I’ve seen plenty of nerds on Internet forums say things like this:
“What! You ordered a Diet Coke instead of a meal when you went out to a restaurant! Ugh! Your diet has taken over your life. What are you… some kinda moron? Don’t you understand moderation is good?”
Oh gosh, no, my good sir! I have never heard that before.
What a ground-breaking concept. Moderation is… good?!
And… going to… unhealthy extremes is… bad!?
As in – just so we’re clear – I’m… NOT supposed to go to unhealthy extremes!?!
~ A hushed whisper falls over the crowd at this shocking revelation… ~
I mean, seriously. Let’s be real here folks.
Everyone knows this.
Except here’s the thing: moderation can actually be super difficult.
Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
– St. Augustine
Listen, I'm not saying moderation is bad, and I'm not giving you permission to go to unhealthy extremes. I'm not saying you should justify extreme behaviours by saying “Well my friends/family/coworkers just don't understand.” I'm not saying any of those things at all. I'm saying those things are obviously very bad.
I'm saying that just spouting off the fact that “moderation is good” is a platitude; it's so obvious that it's unhelpful. The same is true of “balance.” Yes, of course balance is good. Like, duh.
You don't have to be perfect
You can work towards flexibility and moderation without feeling guilty that, for now, you find it difficult.
The perfection myth is just as applicable to “being moderate” or “being flexible” as it is to anything else. You don't have to be perfect.
It's okay if flexibility isn't easy for you. Just be aware of it, and think of ways to deal it — but deal with it at your own pace, and not according to the expectations of some poster on the Internet who isn't giving real advice so much as they are trying to perform how balanced and moderate they are.
This means that for now, you have to decide when and how to be moderate, and you have to weigh that against your fitness goals, your values, your own mindset, and a bunch of other things.
Generally, I would almost never ever recommend avoiding social situations*, but having personal weirdo rules for navigating specific situations, or balancing your fitness or diet goals with a healthy desire to be moderate or “flexible,” is totally fine. You're allowed to be a bit weird. You're allowed to not be perfect. It's cool.
* sure, there might be exceptions, but that's the point: they're the exception, not the rule