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Moderation – even in moderation

Dieter’s mindset is often characterized by “all or nothing” thinking.


I’ve been there. We are either “all in” or “all out.” We are either restricting ourselves in some way, or eating everything that isn’t nailed down. And so we are encouraged to exercise “moderation.”


But is moderation always the right answer? In my opinion, there is no answer that is always the right answer! There can be (and needs to be) moderation–even in moderation!


Let me give you some examples. I love coffee. Let me rephrase that: I really love coffee. It truly is the nectar of the Gods. I tried to give it up once (for about 30 seconds) but decided, for the sake of my family and the world in general, I should remain a coffee drinker. I drink a couple of cups in the morning, but none after 12 noon. This is moderation.


I used to love milk, but it didn’t love me back. Do I have an allergy to milk? No, but I know in my own body that milk does not make me feel good. It upsets my stomach, even in small amounts. So do I drink milk in moderation? No. For me, the upset that milk causes my body far outweighs any potential upside there may be in drinking it.


But does that mean that no one should drink milk? No again. What works for me will not necessarily work for you or for anyone else. While human bodies do have a lot in common, each is also as unique as each of us is. We need to recognize and honour this fact. No one plan will necessarily work for two different people. Because of this, we don’t need to defend every nutritional choice we make! We know our own bodies and what makes us feel good or not so good.


I also love jujubes. Maybe even more than I love coffee! So do I eat jujubes in moderation? I only wish I could! I have tried many times, but I just can’t seem to help myself. I start with a handful and end up eating the whole packet.


I still want to be a moderate eater of jujubes, though. Through a process of trial and error, I have determined that, for me, “eating jujubes” and “moderation” just can’t exist in the same sentence. So I choose not to have them in my house. I can eat most things moderately and mindfully, but not jujubes. Does this mean I never eat them? No! It just means if I really want them, I have to get out of my PJs and go to the store to get some. Let me assure you, this does not happen very often.


So the moral of the story is: Moderation works most of the time, but not always. And that’s okay. (The sub-text of the story is: Know yourself and your body, and make your nutrition plan your own. Then embrace it!)


And, oh ya, about the jujubes… Will I ever give them up altogether? Probably not. In fact, when I die, my husband might have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands. But it won’t be at home–it’ll probably be somewhere along the route back from the grocery store!


Tracy Fisher