“Moderation is key” is the response I give constantly when people ask for nutritional advice. When I tell people I was a Nutrition major in college I think everyone is just waiting for me to share with them the magical secret to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Usually my answer to their inquiry is underwhelming, but it’s true. When you learn to balance your lifestyle in a healthy way, you give yourself a much better chance to achieving sustainable success.
Some people don’t exercise at all, and don’t monitor their diets, while others restrict foods and spend countless hours at the gym each week. Both sides of the spectrum are versions of obsessive behavior and both are dangerous lifestyles that can result in serious health concerns. Choosing to balance your eating and fitness habits is a life choice and one that takes practice and manipulation in order to make it work for YOU. Below are a few tips I like to keep in mind regarding healthy balance and moderation:
- Decide what your health goals are. Do you want to run a 5K, make your own dinner 5 nights a week, lose 15 pounds, etc.? Choose your health goals, and then you can begin to develop a ‘plan’.
- Take the time to create a plan for yourself with your health goals in mind. Whether that means designing an exercise schedule, starting daily meditation/yoga, making doctors appointments for health concerns, or writing a meal menu each week, try a few things and see what works.
- If you love something; don’t let it go. For example, I love peanut M&M’s, so instead of looking at the calories and thinking that they don’t fit with my lifestyle, I allow myself a bag of (kingsize!) M&M’s 1-2 times per month. It is a treat I thoroughly look forward to, and I don’t deprive myself of something I love; I have just moderated my love for M&M’s to better fit my lifestyle. Whatever your guilty pleasure is; chicken wings, poptarts, beer, etc., don’t cut it out from your diet completely, it will only make your health plan feel like a burden. Moderate those foods and habits that aren’t considered to be especially healthy, and make them fit into your lifestyle.
- Try an app like MyFitnessPal that tracks your fitness and meals to give you a better idea of your food intake and exercise output. This is a great tool to learn how to moderate and balance your diet and exercise in order to reach your health-related goals.
- Reward yourself for progress. Maybe you can now run a mile without stopping, maybe you no longer get winded walking up three flights of stairs, or maybe you have successfully cooked healthy dinners for yourself the past week. Whatever it is, appreciate your achievements along the path to success.
- Learn how to reward yourself in healthy ways. Enjoy a nice cup of tea while watching a movie, give yourself a facial & paint your nails, spend time with a friend; do something that will make you feel good and doesn’t detract from the hard work you are doing.
Making the choice to start leading a balanced lifestyle and taking the steps that will get you there, takes perseverance and diligence, but will help you achieve a happier and more fulfilled life. Remember, moderation is key!