Thursday, August 03, 2006

Moderation: That's the name of the game!

Today's topic is Moderation.


To begin, I'd like you to look at a few words Moderation, diet, exercise, water, and sleep.
Take some time to think over what those words mean to you.

What do they mean to you? How do you feel when looking at them?
Perhaps even take the time to write down associations those words conjure up in your mind.
Any guilt or negativity associated with them? How about positive aspects? Are there any neutral words in there that have no meaning beyond what they are?

Now that you've done that, let's see what the dictionary has to say about them. Yes, there are other meanings, but these are the ones I'm focusing on today.

Moderate: Being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme
Moderation: Quality of being moderate and avoiding extremes
Diet: The usual food and drink of a person or animal.
Exercise: A task, problem, or other effort performed to develop or maintain fitness or increase skill
Water: A clear, colorless, odorless, and tasteless liquid essential for most plant and animal life
Sleep: The natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored

Words are powerful things. We use them to communicate not only with ourselves, but others as well. From what I've seen, and experienced myself, these very simple, but extremely forceful words, when used by overweight people are more often than not used for evil. Some of this may ring true for you, and some may not. But I'm sure you've all got or had your own negative associations with these words.

Moderation. Being told that you can't eat what you want to eat, when you want, by some other person or government body. Deprivation. Goes against your 'rights' to eat whatever you want, now that you're an adult.
Diet. A restrictive and often cruel regimen of forcing yourself to eat only select groupings and amounts of foods, for a short period of time.
Exercise. Something painful to do when you'd rather be doing something else. Something to be done just because “they” say you should.
Water. Something you're forced to drink when you could be drinking something infinitely more delicious.
Sleep. Something we all want more of, but treat like an inconvenience in our hectic lives.

How about we try something novel? Use those words for the power of good.

Moderation. Eating what your body is comfortable and happy with in one sitting. Not your emotions, not your tastebuds, your body.

Diet. Eating all of the foods you love, except of course if you're allergic to them or cannot eat them for medical reasons, but in conjugation with our friend, moderation. Eating balanced meals most of the time, with the occasional treat. (more on treats in a bit)

Exercise. Something that you enjoy doing in order to increase your good health. Dancing, running, walking, swimming, playing outside with the kids or pets, sex, team sports. If you don't enjoy or are able to do any of these things, then use that word moderation again. Start slowly. Do a little each day, learn to enjoy those activities. Find something you enjoy. A little each day will build into a regular joyous habit. Marvel in what your body is capable of doing.

Water. Our bodies are made up of 2/3rd's of this substance. Begrudge it not, for without it, you'd be dead. Celebrate its life-giving qualities. Enjoy that you can obtain this healthy, refreshing drink straight from a tap/faucet or bottle. Revel in the richness that is easily accessible and drinkable water. Many people worldwide would kill for such a thing. Many people have never even SEEN such a thing as clean water. Be grateful for this most precious of fluids. Drink it when you are thirsty, save the sodas/juices/caffeinated beverages as treats to be had after your thirst has already been quenched. Perhaps think of them as the desserts of the liquid world, and water as the staple.

Sleep. Precious, precious sleep. How we adore you. Is it really fair that we watch that one more hour of t.v. or internet, read that extra few chapters, stay up chatting with friends etc etc when we should instead be enfolded in your loving embrace? No. Yet still we insist on forsaking you for other gaudier pursuits. Sure there are times when we cannot help but miss you, important things do occur at odd hours of the day, but more often than not it's something of lesser importance that keeps us away. Sleep is a priority. Sleep deprivation is worse than drink or drugs when it comes to affecting your daily life. Not to mention infinitely more dangerous because we think it's all right to be exhausted. Sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. It decompresses the day before and leaves you relaxed and capable of attending to the next day. It also is the main time when your body takes care of self-repair, and waste management. Most importantly, you can't ever catch up on what you miss.

Moderation. Obese people seem to have a very hard time with this word. More often than not, it's a case of all or nothing. You didn't become obese overnight folks. You're not going to become healthy overnight either. It's going to take months and years to become a healthy human being. Sad thing is, we all seem to want the quick fix. It's not about a “diet” or about some magic formula in order to lose poundage. It's about moderation in regards to all of those words listed above.
A little exercise every day, or 5-6 days out of 7... for the rest of your life
Healthy foods with the occasional treat... every day for the rest of your life (more on this tomorrow)
64 ozs (2 litres) of water ... yup every day for the rest of your life.
You already know you need sleep every night. How about making quality sleep?

Obesity is a learned behaviour. Obesity is the practice of avoidance. Obesity is killing you.
Good news?
Better behaviours can be learned in its place.
You can choose to discover what it is you're avoiding, face up to it, and find personal growth.
There is a cure.

It's all about choice. No one else has made you fat. You choose what to put in your mouth. You choose to let your emotions rule your life, instead of feeling them and learning from them. You choose to be a martyr. You choose to put others ahead of yourself.

How about time for choosing moderation?

Choose half an hour for your betterment. Be that half an hour to exercise. To relax. To study up on how to make better choices for yourself. Even half an hour to nap. Half an hour each day is not much. You clean your teeth every day. You make time for other people in myriad ways every single day. Have the self respect to choose time for yourself.

Moderation is the name of the game. If your child/spouse/friend was constantly give give giving to someone else... would you counsel them to be wiser in their relationships? Would you counsel them that every relationship is give and take?

I bet you would.

Give yourself the same courtesy and counsel. Moderate your periods of selflessness with some selfishness. If anyone accuses you OF being selfish, proudly state that yes you are selfish, with good reason. What is more selfish? Taking time out to ensure you are healthy, or robbing your children/family of years of your life? What's more selfish, cooking healthy meals for the whole family, or them(or you) insisting on you cooking separate meals for yourself? What's more selfish, loving your healthy body and ensuring you have a healthy body, mind and soul, or wallowing in the negative past?
Give yourself the gift of good health. Take what you need to ensure you have a healthy lifestyle. No one else is going to give it to you. Take your own permission, it's all you need.

Moderation isn't just to be practiced with your eating habits. Moderation is for every aspect of your life. Sure, go ahead and have days, or weeks, when you splurge... but come right back to your healthy lifestyle when the reason for the splurge is over and done with.(laziness, holiday, depression, extreme weather, sick family, whatever it is to cause your 5 important things to get out of whack.) You don't have to live like a monk. Healthy people eat junk food, are lazy, don't sleep well, forget to exercise, and drink not enough water . . in moderation. Obese people do the healthy things in moderation, healthy people do the harmful things in moderation.

Let your body celebrate life and all that it entails.
Embrace healthy, tasty, luscious food; some cannot eat.
Enjoy your body's ability to move; some cannot move.
Love the water that you're able to access every single day whenever you want to; many will never know untainted water.
Sleep when your body tells you so; many do not have a safe or warm place to rest.

Stop thinking of all the things you regret, and start thinking of all the good things you have. The past is over and done. Take each day as it comes. After all, you can only change what you are doing in any given moment. The past is over and done with, the future is forever yet to happen. We live in the present. Make sure your presence is a healthy one, and then your Present will stretch for many happy years to come. . .