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Moderator or Abstainer?

A quick question for you, Sister.

Can you eat one piece of chocolate?

Can you? I can’t.

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.
This idea makes perfect sense on a logical level.

Problem. Moderation doesn't work for many women.

For me the “anything I wanted” usually showed up in the form of cake.  Whole ones.
I tried to follow popular advice. 
I ordered cake when I felt like some (I always felt like some).
I 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 believed there was something very, very wrong with me.  
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 or an abstainer.
MODERATOR: you can eat a little and leave the rest.
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 or you.
Maybe you're just not a moderator!

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, Sister!
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. 

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 may actually be EASIER?
Abstinence has become a habit.
I no longer need to use self control to abstain because all decisions have been made in advance.
No more wasted energy.
No more internal humming and hawing.
No more decisions to make around dessert.
No more FOMO.
I’m free from the deals I used to make with myself like...
“I will eat this entire cake today and cut back tomorrow.”
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.
Let me help you out with some ideas:

  • Identity yourself as, “I am a woman who abstains from…”
  • Imagine how much freer you'll be without arguing with yourself whether or not to have…
  • If it feels really hard-figure out why. Why are you so attached to …?
  • FOMO? Really?  Is your life going to be that much better after a piece of Skor cake? Give it some thought.

To not being a moderator.

Crystal, XO.


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