After reading Kerryn's post about the fruitcake figure chick, I decided to weigh in on the old concept of moderation myself. Being in action mode is definitely highlighting to me what I need to do exactly to get competition ready. I've written a bit about my experience with Paleolithic type eating and I've seen the effects of all types of nutrition regimes on my clients - so I'm feeling quite qualified to throw my two cents worth in.
To me, total moderation and total balance is a myth, unless you're the Dali Lama. We're always in a state of flux and moving towards a goal, or simply paddling to keep ourselves from giving into the current and going downstream. Fruitcake alludes to being completely focused and that she doesn't do moderation well - she has a point where it comes to reaching a goal, that is if you are to succeed then you must devote appropriate time, attention and focus to achieving that goal. That is, the goal needs to be prioritized, and dealt with accordingly.
However, as Kerryn says, being extreme all year round isn't healthy, physically or mentally. Having a bit of "dirt" every now and again is good for the soul. Imagine not being able to share a meal with friends because it's not "perfect". The social aspect to sharing a beautiful meal cannot and should not be denied. My only caveat is that it's not a trigger food, the type where one bite is too many and a thousand are never enough.
The whole trigger food thing puts a spanner in the works for a blanket approval of "moderation". I have some great papers of some studies suggesting that sugar changes brain biochemistry to the point of mimicking heroin addicts... definitely food for thought. Trigger foods can be equated to being pushed off a building, you just have to take one bite and then the rest is done for you...down, down, down you fall into a pit of hurt, hate and self loathing..all because you perhaps have unfavourable brain chemistry when it comes to dealing with sugar.
I have written several times about how baking cookies and cakes is my Achilles heel - I'm like a drug addict - I simply cannot be moderate about this stuff once I've taken the first bite. As everyone is aware, it's difficult for the drug addict to be "moderate" about his addiction. I watch for potential triggers in clients when they say "I MUST have x food" - there's the absolute coming in again or "I'm ADDICTED to chocolate"..
So to sum up I believe that you should (and can) be moderate about most things, however there are times when you should not be moderate and get a grip that x food or drink may have to be off limits for a trial period.
Gravitating towards whole foods and less stuff out of packets is the easiest way to begin I think. Cooking from scratch has more benefits (for me, that is cooking savoury stuff from scratch!) - no added chemicals, preservatives or the like.
Meanwhile life goes on - I'm sitting here being thankful that Indian is not a trigger food for me and neither is Vietnamese. We had the nicest dinner last night - go the gai larn is what I say! Yummo :)
Training is going OK and after a few days of maintenance type calories , I'm back into the swing of looking for another 0.3-0.5kg off this week.