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Moderation Sucks: A dietitian rant

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Gif set with the following slides: 1) I don't support eating in moderation 2) Moderation is a way that diet culture tricks you. 3) When diet culture says you can eat "in moderation," 4) that means there is an upper limit on how much is okay 5) Seek balance instead 6) Listen to your internal signals. 7) Learn what feels good to you. 8) Learn what works for you

I am a registered dietitian and I do not support eating in moderation.

-Samantha Holmgren, RD

Moderation is just another tool of diet culture. It’s the voice that says that you need to eat perfectly. If you eat a single donut, your diet is ruined. Your health is going to go down the drain. You’re going to gain a 100 lbs. You will never be good enough.

Add on top of this diet culture a chronic illness, fatigue, and joint pain and suddenly everyone knows just what you should do. Cut out processed foods, diary, gluten, sugar. Drink this miracle tea. Take that supplement.

It’s not just the internet, your friends, your family, it’s also at your medical appointments.

The most liberal people will say, “everything in moderation.” I certainly did when I started as a dietitian. But WTF does that mean?!?

The word “moderation” puts an undefined upper limit on your eating. Because it is never defined, you just always feel as vague uneasiness and guilt whenever you eat or drink something in “moderation.”

Balance is better than moderation

I propose that balance is the antidote to moderation. It suggests, to me, an inner sense. It’s about knowing what you body needs to feel good. To feel nourished, strong, and energized.

It is about reflecting and looking inward for the answers. Being mindful of your body’s signals and using them to guide your actions.

The balance point will shift day to day, week to week, and throughout your life. But in seeking balance, we can reconnect with ourselves and our inner signals, knowledge, and wisdom.

A woman is swinging as the sun sets
Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Balance is like swinging on a swingset

You go back and forth, up and down. There is motion. Just like in life; there are going to be ups and downs. And life keeps moving.

Sometimes, though, life (or your own actions) pulls you to the side. A little bit of that can be fun; it keeps things interesting. Too much can be dangerous. You might crash into someone else or the legs of the swing set. Then someone gets hurt.

Just like in life. Sometimes things happen or you make a decision that doesn’t work out the way you want it to. You go “off the rails” a little bit. What you do next determines whether you come back to balance (the normal back and forth motion) or keep going off to the sides.

You can use this motion to gently guide yourself back into a balanced rhythm.

Bottom Line

Seek balance. Balance feels good. It’s sustainable. The most effective way to seek balance is through mindful eating. I’ve got a whole in-depth article walking you though how to get started with mindful eating.

And if you want to go even deeper and see how you can apply this to PRIME healthy habits, get the Bare Minimum Health Plan eBook for free by signing up below:

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