What does moderation even mean?
Moderation is such an interesting topic.
Moderation can be a boring word and associated with not being sexy.
To me, moderation is sexy as it encompasses being happy and healthy and eating your cake too!
Moderation is a word so freely thrown around in the nutrition space. The word “moderation” is defined by Collins Gem as an adjective, “not extreme; temperate; average.”
Moderation in Nutrition
In the context of nutrition, the word “moderation” translates into avoiding extremes in eating and lifestyle behaviours or finding that middle ground with applying nutrition knowledge and skills to everyday life.
In our society, today, having nutrition specific knowledge and skills is not what helps us to find balance.
I personally have seen people with limited nutrition knowledge (for example, not being aware of the Australian Guidelines To Healthy Eating and other tools, for example, the Glycaemic Index and the Health Star Rating system, and they eat and live very well.
What stood out to me when working with these people, was that they are intuitive.
They have a preference for simplicity, tasty and wholesome food and most of all they listen to their body.
They go about their day prioritising how they feel.
They strive to feel good and to eat to look after themselves which in turn supports them in feeling good.
They don’t buy into the latest fads or compare themselves to others.
They are not concerned about what and what not to eat.
They don’t feel deprived or restrict themselves with food.
They don’t feel guilty or shame after eating.
They can leave some cookies on the plate because they know they can have it again tomorrow.
They hold their beliefs about food (and life) lightly. What I mean by that is that they don’t turn their philosophy or beliefs of nutrition into rules in which they behave, eat or live by, because this helps them to stay in this zone of moderation or eating in moderation.
Moderation in Life
The same can be said for moderation in other aspects of life. The principles of moderation are something we all strive for and try to apply in life too.
The sorts of people described above generally have found moderation in other parts of their life too.
I’m not surprised, as food and nutrition are often a metaphor for other aspects of life or a cover for non-food and non-nutrition issues because the food is mostly something we can control (unless of course food insecurity exists).
Translating moderation with nutrition into moderation with other aspects of life, let’s look at the example of screen time or TV viewing, particularly with children.
Screen time jumps into my mind as being out of moderation for some well-meaning new parents.
We hear the message that children under 2 years of age should not have screen time.
Some families take this to the extreme and continue this recommendation as a rule for their family to live by even when the child is older than 2 years or when they are socialising with others and there is a TV on.
The risk for having one size fits all non-negotiable rules about screen time is that the child may miss out on developing a healthy relationship with technology and the ability and trust to manage healthy usage for themselves when they are older and have the opportunity to decide what to do with their free time.
Children are not going to stay 2 years old forever and therefore need to be able to practise learning how to incorporate screen time in moderation, because technology is all around us.
Just like with food and nutrition, if the all or nothing screen time rules apply ongoing, the child may develop a fixation.
It is important to remember there are benefits as well as consequences.
Sometimes, people forget about the benefits. For example, the benefits of screen time provide lessons in technology and foster creativity, problem-solving, communication skills, development of social skills and build on interests.
Ending on Moderation
Is your behaviour around nutrition (screen time or whatever the example may be) flowing onto other aspects of your life?
Are you avoiding “sometimes” food for the fear that a particular food or food group may cause ill health or cause weight issues?
How can we associate moderation as sexy?
How do you strive for moderation in nutrition and your life?