Poll: What's Your Definition of Moderation?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  193 comments   :  38,508 Views

Moderation. It's a word that you'll often hear when you're trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle. The more you read and learn about healthy habits, the more this word comes up. We're told to eat in moderation, drink in moderation and even exercise in moderation (or at a moderate intensity level. Moderation means that nothing—not even the foods that you know are bad for you and might even hurt your efforts—is off limits. You can lose weight and eat ice cream, too—as long as you do so in moderation. Sounds doable, right?

Why moderation? Well, it works for most people. It's difficult to give up foods you enjoy (after all, food should be pleasurable) forever; and making certain foods completely off limits often causes you to want them—and obsess over them—even more, which could derail your diet. Moderation may sound ordinary or boring, but it's a great way to lose weight, eat better, and still have some fun along the way.

Lately though, I've been thinking about this whole concept of moderation quite a bit. I'm wondering if moderation is very good advice. After all, no one ever really defines it for you. What YOU think is moderation might not be what all the health and nutrition experts have in mind when they counsel you to eat fill-in-the-blank in moderation. Does moderation mean eating a 2,000-calorie fast food value meal once a week or is that still too often? Does eating ice cream in moderation mean having a smaller 100-calorie serving most days? Is a single diet soda per day moderation, or should you drink it less often? If you're applying the concept of moderation to LOTS of food or food groups (high-fat foods, trans fats, desserts, sweet snacks, salty foods, high-fat cuts of meat, etc.) you could be eating small amount of several different unhealthy foods regularly, which means you're not really eating unhealthy foods (as a group) in moderation at all.

So I've been wondering: What does 'moderation' mean to YOU?

I think that we all have our own ideas about what moderation really means. We know that it means avoiding extremes, but should there be more to it?

Consider applying moderation to the "80/20" rule (some people prefer a 90/10 rule though) of healthy eating as an example. Most experts think that if people eat wholesome, healthy foods 80% of the time, and enjoy "other" foods (sometimes referred to as "fun" foods) 20% of the time that they have a healthy relationship with food and are likely consuming a nutrient-rich diet that allows for fun foods in moderation.

But are we talking each day? If so, that means you could spend 300 calories' worth of your daily budget (for a 1,500-calorie diet) on junk. Is that good advice? Should we really be eating 300 calories worth of junk or sugary foods (that's equal to more than 18 teaspoons of sugar) each day and saying that it's healthy to do so?

Does moderation mean eating nothing but healthy foods for 80% of each week? That equals about 5 1/2 days of healthy foods before you can indulge in something on the only-eat-this-in-moderation list. Should it be less frequently than that, such as monthly? If so, that means going 24 days (80% of the month) without "cheating" (I use that term loosely) before you're able to enjoy an ice cream cone (or similar), then going more than 3 weeks again before you enjoy another treat.

Maybe moderation has more to do with portion sizes. You may have eaten a whole chocolate candy bar in the past, but now you can enjoy just a bite and space it out over a few days. Is that moderation?

As you can see, moderation isn't quite so simple. It can mean different things to different people, so I think it's important for you to think about what moderation really means for you. Many of us could be fooling ourselves into thinking that we eat healthy foods liberally and unhealthy ones moderately when we really don't. That could hurt your health and your weight-loss efforts.

Personally, I try to make a conscious effort to eat healthy foods the vast majority most of the time, but I don't set any rules or timelines for myself that dictates how often I can eat my favorite candy (it's strawberry Twizzlers by the way, so thank you in advance for sending your care packages to Nicole at SparkPeople hehe) or how much I can have. Instead, I try to avoid foods that don't enhance my health most of the time. If a craving arises and I really want something, I'll eat it without guilt or concern as long as I've otherwise been adhering to a healthy diet. That's moderation to me—keeping healthy choices in the forefront of my mind, turning down "fun" foods most of the time (hey, they're everywhere!), and enjoying those favorites occasionally, whether it's weekly, monthly, or, occasionally more often.

How about you: What's your idea of eating in moderation? Can someone else define what moderation means for you? Does it (or should it) have a single definition that applies to everyone?

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    I have come to the conclusion that moderation is something achieved by trial and error. As long as one continues to lose weight or maintains one's weight, one is within the bounds of moderation. It would be a matter of experimentation to see what works for each individual. Personally, I tend to fall into some type of self-deception. (id est my eyes and my stomach are bigger than my calorie limit) I will start off well, eating in moderation, but then those moderate portions tend to grow a little at a time as the weeks go by. I find that a diet with portion control, yes that means measuring and weighing, is most helpful for me. And yet I know a woman who eats in true moderation during the week and does not adhere to any restrictions on Sundays. It works well for her as she is able to maintain a good weight. I've managed to forgive her as well as my daughter who eats a typical teenager's diet and is still a size 2. ;O) - 7/8/2009   10:47:44 AM
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    Moderation: A happy medium of what you think is healthy, and what you would really like to induge in..........lol - 7/8/2009   6:51:01 AM
    Moderation to me means: Don't over-do anything. - 7/7/2009   9:25:13 PM
  • 140
    This is a great topic. I have often been a little turned off by a persons glib remark about how we should use "moderation".
    How's this: My neighbor tells me she puts a little water into her gas tank once a week; just a little she says. She goes on to tell me that it's cheaper and that her car seems to be suffering no bad affects.
    How are you reacting to that situation right now? Do you think it's a bad idea to put something into your car that was not meant to be there? "Just a little won't hurt, moderation and all that."
    Of course that story isn't true. We care more for our cars and what keeps them running than we care about our bodies. I just wanted the reader to feel their own personal reaction to a commonly held belief that "a little won't hurt:".
    What is worse, in my estimation, is that a car, once a part is ruined, cannot repair itself. The part, or perhaps the whole car, has to be replaced. Our bodies try very hard to process the junk that we put into it stressing out our organs, especially the liver while we think everything is just okay.
    Please don't think that I religiously live by what I preach. I too can indulge in a nice chunk of French bread or serving of white flour pasta or cake. But I KNOW that it is JUNK. My body doesn't know what the heck to do with pie crust that is made with white, all-purpose flour and Crisco. Bless its heart (no pun intended) it tries.
    The longer a person continues to put that kind of stuff in their body the weaker their body will get 'till it just can't fight off the damage anymore. You won't be getting a new body this side of heaven. And enduring a liver transplant is not as easy (or as cheap) as getting a new transmission in your car. And even that operation will leave you in a much un-desired state.

    It has been researched and proven that many, if not most of the obese people you see are actually starving. That means no matter how much they eat, their bodies aren't getting the nutrients they need so their bodies cry out for FOOD! "Please feed me!!", the body says.

    So FEED your body. Give it only what it wants and needs for the energy it needs for...well, actually...for losing weight.

    To me, moderation is not about having a Twinky once a month. It's about maybe going past my portion limit once in a while and maybe, just maybe having a small sliver of Aunt Ruth's pie on Thanksgiving so as not to hurt her feelings (and to treat myself too). It's about splurging and going out to breakfast with my husband to our favorite restaurant where they serve the best gall darn French omelets imaginable, the best fresh baked whole grain toast and real cream in the coffee. Now that's a treat that goes way off my diet track and it's ok once in a big while. - 7/7/2009   6:45:07 PM
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    I've found the W8W points system very helpful in my definition of moderation. On that plan, a low-fat brownie once a week is moderation, a full-fat brownie for dessert every night isn't. - 7/7/2009   4:55:32 PM
  • 138
    Moderation, in a general sense, means moderate portions, for me. Concerning junk, it means a little every day: I have a bar of dark (85% cocoa) chocolate, and I will have a 10g piece each and every day. I can have it over the day, in four little morsels, which actually have a surprising amount of taste, or at night with a cup of tea. I've found that if I eat the regular chocolate in 'moderate' amounts (the treat size) I end up eating more, which is what I read in another article. It means less, of better quality junk. - 7/7/2009   4:44:47 PM
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    Okay. I've not been on SP for quite some time and was lured back by this article in the Monthly Spark! for the first time in over a year. I think that I've incorporated *the changes* into my life that I don't need to accountability of SP anymore. (I would like to add that I would use SP in the future to 'return' if I had 'fallen away'). Anyway ..... to me, moderation is very simply: "everything in moderation, even moderation!". For me (men you can simply not read this, please), moderation is watching every calorie I eat, writing in my nutrition log every day for 28-30 days. I DO NOT count the calories I eat for two days straight because, as far as I'm concerned, people will die if I do not eat a few higher fat meals and have some York peppermint patties!!!!! LOL!

    ~Have a great trip everyone ... the roller coaster of life is amazing!

    Amanda - 7/7/2009   3:01:17 PM
    Unfortunately, moderation is something I have never learned.
    I do think you are so right, though--that its definition must really be up to the individual. What works for one person may not work for the next. - 7/7/2009   1:56:26 PM
    Nice article. After the twizzler comment, I will suggest that SP add twizzlers as a spark goodie. That way, we can give Nicole all the fat twizzlers she wants, and no one will feel guilty.

    - 7/7/2009   12:13:14 PM
    Awesome blog! Definitely a term that means something different to everyone! I agree with one Sparky that I think it changes in your stages of your diet. I have managed to keep the weight off for 8 years and still enjoy my ice cream and fave candy (M&M's). How often? I don't know - but I know when I want it, I limit it and enjoy it. Sometimes, it can be everyday (just a serving size) and there are times I go weeks without it. But, when I get that urge, I need to get it in then or I know I'll just create a monster for it.

    I have lost the weight and kept it off with my mom's theory: Everything in moderation. And, while she never defined the term for me, it just makes sense. I can eat out - just not every day. I can have my "cake and eat it too" but just not everyday. And, while I don't eat organic, or nearly get in all my fruits/veggies for a day, I eat healthy and enjoy food and most importantly, life.

    I have also found that savoring those first few bites, recognizing texture and taste, makes it more satisfying to only have 1/2 c. of ice cream - or whatever my 'treat' might be. And, to not feel guilty when I do indulge in those cravings. - 7/7/2009   11:49:56 AM
    good article & great blogs!! always need to think things thru in a new light from others sharing. If I had
    a good grip on moderation I would not be at SP trying to loose LOL I try an approach & if it works I keep it and if it doesn't I drop it and move on to try something else. 20yrs of bad habits are not dumped in a few months regrettably... but just working at it brings you mentally into a better place & the lbs lost are just a reward to that . thanks for all the good words folks!! - 7/7/2009   11:44:17 AM
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    Thanks for this article. Recently I have been wondering about the future--what will change when I am no longer trying to lose weight? I can't return to the way I used to eat (because that's what made me fat in the first place). I've been wondering if no longer needing to lose weight would mean indulging in a few more treats. And I realized I've pretty much sworn off some of the things I really enjoy. I'm having a hard time imagining never eating them again, so I'm realizing that I do need to incorporate an occasional "junk" food into my week NOW. So I figure out how it fits into THIS way of eating. As my body gets smaller, my calorie needs decrease. There will probably never be a time in the future when I can eat "whatever I want whenever I want" so I need to figure out how I can use the concept of moderation.

    Moderation yesterday meant going to Pizzicato pizza & having a slice & a half (375 calories) and half a salad (250 calories). In the future (when my calorie needs decrease) it will probably mean a single slice or less. Even in this case, Pizzicato was a "moderate" choice for pizza--Costco cheese pizza is 800 a slice, and I don't plan to eat that again (unless, I guess, if I split the piece with someone else). But moderation meant that I realized it's been a long time since I've had pizza (which I enjoy) and that I should figure out a way to fit it into my intake now--and not look forward to that "someday" when I've reached my diet goals. That mindset would cause me to immediately put back on the weight I've worked so hard to lose. - 7/7/2009   11:37:40 AM
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    Wow - For me, eating in line with how I want to live my life from the day I started Sparks until the day I die is top priority. If I get a craving for something, I seriously think about how badly I want it. If I am going to obsess about it and eat and bunch of "good" things out of control to avoid eating the "bad" thing, then I will just go ahead and eat my craving and just work it into my daily alottment. If it is at the end of the day, then I enjoy my treat, acknowledge it, and then account for it in some small way over the next few days. I firmly believe that if you have a craving for something you won't "get over it." Enjoy it once in a while if you "really" want it, then move on. - 7/7/2009   11:25:47 AM
  • 130
    I think moderation means different things as you go through different dieting phases. So when I started Sparkpeople.com, moderation for regular soda meant every other day! But now, it means once a month when there is no other drink available. I think this is a great topic because it makes people think 'what is moderation at my current diet phase and how will it help me reach my ultimate weightloss and health goals'. - 7/7/2009   11:22:49 AM
  • 129
    I think some items have a standard definition of moderation like alcohol or limits on intake like sugar, carbs, sodium, etc and are to be used as the moderate standard but once in a while you have to have more.

    I have found that depriving myself of cookies, for example, entirely leads to cookie binging when I do eat them. Therefore, I eat the foods I like sometimes and am learning to find healthy alternatatives when I don't eat them. Some day I may not want a cookie again but until then, I work them into my calorie plan for the day. - 7/7/2009   9:48:54 AM
    I think moderation is self-defined because it everyone is different, so we can't all follow the same rules. I couldn't agree more with the end of this article. I HATE having set timelines or restrictions on my diet. I try to eat healthy as often as possible, but I certainly enjoy the get-togethers that are often centered around food. At these times I just try to limit my portion sizes. That's moderation to me. In my mind being too strict with your diet is way too extreme. I feel you have to live your life and not worry so much...just listen to your body! - 7/7/2009   9:29:54 AM
  • 127
    Great topic!! Very interesting to think about.
    For me, I let myself have a "trigger food" if I am craving it. Since I know myself and I'll totally obsess over it if I don't allow myself to have it.
    Moderation for me is 90/10 each day. For example, I LOVE ice cream and it's my one outlet when my children are finally in bed and my husband and I can finally sit down together, whatch a show and talk about our days. I know I will do this, so I account for it in my tracker... I choose frozen yogurt (Edy's Yogurt Blends has GREAT flavors) and use a bowl that is pre-marked as 3/4 cup. THAT is moderation... in the past, I would use a coffee mug and fill it up twice with normal ice cream.
    Perhaps as time goes on and my journey toward a lifestyle change continues, my perception of moderation may change... and perhaps that evening ice cream won't be as important to me.
    For now, I'm ok with it though :) - 7/7/2009   9:14:40 AM
  • 126
    I looked up the word moderation on dictionary.com and learned that moderation is "avoiding excess or extremes.'

    That said a diet of nothing but cabbage and grapefruit would be considered excess or extreme.
    Excercising past the point of exhaustion would also be considered excess or extreme.
    Even getting to the point that we have to log on to the computer every single time we put something into our mouth can be considered by some to be excess or extreme.
    Having your diet be the only thing you think about and you talk about it adnauseum is also t excess or extreme.

    I agree with everyone else that moderation is in the eye of the beholder.

    For me using a 9-inch plate helps me avoid excess or extremes.
    knowing what a portion size looks like is practicing moderation.
    Planning in advance my meals and snacks helps me to avoid excess or extremes.
    Knowing which foods I cannot eat, because I will continue to eat past the point of moderation into the point of excess or extreme. However, no food for me is off limits. But there are foods that I won't allow into my house because I will eat to excess or extreme, but occassionally I could purchase one serving size and eat it and it is not to an excess or extreme.

    But if I do overeat, or underexcercise not to quit or beat myself up over it; that would be excess or extreme.
    Moderation would be to get right back onto my program and begin again. - 7/7/2009   8:20:06 AM
  • 125
    I'm with Christie on this one. Moderation to me doesn't mean having just a touch of something that I shouldn't have every day, but that once in a blue moon I can splurge and have a choc bar or maybe even half of a choc bar one day and the next day finish it up so I don't obsess over it. But doing that too often just leads me right back in to bad habits. Knowing that after a month of really being good and seeing progress I can have a half of a choc. bar and actually stay within my calories, I'm o.k. with that. It's the concept of never again having chocolate that I just couldn't live with. Moderation is key. Man I love this site, I love reading the articles, the blogs and all the folks giving their opinions! Everyone have a great day!!! - 7/7/2009   8:10:45 AM
    Long time reader, first time commenter.... I just had to chime in on this interesting question though!! I think the answer is right there in the word-- "moderation" means that you are playing "moderator" to your own habits. You are mindful of them, you quantify them, and you put them in perspective. The dictionary says to moderate means "to preside over or act as chairman of ". That's what I have to do every day with all my food. I count the calories and write everything down (even the peppermint). At the end of the day, if I'm under on calories and I've gotten the proper nutrition I need for the day, I have that 100-calorie ice cream, and I don't feel remotely guilty about it either! It's my reward for a job well done, and a diet well moderated, for the day. "Moderation is key" = "Mindfulness is key"!!! - 7/7/2009   8:10:30 AM
    Moderation, means different things for different people at different times (in my experience at least). I started using a calorie counter for nutrition and exercise, when I realized that often in dieting I was causing myself to binge after exercising too much and not eating enough. Therefore, within this scenario, there is a need for some unhealthy treats in order for me to maintain Balance.
    On the other hand, I really like sweets, especially when I'm feeling very emotional. Even worse I tend to rely on food for stress management. So it is easy to see why, at more stressful times in my life or times of the month, I may need to avoid my favorite snacks in order to keep from over-indulging.
    So the key for me is Balance. And this is not something that I am able to do unconsciously. It takes a lot of conscious effort to count my nutrition and exercise calories and then correlate that to my weight each week.
    Good luck everyone! Balance and moderation! What imprecise words! - 7/7/2009   7:40:35 AM
    I think moderation means not doing something too much or too little. I think it applies to everything in life except prayer. You can never pray too much and the power of prayer is proven time and time again. I pray everyday and it helps me stay motivated. - 7/7/2009   7:15:12 AM
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    When trying to loose weight, I do not think moderation should be in your vocab. If you strongly crave and have tried to aviod, I think you should have what ever it is you crave and just a little. Moderation falls in during the maintence stage. - 7/7/2009   6:05:09 AM
  • 120
    I have a few bugbears: chocolate is a biggie, as is cake and cookies. I love to bake! So I stick to muffins, cookies and other things that can easily be measured - and that my greediness can't tempt into a bigger slice! I stick to dark chocolate, Lindt preferably, because the sugar tends to stir me into a frenzy. And I keep my 'stash' away from my desk - also very important.

    Other than that, moderation means I keep my portions down and resist my poor mother who is used to feeding active growing boys and can't believe how little I eat :) I'm slowly training her into what is healthy for me. I stick to home-made meals most days, packed lunches etc, and try to avoid pre-packaged foods. The 80/20 rule was a great help when I started.

    The biggest lesson for me was learning not to feel guilty when I 'indulge,' just to check when last I 'broke' my plan and make sure it doesn't happen too often (my limit is four or five times a month unless its Christmas or my man vists!) - 7/7/2009   5:58:47 AM
    For me moderation does not mean that I enjoy a little of my favorite bad foods each day, it means that once in a while I can have something that I normally do not have, like a soda, or some chocolate. Not everyday, just once in a while. - 7/6/2009   9:01:26 PM
  • 118
    Maybe I should not even be commenting on this one since I have gained weight in the last two months. I just had a fudgecycle(sugar free) 35 calories. I feel like I have had a fun food....but it had no sugar and I stayed in my calories today(i mean yesterday)....although the fudge cycle will be charted for today because it just turned midnight. If moderation is 80% - 20% to me that means that I should always stay in my range of calories. If I chose a food that is considered by most to be an unhealthy choice then it should not be more than 20% of the time. If I do that daily....there is only 20% on weekends also. If I chose to eat well 100% of the time through out the week then maybe I could go more than 20% for a day of the weekend. Personally I find if I have a fun food...especially sugar...I crave sugar and have a hard time staying away from it the next day. I find all kind of ways to make my food fun without the guilt and agony of getting back on track. I use sugar free vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit,or cinnamon, sometimes cool whip and Cheerio's for crunch on top. If I do that..I don't miss anything. I recently bought some chocolate animal crackers(cookies) 17 - 130 calories...which is not bad. I enjoyed them and charted them in my daily calorie allotment...the problem was a few hours later....I wanted more. It threw me over my calories two days ago. I will not buy them again. Because I just couldn't say no to the second helping. Moderation for me is not bringing anything into the house that I have trouble saying "No" to. - 7/6/2009   1:58:50 AM
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    A very thought provoking article and VERY timely for me! Thanks, Nicole. - 7/5/2009   11:20:43 PM
  • 116
    Moderation for me derives from moderate - in other words, trying to pay attention to what I am doing, whether it is eating, sleeping, or exercising, etc. - 7/5/2009   10:58:09 PM
  • 115
    Moderation means to modify. Moderation to me = Stick to your plan, but be flexible enough in your plan to have your fun food too. Moderation also means to modify my portions of food to allow me the freedom of still having food I enjoy, and still keep within my goals.

    For example: On July 4th, I had filet mignon and a ice cream sundae with a drizzle of strawberry and chocolate syrup (sugarfree, of course and drank ony water!) My calories were 1394, for the day even with some other "fun foods." - 7/5/2009   10:58:21 AM
  • 114
    I'm not quite so sure what moderation means to me. I think I need to figure it out. This blog was really helpful and insightful. - 7/5/2009   4:37:45 AM
  • 113
    I can barely do anything in moderation....either I work twelve hours a day or none.
    I eat like a pig or barely eat. I work out like I'm training for a marathon or I sit on the couch.
    So, in sum, I believe moderation is what other people do...ha-ha - 7/5/2009   12:29:42 AM
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    P.S. Those portion controlled amounts of 100-150 = the calorie count, not the amount of items. :-))) - 7/4/2009   11:46:55 AM
  • 111
    Moderation for me means always being conscious about the foods I eat. It is my goal to concentrate on preparing and eating foods that will be the most nutritious and beneficial to the body. That said, I also have a "sweet tooth" and I do allow myself to have portion controlled amounts (usually no more than 100-150) of ice cream, chocolate (zucchini brownies are great!), etc. 2-3 times a week (sometimes more) when they fit into my calorie range after my nutritional needs (tracking calcium, protein, carbs, fat, magnesium, etc.) are met.

    - 7/4/2009   11:45:19 AM
  • 110
    For me, moderation is a flexible term. I apply this in different ways, depending on how hungry I feel, or how badly I want to eat a high-calorie food. I like the 80/20 rule, although I'm not rigorous in its application. I try to eat sensible-sized portions of whole foods the majority of the time, but allow myself to eat white bread instead of wholemeal at the weekends, for example, if I want to. I allow myself a packet of low-fat crisps every day, if I want them. I allow for a fun-size chocolate bar every day, if I want it. I don't always want it, so that, again, is practising moderation. I also allow myself to eat a bit extra of something like pasta or potatoes every once in a while if I fancy it. If I go over my calories slightly once in a while, it's not the end of the world, as long as it isn't an every-day thing.

    By giving myself permission to enjoy a portion of my trigger foods every day I don't feel deprived and and am less likely to go off on a chocolate binge, or whatever. I don't have it down to a science just yet, but I'm getting better all the time. I'm practising living like a thin person, because that's my ultimate goal. Thin people don't stick to a rigid number of calories every day. They have "good" days and "bad" days, same as the rest of us and compensate by exercising a little more or eating a little less the next day, which is what I'm trying to do. I'm doing my very best to develop new habits to replace my old habits so that this "moderation" thing becomes second nature to me. - 7/4/2009   2:56:06 AM
  • 109
    Moderation to me means "just one" if the treat would not take me over my daily calorie or fat allowance, or "just one bite" if it is really high in calories. So I will allow myself one cookie or a bite size chocolate bar, but not every day. I used to think I should be able to treat myself everyday and then wondered why I gained weight. Eating healthy most of the time allows me to feel fuller on less food, which is great. - 7/3/2009   10:18:10 PM
  • 108
    Moderation for me means not overdoing things. That means I can have my favorite 'naughty' foods and drinks once in a while and in a reasonable portion. It means exercising at a level that tires me out (or maybe even energizes me) but does not exhaust me. - 7/3/2009   4:45:23 PM
  • BMORE73
    Moderation for me is having what I want, when I want but with the right portion. I don't deprive myself because life is too short and I know I can't get fat overnight. Especially the way I eat and exercise on a regular basis. I don't diet but eat healthy and exercise. - 7/3/2009   3:23:14 PM
  • 106
    This AM this was my sparkpeople 'meditation'..moderation. For me, I have been working on portion control. I too have been trying to realize that by eating daily things that are 'junk' is not helping me..using them as treats on a less frequent space of time would be better for me. Thanks a lot for this topic. - 7/3/2009   10:41:33 AM
    eating in moderation to me means that you can eat anything even the food that is supposed to be "out of bounds" as long as you keep it as a treat and count it into your daily calaorie intake. So it may mean that if I really want an ice cream one day I will need to reduce my other calorie intake on that day. I would eat a little less protein or fat on that day do allow the calories for the ice cream. Of course that means that I am missing the protein on that day but as long as I only have a "treat" once a week I think I can cope to stay on track. Each person's body is different and so maybe some people can only do this once a week or once a month. I think as long as you think about what you put in your mouth and why and register the fact that it is an extraordinary thing you will be able to enjoy your food as a treat and not think of it as a forbidden food. Food should always be enjoyable, even ice cream. Good luck to all, keep on counting, running, walking,swimming,skipping and whatever else you fellow sparkers get up to. :-) - 7/3/2009   10:26:25 AM
    Great topic! Eating in moderation for me is eating small portions, even the good-for-you-stuff but especially the not-so-good-for-you-stuff. I agree with 'CATHWREN' - "neither denying nor indulging myself". This seems to work for me (as well as exercising everyday.) - 7/3/2009   1:38:28 AM
  • 103
    Lizabaker said it for me: SP lifestyle change and moderation are the key - they're the reason I can eat healthy all day long and still have room and calories left for the bit of chocolate and/or a glass of wine when I want them!

    Moderation is being able to eat what would be tabo to some - a little bit because I have allowed calories to do so... as long as I don't go overboard and binge on it - I can have a taste of it whenever I want. - 7/3/2009   1:33:44 AM
  • 102
    I believe that as a beginner I need direction in knowing portion control. As I become more aware of what each meal, snack, and treat should look like I may choose to determine my own level of moderation, especially with the treats. - 7/2/2009   8:39:47 PM
  • 101
    To me moderation means, bypassing things I don't really LOVE and saving up to have that one thing I do want! Eating Ice Cream on Sunday and Grandpa's because I have since I was a child and I know that I was good this week so I can. - 7/2/2009   7:54:35 PM
  • 100
    SP lifestyle change and moderation are the key - they're the reason I can eat healthy all day long and still have room and calories left for the bit of chocolate and glass of wine when I want them! - 7/2/2009   7:38:48 PM
  • 99
    Excellent, thought provoking topic Nicole! - thank you!
    - 7/2/2009   6:57:38 PM
  • 98
    Didn't read through all the comments, but agree strongly with several I saw. Everyone needs to decide for themselves what is moderate for them. I also use 20g of 70 percent dark chocolate as a treat fairly regularly. It and some other things with minimal bad effect can easily fit into my under 1500 calorie daily allotment after I've gotten all my necessary requirements. When I first met my husband, over 30 years ago, I realized that he automatically practiced portion control on everything - 3 of these, 6 of these, etc and when he had his quantity he quit. After eating with him a few weeks I realized why I was overweight and he wasn't. I think over time I learned his portions and just recently learned how to scale them to my size. - 7/2/2009   6:22:22 PM
  • 97
    I have learned so much about portion control and appying it to fit in my daily plan a little treat. Especially when Dh and I hit the wall craving NY Pizza. Tough going when you are in the South. So we finaly found a place that makes it and comes from Our home town. We ordered 1 Slice and split it with a salad.
    That took the edge off and we did satisfy the craving. We weigh and measure our foods and plan what we will eat and learned that now and then a taste not big bites or half of something is Moderation, - 7/2/2009   6:03:48 PM
  • LIGHT512
    Moderation means for me to be able to fit in my special treat whatever it may be & still meet most of my nutrition goal missin 1 or 2 by plus or minus 10% depending on the nutrional goal. For instance - recently started haveing 20g of 70& dark chocolate most days & still maintaining all of my nutrition goals & if i snack while im out - come within the 10% guideline ive set for myself maybe twice a month. The 5 to 7 times a year Birthdays,Mothers Day etc - dont worry about moderation but try to make reasonable choice when it is a given that it will be a high calorie/sodium etc day & will have a desert on most of them - Enjoy & have a Great Day - 7/2/2009   5:43:49 PM
    For me moderation means that I have to understand what serving size means, which usually ties with knowing how many calories are in the food and whether the food is healthy for me. - 7/2/2009   5:20:08 PM
  • 94
    I would go with the 80-20 routine meaning that I can add a candy to my day without worrying: or plan for a special meal without going off the diet for a month over a weight gain. For me is in incorporating the meal that isn't healthy into my plan for the week: not just having it happen by accident. I plan my meals in my head in advance. If I'm going to be eating in a restaurant, I know what I will be ordering before I cross the threshold (and only change it for something with fewer carbs or if it's not available). I hate it when someone tries to get me off my plans with telling me it won't matter if I just try a taste. IT DOES MATTER! - 7/2/2009   4:37:09 PM

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