Moderation is one of those tricky little words we get caught-up on in everyday life. How much of a good thing is enough? And conversely, how little of a good thing is too little?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal benchmark by which we can measure these things. When it comes to food especially, there’s a gray area in nutrition that trips-up even the most vigilant of health gurus. But here’s what we do know: all foods fit if you have a plan. You can still enjoy those “forbidden” tasty indulgences and stay on-track. You aren’t being punished for your goals!
Moderation: A Close-up Look
So what does moderation really mean? You’ve no doubt heard the term tossed around a few times. Though there isn’t a scientific definition, we can pretty much figure it out for ourselves. Unless you’re dealing with very specific health circumstances or conditions, there doesn’t need to be a “forbidden” food or food group in your diet. Yes – even if your goal is weight-loss.
Moderation is the art of finding balance. If you’re not eating sugar-filled snacks every night after dinner, a sweet treat every now and then won’t derail your progress. Maybe you’re following a low-carb diet to cut calories, control blood sugar and keep weight off. An occasional sandwich, muffin or handful of crackers isn’t the be all, end all. It’s all about finding the perfect balance.
Why Restriction May Not Work
We’re often taught to restrict certain foods, food groups and habits. Restriction may certainly work for some strong-willed people, but for others, its rules often feel suffocating because:
- It can leave you battling hunger at inconvenient times
- It can increase your appetite and encourage indulgence
- It can be hard to stick to long-term
- It can prevent you from consuming certain key nutrients
- It can affect your mood and behavior
In today’s diet culture, we often shame ourselves for the number on the scale. This mindset focuses less on health and more on punishment. For this reason, we often feel the need to deprive ourselves of certain joys in life that should rightfully apply to everyone. Moderation is the key to living a life of balance — one that considers your physical, mental and emotional health.