What Does Eating in Moderation Even Mean?
We often hear health coaches, personal trainers and dietitians say we should eat a balanced diet, and to eat everything in moderation. But what does really mean? What should a balanced diet or training regimen look like? Short answer: it will vary person to person. Everyone’s idea and logical reasoning of practicing moderation will be different because we all have different lifestyle behaviors, eating patterns, etc.
Moderation for one person will likely look drastically different from another. One person may be struggling with getting their cookie cravings under control; they normally eat 5 cookies a day and their idea of gaining some control back and implementing moderation may be eating just one cookie a day. For someone else who may not have the same struggle, they may find that their idea of moderation would look more like eating a cookie once every couple of weeks. One’s idea and perception of eating in moderation will almost always look different.
From an exercise standpoint, moderation could also mean starting a new training program for the first time in a year, in which you’re working out 2-3 times a week. For others, it might mean actually scaling back from a very intense program and only training 3-4 times a week, instead of their normal 6-7 days a week.
For me, moderation with my diet mean focusing on my protein and overall calorie intake, but also enjoying things like ramen, bagels, pizza, and candy (I LOVE anything gummy + sour!) I prefer smaller portions of these kinds of treats relatively frequently, whereas someone else may like having bigger servings less often. Again, it completely depends on the individual and what they may consider their “normal” behavior and their “more balanced” behavior. As far as my own training goes, my idea of moderation for what works best for my goals and my lifestyle, is lifting 4-5 days each week for about an hour, with no formal cardio other than walking our dogs and ensuring I get a minimum of 8k steps in, however I can do that!
In short, no one, and I mean NO ONE, except you can determine what moderation strategy works best for you, and what you would classify as moderation for your own dietary and exercise routines. Regardless, moderation means finding a balance between things that nourish your body, finding ways to help you enjoy the way you eat and exercise, and having a healthy relationship with your food (and of course, living a healthy, “balanced” social life in the meantime!)
Here’s how you can implement moderation into your diet right now:
However you may want to practice moderation, it’s a good idea to first figure out what the behavior or pattern is, how often you do said behavior/pattern, and then follow up with a specific goal of how you plan to scale this back (think frequency, duration, time, amount, etc). Odds are, you probably know an area (or two) you could afford to scale back on. If you’re overdoing it on the late night treats binge-watching your favorite Netflix show, maybe your goal of moderation could look like having your favorite treat 4x/this week, instead of every night. If you’re guilty pleasure is enjoying 2-3 glasses of wine at dinner on the weekends, perhaps you could opt for just one glass.
If you’re looking for additional guidance and support with finding out how you can still incorporate foods you love, and reach or maintain your fitness goals, I highly recommend checking out my personalized macro calculation.
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