Why do you promote moderation?
Moderation is not a dirty word
As the co-founder of The Moderation Movement, and the director of Healthy Balance Fitness, it’s not surprising that I’m all about finding our own best balance! Who would have thought that the concept of moderation would be controversial or even needing someone to stand up for it! Here I answer the question I get all the time…
Q: Why do you promote ‘moderation’?
A: We’re certainly not the first people to promote moderation for health and happiness!
Unfortunately current nutrition and exercise messages bombard us with extremes.
We’re told to quit a wide range of foods, and thrash ourselves with high intensity exercise all week in order to be healthy. Now so many people express anxiety, guilt, shame and fear about food, exercise and their bodies. We’ve seen disordered behaviour around food and exercise become so common place that the term Orthorexia has been coined to describe an unhealthy obsession or fixation on righteous eating.
The fact is that we don’t have to adopt these extreme methods in order to enjoy good health,
yet so many people have gotten the message that we do. Simple things like eating more vegetables, moving our bodies regularly, sitting less, being more socially connected and managing stress will have a huge impact on the way we feel and function.
If we look towards ‘Blue Zones’ – places in the world where people enjoy extraordinary long, healthy and happy lives – we can see the benefits of moderation.
People in Blue Zones incorporate daily physical activity (not extreme exercise), enjoy a sense of purpose, have low stress levels, foster strong social connections, and eat plenty of plant foods. It’s worth noting that although different types of foods are enjoyed in each of the Blue Zones, commonly it’s a diet high in complex carbohydrates.
If in your efforts to ‘be healthy’ you’re:
– feeling anxious
– think about food and exercise most of the time
– struggle to attend social engagements with food
– have little time for anything other than exercise and food preparation
– are afraid of a day or two off your exercise regime
then I’d suggest it’s not that healthy at all.
Moderation is not a prescription or a rule, and not something to achieve or ‘win’ at.
To us, it’s simply the letting go of the extremes that leave you feeling bad and functioning poorly.
Moderation will look different for everyone.
I always say, it’s about truly listening to your own body and responding with what you need. We’ve stopped listening to, and trusting, our body’s signals that tell us when we’re hungry, feeling full, needing rest or sleep, and when we need to stop sitting so much.
Could you pay more attention to your internal signals, rather than relying on external rules, plans, authorities or other people to tell you what you need?
Sure, you can seek and be guided by advice from true experts working within their scope of practice, but listening to your own needs will be essential!