This post is from my dad, Clint Bravo, who also wrote his testimonial.
In my three and a half year paleo journey, I lost count the number of the times when discussing the subject of food, someone says, “Well, I believe in moderation!” To get the full effect you need to be viewing their body language, hear the inflection in their voice and in particular what is going on with their eyes. It as if they are proclaiming an avowed political or religious affiliation, moderation! Wow, Clint, your kind of going over the top. Well, this has become a familiar line I hear, when my so called “extreme” lifestyle comes up in the conversation. I have come to make it a case study, sizing up the previously mentioned observations and have been able over time to carefully craft my response and make a very good argument of Why Moderation Doesn’t Work!
Currently, I lead with one of two responses.
I might say, “You know that is exactly how I used to feel” I really thought I ate a healthy diet, loved to work out to the point of competing in a couple of ironman triathlons, and at the age of 50 had a stroke, a 90% Widow maker blockage and have four stents and am on my third pacemaker! I start out sharing we have common ground belief, give a dramatic pause and then let them know it didn’t work out so well for me. I tend to go this route when I am feeling playful, not wanting to spout a bunch of studies and facts about our modern industrial food supply and the correlation of the recent explosion of metabolic diseases. I just give my testimony on about how everything fell apart health wise for me and how that led me to my paleo journey. If you haven’t read about my story, you can find it here.
The second response usually comes out when I am feeling a little combative. The conversation just gravitates around food, particularly when I am at the gym and especially socializing at my local Covington Farmer’s Market. After the poor unsuspecting guy who just wants to buy some local honey or some vegetables, utters the familiar line when the food conversation comes up. “I believe in moderation!” I will chime in rather forcefully, “I believe the exact opposite.” After the person backs up a little, I remember to give a big smile to somewhat diffuse the situation and then go into my reasoning. Let’s take sugar for example; it is a substance that is practically impossible to avoid when eating in moderation. It is in items we don’t even suspect, such as bread, condiments and even ground beef from your local grocer! Now lets take the recreational drug cocaine, widely accepted in the medical community and the public, as the most addictive substance in the illegal drug trade. What is not commonly known is that sugar lights up the same brain receptors as cocaine and has been proven to be even more addictive. Would we tell a cocaine addict, “Just have a little bit of cocaine!” Moderation is a recipe for disaster for those addicted to processed foods and sugar. It just isn’t possible to have just a little. The deck is stacked against you!
Why diets fail is that people cannot take deprivation over a long period of time. The trick is to not feel deprived. Cooking and Preparing Real Food is satiating. I find myself eating less. Intermittent fasting comes naturally because I am just not hungry. I rarely cheat anymore, because I find that it will bring back cravings and usually my digestive system lets me know I should not have had that! I believe getting into this lifestyle, a Whole 30 approach is optimal because it will detoxify your addiction to the big offenders, sugar and wheat. Why do you think you feel so lousy during the initial period, your an addict without his or her fix! The science is compelling and becoming mainstream. Last night the national news ran a story that an Oreo is more addictive than cocaine. Sound familiar.
I have come to believe in moderation in one aspect of my life. That would be moderation in judgement. I have become less judgmental towards those struggling with obesity and corresponding metabolic disease. My role model in this area is Peter Attia, M.D. and his recent powerful Ted Talk. It makes me more sympathetic to the fact that these people don’t have a character flaw, but rather faced with a misguided government food pyramid and a lot of misinformation. I was 35 pounds heavier than I am today! I only came to this lifestyle because I had the proverbial gun to my head! Blame and judgement are a waste of time. Those of us who have had success in this lifestyle need to be part of the solution rather than pilling on to the problem. Let’s all follow Peter Attia’s lead, he is on to something!