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Everything in moderation, including moderation.
Moderation not deprivation.
You’ve heard these quotes probably close to a million times. Is it overrated or is it the holy grail you’ve been searching for? What’s so good about moderation?
For more years than I care to remember, I’ve had an all or nothing attitude, go hard or go home, that addictive personality type, balls to wall- you get it, right. Practising moderation isn’t easy for me nor is it particularly enjoyable however what is has afforded me, is the ability to not have to limit things (like exercise and food). I want you to reread that moderation isn’t easy for me nor is it particularly enjoyable. When you have a “all the things” personality it’s a struggle to find balance. It doesn’t just happen. Just because I can coach people well doesn’t mean that I don’t see how challenging it can be. Trust me, I do.
Some people practice moderation better than others. For some it’s just an innate skill they possess. Others are swamped with feelings of guilt and frustration constantly when they have to change how they do daily tasks and activities in order to achieve any kind of balance. It’s normal and it’s totally ok. Moderation is a skill to master.
I personally got fed up with this notion of me having to continually say no all the time. “No i’ll pass on the pasta today I’m off the carbs” or “No dessert for me, I’ll just have a cup of tea”. Blerrggghhh. It’s tiring saying NO at the time when it you want to say is “FUCK YES, I WANT IT ALLLLLL!”. That also swings the other way. People who say YES constantly get the same feelings that crop up for them and this is where the moderation/balance idea comes into play. Imagine never really having those guilty/ fed up feelings, imagine it was just easy and not stressful or hard? It’s totally possible to just be content with your own personal decisions surround your body and your choices. This moderated lifestyle choice of doing what you feel is good for you at the time is not a case of being content with being frumpy or overweight or lazy or apathetic it’s purely about doing whatever FEELS right in the situation without having to deal with your own headspace of guilt/shame/disgust/unhappiness.
So, if you’ve tried the NO to everything game and the YES to everything game and feel that you want to be somewhere in the middle then “Moderation Town” is for you! Like anything in life- you’ve got to want it or at least commit to giving it a real go. Understand there will be slip ups, no day/week/month/year can ever be perfect. That’s really what this whole moderation thing is about, it’s not about having a floor people can eat their dinner off or an exercise routine to rival that of an athlete- it’s about meeting YOURSELF in the middle and finding some common (relaxed) ground.
Let’s get into a few ways you can bring more balance into your life, here’s my tips
- There is no moderation book for you to learn from, same as there is no parenting book when you have kids. You will find what works for you. You will eventually get to a “happy medium” that means you are joyful, rested and at peace with all your decisions. Constantly remind yourself of this. Everyone’s balance will be different.
- When it comes to treats, try buying portioned out (smaller sizing) items. You can get individual sizes chocolates or ice cream tubs etc. You still get your treat but once it’s done, you’re done. It’s a little more expensive but if it saves you from beating yourself up then a few dollars is worth it. Generally the good ol’ 80/20 rule is a great nutritional aim. 80% of the time its healthy and fresh and nourishing foods, 20% is the treat yo’ self zone.
- Understand nothing is off limits- you can have A glass of wine with dinner just not 3 or 4 top ups. You can eat cheese and crackers for a snack if you want, a wheel of brie, well that’s excessive. Love your choices though don’t eat or do things just because someone told you that it’s good for you. Kale is a great example (yep the vegetable)- if it doesn’t excite you, it’s out.
- Moderation doesn’t work all the time. Catching up with the girls will generally mean a blow out. I mean who are you kidding. It’s margaritas all round! Don’t beat yourself up about it but just be prepared to move on and get out of that “party vibe” once you are done. It’s one day not one week
- I often have a mantra in my head to help me practice moderation better. I generally pep talk to myself something along the lines of “This isn’t the only time you will ever eat this “insert treat food here”, you can have it again if you desire. This is not the last supply of “insert treat food here”. You are not depriving yourself, you can anything you need at anytime you need it.
- I will purposely half do things just to test myself and see how the outcome affects me. Take cleaning for example: will anyone notice you didn’t do the skirting boards? Seriously? No, they won’t. Do you lose friends over how clean your windows are? If I cut my workout short by 5 minutes do I gain a few kilos, No! I don’t. There’s so much pressure on us constantly, sometimes we need to just release the valve and back off ourselves.
- Model yourself off others who you look up to, maybe it’s friends or family members who you admire. When not talking in a single white female capacity but hanging around people who aren’t excessive people can be helpful.
- Take time to enjoy practising moderation. Savour that square of chocolate or the wine or the cheeseburger. Enjoy possessing self-control. Delay gratification and see how that makes you feel.
- Declutter, I bring this up regularly in my tips because it’s such a key action to include in bringing about change. Clean the closets, drawers and simply rid yourself of the excess and crap you don’t need or have been storing up. Start with a fresh slate.
- Life is for living and it’s there to be enjoyed. I believe finding your balance allows you to have all those great moments: The travel, the parties, a great job, the happy family. The other side to the fun times is the working hard, the commitments, etc. These aren’t always as positive but they are the yin to the yang. The light to the darkness.
What are the moderation tips that work well for you?