“Everything in moderation”

It’s a phrase that we hear often and that many fitness folks throw around. But what exactly is moderation? Should we all have the same kind of moderation? What’s allowed and what isn’t?


A few weeks ago, I was circling the snack table at my Tuesday morning Bible study. There are generally few foods that fit into my nutrition plan, but I always check it out. My eyes spotted a plate of mini chocolate covered donuts (with sprinkles!). I’m not a donut fan at all, but miniatures always get me and I happen to love a chocolate donut. As I was deciding if I was going to take any and how many I should take, a gal next to me said, “I think you can afford to eat 5 of those.” I responded, “5 MAY be okay, but 10 isn’t.” She looked at me confused. I told her that I know my propensity to overindulge on certain items and that “moderation” for me in this instance is better off at nothing. (Although, I admit, I did take one and scooted out of there). As she was contemplating what I said I chimed in, “You have to know yourself. And since I am a 0-60 kind of girl, moderation looks really different for me.” She nodded in agreement.

I talk to a lot of women who try to find out what really works for them in regards to moderation. I call it finding your “moderation prescription” or “Moderation Rx.” It looks just a little different for all of us. And the truth is, I don’t know any fitness or healthy person who doesn’t do some sort of moderation….it just may be on a different scale than yours.

Finding your moderation Rx: Why my moderation won't look like your moderation : www.claresmith.me

I am not the moderation police. I can’t tell you if your piece of dark chocolate every night is okay, or if your Friday night cheat meal works, or your every other day bowl of chips and dip is okay.  I cannot tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. I can tell you what works for me. Why? Because I’ve failed enough times to know what is successful!

So how do you find your “Moderation Rx”?

1.) Consider your personality

This is probably one of the biggest areas people forgo when talking about this area. I’ve mentioned before how I’m a 0-60 kind of gal. There is no middle ground for me. So moderation will look different than my friend, Leslie, or my husband, Kory, who are both middle of the line folks. They can indulge in a small treat every day and let it be just that–a small treat. For me, a small treat ends up in 4 handfuls later, so I have to build my plan around my personality.

2.) Consider your goals

I could definitely eat more calories and empty calories, at that, in a day and have small bearing on my body. But that’s not my  goal. I am trying to build muscle mass and keep a very lean look. Because of this, my moderation plan will look different than someone who is trying to maintain their weight or trying to lose some. So yes, my friend was right that I could have eaten 10 small mini donut holes that day, but that wouldn’t have gotten me closer to my end goal.

3.) Consider your schedule

Maybe you know that every Friday night is pizza night with the family, or that Monday is a girls night out. Build those times in as your times for moderation so that you may enjoy those moments. Make it work for you, so you don’t feel deprived.

 Here are a few points of caution:

1.) People around you will not necessarily understand your Moderation Rx especially if they aren’t following one themselves.

They will look at you funny, probably make some sly comments about “living up life since it’s short” and a whole host of other things. So expect a little kickback and watch out for folks trying to get you to slide. You need to decide for yourself what works and then stick to it. (And tell them, kindly, that you are “living up” life–feeling healthy and strong, fitting into your clothes, and enjoying your moderation when it’s time to! 🙂 )

2.) Your “moderation” may be what’s keeping that last “x” lbs on you.

Moderation is fine and dandy if you are happy with where you are in your journey, but if you are struggling and still need to lose weight, or get stronger, you may want to start evaluating your Moderation Rx.

3.) There will be times when you are just DONE with moderation.

You are tired of being disciplined. You are tired of saying no when others are saying yes. And yes–you want that cake tonight, tomorrow, and the next night! Expect these things to happen and if need be, throw it out the window for a while. Chances are, you’ll be back at it once you realize how good it actually was for you! (I’ve totally been there!)

 So what do you think? Have you found your Moderation Rx yet? Is it time to adjust what you are doing? I’d love to hear how moderation looks for you, so comment away below in the box!!