The Moderation Myth

We have all heard it “everything in moderation is okay.” Weight loss groups tell their participants they can eat anything they desire as long as it’s in moderation. Take a small portion, eat it slowly, savor every bite and all will be fine. I wanted to believe it to be true and I gave it my all to eat the things I enjoy in moderation. IT DIDN’T WORK! If you go back and look at my blog postings when I began my public sharing about weight loss I pretty much ate most things from the SAD (standard American diet) in moderation. Even so my LDL cholesterol kept creeping up. I knew I didn’t want to start taking statin drugs and be on them for the rest of my life so I was on the search for a natural way to reduce my LDL. When I learned about a plant based diet and the benefits to my heart, cholesterol, weight and optimal health I knew I had found the answer!

All went well for quite some time. I lost weight, hubby lost weight. My LDL dropped down to under 100! Then I found Instagram and a whole new world of plant eaters and vegans opened up to me. I started buying lots of vegan cookbooks and baking all kinds of delicious plant based treats. About the same time my weight started to go up. Then I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I couldn’t lose the extra pounds even after going on medicine for my condition. For a while I decided to accept my fate – I was going to be overweight and there wasn’t going to be anything I could do about it. Defeat was looming over my head and I was even getting ready to do a complete sweep of my closet and get rid of my “skinny” clothes!


Then the tide turned. I have been a long time follower of Wendy @Healthy Girls Kitchen and saw her post about her success with Chef AJ & John Pierre’s Ultimate Weight Loss program. Chef AJ and John Pierre are well known and respected in the plant based community. They appear at multiple health events all year long to help educate the masses about whole food plant based eating and exercising. This dynamic duo have also been running a weight loss program in LA for the past several years and have had incredible success helping people lose weight on a whole food plant based diet. The emphasis being on “whole foods” no vegan junk food here! At Wendy’s urging to share their Ultimate Weight Loss program with the masses they decided to try an on line version of their weight loss program complete with a set of DVD’s and CD’s for our home use and I was able to get in on the first group to give the remote challenge a try. I got started on the program in February and I have never looked back.

Hiking Food Feb 2014 136 (640x480)

The Ultimate Weight Loss program is based on a Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) meal plan that is salt, oil and sugar free (SOS Free). These three ingredients make food highly addictive and you will find them in massive amounts in processed foods and most restaurant food. Some people are more sensitive to the SOS trio. When someone with a sensitivity to SOS consumes food with these ingredients it makes them want more and more. I am one of those people! The processed food industry had figured this out and all of their foods have been made to be addictive so we will eat more. With two thirds of the American poplulation overweight I would say the big food companies have achieved success.

On the UWL program we also avoid flour and alcohol as they are highly processed foods that actually react like sugar in your system, are highly addictive and lead to cravings for more. It’s all based on science and you can learn more about it by reading a wonderful book co-authored by Dr Doug Lisle aptly named The Pleasure Trap. There is a short  but very informative you tube video where Dr Lisle explains all about the Pleasure Trap. Google it and watch as its well worth your time.

Let me say that moderation does work for those rare people who are not highly sensitive to salt, oil, sugar and flour. We all know people who can have just a little of these highly palatable foods and not desire more. If that is you – be grateful  – and I am thrilled for you. That is not true for the majority of people.

We don’t have any control over how we are “hard wired” we are the way we are. We do have a choice about how we live, what we eat and how much we move our bodies through out the day. If like me, you have been a habitual yo-yo dieter losing and gaining the same pounds over and over then we must accept that eating anything we want in moderation is a myth for us. If moderation worked for us we wouldn’t continue to lose weight only to gain it back again. Once you get over the initial shock of this knowledge – for me it took a few days for it all to sink in. I didn’t want to believe it even though I knew it was true. Once you accept this as your truth you can move beyond it and start eating in a way that is health promoting, be free of cravings and lose weight!


This Chef AJ video gives you lots of great ideas on meals that are quick and easy, yet promote health and weight loss. I fill my food plan with plenty of non starchy vegetables first, fruits, legumes, whole grains and then starchy vegetables. The food plan is full of flavor, satisfying and satiating. Cravings are a thing of the past! When you fuel your body with nutrient rich foods it nourishes your mind, body and spirit.

A wonderful side affect to feeling awesome eating this way is that it also promotes weight loss!

After struggling this past year with my weight I wasn’t sure this program could work for me. When I questioned Chef AJ about it she told me that even people with hypothyroidism had been successful on this program – including herself. She said that everyone who had followed the programs protocols had lost weight. That made me hopeful but in the back of my mind I had some lingering doubts. I actually started to incorporate the protocols of the program into my food plan prior to the actual kick off of the challenge in February and lost a few pounds right away so to date I have lost 14 pounds on the UWL plan. I couldn’t be happier with my results. Other people who don’t have the thyroid issue are losing weight even faster. Hubby Tom who hurt his back right after I started this program has even lost weight despite the fact that he has been unable to exercise until this week and he is only about 90% compliant with the food plan.

Kick moderation to the curb – abstinence for me is a much healthier place to be! With the highly processed foods, fatty and salty foods out of my life I am so much happier.

What do I eat? Every fruit and vegetable (except high fat avocados), legumes, grains like quiona, brown rice, millet, all varieties of sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. These lower calorie, high nutrient foods are filling and promote good health. You can fill your plate with low calorie foods and they fill you up so you aren’t feeling hungry. These foods don’t cause cravings and you don’t find yourself thinking about food all the time like you do when you are on a deprivation diet. Our meals are quick and easy. Grocery shopping is a breeze – we get in and out of the produce department in record time! I love it.

To blog or not to blog?

I have been pretty quiet on the blog in the past year as I have been dealing with the affects of having hypothyroidism. Fatigue, fuzzy thinking and lack of concentration made it difficult to focus on writing posts for the blog. With medication for my thyroid and this incredibly healthy food plan, exercise and weight loss I am feeling so much better. My attitude has much improved and I have more energy and am starting to feel whole again.

For some time now I have been thinking about how to move forward with the blog. I have been eating a whole food plan based diet for 2 years now . I truly believe that it is the healthiest way to live. I don’t support eating the SAD – standard american diet which creates a dilemma for me. After talking with family and friends about this issue I have come to a decision. My family members, friends and long time blog readers rely on the SAD recipes that were previously posted on this blog. I have decided to keep those recipes here in their own SAD recipe files. My hope is that as people continue to come here for those recipes they will take the time to read my current posts – they will see the whole food plant based foods that are being shared and perhaps they will decided to branch out and try them. Maybe a post about healthy living on a plant based diet will eventually resonate with them and they will decided to test the waters and join me.

I have already seen how my choices have affected hubby Tom’s diet – he eats mostly plant based now. He is more interested in eating healthy and preventing disease. Yippe! Our daughter Katy cooks a lot of healthy plant based dishes for her and her husband. Even our son David just shared with me yesterday that he now orders sofritas the tofu based option at Chipotle and he skips the cheese. He even orders a tofu and veggie option at the Thai restaurant. I never thought I would see that happen. So if I keep on doing what I am doing – I can continue to share with everyone the benefits of this lifestyle. You never know who I might influence along the way.

I will be posting more about a whole food plant based diet with recipes, sharing food finds, kitchen gadgets, eating out and travel tips!

You can also stay in touch with my Nutmeg Notebook Facebook page, Nutmeg Notebook on the Instagram App and Nutmeg Notebook on the You Food App for logging food and exercise.

My hope is that you will follow along and enjoy the adventure.



Feel free to ask questions or leave a comment!

Does eating any and everything in moderation work for you?



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2 pings

  1. Hubby Tom says:

    When it is all so delicious, it is so easy to like, who needs beef.

  2. Sarah Swan says:

    Tami, it has been a pleasure to get to know you on the Ultimate Weight Loss private Facebook page. This has been just as much of a journey of self-discovery for me as I am sure it has been for you.

    I have struggled with eating the wrong foods my whole life. I am a reasonably intelligent person yet was not able to handle the whole concept of ‘moderation’. I even went thru Gastric Bypass surgery over 10 years ago and the weight slowly was creeping back on. It wasn’t until Chef AJs teleclasses on food addiction where the light bulb went off. When she offered her distant UWL program I felt compelled to give it a try. It has been so uplifting to be free of the cravings and constant internal battle in my head with regards to eating this processed food or that processed food. My mind is now clear and I am loving this new life of whole foods. People may think this is an extreme and restrictive way of eating but I found being overweight restrictive.

    I hope all that read your blog will seriously consider checking into this program or pick up a copy of Dr. McDougall’s Maximum Weight Loss book. It is well worth it!

    1. Tami says:

      Sarah I know exactly how you feel! I have learned so much about my relationship with food the past two months from Chef AJ, Jay Pea and the experts on the teleconferences. It has been life changing. I feel the same way you do, free from the chatter in my mind that was all about food – what to eat – how much to eat – when to start the new next diet. It was exhausting!I love what you wrote “People may think this is an extreme and restrictive way of eating but I found being overweight restrictive.” So true. We now have freedom!

      Thank you for taking the time to share your story and for your honesty. I know it will help all who read it.



  3. Caroline W says:

    Thank you for your honest post about your journey to this way of eating. I am in the new UWL program intake and really enjoying the food. I too followed a plant based diet but without much success. Did not want to admit I couldn’t handle moderation but finally had my moment of truth. I have been eating this way for three weeks now and feel so much better. Still have to consciously make plans and choices but I am sure these will become easier with time. Your comments on your family are hopeful to me as I journey with my omnivore husband. Tonight he said he enjoyed a Jeff Novick stew, progress!!

    1. Tami says:

      Welcome to the UWL group Caroline! You are in good company. It does keep getting easier and pretty soon you won’t even have to think about it as this way of eating will become your normal habit. I love what you wrote, “Did not want to admit I couldn’t handle moderation but finally had my moment of truth.” I think that was true for many of us. I so wanted to buy into the moderation myth and kept trying to make it work. Don’t give up on your husband joining in – many of us live with omni loved ones. I never would have thought my meat loving hubby would have come this far with eating a WFPB diet. Eventually the plants do seem to win them over! Watching Forks Over Knives was a turning point for him. Last night we watched Fed Up together and that was very helpful and informative. I am so excited for your journey with the UWL group – the mental transformation is remarkable and where the mind goes the body follows.

      Thank you for your heartfelt comments here. I look forward to getting to know you better!



  4. Donna Weifert says:

    Great blog Tami. This program is working well for me, too. Who would have thought it would be so easy?

    1. Tami says:

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment Donna. You are so correct with what you wrote “Who would have thought it would be so easy?” If only we had known about this years ago we could have saved ourselves a lot of years of frustration! At least we know now what to do and its so freeing and yes indeed easy!

      I look forward to seeing you reach your health goals. You are really working the program!



  5. Chef AJ says:

    Abstinence is bliss!!

    1. Tami says:

      Abstinence is bliss is right Chef AJ! I am so grateful to have found your program. I have learned so much about health, wellness and nutrition from you and Jay Pea the past two months. It has all changes my life! I can’t thank you enough for all you two have done for our UWL group. I hope we can pass it forward and help even more people who are struggling.



  6. JUDE says:

    The moderation thing is hard for me and trigger foods: nuts, crunchy corn tortillas, popcorn, anything made with oil. 1/4 of an avocado-ha! I have found abstinence works better.

    1. Tami says:

      Jude I couldn’t agree with your more! I though abstinence was going to be difficult but instead it is freeing! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment here. It will help all who read it.



  7. Lani says:

    Thank you for your erudite message about the conversion to a full no oil SOS diet. I don’t think that anyone who has not tried it can fully understand what a difference it makes in one’s life until they have fully experienced it. I commend you on getting the word out to others to help them pursue a more healthy life style experience. It is not about giving up foods, but of choosing others and finding that after awhile those foods become the “drug” of choice..

    1. Tami says:


      Thank you for such a thoughtful and articulate comment. I really like what you wrote “It is not about giving up foods, but of choosing others and finding that after awhile those foods become the “drug” of choice.” Yes indeed that is so true.

      I had no idea how powerful and transforming this program was going to be either.

      Thank you for your support.


  8. Olga says:

    How to get started? should I deny all bad food and start eat veggies and beens rigt away or should i refuse sos food and meat slowly?

  9. Tami says:

    Well Olga that is hard to say. Are you already eating a plant based diet? Some people can jump right in and go plant based SOS, flour and alcohol free and others need to transition into it. Only you can decided which way will work best for you.

    I was already eating a whole food plant based diet when I started eliminating these other foods from my diet. I had also read a lot about plant based eating and watched documentaries about it like Forks Over Knives and Fed up.

    Can you tell me where you are as far as your diet is concerned right now?

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