Moderation was the first word that came to mind when I read this article by Hank Schultz regarding portion control as the key to fighting obesity. I found myself nodding my head as I went through the post but always fell back on moderation. It was while reading this article that I was notified via email that I had a comment on a blog post I had written regarding sugar. It was a while back that I wrote this blog post asking if sugar was a drug and I recently tweeted out the link and that generated a comment from my friend Kevin of Ironman By Thirty. Kevin’s comment was longer than this (click the link if you want to read the entire comment) but what really stuck out to me was this:
I’m sticking with my anything in moderation diet. :)
Specifically the word moderation. We have all heard the phrase ‘Everything In Moderation’ and most would agree with this statement without thinking but we should be thinking about the term moderation for a couple of reasons. The first is that everything is too loose of a term. Let’s take it to the extreme and talk about LSD or cocaine. Would that be ok if it were use in moderation?
I know that is extreme, but what isn’t is portion sizes. Today the portion sizes we see at restaurants would have been considered family servings just 20 to 30 years ago. How about the fast food chains and super sizes and over the tops and super-duper gigantically big orders. If we take the phrase ‘Everything In Moderation’ literally then eating one of these meals at McDonald’s, Taco Bell or Wendy’s would mean that it is ok to consume these meals so long as it is in moderation. Now here comes another question: What is considered moderation?
I cannot recall the last time I step foot in a fast food chain to eat anything so would me having one ‘meal’ today be constituted as moderation? If you eat a Super Size meal on a daily basis is moderation going to mean only going 4x per week now? I think the phrase is over-used and has now become a crutch for people to indulge because it is only being done in moderation.
I will also toss into the conversation the phrase ‘cheat meal’ as I don’t understand this at all. What are you cheating on when you consume this meal? Your diet? If you are watching what you eat and are living a healthy lifestyle then this meal is not a cheat and is just another portion of living your healthy life. I would be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t eat off the ‘menu’ because I do. Take a look at the dinner I had last night: S’Mores Waffles. I ate this knowing that my food intake prior to dinner had been limited by us being out of the house and so I could have a larger dinner in terms of calories than I normally would have if we had been home. Here is the thing about this meal: I no longer am having a craving for chocolate. I had it in that meal and the want for sugar disappeared. Had I not had that chocolate last night then there could have been a setup for not just an indulgence but a full-blown over-consumption. These waffles had a total of 745 calories, 103g Carbohydrates, 34g Fat and 23g Protein which is not horrible and fixed my sweet tooth. My portion control was exercised and my chocolate in moderation was satisfied. Was this a cheat meal? No, it was a meal like any other that solved a couple of ‘problems’ in one sitting.
Restaurants And Portion Control
When you go to a restaurant these days the phrase bigger is better seems to exercised all the way through to dessert. And in all honesty when you go to a restaurant do you need the appetizer, the full meal and the dessert? Probably not but you can exercise portion control before the waiter even leaves the table with your order.
When I go to our favorite pizza joint Karen and I split the salad as our appetizer and that salad is spinach with pecans and granny smith apples. The dressing on the side for her, no dressing for me. Simple. Then if we order separate pizzas because I will get a gluten-free crust without cheese and LOTS of garlic then I tell the waiter/waitress to box up half of the pie and keep it in the kitchen before bringing out the rest. You may say that half a pizza is a lot but in this case the pies are very small so 1/2 pie is equivalent to approximately 2 slices. As for dessert there is none being ordered as Karen would rather have her daily snack of popcorn and myself would rather have the Suzie’s Thin Cake snacks I have been making for months now.
Being able to control your portions at a restaurant is not difficult.
Everything In Moderation
So this phrase is not a phrase I will use as I just don’t agree with it, either from the everything or from the point of moderation itself. We all have different levels of moderation when it comes to different ingredients. For me, I love waffles and average close to one meal per day that consists of waffles. For some of you moderation for waffles may mean that I only eat them 1x per week. That won’t work for me but some of you may eat ketchup on a daily basis. I don’t like ketchup so moderation means never consuming it.
I think that if we live sensibly and eat cleanly then there is no need for the phrases ‘everything in moderation’ or ‘cheat meal’ but portion control on the other hand must be exercised on a daily basis. Measure your plates and make sure that a lunch plate is no larger than 7″ and a dinner plate is 9″ or less. When you serve your food make sure that it fits on the plate and is not piled as high as the plate is round as that defeats the purpose.
For me I eat in the opposite manner with breakfast being on the largest plate and dinner being on the smallest as this fits my workout regiment. When I changed how I consumed my calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins I noticed a change in energy before, during and after my workouts. I also saw my body change for the better with unanticipated weight loss and body fat percentage decrease while maintaining muscle mass.
Do You Use The Term Moderation In Your Diet?
Do You Consider Meals To Be Cheat Meals?
Do You Pay Attention To Portion Sizes?