What does “moderation” look like?

When it comes to nutrition advice, by now you’ve probably heard the snazzy saying “eat a variety in moderation.” Or, my personal favorite version (curtesy of my high school teacher), “everything (legal) in moderation.”

But what does “moderation” mean?

img_7322
Okay, eating an entire plate of cookies in one sitting is probably not moderation…but one cookie is fine by me!

Giving nutrition advice is a double-edged sword. One, we want the advice to come off short and catchy in hopes that people will remember and abide by it. Unfortunately, simplifying can lead to misinterpretation.

In reality, the message would be something like, “eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains, and then choose lean protein, like chicken breast, eggs, beans, nuts, legumes, etc., and don’t forget you can also have some dairy products, like low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, but life would suck without cake, so every once in awhile eat that piece of cake, just don’t eat cake every single day.”

Who would ever want to read that? That looks like a whole bunch of words.

So let’s break down what “moderation” means. Moderation looks different depending on who you are, making it tricky to define. The dictionary definition is something like “the avoidance of excess or extremes.”

When it comes to food, my definition of moderation is based off of a few key bullet points:

  • Eat what feels good: Veggies, fruits, whole-grains (brown rice, whole-wheat couscous/pasta), lean protein (eggs, salmon, chicken breast, beans) and yogurt power my body through the day and I feel nourished after eating these types of foods. These foods form the basis of what I eat. Depending on your personal preferences, choose a few foods you like to eat from these food groups and create meals around them. When a treat pops up that I really want, I’ll eat it and stick to a serving size.
  • Nothing is off-limits: Knowing that I can eat anything I want means there are no “special/untouchable” foods. When you hold a food on a pedestal and deprive yourself of eating it, chances are you will eventually succumb to your craving and overindulge on that food. Or, you may stick to your rules and not eat the sacred food and instead overeat other foods in place of what you truly want.

EX: Full-fat ice cream is off-limits. So, I purchase some reduced-fat version of ice cream/sorbet/diet food version instead and eat the entire container because it’s “better” for you than the full-fat version and I’m proud of myself for not buying the off-limits ice cream. But, then I just ate the entire container. Meanwhile, if I brought the full-fat version and served myself a serving size in a bowl (no eating out of the container), I would have satisfied my craving and not binged on something less satisfying.

  • Seconds are okay: When serving meals, portion out what a single serving looks like because if you’re still hungry you can go back for seconds. This will help preserve the basis of moderation, which means not too little and not too much of something.

img_7063

Moderation can be an intangible concept, but once you create your own version of what moderation looks like to you, it can be an enjoyable way of eating. Keeping the basis of what you eat grounded in nutritious foods, of course.

Eat Responsibly!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What does “moderation” look like to you?

What are your key bullet points for “moderation?”

 

Sometimes “healthy” doesn’t happen, and that’s okay.

Some days fruits and vegetables are non-existent and all we want is a buttery pastry. That’s okay too. Life is about experiencing the world and food is quite the way to experience! This year, I’ve been able to spend time traveling and my favorite way to explore a new place is through my stomach. Hence, delicious food was consumed, but the healthiest choices were not always made.

IMG_4285

However, life is also about balance. Lots of walking and hiking was done on these travels and some nutritious food was eaten.

Walking around nyc...from food place 1 to food place 2.
Walking around NYC…from food place 1 to food place 2.
Happy hikers.
Happy hikers, happy selfie-stick :).

It’s important to take advantage of opportunities to discover new places and not focus on eating healthy all the time. Rather, let yourself have a decadent sweet in a new city, especially if the treat comes highly recommended! Being healthy includes the occasional indulgences and letting yourself enjoy them. Drink wine! Eat cake! There are plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains to eat later. The special chocolate hazelnut tarte only makes its way on your plate once in a blue moon.

IMG_4066
This was gone in 2 seconds flat.

I think I can, I think I can

Wow, I was immensely floored and surprised by the amount of support from my last post, thank you all so much!

*  *  *

On Friday, I finally picked up my running shoes again. It’s funny how hard it is to get myself out the door to run, even though I absolutely LOVE running. As soon as I pick up the speed I’m reminded by how freeing it is to feel the wind in my face and how refreshing it is to move. I ran a sweaty 5 miles on Friday and did a 5k on Sunday and caught the running bug again.

FullSizeRender (4)
New shoes that aren’t stinky yet!!!

I do some of my best thinking when I’m out on my feet. To run, I just need to keep one foot in front of the other and not worry about when I reach my destination. If I keep my feet moving, I will eventually arrive. Sometimes, I get ahead of myself and worry about when I’m reaching the end. That’s when my run no longer becomes enjoyable, but becomes stressful and rushed. I run my best when I truly relish the moment and appreciate the pounding of each foot against the ground.

Life is sort of like running. When I spend too much time thinking about the end goal, I become anxious and stressed. Instead, focusing on the journey along the way helps me stay in the moment and perform my best.

One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon, but the thought of running 26.2 miles scares the living daylights out of me. I’m contemplating signing up for a marathon a couple friends are doing at the end of May. I have to start properly training now, but I have until the end of the month to officially sign up. My plan is to let me feet take me along the way and see where I end up on my running journey.

10404344_2332016103774_4358351529732545824_n

I think I can, I think I can.

Random Rambles

Just as soon as I created this little space, I have neglected it. Ohhh the graduate student life…busy, busy, and more busy! Well, here I am again. This quarter has definitely been hectic, but filled with some fun times too. I ran two half marathons, both in 1:55, my happy pace, and I only got 1 mini blood blister along the way, success!

Excited to run Nike Women's for the first time! And for the bagels and champagne waiting at the end...
Excited to run Nike Women’s for the first time! But, more so for the bagels and champagne waiting at the end…
We're really good friends because we wake up at 5am to run 13.1 miles for our bestie's birthday :)
We’re really good friends because we wake up at 5am to run 13.1 miles for our bestie’s birthday :).

I turned one year older…and hopefully got a little bit wiser in the process ;). I definitely felt the birthday love!

Buddies and beer, all a girl needs.
Buddies and beer, all a girl needs.

Alongside these fun little weekend adventures, school has been grueling! It’s been tough to find time to breathe, but I’m hoping to make a little more time for myself to just relaxxxxx. It’s all exciting stuff though, life in graduate school is never dull! I feel so fortunate to be in a program doing what I love with people who I love.

Speaking of things I love, I wrote this freelance piece about the controversial artificial sweeteners study, check it out here.