Moderation seems to be a favourite approach to well, everything. Is it possible to go a week without hearing someone say “everything in moderation“?  

Despite it’s popularity, when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance, moderation is often a synonym for failure. I think there’s a very simple reason.

Think back over the past two weeks and ask yourself how many food or beverage items you consumed in moderation.

Maybe you have a glass of red wine most days? Nothing wrong with that. It’s even got some good stuff in it. Definitely moderation.

Maybe you also have dessert every second day? Which, as long as it’s a reasonable quantity can be considered moderation.

Maybe you also go out for dinner once a week and have a couple of beers, and maybe order your meal with fries? It’s only once a week, so that is also moderation.

red wine sxc

Unfortunately, when you add it up, it’s no longer moderation.

Moderation + Moderation + Moderation = Excess

Or as I like to call it, Cumulative Moderation.
My apologies for the bubbles I just burst. I know how you feel as this blog post is the result of having burst my own cumulative moderation bubble recently. I was taking part in our Get Lean program, which quickly made me realize that the glass of red wine almost every day with dinner AND the going out with friends glasses of wine AND the periodic trips to the cupboard for a small handful of chocolate chips was the reason my weight had slowly crept up over the previous year. That’s one of the problems with practising cumulative moderation: It makes for very slow increases in weight, which means the culprit habits are fully ingrained in your life before you notice.

If you think your moderation approach to weight loss or maintenance is not working out as you’d hoped, take a look at whether you’re actually practising cumulative moderation, and if so, it’s probably time to figure out how to practice actual moderation?


Elsbeth  Vaino is a personal trainer in Ottawa Canada who has welcomed actual moderation into her life. Most of the time.

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  1. Thanks for sharing! This approach seems to hit home for a lot of people. I’ve (finally!) come up with a maintenance approach that I will be suggesting for after the 8 weeks. It took me ages (like years) to get the details sorted so that it makes sense, but it looks like I’ve finally done it. Now to write it up and share it. Stay tuned!

  2. I am really enjoying your program especially the weekly focus points and the daily monitoring. This all keeps me focused and aware of what I am putting in my mouth and how much exercise I am getting.

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