Back in June, my family and I orchestrated a surprise party for my mom’s “milestone” birthday. We dealt with all of the details from guest list to playlist. Our big plan was to lure her to a spin studio where she would be greeted by 20-30 of her nearest and dearest for a personalized spin class, followed by a brunch catered with her favorite foods and the rest of her posse.

Everything was going according to plan until about 15 minutes into the spinning portion of our program. I was breathing heavily, coughing, and sweating profusely. If I’m being honest, I’m a fair weather exerciser to begin with, but this was bad. When I’m on my grind, I’ll exercise every day and eat like I have a runway to strut on. But when I’m off my game, forget it—Netflix and chill is enough for me.

So there I was huffing and puffing my way through 45 minutes of Bruce Springsteen and Harry Styles-themed (my mother has very eclectic taste in music) torture. Moral of the story? Besides the fact that I probably should’ve prepped a little more for my reentrance into the spinning world, moderation is key.

Growing up, my parents always told me that having a little bit of a bad thing was okay, but having too much of a good thing didn’t mean it was good for you. “Everything in moderation,” they’d say. Now, as a (young) adult, I’ve learned that those are words that everyone should truly live by.

No matter the activity, it all comes back to moderation. Food? 2,000 calories a day for a woman, 2,500 for a man. Every now and then we all go over those numbers because we’re human, but if it turns into an everyday occurrence, odds are you’re in trouble. The same thing goes for under-eating. If you’re consistently taking in less than 1,000 calories daily, health care providers would classify that as a health problem, too. Water? 8-10 glasses a day is ideal, and while we’re usually worried about not drinking enough, it’s also possible to drink too much water. There’s even such thing as too much sleep—and oftentimes it can be an indicator of a greater health issue, like depression, sleep apnea, or drug/alcohol dependence. 8 hours is great, but 18? Not so much.

It all comes back to moderation in the end. So, have your favorite candy, just maybe not the whole bar. Drink water, toast a glass of wine at dinner, and go to your favorite exercise class. What’s most important is balance and moderation, and as human beings that’s typically part of our pre-programmed cycle.