All things in moderation... Really?
Why moderation fails.
We hear it everywhere, all the time, “All things in moderation!” Doctors, dietitians, family members, everyone has said it at one time or another. Are we casually throwing words around or are all things are okay in moderation?
Let’s consider the following scenarios. Is it okay for an alcoholic with a failing liver to have one more sip? Is the smoker ready to quit after one last cigarette? How about a drug addict, one last hit? Can a heart patient have one more fatty meal with fries? An untreated diabetic, one more bowl of ice cream? Unfortunately, in each of these cases “just one more time” is all it takes to fall off the wagon or even pay the ultimate price.
We all know someone who will eat something to be sociable and then later have to take more antacid, endure a bout of digestive distress, or learn their doctor has to increase their meds because of non compliance. I know because I used to run that program every family event and holiday.
The recipe for an early grave calls for ‘all things in moderation.’
Moderation only works for the person who can discern and respond to the needs of their body. If a person’s taste buds are so desensitized from years of processed foods, it will be nearly impossible for that person to determine the need to, for example, eat an apple. In fact, that person’s body chemistry may be so imbalanced, an apple will taste bland and repulsive. I know this because I was once so toxic, that eating a fresh apple made me nauseous. However, I could eat two apple pies with no problem.
Moderation doesn’t apply to anyone who has a life threatening health condition. Why? Moderation is a long winding road with many detours and distractions. Many times the person with a health challenge may not have time for the detours of moderation. Human nature does not want to constrained. Our desires cry freedom sometimes even when they are self destructive. Doctors know this and understand that it often takes a crisis for someone to reassess their values. It is one of the reasons why many critically obese patients are encouraged to get gastric bypass surgery. However, during this effort to avert tragedy, an important fact is often overlooked. The problem is that the habits of a gastric bypass patient must immediately and radically change for life. What if the patient were able to make a radical, permanent lifestyle change before the threat of illness or surgery? It’s like we don’t believe that the wrong food and snacks can make us sick and that the illnesses we get are an inevitable part of aging. So many, myself included, needed a crisis to finally say enough is enough. It simply doesn’t always have to be that way if we willing to address the root cause of our health issues.
Moderation fails because most do not know what moderation looks like.
Moderation implies that there is a reference point and a need to balance conflicting forces in order to make progress towards a goal. Moderation says things like, eat your vegetables but not too much, drink alcohol but not too much, eat meat, fish, and poultry but not too much. The problem is that we we don’t know how much is too much. Have you seen the latest food pyramid from the FDA? It is so confusing. There should be no wonder why Americans are so unhealthy.
Unfortunately, some doctors use “all things in moderation” when trying to comfort their patients. That’s because so many doctors do not believe their patients can change their habits. In a recent study, more than 56% of doctors did not recommend lifestyle changes before prescribing (statin) medications because the doctors did not believe their patient would change their lifestyle.
I know this to be true because that’s what my doctor thought of me. He literally told me that it was impossible for me to change my dietary habits and lose the weight I needed to get healthy.
Yes, chances are you are being profiled by your doctor. Your ethnicity, personality, and economic status can (unconsciously) influence the recommendations of some doctors. So be sure to find a doctor who cares about you the person and tells it like it is. Our role is to assess the situation and be prepared to take preventive action before things escalate.
Why not shock a doc and make a lifestyle change including a healthy diet and exercise. Why not start today?