What is MODERATION?

Question: What do we mean when we say “everything in Moderation?”

In the past week or so, I’ve been feeling uncomfortable in my own skin quite frequently. Let’s not catastrophize and not recall the good moments—work kicks me up a notch a few hours each day, I am fulfilled, challenged and purposeful there, and a some very connecting moments with friends out here—but these were punctuated by BLAH BLAH BLAH internal sense of not being in control. Or doing “my best” and it failing to generate instant peppy-ness.

I just wasn’t feeling BALANCED. and that made me feel like I had done something wrong! I started questioning everything I did…am I running too much, eating too little, reading too much at home, traveling too much…putting too much coriander in this soup.

At the same time,  a woman at the library was counseling another woman that she was losing weight by allowing herself only one dessert every three days. A nurse in the department advised a a friend that she only eats red meat “in moderation,” or a few times each month.  A person on the TV at the GYM (the only place I am exposed to TV) was giving advice at the Holiday season only to choose one “splurge” per event, and say no to more than three a week in order to prevent ungainly….gains.  The best diet for singles? One appetizer, one drink, a salad and maybe dessert. It says “I can eat, but I am not a porker.”

HA! I thought, not ironically, while spinning in reverse on the elliptical. Blog comments say this all the time…

I think that everything, there’s no good or bad food, in moderation, is okay

The is the “new” diet, but has been around for ages…Translation: CONTROL MORE, (in this case, eat less) and you win. When you can “control your hunger” and slay the beast of temptation by following the moderation golden rule.

But there are alternatives to this recommendation. More and more, forces reveal that the “rule”  to “eat in moderation” may be the same old dictate of “eat less,”  if  you eat a certain number of points or calories—-GOOD JOB. Moderation is touting as DIET.

But this gussied up version, rolled in lower glycemic points and sprinkled with a little bit of healthy unsaturated fat and the occasional fried side…well….it tastes good to me. I swallow it happily and feel a little superior that I only eat red meat “in moderation.”  A friend eliminating troublesome food and I advise, “Go on, eat a little popcorn, it won’t KILL you!”  It makes me feel “RIGHT” only splurge on shoes “in moderation.” I only go the movies “in moderation.” I only bitch and moan “in moderation.”

I only want to pull the hair out on some of my patients “in moderation.”

If I could win at the moderation game, I’d be PERFECT.

I am a moderation congregant. The philosophy goes: I am better than you if you can’t get your act together and reign in those portions or ration out your wine to only 2 times a week. I will be saved if I can not run over 25 miles a week (someone told me that was my “max” allowance for my running addiction recovery) and you burn into crispyness in purgatory should you go out to lunch more than two times per week.

But at least everyone will look a little more attractive, then, right?

So…this isn’t a blog about how I rationalize drinking now every night. BUT I do. And I don’t portion out my peanut butter. And I don’t count my cups of coffee. I continue to enjoy these beauties so because I LOVE it…little portions of unearned grace that FUEL me emotionally. It doesn’t hurt my functioning….unless I am stuck in a room with 5 chaotic monkeys, and then, I beg “get me out of this meeting so I can drink, already!”

but still, if I am drinking communion at the altar of moderation, a little erk of  guilt leaks out as it breaks the moderation rule. I think “am I being moderate? am I in balance?

Unbalanced Tree in Strasbourg....imperfect perfection

The alternative to the Moderation Diet is TRUSTING yourself, right?

It’s the intuitive approach. You don’t gorge, and you don’t follow number rules. You are authentic to your hunger.

Nourishing Connections helps me do so. We do crave red meat people….it’s a natural byproduct of chemical levels.  And we crave wine…it’s a natural byproduct of spiritual levels. And we crave…well, not really a sense of stability but STRENGTH.

Because the road is anything but smooth, but I…I am one bitch of a navigator

All this striving to be balanced can actually make us, me, more unbalanced. Moderation philosophy can make us, me, too im-moderate. When, for some, me, it’s about graciously noticing the passion, the verve, the too much or too little in these little matters and trusting that it will all come out as it should be.

I noticed a little window in Strasbourg....and I smile IT'S CROOKED!

 

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9 thoughts on “What is MODERATION?

  1. Moderation is a common term used and it depends what you are talking about. Chocolate cake in moderation may be a different time from nuts in moderation. One is a sometimes food and the other is a more often food, so the sometimes foods (as I teach to the boy scouts) are ones for special occasions, which is moderation as in not every day, but maybe once every month, or depending on the total diet, could fit more often because it is a big picture thing. But with nuts, they are a more often food, and can be eaten every day, but the moderation applies to the portion size. A portion is an ounce, so eating 3 ounces is not moderation. Same goes for fruit, too much can still be too much, so sticking to the right amount from each of the food groups is moderation. It really means not having too much or too little when looking at it from a big picture view, but it is ambiguous to give wiggle room in accounting for difference between people. People should know that a whole cake is excessive and a slice is moderation, but I suppose some people do not get that concept.

    • I am intrigued here…from a dietician’s point of view…when did we need “portion” sizes? I mean, when looking at how a 4 year old eats, he knows when the portion is “enough”. There is something so strange that we even need MODERATION recommendations. If we were tuned into our natural hunger cycles, wouldn’t we eat exactly enough? a 4 year old will consume all the vitamins he requires over a given month period…when did we get so far away from our own internal barometer?

  2. I am reminded to indulge myself more…indulge in grace and indulge in the love of friends, family, and the occasional stranger. Why do I forget to consume with abandon these things and, instead, turn to cheap substitutes that will never satisfy? Thanks, K, for the reminder!

    • Wow…this comment was exactly what I needed. Sometimes we turn to “substitutes” because we told that they are OKAY. For me, it’s having 3 bites of something when I want the whole thing. I am afraid of TAKING IT ALL. And what that means…but if I satisfied myself more often, does that mean I am selfish? That is the message I fear sometimes….that I require or took TOO MUCH.

  3. Great post, Krystal.

    In response to the question of intuitive moderation, I think that moderation has to be a mostly learned in our modern environment.

    I can feel what my body needs because I have invested in learning to enjoy foods that are good for me.

    I think our environment provides too many distractions, detours and false affirmations about what is good to put in our bodies. This is a major barrier to knowing intuitively what our bodies need.

    Also, artificial flavors and sweeteners have helped to incorrectly program our understanding of what “food is information” for our bodies.

    I believe this is why we can feel out of balance when we actually in a balanced state, or feel a strong pull toward or away from an eating experience when we are balanced.

    “good or bad food in moderation is okay”

    I think this is probably a fine slogan. But, it’s real purpose is to keep people from working to make changes by setting unrealistic expectations for themselves. And, this applies to all of us, which is why it’s truely cliche.

    • My first reaction was….where can I read about the research of the food and diet industry and getting us away from this natural process. But if we learned how to trust ourselves, where would that put the industry? We wouldn’t need the products or programs. I DO think we need community. We need to eat as a intergenerational community, old to young, rich and poor, to not only access a variety of foods, but to eat “in front of others.”

      It is so funny how external cues trigger us to think….if I had this, I would be “happy” or “better” This applies in so many situations. In our jobs (If I had a job that truly spoke to me as a calling) partners (If I had a partner that noticed the trash was full) children (If I had children to plan birthday parties for) politics (if I had a Republican congressman)….

      However, what makes people “happy” or “better” generally is experience. The experience of feeling like you belong. Like you matter…

  4. amen! great post and interesting comments written above.

    i have definitely fallen into the superiority complex at times for consuming things only in moderation. i find tho that when i slow down enough to listen to my body, “moderation” magically happens.

    i do think the food and diet industry play a role in the people’s inability to use moderation and sense of guilt when they dont. vicious cycle those two groups have. i think they are in cahoots with each other and i don’t care for either of them. booo!

  5. Doing anything in moderation is a huge challenge for me! I am usually an all or nothing girl, hence why my knee is now completely screwed up – thanks to my running addiction.

    Oddly enough I don’t really struggle with eating things in moderation – except chips. And those I keep far, far away!

  6. I loved this post! Honestly, I think “living in moderation” should refer to living in a way that feels natural and comfortable. Eating or exercising shouldn’t cause anxiety! And if you’re going through a month of traveling and indulge every day followed by a month where you’re living at home and just aren’t craving sweets or elaborate meals…is that still moderation? I think it is…

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