When it comes to our dietary choices, we often hear the popular adage, "everything in moderation." This mantra suggests that we can indulge in any food as long as we do so in moderation. While it may seem like sound advice, there are significant drawbacks to blindly following this philosophy when it comes to our food choices. Let's talk about some of the pitfalls of the "everything in moderation" approach specifically related to our relationship with food!
Lack of Nutritional Focus
The concept of moderation often neglects the importance of nutrition. While it implies that we can enjoy any food as long as we don't overindulge, it fails to differentiate between nutrient-dense foods and those lacking in nutritional value. You rarely hear someone say "you can have carrots, just in moderation". Typically this mantra is related to the sugar-y, the carb-y and the gluten-y. Relying solely on moderation can lead to a diet that lacks essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds, thereby compromising our overall health and well-being. When you are tempted, ask yourself this question...what are the pros/cons of eating this food?
Disregard for Individual Needs
Everyone has unique nutritional requirements based on age, gender, activity level, and health conditions. The idea of "everything in moderation" overlooks these individual needs and treats everyone's dietary requirements as identical. Some individuals may need to restrict or eliminate certain foods completely due to allergies, sensitivities, or medical conditions. A personalized approach that considers individual needs is crucial for maintaining optimal health. For some, having an occasional sweet is just fine. But for someone who is insulin resistant or for someone who has diabetes, as examples, a cheat can increase inflammation and cause a whole host of problems. Or the person with celiac disease, diagnosed or not, can be sent into a world of hurt from a pasta dinner or piece of bread. In fact, for someone with celiac, gluten can continue to cause inflammation for MONTHS after consumption. Moderation is not okay for some people.
While I love a good brownie, cookie or ice cream cone after a huge plata of pasta and a glass of red wine, I know that those things are horrible for me! Why? Well, for one thing, they trigger inflammation. And, remember that many foods create a dopamine effect in the brain and actually make you want more of that food. So that occasional "cheat" can make it even harder to make the "cheat" just occasional.
Reinforcement of Unhealthy Habits
While moderation can be a reasonable goal for some individuals, it can inadvertently reinforce unhealthy habits for others. If we constantly allow ourselves to indulge in processed foods, sugary treats, alcohol or other unhealthy options in moderation, we risk underestimating the impact these foods have on our long-term health. This mindset can make it challenging to break free from addictive patterns or develop healthier eating habits that prioritize nourishment and well-being. We are essentially telling ourselves that healthy is what we HAVE to do and the cheat is the reward. Why not change that mindset??? The healthy is what we WANT to do!!! Because we are choosing health, we can decide what we want and what serves us.
Emotional and Mindless Eating
For individuals prone to emotional or mindless eating, the notion of moderation can be misleading. It fails to address the underlying emotional triggers or unconscious eating habits that can lead to overconsumption. Who here has stopped at one chocolate chip cookie after a break up? Give me the whole dang batch! Simply moderating portion sizes or frequency of indulgence does not address the root causes driving these behaviors. Deal with the real issue and replace those thoughts with thoughts of worthiness. You are worthy of health. You are worthy of feeling strong and healthy. You. are more than that emotion that's pushing you to make a poor choice. Find a different outlet.
Developing a Sustainable Lifestyle
While moderation can be seen as a balanced approach, it may not be conducive to fostering a sustainable and long-term healthy lifestyle. Relying solely on moderation can create a mindset that oscillates between extremes, leading to a constant struggle between indulgence and restriction. A more sustainable approach involves building a foundation of wholesome, nourishing foods and establishing healthy habits that support overall well-being, rather than relying on arbitrary rules of moderation. The swings of the moderation approach actually make it so much harder to make those healthy choices.
While moderation in food consumption may be appropriate for some individuals in certain contexts, it is not a universally applicable guideline. "Everything in moderation" oversimplifies the complex relationship we have with food and neglects the importance of nutritional focus, individual needs, and addressing underlying emotional and behavioral patterns. Instead of blindly adhering to this advice, we should strive for a more mindful and intentional approach to our food choices. Listen to your body. Does that occasional sweet treat make you feel tired, sluggish, foggy, crabby, bloated or any other symptom? Probably best to avoid it then! Your body is sending you messages. By prioritizing nutrient-dense foods, addressing individual needs, addressing emotions and stress, and developing a sustainable and balanced lifestyle, we can foster a healthier relationship with food while providing our body with what it needs. Are you ready to figure out your specific needs and look deeper into your body and how it's functioning? Are you done with the "throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks" approach? Are you ready to try and figure out what's really going on? Reach out. Let's talk. In health and healing,
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firstname.lastname@example.org Disclaimer: I am not a licensed therapist or physician and don't pretend to be. I will never diagnose you or ask to you stop taking a medication, that's between you and your physician. The best part about working together is that YOU are in charge of your health and YOU make your own health decisions. These results are not indicative of every client's experience, of course. Results will vary as every human has their own biological make-up. So I will never make false promises. My promise to you is to be honest, ethical, supportive, informative and I will be there, present as you travel your own health journey. The information provided in this post is based on my own personal experience and research. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, heal, treat or cure disease and should not be a replacement for medical advice. Always consult your doctor before trying a new diet, lifestyle or supplement protocol.