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Eating in Moderation Is Easier Than You Think

A large table of food shared with friends.
Eating in moderation is the key to long-term health. Here are some strategies for maintain balance in your life while focusing on your well-being.

by Autumn Jones

If you're scratching your head when you hear "eating in moderation," it's because there are no hard and fast rules about what this actually means! In fact, the phrase "in moderation" is defined as "in a way that is reasonable and not excessive." Since this term is up for interpretation, you have the freedom to decide what a moderate diet looks like.

Great news! Unless you have a serious allergy or intolerance, there's no reason you can't lose weight (and keep it off) while still enjoying the foods you love! Moderation is a healthy, effective way to do exactly that.

What Does Moderation Mean to You?

Nutritional needs are as unique to each person as the color of their eyes — which is why you must decide what moderation means for you, specifically. Eating in moderation can include anything from scaling back portion size, pushing away your plate when feeling full, limiting sweets, adding more nutritional variety to your meals, calculating caloric intake, or any combination of these options.

Consider taking an inventory of your eating habits and comparing it with your fitness goals to better understand how you can easily incorporate moderation into your eating plan.

The Benefits of Eating in Moderation

If you're searching for a way to maintain balance in your life, eating in moderation is the way to have your cake and a healthy lifestyle, too! Here are just a few of the benefits.

No Eliminating Necessary

While your friends, family, and coworkers may be enjoying their desired results from elimination diets, this way of eating isn't suited for everyone. It's easy to question the power of eating in moderation when others around you can't (or choose not to) eat specific foods.

In these situations, it's important to remember that each individual is on their own journey and just because cutting out dairy works for your neighbor doesn't mean it's going to help you. Keep in mind, the results your friends may be seeing over the course of weeks or months don't always translate to long-term results. In fact, only about 20 percent of dieters end up successfully losing weight (and keeping it off).

Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on listening to your body and identifying what foods — and portion sizes — work best to give you the energy and nourishment you need.

Control Your Cravings

According to U.S. News and World Report, "Eating a moderate and varied diet can help with weight loss, weight control, and help you stay healthy." This is proof positive that you don't have to swear off pizza for the rest of your life in order to see results — you just have to be mindful of the frequency and number of slices you enjoy, for example. Balance is key!

By continuing to eat the foods you love and not depriving yourself, you can control (and ward off) cravings. AsHealth magazine suggests, no food that pleases you should carry a negative connotation; rather, it should be enjoyed in moderation when you're regularly exercising. When you eat in moderation, you have the opportunity to better understand your body's needs in regard to food.

Stick to Your Plan

If you've ever been on a strict diet and wanted to enjoy a night out at a restaurant or attend a birthday party, you know how difficult it can be to avoid restricted foods or find something on the menu that you actually want to eat. That's the beauty of a moderate diet? This is no longer an issue! You can stick to your plan in any situation. Feel free to enjoy that slice of birthday cake — guilt free!

Check in with yourself before, during, and after meals to gauge your hunger and fullness. Give yourself permission to experiment with different ways of introducing moderate eating into your lifestyle and you'll eventually strike moderation gold. If you can't seem to find your groove, it's a good idea to seek out a nutritionist for their professional opinion. (To find one in your area you can visit the searchable database on the website for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.)