• talks about her Confessions




    Confession: Sometimes I really hate figuring things out about myself because living in ignorance about said things is so much more blissful than having to do something to change it.

    Case in point:

    I read an article 2 months ago that stopped me in my tracks.  It’s seriously been on my mind every day since finding it.  Gretchen Rubin is the author of two great books & an inspiring blog entitled “The Happiness Project.”  She posted this quiz/article several weeks ago: Abstainer or Moderator.

    I highly suggest you read the entire article, decide where you fit in, and then adapt accordingly.  Unless you want to continue living in ignorance, in that case, DO NOT read the article.  If you’re like me, it will plague you til you make some hard changes.

    I’m going to share some direct quotes & then my thoughts {bolded} & hope this helps one of you, too.

    “They [moderators] do better when they try to make moderate changes, when they avoid absolutes and bright lines.
    For a long time, I kept trying this strategy of moderation–and failing. Then I read a line from Samuel Johnson, who said, when someone offered him wine: ‘Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.’”

    Totally how I feel!  When I tossed around the idea of giving up caffeine in June of 2011, I felt panicky and deprived.  As soon as I made the decision to do it, though, it was EASY.  I haven’t regretted that decision for one minute since and honestly haven’t been tempted at all.  In that case, abstinence was much easier than temperance because I knew I’d decided it was just an “unacceptable option” for me.

    “I find it far easier to give something up altogether than to indulge moderately.  If I never do something, it requires no self-control for me; if I do something sometimes, it requires enormous self-control.”

    For instance, because of my personality, it’s a dang good thing I’ve never tried alcohol.  Because I decided a long time ago I never would, it requires literally no self control from me.  However, I know if I tried it, my additive personality would take over and I’d be doomed. 

    “There’s no right way or wrong way–it’s just a matter of knowing which strategy works better for you. If moderators try to abstain, they feel trapped and rebellious. If abstainers try to be moderate, they spend a lot of time justifying why they should go ahead and indulge.”

     This totally hits home for me.  I start thinking and justifying why I should be able to have this or that all the time.  I give myself an inch and then it becomes a total binge session.  I end up thinking more about what I am going to do or not going to do {or eat} then just enjoying whatever experience I’m in or people I’m around.

    “However, in my experience, both moderators and abstainers try hard to convert the other team.”

     Yes!!  I’ve found myself doing this until I read this article!  I’d try to tell myself {an abstainer by nature, not by choice} that I could moderate and that abstaining from something forever really wasn’t healthy.  I’d hear abstainers telling moderators that they would never be able to reach their goals if they took a free day once a week {totally a jealousy thing on my part}.  Team Edward or Team Jacob.  It doesn’t really matter as long as you are committed and healthy on the team you pick.  {Bella=completely unhealthy, by the way}

    “You’re a moderator if you…

    – find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure–and strengthens your resolve

    – get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something
    You’re an abstainer if you…

    – have trouble stopping something once you’ve started

    – aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits”

    This sealed the deal for me.   Usually {read: very few exceptions} occasional indulgence does not heighten my pleasure or strengthen my resolve.  It makes me feel GUILTY, miserable, and less confident.  It also usually turns into a binging episode that could last 12-48 hours {and up to a week}, which leads me to the abstainer portion.  I definitely have trouble stopping once I’ve started in the food category.  I think, “Well, I already screwed up, better finish & start again tomorrow.”  And, like caffeine & alcohol, I’m not tempted by things I’ve decided are off-limits. 

    So after my discovery I was kind of bitter.  I’m an abstainer.  I desperately want to be a moderator…and I hope that someday I’ll have the strength & resolve for that, but if not, I’m trying to wrap my head around my abstainer personality and comfortably live with that reality.  That’s been the struggle in my mind/body/heart the past two months.  I’ve been pretending I can moderate when it’s just not true at this point in my life.  I make a better abstainer.  The solution for me now is to be at peace with that truth & to accept it and be the best abstainer I can be…while not begrudging the moderators I’m so envious of.  I’m taking baby steps.  Last week I declared-out loud-that I would never eat goldfish again.  They are not a huge temptation for me, or something I find myself binging on, but I would sometimes give some to my kids & eat a handful, which would then turn to a cup or more.  So, I said it, and I haven’t gone back.  They aren’t even an issue or temptation now.  Baby steps, I tell you.

    So, where do you fall?  Abstainer or moderator?

    PS: I totally think you can be abstainer in some areas of your life and moderator in others.  I just happen to be focusing on food issues in this post.


3 Responses to Where do you fit in?

  • amber fischer wrote on August 15, 2012 at 3:31 // Reply

    Love that article and love your thoughts on it. And I love that we are SO opposite… you abstain and succeed – I abstain and rebel. You moderate and binge – I moderate and am happy (not rebellious, lol). Such an eye opener!!

  • alisa wrote on August 16, 2012 at 1:33 // Reply

    This is so what I’ve been dealing with lately. I abstain all the way if I even think I can be a moderate 95% of the time I binge. It’s all or nothing! Do what works and stick with it! Love this post.


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