Moderation and balance, two of the most used words in a dietitian’s dictionary. But, as someone without the background in nutrition, what do those two words mean?
Hello everybody! I hope you all had a fantastic week. I know this was quite a busy one for me since I started my microbiology class. It’s going to be a challenging few weeks, let me tell you. Once upon a time I was a biology major so much of the material has a familiar feel to it, so that should help. But at the same time cramming all that information into just four weeks is going to be intense. That plus juggling three jobs – what have I done to myself this summer?
Anyways, today I wanted to bring to light something I’ve been seeing a lot of on Instagram and other social media sites.
First, what is it? The dictionary defines moderation as the avoidance of excesses or extremes. However, this is quite a personal thing. Avoiding excesses or extremes may mean different things to different people, and that’s ok. The beauty of food and eating is that everyone has a different experience and what’s good for the body varies from person to person.
So what does moderation mean to you?
I view moderation in the light of 80% of the time I fill my plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy – in short, things that I know are good for my body and fueling it properly. This leaves me the other 20% of the time to indulge in things that might not be so great for it (most of the times its cookies, because let’s be real – I’m a cookie monster). But this indulging can also include eating out and choosing a big ol’ bowl of pasta from Olive Garden because I can (not dissing Olive Garden, I promise). The most important part of my philosophy is that I enjoy my food and I enjoy the experience of eating it; but, I pay attention to the cues my body gives me when it’s getting full, or as to what it might need. I choose not to restrict myself because I’ve been there before and I have little desire to return. This taps into the principle of intuitive eating, which you might have also heard.
Intuitive eating, simply put, is listening to the signals your body gives you. Your body will tell you when it’s full, when it’s hungry, when it’s deficient in something, etc. If you can listen to and train yourself to eat based upon these cues, that’s intuitive eating. And, it goes hand in hand with moderation and balance. Sometimes the body just needs a little love and needs that big ol’ chocolate chip cookie.
When I say moderation I also want to stress the importance that it’s not just your unhealthy foods that you should avoid excesses of. Everything should be in moderation, including moderation. So what does that mean? Basically, moderating what you’re eating to the point of severely restricting your intake is moderation in excess. This is also where the concept of a balanced lifestyle comes into play, and I think it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Balance the healthy food that fuels you right with the food that you enjoy, even if it is unhealthy. Balance your hard workouts with well-deserved rest days. Balance your jam-packed schedule with taking a day for yourself. Our bodies work best when they’re in balance, mentally, physically, emotionally – we are made to be in balance.
Moderation for you might be having a cookie once a day, but not three times a day. It might be indulging in a take out meal once a week, not every day. A good rule of thumb to have: as long as the majority of what you’re eating nourishes your body in good ways, then it’s totally fine to eat that [insert what you indulge in here] every once and awhile. Nobody’s life should revolve around obsessively tracking calories and “clean eating”. Food is not the enemy, it’s such an irreplaceable part of you that enjoying it will only serve to make you happier!
I hope this clarified, at least a little bit, of what this whole moderation movement is. It’s something I really stand behind because I think it’s better to look at the whole picture, a wholesome lifestyle, and realize that moderation and balance are the best ways to achieve a healthy, happy life. A fellow Instagrammer Zoe Nicholson helped this movement really gain traction and you should check out the Facebook page dedicated to it!
I hope everyone has a wonderful week!
Question of the week: what do you like to indulge in?
Image Credit: Image 1 (nuts-about-food.tumblr.com); Image 2 (facebook.com/moderationmovement); Image 3 (www.lifewithoutanorexia.com); Image (www.n4foodandhealth.com)