Moderation: What Exactly Does That Mean?
Last updated: March 2022
As people with type 2 diabetes we often hear that we should be “eating in moderation,” but what exactly does that mean? I think it means different things to different people.
Moderation can vary by person
Just as we know that each person’s diabetes is treated in a different way: different medications, different dietary needs, different levels and types of exercise, we should also realize that moderation will be different for each person as well. Moderation for a woman who is 5’2” tall and 150 lbs. isn’t going to look the same as it will for a man who is 6’2” and 280 lbs. We’re all different and we need to approach our diabetes in different ways. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one way to do things? It might make it easier if we knew the “one path” to follow, but in reality that would be a bit boring, don’t you think? As difficult as it can be sometimes, I like the idea that I have some wiggle room to create my own best path.
Eating in moderation with type 2 diabetes
Moderation is most often thought of as eating most anything as long as we don’t overdo it. When it comes to my diabetes, I have a problem with that. You see, I learned a long time ago that I have lots of trouble eating certain foods. Whole wheat products cause my blood glucose to soar so I no longer eat them because it’s just not worth it. Potato chips? No way. Even though “they” say that I should be able to eat potato chips in moderation, I know better. I mean, have “they” seen me with a bag of chips? I only know these things because I’ve taken the time to check my blood glucose before and after certain foods and I’ve learned what I need to avoid. Moderation just doesn’t cut it for me in those instances.
It’s important to remember that my experiences will most likely not be the same for you, but I’m certain we all have some foods we’d be better off avoiding. That doesn’t mean that moderation can’t work well for you. Here are some things to consider when thinking about moderation.
Watching portion sizes
No matter what you’re eating, watching how much you’re eating is very important (unless you’re eating green, leafy vegetables then eat all you want!) Eating smaller portions of protein and carbohydrates while amping up your intake of vegetables is a smart idea. I really like the plate method for this exercise: ½ of your plate filled with green/leafy vegetables, ¼ protein and ¼ complex carbs. Make that plate 9” and you’re well on your way to moderation.
Knowing your triggers
I’ve already mentioned how I have no control when it comes to potato chips. I’m sure you have a trigger food as well; something that you just can’t stop eating! If you aren’t able to use moderation when eating that food then don’t eat that food!
Planning your splurges
Maybe you have plans to go out to lunch with your friends and you really don’t want to have to think too much about what you’re going to eat. Plan to splurge a bit that day by ordering something yummy, but think about only eating half of it. This is where moderation can be your friend.
Remembering the big picture
It’s hard when people tell us that we shouldn’t eat something. It makes me feel like eating it even more! Let’s be honest: we all have some food that we should think about long and hard before consuming. Ask yourself this: Should you eat it? Do you really need it? Is eating it in your best interest? If the answer to these questions is yes, then go for it, in moderation.
Remember that life with diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint. Try to remember the big picture when utilizing moderation by focusing on down the road more than in the moment. Utilize your blood glucose meter to help you determine what foods aren’t best for you and use that information when thinking about moderation. Moderation is just another tool to use in your life with diabetes; a tool that will look different for everyone.
How often do you find yourself craving sweet snacks?