Controlling your urges — moderation or abstinence?

Courtesy of yummyshop

Courtesy of yummyshop

Are you a moderator or an abstainer? Do you prefer to totally avoid something rather than enjoy a small bit of it?

Can you eat a scoop of ice cream? Or does it have to be a whole container? Or is it easier to eat none at all?

Can you buy just one pair of shoes when they are on sale? Or do you avoid the whole shoe department? (Now that would be sad….)

I never had thought of people as one or the other but I read an article and it made sense to me.

I immediately knew that I am a moderator. I can eat one potato chip (I love potato chips! Yes, they are indeed a vegetable!) or a half cupcake. I don’t eat whole candy bars and two Hershey kisses will do me just fine.

It’s not about weight. For me it’s about eating healthy…mostly. It’s also about discipline. I’ve been like this my whole life.

My friends always thought I was nuts. I thought they were nuts as I saw them indulge in astronomical amounts of whatever they liked or complain that they couldn’t be around it at all. What happened to moderation in all things? Should you really eat a whole bag of cookies? A dozen donuts?

It’s not only foods. It’s all facets of life.

There are smokers who can only break the habit by going cold turkey and some can cut down to one cigarette a day.

I have a friend who would watch marathon movies over the weekend. If she watched one, she didn’t want to do anything else so she continued watching movies. She could only control herself by not watching any movies.

There was an extreme moderator who worked for me many years ago. Her diet was prescribed down to the pea. Seriously! At 10 a.m. she would eat 10 goldfish crackers. They were counted out in little baggies. At lunch it was a half cup of stuffing mix with a quarter cup of peas. This is every day! It’s hard to say whether she was truly a moderator or had a case of food OCD.

Both strategies work. I am not a crusader for either. You have to do what works for you.

French fries and cats are harder for me to moderate and I can’t imagine going cold turkey on either one of those…oh yes, and shoes and anything that is guaranteed to make me younger!

Reference: When to Say Never by Gretchen Rubin, Good Housekeeping, June 2013

31 thoughts on “Controlling your urges — moderation or abstinence?

  1. Depending on the day, I can be any one of these. I seem to have zero control around sweets. So I try not to have them in the house. My eldest daughter, who does believe in a healthy diet, says she cannot have even a bite of chocolate or she’ll want to consume more and more. I do see what you mean, Kate.


  2. Some days it is easy to be a moderator, other days I have to avoid or just portion things out like your coworker so I don’t have the temptation to go overboard!


  3. I’m a total moderator but I will also buy the best, gooiest, most calorie laden thing on the shelf. I have a motto that I live by. If it doesn’t taste fantastic then it isn’t worth the calories. I buy the best chocolate on the market and am satisfied with one square.
    Unfortunately, that also applies to my taste in shoes…I only love expensive shoes therefore I am shoeless because I cannot afford my own extravagant tastes, lol!


  4. I’m DEFINITELY an abstainer. Interestingly I’m getting myself back into shape by having 4 fasting days on not very much and three guzzling days….I’m an all-or-nothing sort of person…


    • One of my relatives is on a diet like that 5 days of semi-fast and 2 (weekend) days of anything (almost) goes. I couldn’t do that although if my weight inches up just a bit a cut back hard for a day or two.


  5. I am a moderator in all things food because I don’t like to feel uncomfortably stuffed. I am most immoderate when it comes to the Internet and following links. I tell myself, just one more link…, and then it’s tomorrow already. 🙂


  6. I really enjoy Gretchen Rubin. I’d like to find that article. Well, for me it depends. Chips? No, can’t do just one–so I avoid. Cookies? Half a cookie, one at the most, no problem. Ice cream? Is it chocolate? Better not have it in the house. Vanilla? It can sit there. So, I’m all over the place. I’m kind of that way with life, so I’m not surprised. LOL!


  7. Cold turkey is for sissy… French fries should I crave for it with mustard sauce, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce. I think I am after the sauces more than the fries.


  8. I have always been under the impression the a single serving of ice cream was a pint. And with snacks the bags that say “NEW! MORE CHIPS THAN EVER” I’m all or nothing-I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day but quit cold turkey. Vegetarian overnight with no in between. Sigh. I always wondered what kind of people get a small order of fries at McDonald’s. Now I know…


  9. I’m all over the place. I can eat 5 french fries and 1 small scoop of ice cream but I cannot eat only 5 or 10 potato chips. I have been known to buy 3 or even 4 pairs of shoes on sale but am satisfied with only 1 of other things. What does that make me? Unstable, perhaps?


  10. Count me in as the moderation type. I guess I’ve always gone by the motto that “too much of a good thing” isn’t so good. If I could though, I’d like to be able to sleep more than only a few hours in a row!


      • Boy that’s the truth! I’d love to sleep a whole night again. I only have two real food vices that I can barely control: potato chips and ice cream. I bought a bag of chips today but will not open it until Monday for the family cookout. If we have ice cream I’ll send it back home with my daughter and three granddaughters. If it’s here it will call my name!


  11. Oh, there’s no contest. I’m an abstainer. An all-or-none kind of gal.

    Whew! I’m relieved to get to the end of the post. For a minute there, I thought you were about to tell us you went back and adopted another cat … and then another … and then another … and that this post was here to explain how you fell off the wagon. Close call !!!!


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