An article titled “Moderation is a terrible rule to eat by” was recently brought to my attention. It is clear the author does not appreciate or understand the context within which the concept of moderation is applied by dietitians or nutritionists. She states “Nutrition professionals have a specific meaning for the word: moderation means small portions, especially when talking about food that we should eat little to none of.”
I’d be interested to know where she found this “definition”. It’s certainly not what I know it to mean. The concept of moderation does not dictate the size of portions, not does it consider there are foods we should eat little or none of. The dictionary definition is the avoidance of excess or extremes.
The philosophy behind the concept of moderation is much more than just eat “everything in moderation”.
I highly doubt (and sincerely hope not) there are any dietitians or nutritionists who just advise to eat everything in moderation and you’ll be fine.
To enable people to practice moderation, many of us use the concept of intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating is about nourishing your body when you’re hungry and recognising how much food is enough for you at any given point in time. It is about eating mindfully and really appreciating how food looks, smells and tastes. It is knowing what food truly satisfies you both physically and mentally, what food leaves you feeling good inside. See this blog or visit The Non-Diet Approach page for more about what intuitive eating is.
Here is are two examples of how intuitive eating can guide moderation.
- Pictured below is the dinner I enjoyed yesterday evening. Given I was hungry before ordering the food and then comfortably full after finishing the meal, this is an example of enjoying food in moderation. It has nothing to do with only eating a small amount of pate or only a few chips (not pictured), I ate what I wanted and thoroughly enjoyed it! Some may argue that if they did this, they would always eat pate and chips (or their favourite food) for dinner. I would challenge them, that if they were truly in tune with their body and appetite, they would not want to eat the same food all the time, that their body would crave a variety of foods. Many people can relate to having been away, eating out more and often with not much vegetables and after a time, starting to crave vegetables, salad and fruit.
- Sometimes you eat 2 squares of chocolate as that is all you feel like, sometimes you eat more as that’s what you feel like at that moment and sometimes you choose not to have any.
If you have a positive attitude to eating, are nurturing a healthy relationship with food and your body, then moderation is a wonderful concept to practice and live by.
Thanks for reading and as always, I am happy to take your comments on Facebook! This blog was posted on The Moderation Movement