Can you eat one piece of chocolate?
Can you? I can’t.
Popular culture, and particularly programs built around the idea of moderation, such as Weight Watchers, have told us that we should be able to eat whatever we want-in moderation-one piece of chocolate, 5 bites of cake, a handful of chips. Moderation is the golden ticket to all things. Right. This idea makes perfect sense on a logical level.
Problem. Moderation never, ever worked for me.
For me the “anything I wanted” usually showed up in the form of sugar iced with sugar and a sprinkling of sugar. I tried to follow popular advice: I ordered cake when I felt like some (I always felt like some) and waited for my body to tell me I’d had enough (I never did get enough). I just couldn’t eat half a chocolate bar and leave the rest for a rainy day…like my sister, like my BFF could. I continually alerted myself to the fact that something was very, very wrong with me. Naturally, I attributed my failure to moderate to being, “a fat and lazy will-power weakling.”
Enter the work of world-renowned habit and happiness expert, Gretchen Rubin + insert the Hallelujah chorus.
According to Ms Rubin, you’re either a moderator-you can eat a little and leave the rest, or you’re an abstainer-you can’t have a little and therefore abstinence may be your answer. Wahoo and thank you Jesus! There’s nothing actually wrong with me-I’m just not a moderator, I’m an abstainer!
Finally my lack of ability to moderate makes sense. If you’re part of the population for whom moderation works, perfect. Rock on with it! For those of us who can’t…I repeat. There’s nothing wrong with you, or me.
Once I figured out I’m just not a moderator, I became a woman who abstains from dessert. Believe it or not, this is just easier for me. The relationship was way too complicated anyway. Yes, I’ve had some dessert since my decision last year. And, like the bad relationships of my early 20s, after 3 months of abstinence, I tried to get back together with moderation, only to realize, yet again, that the relationship was dumb from the start and the answer was indeed to abstain.
These days, I plan far, far in advance when I’m going to have a dessert, I usually eat all of it, and then I leave it alone for several more weeks. This works for me.
Can I tell you why being an abstainer is actually EASIER? Abstinence has become a habit, therefore, I no longer need to use self control to abstain because all decisions have been made in advance. No more wasted energy.
No internal humming and hawing as to whether I will order cheesecake after a business meeting, no deciding whether to have dessert at that baby shower, no trying to have just 5 bites…because I can’t. Now I am free from the multitude of decisions I used to make around dessert and free from any FOMO. I’m free from the deals I used to make with myself like, “I will this entire piece of cake today and have just a smidge next time.” I’m also free from the extra poundage I used to carry with me because I couldn’t moderate my dessert intake.
Guessing you might not be a moderator? I get that abstinence from your thing may sound scary, so let me help you out with some ideas:
- Identity yourself as such-“I am a woman who abstains from…”
- Imagine how much freer you will be without arguing with yourself whether or not to have…
- If it feels really hard-figure out why. Why are you so attached to …?
- If you’re worried about what people will think of you-let that be their business (refer to this blog if you need help https://flourishintoyou.com/week-2-mind-your-own-business/)
- FOMO? Really? Is your life going to be that much better after a piece of Skor cake? Give it some thought.
- read Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before-it is by far, the simplest, most palatable, most helpful work I have found on habits and how to develop them for your specific personality.
Wanna brainstorm some helpful ideas? I’d love to share my experiences with you and chat about how I can coach you through yours.
Click the link below. I will be in touch with you to find a time to connect.