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Balance, or moderation? Is there even a difference?

Friday, February 12, 2021

I have been doing a little research on both of these concepts. Reason? I am very "all or nothing". And sometimes, "all or nothing" can be so limiting as to be totally unsustainable.

Point being: I've been on the Mediterranean Diet for almost a full year now..... Feb. 20 is my "Mediterraneanversary". I have been like Ivory soap, 99 and 44/100% compliant. It is getting too hard to sustain at that pace. HOWEVER, as a recovering binge eater of decades and decades, it sure is a slippery slope for me.

I spoke with two administrators on my favorite Facebook Mediterranean Diet groups. Both tell me they practice the "80/20" rule and have both sustained very good health for over a decade now. I was advised not to view going off plan as a "cheat" but a "treat". In theory, lol, I like the sound of that.

Jillian Michaels (one of the Biggest Loser judges of the past) talks about balance, as opposed to moderation. So, as a lover of words, I looked both up.

Moderation is defined as "the avoidance of excess or extremes". synonyms are self-restraint, restraint, self-control, self-discipline,

Balance is defined as "an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. synonyms stability, equilibrium, steadiness, footing

Are you hearing the nuance of the two? Moderation is a doing of self. Balance is not about extremes. Balance is not, "oh crap, I ate four cupcakes, now I have to eat salad without dressing for dinner". Balance is the automatic "knowing" that is maybe isn't too wise to eat four cupcakes and then "punish" ones self with a dressing-less salad afterwards to make up the difference.

Honestly, I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of this, and I look forward to and value your own comments below. What do you think of this? Am I just getting caught up in semantics? Is there a true difference to YOU, about balance, and moderation?

I was NEVER good at moderation. That's why I am so all or nothing. But I do think that I owe it to myself to "grow up in my thinking" and consider what a balanced life looks like. In that ideal world? I can have my better health. I can maintain my weight loss and healthy eating.
I can also, literally, "have my cake, and eat it too".

I am digging this new idea. I'm praying it can become a new reality because I am just not willing to go one more year without a piece of cake... nor should I.

What do you all think?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SHARON10002
    That is truly remarkable! One year without a piece of cake, but I certainly understand where you are coming from as far as your fear of not being able to stop yourself after that one piece.

    I'm not sure about the semantics aspect of it, but semantics can be limiting. I'm suggesting a change in perspective - looking at it from a different angle. Maybe this might help you to change your perspective . . .
    In my opinion, I don't see this as an "either/or" deliberation. I see them as working in a synergistic and equally beneficial, and respected relationship. As with all things in the universe, one does not exist without the other - the whole yin and yang thing. Without moderation balance cannot occur - and balance cannot occur without moderation. Think of a pile of rocks. You can make a pile of rocks, but you only pile on more rocks - to a certain point - until it collapses from the "excess" of even one small rock. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. Just my two cents worth . . .
    78 days ago
    Such an amazing post.
    Happy Mediterraneanversary !!!

    Moderation is defined as "the avoidance of excess or extremes". synonyms are self-restraint, restraint, self-control, self-discipline,----------wow...so dieting

    Balance is defined as "an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. synonyms stability, equilibrium, steadiness, footing--------sparking

    I know you can do Mediterranean style eating forever if you want because you're tough as nails. Balance is very hard for us "all or nothing" types, it's scary even. I love the definitions which you took right from a dictionary but the memes......you chose those and I think there is something there.....
    88 days ago
    Sue, congratulations on your Mediterraneanversary! That is a huge accomplishment. A whole year without cake?! Wow!

    I've been having a rough time and am still confused about how to improve eating and health, but my instinct is that self-denial (which some might call self-discipline) is not all that effective. Well, in my case, abstaining from alcohol is clearly advisable, as it leads to mindless eating and (extra) joint inflammation. As for food, however, I really have come to believe that the self-imposed deprivation of my teenage and early adulthood years did a lot of damage, and that it's past time for me to engage in more meditation and reflection to understand whether or not it is food that I really desire when I stand in the kitchen late at night. I do believe we all have within us the capacity to return to our childhood, the time when food, though often extremely special and delicious, was mainly for physical sustenance. Don't you remember when you were little how easy it was to get up from the table and go play, completely forgetting about food, even if you'd just eaten ice cream and cake for dessert? As I sit here typing this, I realize I am trying to call up the vision I sometimes have of a life free from food and body-image obsession. It's beautiful. I need to keep that lovely vision within reach.

    Sorry to go on and on, and this might not even make sense, but thank you for your blog and for listening.
    88 days ago
  • SHELLS514
    Wonderful blog and congratulations on your Mediterraneanversary! emoticon emoticon emoticon That is a huge milestone and you have worked so hard. emoticon For me it is all things in moderation and that achieves a balance for me. I have to be very strict to continue to lose so the occasional 'treat' will slow down progress but...I no longer beat myself up anymore or let that negative internal dialogue sabotage me, Not anymore! In the past if I were to 'cheat', it was an excuse to just keep going, why bother. But now I truly look at it different and it is truly a treat, and a well-deserved one at that! So I will continue to indulge now and then if the desire is just too much but then hop right back on plan. For me it's working! You have learned what works for you as you have maintaining for so long now! I hope to be like YOU one day! emoticon emoticon
    89 days ago
    Ummmm it's a subtle difference I suppose, and this early in the morning, it hurts my brain :) The key is you're mostly going to follow the Med diet,and it's not going to hurt you if you occasionally stray.
    91 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    I never really thought about this before...I've heard many times you can have "All things in moderation" and I took that to mean "Eat whatever you want but be mindful of how much, how often, etc." But I think now that is more a definition of balance. Certain things I simply cannot have - like another cigarette, ever - because one is too many, 1000 would not be enough. With food, however, it's more difficult to say you will never have another piece of something (cake) because life happens, there are moments when a piece of cake would be okay to have...unless, of course, you were allergic or it made you ill or you just knew that one piece would lead to another then finishing off the whole darn thing. With balance, you would be able to eat one piece of cake for dessert now and then without guilt, because you would have eaten healthy salads and veggies and proteins etc the rest of the day/week. You would be able to eat that one piece of cake and enjoy it.

    91 days ago
  • _BABE_
    Wow you have been dedicated. I think any deviation from your recent success has to be planned and monitored. Try one piece of cake, once a month and see how that makes you feel. It is a slippery slope and I have the mud on my butt to prove it but if you go at it in a systematic way...you might be able to have your cake and eat it too.
    92 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/13/2021 1:47:09 AM
    Hi Sue! Congratulations on making your Mediterranean diet work for you for a year! Wow, that is great! Oh and to answer your question yes I still eat cake but I eat a lot more vegetables than I used to as well. Hugs!
    92 days ago
    i try to be balanced i have to work more on moderation
    92 days ago
    I tend to be a balance person myself. I have learned through a process of feeling really yucky from eating the wrong stuff, in the wrong amts., that it is just not worth it! It's a recognition that you can CHOOSE to eat something and feel yucky OR choose to avoid it. It's really getting to know what make YOU tick. What you thrive on, what you DON'T thrive on and giving yourself the power to choose "I choose not to have xyz because it doesn't serve me well."

    Moderation -- sometimes it works. But I'm not so sure when it comes to an addiction!
    92 days ago
    I love your post and it made me think. I too am an all or nothing kind of gal. I have not had soda in over 8 years. I dearly miss my diet coke but I drank it all the time.

    Good for you for all the progress you have made.
    92 days ago
    I believe in portion control, calorie control, carb control, intuitive eating. Not eating when you aren't hungry. Eating a small piece of cake on special occasions. Never eating carbs without protein.
    92 days ago
    I tend to be extremely, the low end of extreme, but still extreme. I know others far more extreme to me. I work at being practical.
    92 days ago
    emoticon You went a year without a piece of cake?!! No, you definitely should not. I love your three posters (Somehow I have never gotten used to calling them “memes”), and I think they lead the way on the path to take! At times though, I sure wish I had your persistent “all” instead of my usual “none!” emoticon emoticon
    92 days ago
    I'm a balanced eater, all things in moderation emoticon
    92 days ago
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