One evening over vacation, my family was dining together (as usual), and my mom posed a question to my dad.  I can’t recall exactly how it fit into our conversation, but the query was made.  “How much do you weigh now?”

I am usually a very soft spoken person.  I choose my words carefully, always think before I speak.  So, I surprised myself when I unabashedly blurted, “Who cares?”

But those words were the truth.  

I’ve just enjoyed eight nights of vacationing.  Eight nights of restaurant meals.  Eight desserts, many glasses of wine, pieces of bread, tastes of heavenly food.

It has nothing to do with weight.  Weight is irrelevant.

ally leslie at joshuas

It wasn’t always this easy for me.  [Sometimes it still isn’t].  But as I’ve often said, and hopefully demonstrated, food is one of life’s pleasures and privileges, and I never want to associate it with weight again.  I never want to associate it with “should” or “shouldn’t.”  I never want to associate it with guilt.

I’ve struggled to determine my feelings on the popular philosophy of moderation.  I’ve been far from it, forbidding a list of foods that only became longer as time went on.  I very, very slowly learned to practice it.  And since I found a healthier balance, I’ve started to wonder if I really believe in moderation at all.

mom and dad at arrows

Sometimes, I think it’s necessary to eat an ice cream cone the size of your head.  It’s necessary to eat pancakes in the morning, even if you ate pasta for dinner.  It’s necessary to eat a salad so big that your stomach hurts from all the fiber.  It’s necessary to scoop hummus liberally, even if the serving size is two tablespoons.  It’s necessary to be the exact opposite of moderate, and go completely over the top.  

dad and leslie at hotel

Balance is eating breakfast in the morning, even if I had a big meal the night before.  It’s eating two bites of dessert when that’s all I want, but also knowing I can clean the plate when I desire that as well.  It’s eating fruits and vegetables in any quantity I choose, never apologizing for being “too healthy.”  It’s eating a bit lighter during the day when I know I’ll be eating more at night.  But it is never allowing one day of “light” to become habit or restriction.

ally and leslie at hotel

Balance is appreciating the view on a vacation, rather than obsessing about the image in the mirror.  It’s treasuring the moments with my favorite people in the world, not adding up the calories of the plates we are sharing.  It’s savoring the memories I’ve created, and it’s realizing that measurements and numbers don’t exist in those memories.


I had a wonderful vacation.  And now, I’ll go back to normal.  Has my weight changed?  Will it change?  I don’t know.  My jeans still fit, and really, it doesn’t matter.

Do you believe in moderation?



Filed under health

17 responses to “moderation.

  1. I believe in practicing an eating style that works in your real life, one that won’t stress you out too much while also being one that will help you maintain a body and well-being that you can be confident in, one that will allow you to enjoy life’s many pleasures, food, family, and fun.

    And I believe in everything you have to say as well 🙂 love this post.

  2. this was incredibly inspirational! thanks for setting such a good example of a strong woman with a healthy body image 🙂

  3. Amy

    You’re amazing Leslie–you have the best attitude. Thanks for being such a positive person, in life, in your blog, and through your stories. I am so glad you enjoyed vacation. What happens on vacay, stays there! Back to normal is right 🙂

  4. Amy

    PS–you look simply beautiful in all of your photos !

  5. I loved this post! Incredibly inspiring and refreshing 🙂 and I could not agree more! Live life!

  6. lowandbhold

    Oh I just loved this post. While I might not be able to share that philosophy just yet, I want to get there and I think it’s so amazing that you have such a positive outlook and take on life!

  7. Great post – moderation is important, but it’s different for everyone!

  8. I believe in eating healthily but indulging when your body wants to. I love this post!! You’re right, it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re happy with yourself!

  9. This is a really good point — definitely what I needed to hear today. I just ate a HUGE lunch and then was craving ice cream so went to Coldstone. When I got home, I was feeling a little guilty and then realized… so what? You don’t do that every day and you’re not going to gain weight because you had some ice cream. Chill.

    And it worked. 😉

  10. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    P.S. – your parents = adorable.

  11. Dad

    Loved all of your posts on our glorious vacation.This post was perfect as when you enjoy dining and being together as we do a thought of calories at this time is almost sinful. Ogunquit was and is heaven on earth and the timelessness and lifelong memories carry us from year to year.

  12. traveleatlove

    What a very true post! You looked awesome at the summit; it was great to meet you!

  13. Do I believe in moderation? Yes, but I’m still really working on that balance.

    Do I believe this was a fabulous post, one that I really needed to read right now? Yes, and I thank you! 🙂

  14. I couldn’t agree more with everything you wrote. Thanks for this post! Living an over-all balanced life is a goal I take each day. 100% believe in moderation. But when I go a bit extreme, I don’t feel guilty unlike before.

  15. Pingback: a quick summit recap. « the whole plate

  16. What an awesome post! I totally agree with you — exercising moderation ALL the time is way too much pressure — you gotta let it go when your body tells you to!

  17. megan

    This was lovely. Thank you.

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