Moderation has really been on my mind this past week.
It has come up in conversation with my clients who are completing the Clean Eating Program and looking at how to maintain their results long term.
I have also been trying to find more balance in my own life, with diet and exercise, and what that means for me on a day to day basis.
What is moderation?
Merriam-Webster defines moderation as:
: avoiding extremes of behavior or expression : observing reasonable limits
: calm, temperate
: tending toward the mean or average amount or dimension
In Moderation is defined as:
: in a way that is reasonable and not excessive : in a moderate way
Does that sound like the way you are eating? It definitely has been something I’ve struggled with during my health journey!
So, why is moderation important? Is eating in moderation really something we should worry about?
Well, first, let’s look at what eating in moderation means. When I do it, I focus on eating according to the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time I’m eating foods that are healthy and that I know fuel my body and 20% of the time I’m eating foods that maybe aren’t as nutritious but that I enjoy eating and that show up in my life (usually when I go out to eat or am at a party with friends).
Everyone’s moderation is going to look different. Someone struggling with food sensitivities and intolerances may not be able to eat according to this principle – they need to follow their food plan 100%. Someone else may follow more of a 90/10 rule. Ultimately it’s up to you and what feels best for your body and what best supports your long term health and wellness goals.
Because that’s really the point isn’t it? Health and wellness long term.
Thus, once you’ve hit your health goals, eating in moderation can be a great way to enjoy your diet and maintain what you’ve achieved.
This article in Health magazine online actually lines up with my How To Eat In Moderation principles very well.
Okay! You’re ready to eat in moderation, but how do you do it? Consider these principles:
How To Eat In Moderation – 80/20 Rule
Pick nutritious, whole foods (like lean meats, complex carbs, lots of veggies, fruits and healthy fats) for 80% of your meals. For the remaining 20%, focus on foods that might not be considered nutritious but that you also enjoy eating (french fries, pizza, ice cream, chocolate cake, etc).
How To Eat In Moderation – Fuel or not fuel?
Don’t think of foods as “good” or “bad” or as “on track” or “cheating,” because you should not feel guilty for eating in moderation! Instead, look at the foods as “fuel” and “not fuel” or “80” and “20.” You can even make a list so you know which foods are part of your 80% and which foods are part of your 20% so you make sure to enjoy both kinds appropriately.
How To Eat In Moderation – Be Mindful
When you decide to eat those foods that fit into the 20%, be mindful and focused on what you are doing. Savor every minute of them. Enjoy them. Take your time with them. Slow down and relish in the moment and really taste what you are eating. You will feel more satisfied with your choice or you will find that you don’t enjoy that particular food as much as you thought and you may want to remove it from the 20% list.
How To Eat In Moderation – Learn To Love The 80%
What’s the easiest way to eat in moderation and maintain your health goals? Learn to love the 80%! Find delicious ways to cook healthy and nutritious foods and you won’t want those 20% foods as often. If all you eat is boiled chicken breast and steamed broccoli, it’s a lot more likely you are going to struggle with moderation and eating a balanced diet. Instead, if you can make a really kick-ass, delicious and healthy chili or a satisfying cauliflower fried rice you will embrace the 80% more and will be more likely to stay on track.
How To Eat In Moderation – Apply This To The Rest Of Your Life
Eating in moderation is easier if you implement this rule throughout the rest of your life. Love exercising? Focus on 80/20 to make sure you’re getting enough rest and letting your muscles recover. You’ll actually get stronger quicker that way. Hate exercising? Focus on 80/20 to get yourself moving more while still giving you time to rest and be still. This 80/20 rule can be applied to most aspects of our lives where we struggle to find balance – being with people vs being alone, saving vs spending, eating, exercising, etc. I encourage you to look at your life and see where else you can apply this 80/20 rule.
Overall, the key to eating in moderation is finding a balance that works for you that you can sustain long term. Keep working at it until you find it and then share with me below what you do to stay balanced in your own diet.
Want help building a healthier lifestyle and learning how to eat in moderation. Click HERE to learn more about my clean eating program and working together.
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