One of my favorite podcasters, Chris Kresser, an expert in functional and integrative medicine, will take most health issues he is presented with and usually comes up with the same answer he has for everything before explaining himself. That answer: “it depends”. I LOVE this. Because, the truth is, it does depend. We are not one dimensional beings. We are complicated, in a good way (usually)!
“Everything in moderation” is something I live by. It jives with the 80/20 principle of eating. 80% of the time I’m really on top of eating clean, unprocessed, foods and focusing on the right amount of macro and micro nutrients for my body and activity type and level (not as complicated as it might sound…don’t be scared). The other 20%? That’s my ice cream, my donut on my friend’s birthday weekend, the coffee creamer I “shouldn’t” have but sorta love, the delicious chicken enchilada casserole I had at the church potluck today… You get the idea.
I know myself and this is what I know: I LOVE to be healthy. I love how it feels. I love what it does for my goals. I love the energy it gives me. I love that I don’t have a million health issues and take ZERO medication. I feel pretty darn good!
I also know, however, that if I go extreme in my diet, you won’t want to be around me. 🙂 Just sayin’. I will get grouchy. I will be far too focused on food. I will feel deprived and at the end of the night eat whatever might be considered edible in my kitchen and then polish it off with “that food” I wasn’t “supposed” to have. So. What’s the point. For me, this whole moderation thing works.
I also subscribe to the 80/20 thing when it comes to activity and exercise. I’m busy. I don’t like to sit down. I exercise regularly. However, there’s a thought in the health and fitness industry that 80% of your results will come from diet and the other 20% from exercise. I believe this to be true from my very own first hand experience. I mean for real…if I’m a regular at McDonald’s I can pretty much put money on it that my 40 minutes on the treadmill (or whatever your exercise might look like) is not going to be super effective. It’s that phrase I love so much: YOU CAN’T OUTRUN YOUR FORK. #truth
(***Disclaimer…you will NEVER see me at McDonald’s. Part of that is due to the level of unhealthy foods they offer and the other part of that is because I’m a snob. I won’t give money to people or businesses I don’t believe in. Period.***)
Here is where you might decide you don’t like me and my advice/perspective doesn’t serve you (ok maybe you already did, but obviously you’re still reading!)…this whole moderation idea does not apply to everyone and I totally get that. There are those with some pretty intense, underlying health issues that can’t survive by such guidelines. Understood. I’m that middle of the road girl. That’s the amazing thing about having so many different people out in the health and fitness world. There’s someone for everyone.
I’m the one that watches portions, listens to my body, eats really healthy MOST of the time and just LOVES to love life! I don’t want to stress over everything I’m eating all the time. Thankfully I don’t have to. I am mindful, and I move on.
NOW, that being said…I do think it takes some training to get yourself to the point where you know what moderation looks like…where portions come naturally and you can listen to your body when it is satisfied and not go beyond that point. Trust me, I wasn’t always able to do it. The 80/20 principle takes time to grasp. It’s a learning curve if you aren’t used to it. Absolutely.
One more point: when I am over focused on what I am eating, that brings my life more away from balance. Balance is my thing. I strive for that. I do not in the slightest bit believe I was put on this earth to stress over my food all day every day. To be healthy and to help others be healthy…heck yeah! There’s a pretty darn big difference.
I hope you all had a wonderful, restful, rejuvenating weekend with people you love and food you love! 🙂 My son and I made some pretty delish oatmeal cookies tonight…oh yes we did!
I’ll share the recipe in the “food” section of my site. Warning…it does contain things I would consider “healthy” such as craisins, whole wheat flour and flax. See…balance. 🙂