Plutarch explains that “right action consists of moderation.” He defines moderation as a “mean between excess and defect.” I love this portrayal of the word because it seems our modern conceptualization is one more a kin to discipline and self-control. Plutarch’s words describe more of a result rather than a practice.
If you swing a kettlebell in a room full of 50 health and fitness professionals, you’ll hit 49 of them who preach moderation as Siddhartha spoke of “the middle way”.
I understand the appeal of this moderation dogma. It is unthreatening and nobody can accuse you of being a muscle Mussolini. I am not quite convinced allowing EVERYTHING in moderation shows enough respect for the ultra-sophisticated biochemistry and psychology involved in weight loss and health. There certainly are some things that are not safe, nor conducive to health in any amount.
One of the first things I learned in human physiology class is that the dose makes the poison. Dr. Buono’s famous example is hyponatremia. He would shock many an undergrad when he stood up there, held up a student’s water bottle and said, “You are drinking poison!” He then went on to explain that when our blood is running low on sodium (usually due to excessive sweating) and we ingest too much water, the excess fluid can dilute our blood to dangerously low levels of sodium causing cardiac arrest.
Other foods in your normal diet may not immediately poison you but how are we to know what amount of junk food and toxins our bodies can handle?
30 days to Real Food bliss
The only true way to establish a baseline of moderation for oneself is to eat only real foods for at least 30 days to see if you improve in any subjective aspect of your life. What are real foods you ask?… Take a look at this or this. In doing so, most of us can expect to have more energy, feel less inclined to snack, experience less brain fog. How you ask?
- Educate yourself on what Real Food is (click here)
- Evaluate your readiness to implement any or all of the things that you’ve learned
- Make the changes that you are ready to make. This could be a complete pantry clear-out or a resolution to only buy organic apples from now on. Start wherever you can.
- Establish a timeline for change. Make deadlines for implementation of each movement towards a Real Food diet.
- Take inventory. Make an effort to take note of how your cleaned-up diet makes you feel. If you don’t feel any better, try making other changes.
Pin-pointing your ideal diet is something that takes a lot of time and patience but it saves you from having to starve yourself and always practicing “moderation”. Once you identify the foods you do well on, you can lighten up on the self-deprivation and fully enjoy your JERFin’ life (Just Eat Real Food)
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- M is for Moderation (jackwren.wordpress.com)
- Finding Balance: How to Practice Moderation (wisebread.com)
- Two glasses of wine a day for middle-aged adults ‘makes your life better’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- Balance? Phooey (liftingmyspirits.wordpress.com)