Last week I asked a new client whether she thought she was an “abstainer” or a “moderator.” In a nutshell, when facing temptation, abstainers do better if they abstain altogether, while moderators do better if they indulge a little bit, or from time to time. Most people fit themselves into the categories right away. But if you’re not sure which one you are, here’s another factor to consider.
A friend who is a true moderator told me, “I got a sundae from my favorite ice cream store, and it was so, so good. But after the 5th bite or so, I could hardly taste it anymore. I had a few more bites, then it turned into a puddle, and a friend of mine finished it for me.” For moderators like my friend, desire diminishes as they eat. It drops in intensity, and they may be satisfied before they finish a portion. For abstainers, the desire for the last bite is just as strong as for the first bite. It may even gain momentum from the first bite so that they want the next bite even more. And once they finish a portion, they may want to go back for seconds.
It follows, then, that the decision, “Oh, I’ll just eat a few bites,” is something that a moderator can do—but may not be a good idea for an abstainer.
For me – I have discipline around sugary foods (most days), and salty foods (all days) but if you put the two together it is game over — sugar/salt mixes are for sure a trigger for me ~ the more I eat the more I want!! Gorp – is a trigger food for me – but I know this and so I’m mindful of what I am in for. The question is will I just abstain? or will I mindfully indulge?
Ask yourself, “Do I find the 5th bite as delicious as the first?”—the answer will help you decide if you’re a moderator or abstainer, and therefore, how to resist temptation. 🙂
My best your best