Well before I dig into this particular post I suppose I should address my lack of posts over the past months. And to be perfectly frank, it’s because I didn’t have anything to write about. At least not anything that I felt was blog worthy anyways. So there you have it. Now onto today’s topic, moderation.

We’ve all heard it before, right? “Everything in moderation.” And it makes sense doesn’t it? Don’t eat too much. Don’t sit on your butt too much. Exercise in some fashion most every day. Don’t eat the entire tub of ice cream, but rather just have a scoop. Jog a few miles, but don’t aim to run a marathon every day. I could go on and on, but you get the point. So when I was talking about moderation with a client the other day, a question came up. This particular client really liked ice cream (who doesn’t?). She asked me, “so how often can I have it?” I paused for a minute before answering. I had to think about this one. I finally was able to look her in the eye and say those three magical words… “I don’t know.”

We talked a bit more and finished the session as I sat and thought about my answer to her question. Now, I have no problem telling a client “I don’t know”. Hell, I do it most every day. But when I do find myself using that answer, I make sure that the next time I see that person, I’ve researched it and can give them an answer they can actually use. This one was different though. I still don’t know the answer.

Webster Dictionary defines moderation as “avoiding extremes of behavior or expression :  observing reasonable limits” and “tending toward the mean or average amount or dimension”. Ok, that’s cool. But what does that really mean? How often can my client have ice cream? And when she does, how much of it can she have? In other words, how does one actually apply moderation into an action. The answer, I’ve concluded, is that it depends. It depends on the age of the person. It depends on the type of job the person has. It depends on their current state of health. It depends on their current activity level. It depends on what their goals are. It depends on what medications and supplements they may be taking. It depends on what else they’ve had to eat that day (or even over the past couple of days or weeks). In short, it depends on a bunch of shit. And it’s different for everyone.

Think about it. Allow me to “drive” home the message by using Michael Phelps as our subject (see what I did there). Leading into the Beijing Olympics in 2008, he was reported to have been swimming up to 40 miles per week! Most of the people reading this won’t swim 40 miles in their life. Therefore, for Michael Phelps, swimming even 15 or 20 miles a week would be considered relatively moderate. For me, that’s a butt load of training that would leave me exhausted. It would take me a long time to adapt to that stimulus for me to consider it moderate. Moderate for me is more like 2 miles per week. But let’s take that a step in the other direction now. I know plenty of folks who, if asked them to swim 2 miles next week, would look at me like I had 2 heads. Moderate for them might be 1,000 yards a week. Is it starting to make sense?

If you want to look at it from a food or diet perspective, we can actually once again use Mr. Phelps as our subject. Now I don’t know about those claims where he supposedly downed 10,000+ calories a day in pizza and ice cream and stuff like that, but I’m sure he was eating a ton of food. But when you have someone swimming 40 miles a week they’re bound to have some junk in their diet. It would be really difficult to get it all from wholesome sources as, among other issues, fiber would be a surefire issue. But we all saw Michael standing on the starting blocks celebrating yet another gold medal. The dude was shredded. But how can this be if he was eating pizza and ice cream and doughnuts? Well, he was swimming 40 miles a week. Therefore, he was able to get away with the junk stuff on a more frequent basis and in larger quantities than a 46 year old female receptionist who does 1 hour of Zumba 2 or 3 times a week. We could probably segue here into the health side of things and how excessive exercise and sugar/fat affect the body, but this thing’s long enough. We can save that for another day. Alright, I’m outta here. I’m gonna go grab a slice of pizza.