You know that classic diet advice “Everything in moderation”? Well, it may be failing you, says Robb Wolf, author of Wired to Eat ($27; amazon.com). For starters, it’s an ambiguous concept; research shows we tend to have varying definitions of “moderate” portions. What’s more, some people are better than others at stopping after a few bites of an indulgence, says Wolf, a former research biochemist who has provided nutrition counseling for NASA and the U.S. Marine Corps.
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In his book, he advises readers to consider whether they’re a “moderator” or an “abstainer” (a concept he borrowed from habit expert Gretchen Rubin). Moderators feel satisfied after enjoying a small amount of a favorite treat (say, one oatmeal cookie), and that helps them stay on track. But for abstainers, a taste of their so-called trigger foods can send them off the rails. (In other words, if they have one cookie, they’ll inhale the entire sleeve.) So it’s ideal for abstainers to give up trigger foods entirely. Wolf suggests getting them out of the house ASAP. And soon, thanks to your evolving neurocircuitry, you’ll likely crave those foods less.