Sometime along the line in my younger years, I heard the phrase, “Everything in Moderation.” I wondered if it had originated with the Scripture attributed to the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 10:23, “All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial.” But the Greek poet Hesiod and Roman dramatist Plautus said this in different forms way back before the first century.
I’ve got a sort of inherent intuition or knowing of health and nutrition. My sister Dee has even more astute knowledge in this area, picked up informally through alert cultural observation and lots of reading. I suppose we’ve picked up tidbits from popular media, our whole lives. I took a graduate class in Maternal/Infant Nutrition years ago at the University of Kentucky. That may have helped a little bit.
My point is, both Dee and I have had weight issues since childhood. Both of our bodies really want to go big (and go home, where the heart is, if you must finish a couple of add-on adages). I’ll take Dee off the hook now and say that I would much rather OVEReat than eat with moderation.
In fact, I once told an ER doctor, just having been diagnosed with Hyperventilation, of all things (associated with anxiety, cumulative stress, and a panic attack mimicking a heart attack), that I didn’t find it all that surprising that I would OVERbreathe in that I OVERdo lots of things. Can you say OVERthink?
I was embarrassed having gone to the ER with what I thought was a dumb complaint after all, thinking I was dying young from a heart attack. Also, I was mortified that I hadn’t shaved my legs in a couple of days. That saint of an ER doctor said not to feel bad, he hadn’t shaved his legs in quite some time either. Good man.
Then there’s moderation in politics – NOT. There used to be moderates on both sides, if my memory serves. But today one seems hard pressed to find a good, thoughtful, calm, intelligent moderate on either side. Moderates seem to be the animals on the planet with the most reasoned common sense. Are these guys hiding in the closet, afraid of the politically correct crazies who holler the loudest?
In this nation, it’s either cultural anorexia/bulimia or we’re headed to a collective over eaters anonymous gathering. Why can’t we just sit down together to an old-fashioned family-style meal after the hard work of barn raising, and pass the veggies please.
I know how important it is for people to sometimes overdo something. More than 15 years ago I lost 82 pounds the old-fashioned way, by obsessing over food and exercise. I couldn’t have achieved that weight-loss had I not taken diet AND exercise to heights beyond any stretch of the definition of moderation. Maybe one has to counter one extreme with its opposite extreme in order to achieve balance. Overdoing anything comes surely from an effort to compensate for something that is out of whack. We’re trying to tune the instruments of our lives through overdoing it. Moderation comes after you’ve peaked and shrieked, so it seems.
The Greeks, after all, gave us democracy and they gave us the great thinker, Aristotle who said, “moderation in all things,” in 350-something BC and “observe due measure, moderation is best in all things,” was Hesiod in 700 BC. I have to give it to Oscar Wilde though, who said, “Observe moderation in all things, including moderation.”
The Bible, says in Ecclesiastes, the personal essay of wise philosophical if not skeptical musings, “there is a time for everything under the sun.” And, I’ll borrow a Simon & Garfunkel song lyric to end my own musings, “the times they are a changing.” The times that are trending now are to cut and paste: cut moderation and paste overdoing it!
But a girl can hope.