Why it’s time to replace strict diets and rules with a balanced and forgiving approach to wellbeing.
More than ever there’s a nutrition buzz in the air. Blogs and social media are flooded with amazing pictures of fresh, vibrant, minimally processed food. It’s exciting! It’s inspiring! And it’s confusing when you have to navigate the associated food rules. Eat this, don’t eat that, quit this, avoid that. If food rules were road rules you’d be too scared to get in your car.
We can all benefit from eating less and moving more, but there’s nothing healthy about guilt and deprivation and labelling ourselves as bad or failures according to how well we’ve managed to stick to a diet or exercise program. Too many people allow the scales to determine their mood, and think of food as a friend, an enemy, or something to control.
Jodie Arnot of Healthy Balance Fitness and Zoe Nicholson of Figureate Dietetics have decided enough is enough. In November 2014 they started the Moderation Movement, with a mission to bring some sensibility back into the health arena.
The Moderation manifesto encourages us to accept that there are many ways to achieve wellness, to stop setting rules, punishing ourselves and to shift our thinking back to the cues our bodies provide, being mindful and trusting ourselves to make good health choices.
“There’s nothing healthy about guilt and deprivation and labelling ourselves as bad or failures according to how well we’ve managed to stick to a diet or exercise program.”
Here are a few guidelines to start with:
1. Listen to your body cues and become mindful of hunger and fullness signals. This will take a while, and it means throwing out some of those beliefs that you have to finish everything on your plate or eat if you’re not hungry.
2. Set wellness goals that don’t focus on appearance or size. Would you love to run 5 km? Or have the energy to run around with your kids? Set your sights on these, and not a number on the scales.
3. Exercise for enjoyment, never punishment. The benefits of being active go far beyond its very small role in helping weight management. Exercise helps your body function more efficiently, puts you in a more positive mood, gives you more energy, and helps you feel more alert, manage stress better and sleep better.
4. Don’t judge others for their lifestyle choices, appearance, or how they choose to eat or exercise.
Health is a personal journey and the Moderation Movement is about you, and your relationship with health. We can all play a part by practising the use of positive messages with ourselves and others. We can stop engaging in the media critique of celebrities’ weight, and we can resist the temptation to pass judgment of others’ food rules.
It’s refreshing and liberating to accept that there is a number of completely different ways to achieve wellness. Take up the challenge to leave judgment at the door and enjoy a more balanced outlook on food and exercise.
Join the Moderation Movement on Facebook.