In the world of fitness and nutrition, you have to be comfortable in dealing with contradictions. You have to learn to dig deeper, probe and ask the right question. The issue is that most often, you don't know enough to ask the right question. You learn that only along the way. You realise that you are doing the wrong thing only when you've done the wrong thing enough times. That's how it is, and that's okay.
Here are a couple of contradictions.
All diets work. None of them works.
You can eat doughnuts and burgers and lose weight. All you have to do is ensure that you are on a calorie deficit. You'll find a lot of stunts on the internet proving this.
Let's say you need to eat 1200 calories. That's not a lot of doughnuts and pizza. That's the issue. But if you can suck it up and deal with it, great. Do it for a month and you will lose weight. Crazy!
Of course, you can eat 1200 calories of vegetables and you will lose weight as well. Most probably the quality of weight loss is higher, your health is better and all that. But what is the problem you are trying to solve? If you want to have your cake and lose weight too, just eat the requisite calories of cake and nothing else, and you can do it.
Of course, doing these are hard. There's not enough pizza to go around when it is 1200 calories/day. And eating 1200 calories of vegetables-only is so hard and so boring. Ughhh.
If you do it, you will lose weight. Yaay, all nonsensical stupid diets work.
If you don't do it, you won't lose weight. Even the best diet in the world won't.
Zero means zero. Zero doesn't mean zero.
Sometimes, you have to flip a switch. No sugar means no sugar.
Sometimes, you have to figure out sustainability. A square of dark chocolate, a weekly ice cream, a beer with friends - a few things in moderation is the way to go.
You have to work yourself out. You have to leave enough in the tank at the end of the session.
Lying down in a pool of your sweat feels good. You killed that session. You worked out hard and the dopamine rush feels amazing.
This is definitely okay. But occasionally.
Most of the time, you want to leave the gym feeling stronger than you came in. That means you pushed your upper limit just a wee bit. You could've lifted more but you didn't. Coz you have a life to get back to. Coz you have 1000 more training sessions.
Life is full of contradictions. Well, at least, fitness and nutrition are filled with it.
Sometimes, you have to do this. Sometimes, you have to do that.
The time window with which you are looking at things is a crucial factor.
If you want to lose weight in 4 weeks, and to heck with the consequences and the difficulties and all that - then this is not a time for moderation.
But if you want to keep getting stronger year after year, stay in shape for the long-term, you have to find the right balance between unsustainable behaviour (little spurts of it) with sustainable, sensible behaviour (long stretches of it).
That's how it is.
You can try to prove me wrong. But I wish I made all of this up and it was my theory. Nah, all of this is handed down to me by giants. I am just spreading the word.
Or you can reach deep down to the sensible person who you shut up when they keep saying reasonable things.
Remember, just solve the maze from the end. And then repeat the steps on the way forward.