Tuesday, May 9, 2017

So What is "Moderation"?

"All things in moderation... even moderation." -Oscar Wilde and Erika Jagger. 

Erika Jagger is my college friend, twenties party buddy, international traveler and former personal trainer cohort.   She's the first person I remembering hearing say that and I thought it was hilarious. It's funny and cute, just like her.  I take it to mean that sometimes you just have to throw your hands up and say what Tom Cruise said in Risky Business. 
"Sometime you just have to say what the F-heck."  Eat that brownie. Skip your early morning exercise class to lie in bed with your husband.  Drink an extra glass of wine with an exceptionally delicious meal.  Except sometimes not drinking moderately is neither funny nor cute.  We can't say "Sometimes you just have to say 'What the F-heck?!' " all the time.

So what is moderation?  Is there a specific definition or is it different for everyone?

The CDC defines moderate drinking as having up to one drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.  This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.  However, (tellingly, I add) the Dietary Guidelines DO NOT recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol should start drinking for any reason.

Take home message, if you don't drink, don't start.

Well, what's a drink?

A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.  Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:

*  12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
*  8- ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
*  5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
*  1.5 ounces or a "shot" of 80-proof (40% alcohol content distilled spirits or liquor (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

The following information comes from the website www.moderatedrinking.com

So if you drink more than 9 drinks per week for a woman or 12-14 drinks for a man, that means you are not a moderate drinker, but does that make you an alcoholic?  No. Some heavy drinkers who've experienced problems from their drinking can learn how to moderate their drinking.  They can maintain moderate drinking for years at a time.  Others cannot.  So who's more likely to be successful at moderation?  Drinkers with a shorter history of problems and less severe problems tend to be more successful with cutting back and maintaining it. 

They also have another resource called the Drinker's Check-up that can help you take a good look at your drinking and get objective feedback. Then you can decide whether or not to change.  

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