To eat is to live! Eating can be such an enjoyable activity. It permeates every facet of life. The act of food consumption fosters family bonding and camaraderie. Businesses are also not exempt. Megadeals and negotiations are signed and sealed over breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Eating is also integral to cultural identity. Different cultures have rituals and etiquette guiding how, when, and what to eat. No celebration is complete without food! The thought of eating alone can elicit such glee and happiness in most people. However, as the saying goes, too much of everything is not good.
As satisfying as it feels to eat, overindulgence can lead to many health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and overall health degeneration. This adverse effect is why moderation and cultivating a healthy eating habit are essential. Eating just enough to stay healthy and alive is a more useful habit than eating to satisfy a craving. But, of course, this ability is easier said than done! I know how hard it is not to reach for that second helping of yummy pudding or Shepherd’s pie or the conflict between having or not having another scoop of ice cream or piece of doughnut. The struggle is real!
To eat in moderation is to avoid excesses or extreme behavior, especially when it concerns indulging in pleasurable feeding acts. The concept of food moderation denotes discipline. Discipline is what is required to curb indulging in excessive food cravings or emotion-driven binge eating. Food moderation does not in any way connote giving up on food altogether. It merely means to reduce or become less flamboyant in our choices. By practicing a few mindful minimalist eating tips, it is possible to become healthier and happier without giving up your favorite meals altogether.
A significant factor that affects this idea of food moderation and healthy eating is our background. Our family, friends, our experience with food while growing up, what we saw and heard makes up our general understanding of food. In addition, some individuals indulge in emotional eating, which is the habitual art of using food as consolation when depressed or going through stress. Emotional eating can cause guilt, nausea, and weight-related health issues (e.g., obesity). Also, lifestyle and the type of job you do can affect your eating habit.
The beauty of moderation in eating starts with knowing what you want. Developing a health goal is the first step in leading a healthier lifestyle. According to a Jim Rohn, “Goals. You can’t comprehend what you may accomplish when you are inspired by them. You can’t comprehend what you may accomplish when you believe in the goals that you set. You can’t comprehend what you may accomplish when you act upon them” (Paraphrased). The next step is identifying what needs to change or to be adjusted. The next step is to believe that you can accomplish them. Finally, it would be best to tenaciously cultivate the discipline to implement the action steps you have committed to taking.
Living a healthy life starts with reducing or portioning the quantity of food you eat. Measuring your meal by rationing and portioning will help you keep track of what you eat. It may also be beneficial to start counting your calories when you eat. This will help you in knowing the amount of your daily calorie intake requirement. Staying within the limits of your daily calorie requirement will help you not exceed those limits. Portioning and rationing may not work for everyone. Another option could be increasing your metabolism by eating up to five times a day in small portions. This increases your body metabolism and can substitute major portioning and rationing of food throughout the whole day.
Apart from frequent eating in small portions, substituting meals can help quite a lot! Food substitution is the process of keeping foods that you love in your diet by choosing similar foods to them. So, instead of having a big bowl of ice cream, one could have some fresh fruit or even a fruit-based smoothie as a substitute. Another fun-substituting measure is making vegetable-based smoothies. In so doing, you could satisfy your sweet-tooth craving and achieve it via a healthier food substitution. So, food substitution can assist you in the process of moderating what you eat.
Dieticians always advise eating in moderation, especially for those trying to achieve a body weight goal or whose desire is to leave a healthier lifestyle. In some cases, they advise you to eat whatever you want, provided it falls under the calorie target for the day. According to the highlights and findings of the American College of Sports Medicine, the caloric intake for women and men should not go below 1200 and 1800 calories per day for women and men, respectively. However, for those who choose the path of moderation, staying within the purview of these caloric requirements can be extremely beneficial, to say the very least.
For some, the concept of food moderation is a tough journey, especially when they are just starting to apply it in their daily lives. I advocate starting with baby steps. Trying to do too much at the onset of moderation could be unrealistic at times. Some people quickly fall off the bandwagon of food moderation as hastily as they started the process. There is no need for a radical lifestyle change; you can always ease into the health goals you have set gradually. This is more sustainable than attacking your goals head-on. Crash diets don’t work. Start small but be consistent. You can start by reducing the portion of carbohydrate meals you eat. Substituting high-calorie content pastries or snacks with fruits and nuts can also be very beneficial. Instead of eating an entire box of doughnuts, have two and then adjust as time goes on. With time you could eliminate them if you so will—slow and steady wins the race. Also, increase physical activities to help burn off the extra calories.
Here are some points to consider when eating in moderation:
First, know what is moderate for you. Everyone has a different body type and a distinct diet. So, start by figuring out what moderation means to you. For instance, some people can’t go a whole day without drinking soda. They recognize that this is an indulgence and treats it as one. However, excessive intake of sugar-infused drinks is one of the leading causes of diabetes. A healthier substitution for soda could be switching to natural fresh-squeezed fruit juice or detoxification water infused with natural fruits. Those who are hooked on soda need to find a way to wean themselves of such drinks to eschew its negative impact. The truth is that it is always better to avoid processed food for the most part. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Second, empty your pantry and fridge. Remove the trigger foods from your home. Trigger foods are foods that trigger you to overeat or binge. These are foods that you can never have enough of; one bite of such food for you is less than enough. These kinds of foods drive you to want to eat them more and more and more. If your indulgences aren’t in your fridge or pantry, you won’t be able to eat them. So, it would do you well to expunge such foods from your pantry shelves and refrigerator. It may be more beneficial to stock your fridge and pantry with other more nutritious meals rather than trigger-unhealthy junk foods (e.g., seeded crackers or different nuts such as pistachios and almonds). Get rid of foods with excess refined sugars. As much as you can, go fresh, go natural, go healthy.
Third, don’t deceive yourself—eat right. If you’re on a diet, for instance, but every night you order a Domino’s or Papa John’s extra-large meat lover’s pizza with cheese-stuffed crust, you’re not eating right. The practice of late-night eating will frustrate the goal you’re working so hard to achieve! Make intelligent food choices. Use smaller plates. Find ways to curb excessive eating out when you are on a food moderation goal. Cut down your portion size as earlier stipulated. For instance, scoop ice cream into a small bowl instead of eating it out of the pint. Be mindful of portion sizes—this is the hallmark of moderate eating. Seek out organic and local produce when you can. Use the best quality ingredients you can afford. Eat more fresh food (e.g., salads), cut out too many deep-fried foods (e.g., French Fries, Chicken, etc.).
Fourth, eat a salad every day if possible. If you’re trying to incorporate more plants into your diet, make it a point of having a salad filled with leafy greens, fish, or chicken fillets, roasted or raw veggies, with nuts and seeds at least once a day. Enjoy a homemade salad for lunch at work, and you’ll save cash and eat more healthily. Here’s a super-crazy way to cut back even on more calories and fat – opt to eat the salad without dressing. You can use balsamic vinegar or Italian dressing for salads due to its low-calorie content. Add ingredients with natural wetness, like tomatoes, olives, sweet corn, or canned beans, and you won’t end up with a dry salad.
Fifth, always have water and drink it. People often mistake hunger for thirst. To avoid eating something when you’re dehydrated, always ensure that you have water around you. When you wake up in the morning, start your day by drinking a glass of water. Staying hydrated will make you more productive and more awake, and it can give you a quick energy boost when you need it. Drinking water regularly is very beneficial. Water helps regulate body temperature, aid in digestion, maintain healthy muscles and support the organs. Seriously, now go and have a glass of water!
A Brillat Savarin once said that you should “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” We are what we eat. The food we eat defines our very being and existence. Taking the statement forward, ‘Tell me what you eat, how much you eat, and how much you exercise, and I will tell you who you will become.’ If you eat junk food and a lot of it, for that matter, with little or no exercise, you will become an out-of-shape roly-poly with an elevated chance of developing severe health issues. If you eat healthy food and a lot of it for that matter, with little or no exercise, you stand a chance of gaining some weight and with some possibilities of having some health issues. If you eat healthy foods moderately in conjunction with some exercising, you will control your body weight and with the highest chance of developing any weight and health-related issue. Your health is your wealth. Eating just enough is the pathway to health, which is the pathway to wealth.
Moderation when it comes to food is very crucial. We have seen various things that we can do to moderate how we eat. We should know what moderate means for each one of us. One man’s moderation may be another man’s starvation. This is not a call to starve; it is a call to eat in moderation. So, everyone must gauge their moderation capacity and stick to it. Next, go right now and survey your pantry and refrigerator. Get rid of trigger eats. Get rid of excess sweets. Load up your pantry with a healthy variety of foodstuff and start the moderation walk of healthy eating. When you commence the moderation walk, stick with it. You could indulge yourself now and then, but don’t make it a habit, or you will fall off the bandwagon of the moderation walk. If you can, make salads and other healthy eats your staple. It will do your health a lot of good in your moderation walk. Finally, cut off excess colored and sweet drinks. Be sure to make Adam’s Ale (It’s Water! Not Wine! Not Beer!) your best friend on your moderation walk. It’s perfect for flushing your system and keeping you hydrated regularly. Remember, we eat to live, not live to eat.