Opinion: Moderation is the Key to a Healthy Lifestyle

Some brand names have changed recently in order to stop emphasizing being thin as the epitome of being healthy. Kashi, for example, has shifted one of their cereal names from “GoLean” to something which conveys more of an accurate depiction of health. Photo by Jordan Revenaugh

The emphasis that the media places on staying healthy is a year round ordeal. Let’s face it: it’s exhausting constantly being told what you can and can’t do in order to fit society’s ideal image of health.

During the summer months, there’s always an abundance of news programs on how to maintain a healthy diet. With a surge of vacations, holidays and get-togethers, there are always plenty of goodies available, ready to ruin your diet whenever you so much as look their way.

Come Fall, gears shift, and suddenly life is all about avoiding eating too much candy from your Halloween stash or limiting the amount of pumpkin pie on your plate at Thanksgiving dinner.

In the Winter, with an abundance of cookies, hot chocolate and eggnog everywhere you go, the temptation to give in and stuff your face with junk food is real.

Finally, Spring arrives. Whether you celebrate Easter or not, Peeps will line every shelf at the grocery store, staring you down until you buy a box. Or maybe five.

News programs offer tips and tricks for how to avoid overdoing it when it comes to foods that might not be so friendly to your digestive system, but what they fail to acknowledge is that it’s also possible to overdo it when it comes to eating healthy.

The statement seems contradictory, especially when we live in a society which conditions us to believe that it’s impossible to eat healthy in excess. But, in reality, anything can be done excessively, including eating healthy.

If you’re trying to enjoy yourself with family and friends, maybe that includes letting yourself overdo it when it comes to pizza, fried foods and desserts, not necessarily worrying about the lack of leafy greens on your plate. 

That’s not to say you should be absent minded about what you’re putting into your system, but if meticulously planning out ways to avoid eating unhealthy on vacations and at parties is taking away from your ability to enjoy the event, maybe it’s time to step back and realize that moderation is key.

Diet

No matter what kind of diet you’re following, whether it’s one for weight loss, gain or maintenance, moderation is something which is undoubtedly beneficial.

When it comes to weight loss, the world around us likes to prop up the latest diet fads onto a pedestal, like the keto and paleo diets. The truth of the matter, though, is that any sort of restrictive diet is going to be counteractive the second you stop using it. 

If you lose weight on the keto diet, cutting out carbs and focusing on eating mainly proteins and fats, you’re going to gain it back the second you stop following the diet. Why? Your body doesn’t know how to process foods if you don’t teach it how to. 

Maybe you don’t stop the diet and you continue to maintain the weight loss you experienced as a result of starting it. If you’re perfectly content doing so, go for it. More power to you. But if you feel like you’re missing out by denying yourself that piece of cake at your friend’s birthday party, is it really worth it to keep following that diet, even if it might have brought you some weight loss goals you were striving for initially?

If you’re seeking to gain weight, the purpose for moderation might seem a little more obvious. Especially considering that fatty fried foods are more calorically dense, they’re a way to help you accomplish your goals faster. 

Even if it’s not gaining weight in a way society sees in a “healthy way,” food is food, and calories are calories. If you gain a pound by eating copious amounts of spinach, are you really going to enjoy it as much as if you gave into some of your less healthy cravings once in a while and ate a pint of Ben and Jerry’s?

Finally, when it comes to maintenance, one day of eating out and eating unhealthily isn’t going to make you gain anything. Your body knows how to balance things out, and eating until your stomach hurts for just one day won’t make your weight spike, especially if you’re staying active.

Exercise

All of these programs focus on what you’re putting into your body, but not necessarily what you’re doing with the food that goes into your system. After all, calories are really just a measurement of energy, giving you the ability to put it to good use. 

Truth is, no matter how healthy you eat, you’re not going to really be healthy if you don’t get a proper amount of exercise. And if you do get a proper amount of exercise, a donut or a slice of pizza isn’t going to impact your health. 

In an attempt to emphasize the idea that balance is the key to health, certain brands have changed their names in recent months, such as Think!, which was formerly Think!thin. In a similar move, Kashi renamed its line of granola, originally “Go Lean.” Each variation of granola now has another adjective in place of “Lean,” including “Rise,” “Play” and “Defy,” just to name a few.

These brands are making such moves because they’re recognizing that there’s more to health than simply being lean, thin, skinny or any other synonym. True health comes from having a good relationship with both food and exercise, which involves acknowledging that moderation is key to a balanced, fulfilling life.

About Jordan Revenaugh 51 Articles
Jordan Revenaugh is a junior from Rochester, Michigan. An aspiring journalist and author, she is a double major in psychology and English with a creative writing concentration. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of the Pleiad, Jordan runs cross country and track, is a part of Delta Gamma and InterVarsity, and is a dedicated avocado enthusiast.

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