“Sure I love cake, but in moderation.”
“Of course I still buy Oreos, but I only eat them in moderation.”
“I love to have a drink every now and then, but only in moderation.”
“I love popcorn when I am watching a movie, but I eat it in moderation.”
Do these phrases sound familiar? I am quite sure all of us have said at least one of them and some if us, maybe all of them! Moderation is a really popular word. We like to use it when we describe our indulgences.
Here is the actual definition:
1.the avoidance of excess or extremes, esp. in one’s behavior or political opinions.“he urged the police to show moderation”
synonyms: self-restraint, restraint, self-control, self-command, self-discipline;
For many people, moderation is a way of life. We have drinks socially or eat cake on a birthday only, or buy a pack of cookies and can eat one every week or so and it is no problem. There is a completely different group of people out there, and I am part of this group. This is a group of people who struggle with weight. Some struggle with 15-20 pounds and some struggle with 40-50. Others struggle with 100+ extra pounds. For this group, moderation really does become tricky. If you look at the definition of moderation as posted above, you will see that the synonyms are- self-restraint, restraint, self-control, and self-discipline. I just have to ask myself, if moderation works so well for me, then why was I almost 350 pounds? Why couldn’t I eat the not so healthy things in moderation? Did moderation work out for me? Well obviously it did not.
Of course not! So clearly I was not really good at moderation when it came to food. Especially so in the case of those carbs I was addicted to like chips and popcorn and Doritos and nachos. I needed a tool to keep me in moderation, and in some cases abstinence!
Another big issue is how we all measure moderation. Before doing this blog I asked a few people what moderation meant to them. I got a lot of the answers that I posted in the beginning of this blog. When it comes to moderation with Oreos- if I am trying to lose weight, moderation is how many how often? I had one person tell me to them moderation means only eating 3 cookies at a time. But if you eat three of them each day, that is 21 Oreos a week and a LOT of calories and fat and sugar and empty carbs that will hinder you getting to your goals. If moderation to you means that you eat an Oreo or two every few months, then it is likely not that big of a deal.
The same goes for chips and cake and popcorn and anything else. We have to take a hard honest look at our definition of moderation first, and if we are really capable of, or willing to, practice said moderation without the help of another tool.
Does moderation with popcorn to you mean you go to the movies about once every couple of months and share a medium with no butter with your date? Or does it mean you go to the movies at least once a month and can polish off a large-sized tub? See how tricky this moderation thing can be? So as you can see, besides being difficult to measure, it can also be really hard to stick to for people who battle weight issues.
I know that there is no moderation for me when it comes to chips and salsa. I know that if I eat one chip, I would likely eat the whole bag. There is not really any nutritional value or health value in doing that. So, when it comes to chips and salsa, this holds more true for me:
I just don’t eat them at all. Do I feel deprived? No- not now that I know what is IN the chips and in Doritos and in the rest of the junk food. Does it mean everyone trying to be healthy has to go back to school to become a dietitian as I did? No, it does mean we all need to spend more time learning what is in the foods we eat and what foods are best for fueling our bodies.
I think when we have certain foods that tend to be ones we ear a lot of at one sitting, or that we will eat too often, or even that trigger more unhealthy eating, then it is okay to say this is a NO food and moderation is not an option. Then as you lose weight or get healthier and feel great and learn more about what foods actually make your body feel better and function better, you begin to wonder why you ever ate the junk in the first place, even in moderation.