Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Everything in Moderation ?

Everything in moderation, including moderation.  You hear it all the time.  Sounds pretty reasonable doesn't it?   It can be applied to just about, well, everything:  spending, exercise, sex, working, saving money, stress, nutrition, socializing, alcohol, travel, etc. etc.  The thinking goes that gluttony or deprivation will be our ruin and it's much wiser to walk the road of moderation.

Or is it?

Nothing succeeds like excess right?  All or nothing baby ... in for a dime in for a dollar.  Is this the way to go?  Sometimes?  Maybe?

I've been chewing over this everything in moderation wisdom and here's my 2 cents.  Moderation is fine, it's the 'everything' that can get us into trouble.  There's just too much everything.

Let's take Food and Exercise as two examples here.  On the surface, food and exercise in moderation sounds good.  Don't gorge yourself with food or hurt yourself exercising, and likewise, don't excessively fast or become a couch potato.  Moderate food.  Moderate exercise.  But are we talking about moderate volumes of these things?  Probably most people are I'd imagine.  They're likely not too concerned with what types of food and exercise, as long as the doses are in moderation.

This is where I beg to differ.  With so many different choices of foods and exercises (and everything else) these days, I think enjoying moderate amounts of all of them would be folly.  More to the point, you should avoid or minimize things that are potentially unhealthy or dangerous.  No moderate amounts of Russian Roulette please.  The catch, of course, is that everybody has their own ideas as to what is unhealthy and dangerous.

Some people think saturated fat and lifting very heavy things are unhealthy and dangerous.  Accordingly, they should eat or do these things sparingly, not moderately.  I, on the other hand, believe that grains, seed oils and chronic cardio are unhealthy and dangerous.  Therefore, I look to minimize these particulars in my lifestyle.  With some things, even moderate amounts don't look to be a good idea.

So, I have no problem with moderation itself.  Moderate amounts of what one considers to be healthy and productive seems reasonable.  For instance, I believe sprinting is king, but I wouldn't do it every day.  No, my body would fall apart in short order.  And with food, I take in moderate amounts of my 'healthy menu': meats, tubers, veggies, fruits, eggs, fish, and chocolate.  I guess where I get frustrated is when people take the 'everything' in everything in moderation too literally.  

In the end, everything in moderation turns out to be the quotation equivalent of comfort food.  People mainly use it as justification for straying outside of their perceived notions of healthy or ideal.  


Chris Pine said...

I agree, it is a way overused phrase that falls apart if closely examined.

Same thing with "balanced diet". That sounds really reasonable too.

But how much grass, and tree-bark, and twinkies should I add into my diet to make it balanced?

Aaron said...

Balanced Diet: If a cookie weighs the same as some liver then, bingo, you're eating healthy.