“One brownie makes you happy, a second brownie, maybe a little more. The third brownie doesn’t make us happy at all, and the fourth brownie makes us sick.”
Seth Godin, “The Moderation Glitch”
Malcolm Gladwell describes this in his new book, David & Goliath, as the “inverted U”. “For a while, more input gets you more results, but then, inevitably, things level off, and then, perversely, get worse.” – SG
The holiday seasons now sound like a broken-record in my head; every year I’m writing and reading list after list of “how to” survive, prevent weight gain, stick with the workout routine, etc. Healthy holiday eating tips can easily be found EVERYWHERE – magazines, blogs, podcasts, radio and TV shows, social media, etc. They’re rarely novel, yet consumers bookmark, dog-ear and save them for calling upon when motivation is low and dessert consumption is far past the point of content.
“Moderation is a marketing problem.” –SG
What I’ve learned:
No one wants to hear “everything in moderation”.
They may want you to authorize the “eat whatever you want just exercise a LOT!” plan, or a strict list of what NOT to eat, or maybe an exact meal plan, calorie count, shopping list, and perhaps while we’re at it, a personal at-home chef to make sure that healthy cooking gets done. I certainly don’t blame anyone for wanting any or all of the above – remove the guesswork of nutrition, the time spent deciphering all of the research and tips, and voila! We dine happy. Right?
Well, no, it’s never that easy.
But it IS simple: Eat in moderation*.
Enjoy food while you’re eating it. Move on, and go move.**
*Turn off the mental debates of this nutrient over that one; stop calculating how many calories in each bite, and put away the scale. Use a plate isn’t the size of a medium pizza, fill it with a variety of foods (and colors), and dine slowly so that your stomach can do its job and let you know when its full.
**Use your muscles to do something that motivates you, challenges you, or just gets you out the door for some fresh air! It doesn’t matter what that activity is; it’s important that you enjoy doing it, and you both want and make it part of your routine.
…there is this exception. #truth
“If the data shows us that in so many things, moderation is a better approach than endless linearity, why does our culture keep pushing us to ignore this?
…This is the wine drinker who goes from the health benefits of a daily glass of wine to the health detriments of a daily bottle or two. This is the runner who goes from the benefits of five miles a day to knees that no longer work because he overdid it.
Habits are the other half of the glitch. We learn a habit when it pays off for us, but we’re hardwired to keep doing the habit, even after it doesn’t.” – SG
I use this quote over and over for a reason – if you take this into account EVERY DAY, it will matter. (And clearly because I love it. So well put, Gretchen!) The way we eat, drink and/or workout (or don’t) for one holiday matters much less than how we do all of the above every day before and after the celebrations. The approach we take towards our health on a daily basis matters more than the approach we take towards the holiday dinner buffet.
Habits, and goals, matter. They drive decisions, mental chatter, and eventually, outcomes. Think about yours, and keep them in mind.
Because honestly, that’s what will matter at the end of the day: how you feel.
HAPPY Holiday season!
I hope you’re enjoying the time with family, friends, seasonal tunes and your traditional favorites!