I’ve been debating whether or not I should write an article about this topic for quite a while because it’s a bit controversial, but this morning, I finally decided that it was time. None of this may resonate with you, and that’s ok. I am posting these thoughts because they might be helpful in analyzing your own wellness journey, and they might even encourage you to change your current approach.
As the title of this article suggests, I’m not one to tout the “everything-in-moderation” mantra. I’ve come to the realization in recent years that the concept of moderation just doesn’t work for me.
Let me start at the end, rather than at the beginning: What I have discovered over the past few years is that a wellness journey is very specific to each individual. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another. I have experimented and tweaked habits and tried various techniques to find the wellness path that works best for me, and my ultimate conclusion is that my personality just doesn’t allow for moderation. Rather than fighting this realization, I have embraced it. And I assure you that traveling along a healthy path is easiest when you are fully in tune with who you are as a person— your habits, tendencies, and overall personality.
Let me tell you a quick story.
The other day, I was talking to Kate (our Director of Marketing), and she told me about her former colleague who would open a small bag of pretzels each day at her desk for a mid-day snack. Rather than devouring the entire bag (that’s my style), she would eat a few, and then re-seal the bag with a clip for the next day’s snack.
I just stared at Kate in silence. Cue the crickets. Who was this woman? She must be the poster child for moderation! Incredible! How did she eat five mini pretzels and save the rest for later? She was capable of snacking moderately and moving on with her life? How?!! I’ve run across people like this, and it baffles my mind. My own husband has a very similar personality. He can take one bite of a cookie and say, “That was delicious. I’ve had enough.” My personality would never allow for such behavior.
Let me illustrate my own scenario in the same office setting: I would open a bag of pretzels, eat five, and close the bag with a clip in an attempt to practice moderation. Then, I would return to my work. Rather than concentrating on my work, I would sit and obsess about the remaining pretzels even if I wasn’t particularly hungry. After wasting a reasonable amount of time trying to show restraint, I would re-open the bag of pretzels and finish them all.
Why is it that Kate’s colleague can snack on a few pretzels, and I cannot? Do I lack discipline? No, it’s not that. I have a tremendous amount of discipline. For years, I willed my body out of bed at 5 am each day to hit the gym, even if I went to bed at midnight. I’ve pulled all-nighters to study. I’ve committed myself to strict healing diets in the past to heal from inflammatory conditions. I definitely have discipline. BUT, what I see now is that practicing moderation has nothing to do with discipline!
I am an all or nothing kind of girl. For me, it’s easier to skip the pretzels altogether or to eat them all in one sitting. It’s more of a challenge to eat a few today and then to try and eat a few each day going forward. Moderation is tortuous for me.
I don’t buy candy and cookies and junk food for my house because I can’t just eat one cookie. It’s MUCH easier for me to not have any cookies in sight. Without cookies in my pantry, I don’t even think about them! There is no struggle. When I do want a fabulous dessert, I go to a restaurant and have one. I eat it with great enjoyment, and then I continue on with my life. There are no fabulous desserts in my pantry. All or nothing works for me. Eating junk food on a daily basis in moderation doesn’t.
Today, take a few moments to analyze your own personality. Does your personality allow for moderation? If so, carry on. If you have more of an all-or-nothing personality, don’t fret. Work with your strengths by creating routines. I think I thrive so much on my morning routine because my personality craves the structure and discipline. I don’t leave it up to fate to decide whether I will have a bite of a doughnut for breakfast. My weekday breakfasts are non-negotiable. I plan them in advance, and that’s it! I don’t even have to make a choice to practice moderation because I’ve created habits that work for my everyday life. It works for me and keeps me happily moving down Wellness Lane. I am not sure if it will work for you. It all depends on your own personality. Either way, it’s food for thought. Thanks for reading.