Rant – “in moderation”

I am of the mind that the word “moderation” should be stricken from the dictionary and should be relegated to the list of quaint old words that no one ever hears anymore.  Why?  Nobody knows what the hell it means anyway.

The word “moderation” can have anywhere from a very narrow understanding of the word to a very broad interpretation depending on who you ask.  There are innumerable examples that we could choose from, but since this is a nutrition blog I’m going to stick with food.

Ask an athlete what eating refined carbs in moderation means and they might say something along the lines of  “if they are eaten at all they should only be eaten in very small quantities, only in “off” season, and only on very special occasions”.  Sounds sensible.

Ask your average person on the street the same question and their first response would be to ask you what refined carbs are.  After you explain it they would most likely say that they “eat them every day and nearly every meal”.  Frightening, but accurate.

Ask a refined carb addict what eating them in moderation means and they will say, “It means you should only have one dessert after every meal.”  Seriously.  I know this answer from personal experience.

This is why I get so furious every time I see that damned HFCS commercial.   WHAT THE HELL DOES “MODERATION” MEAN???   The athletes out there are going to ignore the commercial because they know better.  Your average person is probably not going to change their eating habits for better or worse because they already feel like they ARE eating in moderation.  But then there are those thousands and thousands of refined carb addicts out there who are going to see that commercial and feel like they are being given PERMISSION to eat that crap!  And they don’t have a clue what moderation means!  And if you don’t think there are that many people out there like that then just google the obesity statistics.  And these people have no clue that it’s the refined carbs themselves that are making them hungry, ergo making them fat, ergo making them diseased.  Refined carbs are no different than street drugs, controlled substances, alcohol, or cigarettes. 

The truth is, being a refined carb addict is no different than being a recovering alcoholic.  If you want to free yourself from the prison those debilitating foods have put you in you HAVE to stay away from them.  Trust me – I know.  I have my own love/hate relationship with refined carbs.  And after waging a weight war for most of my 43 years I can tell you straight – the ONLY thing that has worked for me is Paleo.  It does not give you permission.  There is no forgiveness.  If you eat something you shouldn’t there is no blaming others.  There is no finger pointing.  And for this I am very thankful.  It’s a whole lot harder to give in to temptation when you’re the one to blame.  This sounds like a ridiculous statement, but humans are rife with the ability to rationalize.  When your doctor, your nutritionist, your trainer, your friend, your co-worker are all telling you that “this” is ok and you eat “this” then you are automatically given the excuse “they told me it was ok”. 

If you’re lucky you find Paleo.  You learn the truth about food and what it does to you.  And you learn that your doctor, your nutritionist, your trainer, your friend, and your co-worker don’t know jack squat.  Then you’re left to make your own nutritional decisions and that’s actually a really big responsibility.  And guess what?  It should be.   Why would you give someone else the power to make a decision for you that could cost you your health or even your life?   Don’t be a victim.  Take responsibility for what you put in your own body.  You might find it’s a lot harder to live with a bad decision.  You might also find that you feel pretty damn good when you make a good decision because then you get all the credit.  It’s time to take your power back.


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