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Buster Benson

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February: Extremely Moderate Health Month
bird poops on plum branch
As a token of solidarity and contention with critics of Health Month, and as an on-going experiment in my Year of Health experiments, I've decided that February is going to be all about MODERATION.  To the EXTREME.  Rather than giving anything up entirely, or doing something as drastic as a Master Cleanse or a macrobiotic diet or Body For Life, I'll do everything so moderately that it's as far from extreme as possible, and in that sense, satisfy my need for extremes.

So, healthy people of the world, I know you've told me before, but what is the perfect plan for health?  Lots of small meals, lots of water, lots of colors, avoid most refined flour and sugar, avoid too much alcohol or caffeine, avoid processed foods when possible, a reasonable amount of exercise, good sleep, multi-vitamins, lots of laughing, petting cats, flossing... gimme gimme more, gimme more.

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i had a long thought about this on my walk home. i decided that it's pretty nearly impossible and improbable that i will ever want to drink only ONE glass of wine every night during a week. let's face it, i can drink most people under the table. once i start at the bar, it doesn't stop until i pass out. i'm actually fine with that. i don't want to totally give up my drunken nights.

i think that they just need to happen less often.

i propose that we choose one night a week to be drunks. the rest of the week, i think that we should allow ONE bottle of wine between us on ONE night. if we've used up our one bottle night and our drunk night, we are simply out of luck for drinking the rest of the week. it just can't happen.

this will be useful from a scheduling perspective as well. we choose THE party night every week to drink at, and we psych our selves up for it. then: we get drunk. such fun! so moderate! yes?

i had to think a lot about brunch in this process. you know, i really dig brunch. i like getting drunk in the afternoon. but i am certainly not going to choose drinking at brunch over drinking at a wonderful evening party. also: brunch is a day ruiner. it automatically makes sunday a waste for getting anything productive. i therefore propose that we eradicate brunch unless it's a special occasion... which is fine, because we gave it up for health month and have retrained ourselves anyhow.

I like that idea. Maybe one bottle of wine per week at home, and then one night out per week. My problem with moderation is that the rules seem so much more annoying than "NO ALCOHOL!" or "DRINK AS MUCH AS YOU WANT!" I miss the whimsy.

Ideally, being moderate would be so moderate that nobody else would even notice we were doing anything out of the ordinary. Never the drunkest, never the most sober. How about that? Then, it's just a matter of choosing who we hang out with.

But then people might feel that we're watching them too closely. Haha. I have an excuse for every proposal!

And, I'm fine giving up brunch because I sorta lost my regular crew anyway. Rather than build a new one up, I'm fine with our current tradition of listening to the radio and making lots of lists while eating eggs.

for sure, moderation is totally annoying. it's not or extremist in any way. things that aren't overt pretty much annoy us both because there isn't any great message involved so we automatically wonder, "what is the point?"

that's why i think the one bottle of wine night and the one night out night is a good way to go. there's one night where we're basically being adults who can dig wine and then one night where we can DRINK AS MUCH AS WE WANT.

i never really seem all that drunk to anyone, either. but me not freaking out does not mean that i'm not shitfaced. so never seeming the drunkest or the most sober is what i'm doing when i'm drinking every night anyhow. that rule would never work for me.

you, on the other hand, can seem really really drunk when you're fully sober. this rule can therefore never work for you.

we need more rules than this elusive "depends on who we hang out with." that rule is wishy washy, and you want EXTREME MODERATION. both you and i are better with concrete rules we can use like crutches.

God, I have been saying that about brunch for years. It's a waste of time. It's always second on my list of answers whenever anyone asks me how I get so much done: "don't brunch."

Seriously. Ugh, brunch. Bad, expensive food when you could be shopping or sleeping or playing video games.

how about *gasp!*
brunch without booze??

hehe... i've been doing it for years because mid-day drinks make me sleepy.
and i love coffee. mm

Here's some extreme moderation:

Eat when you're hungry (but not when you're full), sleep when you're tired, drink when you're thirsty, exercise when you're bored. Unless you have a really good reason to do otherwise.

Re: extreme moderation

I like that... I have a problem of eating way too much, not sleeping enough, and never being thirsty or bored.

Re: extreme moderation

when does one get drunk?

Re: extreme moderation

When the shakes kick in

not obsessing over food

It seems like obsessing over food is (supposed to be?) normal. But maybe only for women.

Here's my definition of moderation. This may be too extreme for you.

- Drink wine with dinner, one or two glasses. Drink one or two glasses of whatever beverage you prefer when you go out, or enough to get comfortably buzzed and not straight-up smashed.

- Eat until sated, not until completely stuffed.

- Walk everywhere.

- Go to the gym a couple times a week, or as often as you feel like it, whichever is more.

- For caffeine, drink one cup of coffee or one cup of tea per day. Drink green tea in the afternoon if you absolutely have to.

Bored yet? ;-)

My obsession with moderation is to find something exciting to grasp on to, true. My biggest obstacle is that moderation can be defined in many ways and the most popular form of moderation is to make every day seem like the next. Extremes, or moderation taken on a bigger timescale, allow for lots of variety: indulging one day, fasting the next, splurging then saving, etc. Getting into a rut is a recipe for disaster (or slow zombification).

I do want to learn how to stop eating before I stuff myself. It feels like one of my strongest primal instincts to eat as much as I can until I'm stuffed. I think it's because I was the runt.

Gym and caffeine are sensible and easy enough.

I think day-to-day experience can be as wacky as you want it to be. Figuring out what chemically makes your body best able to respond to extreme experiences is the definition of -good- moderate living, I think.

consider sensory intake as a whole.

as a whole, i'm of the belief that we overload our nervous systems without accessories like coffee. the movie theater can be sensory overload. some movies, in a theater experience, have had the effect of making me dizzy when i stand up at the end.

try this as an experiment. take a movie like Blade, or the Matrix. Listen to the movie, but don't watch. Then, reverse the experiment. Watch the movie on mute. When you've isolated the experience of one sensory experience, you get a fuller idea of the impact on that one sense.

another easy notion - stop listening to music with headphones. next time you have music playing on a cd player, computer or stereo, try lowering the volume. see if you can readjust the strength of what your ears are at, to attune to lower volumes.

health is an all-sensory collusion that we take for granted.

Yeah, February was going to be meditation but the teacher I want to go to is taking a vacation so I'm doing that in March instead. I like your notes on learning more about the senses though... that would be an interesting experience for sure. I should do it with one of my favorite movies...

if you end up giving the movie idea a whirl, i'd be curious to hear about your experiences, so...i humbly request you write about them. or any other sensory-based experiences.

the notion of sensory pollution is an interesting one to me, with respect to its interface with our nervous system. & sometimes i don't wonder, to drawn an analogy, in the way that certain chemicals in the foods we eat can accumulate over time to cause damage in the way of say, cancer, that in a similar way, our methods of cultural interface through media or technological expressions of the industrial revolution might account for some of the nervous system disorders, along the lines of anxiety, depression, etc..

one attempt:

My friend Ben always said that if he ate just like I did, he'd lose weight. I'm pretty moderate.

Yesterday was
Breakfast - Mini sesame bagel w/ creme cheese, fresh squeezed orange juice, 12 oz coffee with milk
Lunch - Lentil soup, pasta salad, blackberry soda
Dinner - Lasagna, cran-grape juice


Otherwise, don't drink too much, for real. Many nights none, some nights one, one night a week 3-4. Eat breakfast every day, a small bagel or oatmeal or an English muffin and fruit, and juice (fresh, not with too much sugar). One cup of coffee per day, and if you really want one in the afternoon, decaf or, even better, tea. Lunch should be a sandwich, soup and salad, noodles. For a snack, a piece of fruit, some pretzels, soy crisps. For dinner, see lunch. Eat fruit and vegetables everyday. Eat some protein every day. Take it easy on the carbs. Every couple days have something sweet, like a small bag of candy or a few cookies.

Drink plenty of water, and exercise two to three times a week.


Yes, this is the kind of moderation I'm looking for! Will you be my moderation sponsor? :)

Um, yes. What exactly will this involve?

Your duties will include letting me know if you notice me behaving in any extreme ways other than extreme moderation during the month of Feb. Thanks! :)

This is my life 4-5 days a week minus the exercise! So I'm...almost there. I don't mind pigging out on weekends though (usually just one night of the weekend, not all weekend long).

I think you should go on with that full on moderation like an FBI agent or a 40's dude. One cup of coffee, one martini, that sort of style, and speak as plainly and boringly as humanly possible.

ooh, i like this one!

i'm totally pulling an FBI february!

though it could take a nasty noir turn if i'm not careful.

I think I could use Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks as my role model here. Awesome.

I salute you in doing this. I get panic flutters when I think about doing it. I know everyone thinks I'm all healthy, but there's such a mix of addiction and dogma under it that makes it pretty extreme and, well, addicted to doing it my way. Hard to explain. You and Kellianne will do well because you're air signs. :)

Oh, we've all got that mix of addiction and dogma beneath the surface, I hide mine as well. What do you think you're going to do differently next month? What is your way?

And does being an air sign mean we're flighty?

My favorite way to be extremely moderate is to eat a carrot to balance out anything unhealthy I've eaten. Another trick is to spill your food because you're laughing so much. I do that a lot.

here's my little corny comment. after i met Joe all i wanted to do was build a future with him - have a healthy and long life together - that was/is my motivation and excitement for living a healthy life. Of course, cancer or ALS or a car accident can get me today, but otherwise at least I know I'm trying. and, together we fight atrophy better than alone.

Well, in this diet, corn is allowed! And I feel similarly, though I too try to keep it on the d/l. Haha.

seriously. it was completely unexpected effect, but falling in love forever-style has been the best thing for my health yet. crazy!!

oops that comment above is kellianne! i always forget when i'm looking through b's account.

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