enjoy treats then, but need to go all-or-nothing while trying to lose weight or improve fitness…then when I travel and can’t sustain long, daily workouts or prepping my own healthy food, I feel like it’s a huge step back.

  44. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on March 12, 2015 at 5:48 am

    We are quite similar. 🙂 I am also a first-born, Type-A, recovering all-or-nothing thinker. The thing I’ve learned about myself is I do need treats in my everyday life and I’ve learned ways to incorporate them without feeling guilty and actually enjoying them-usually a small piece of dark chocolate many days of the week, sometimes a little yogurt/PB/choc chip concoction, other times a glass of wine.
    I need to be careful around the holidays and other celebrations because I can definitely get on the sugar train easily and then it’s more effort than usual to get myself off, but it’s always worth it. Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often because I’m gluten intolerant and most items available at said celebrations are full of gluten. 🙂

  45. Addison on March 12, 2015 at 5:59 am

    One of my favorite concepts on this is that pendulum effect, that as far as you swing one way, the repercussions will come back in equal and opposite force. Like when I used to restrict myself to never ever ever eating sweets, when I had a “cheat day” I would eat 7 servings worth to make up for the 7 days I didn’t have sweets. Moderation is so so so key!

  46. Cassie Vaughn on March 12, 2015 at 6:44 am

    I also struggled for YEARS with eating and exercise. When I switched to a clean eating plan, everything changed. That was the trigger that allowed me to understand the connection between food and health. Once I understood – and truly felt- the connection between feeling good and what I ate, it all became easier. I think the hard part for a lot of people who are constantly dieting and struggling with weight is that they’ve never felt that connection to their body before. Once you feel that, it all works out.

  47. Elle on March 12, 2015 at 10:21 am

    It has taken me a while to learn moderation. I always felt bad when I “indulged”, but its just not realistic (or very healthy) to completely restrict yourself. I know I’m much happier with moderation. Life is too short not to indulge a little, but its also too short not to take care of your body!

  48. Dulce on March 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Hi there! Long time reader, first time commenting. This post makes me happy to read. For awhile, the one of healthiest things I did was not read your blog (I’m not trying to be mean, just honest) because of your all or nothing mentality. This was hard because I am the same way and found myself fighting the same battles; I.E I won’t eat that because I know it has refined sugars, even though I knew it wasn’t the refined sugars that I was really afraid of. I’m sticking to the “grand scheme of things” approach and have been able to successfully maintain my weight where I am happy and do not feel deprived for the first time in 5 years (when I first began my fitness journey).

    Believe it or not, the big changer for me was working on a commercial fishing boat with my husband last summer. I cooked to compliment the amount of excruciating physical work that we were all doing — lots of nutrient dense foods, “good carbs” and tons of salmon cooked in a million different ways — but this is were I truly learned that because we were eating so well, and working so hard that when someone gave us two dozen cookies for the crew to share, it was OK if I had one or two. Anyway, it’s a struggle to find what works best for us. Kudos. To the both of us 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 15, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      thank you so much for reading for so long and for saying hi. love that you’ve been able to make similar changes and are enjoying life (and cookies! so good haha) while taking care of yourself <3 xoxo

  49. Becky on March 21, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Awesome post! Couldn’t agree more 🙂

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