Are you an Abstainer or a Moderator? Could answering this question help with your success? A couple of years ago I ordered a great book by Gretchen Rubin the author of the Happiness Project - it’s called Better Than Before and it’s all about changing our habits. In my business, this type of information is golden. A huge part of the reason I became a Bulletproof Coach is because I quickly learned as a Nutritionist that often what holds people back the most is not that they don’t know what to do (I can usually help with that problem), it’s that they can’t, won’t or just don’t do it. It’s a great book and I highly recommend it. Until you get to that though here is one of the concepts that Gretchen presents that really stuck with me.
when it comes to consuming favourite foods which may or may not be good for you, the world is basically divided into two groups of people : Abstainers and Moderators (there are many other groups which I will explore another day but for now bear with me). Understanding which camp you fall into can be quite helpful, especially when it comes to certain foods - should you keep a dark chocolate bar in the house or should it and anything like it never, ever darken your pantry door?
Abstainers are people who, when trying to give up their “kryptonite foods” those foods that throw them off their plan in the blink of an eye, need to give these up completely. For this person, just having the food in the house (the car, their desk, their purse…wherever) means that they will obsess about it and eating it until it is completely gone. They simply cannot stop themselves and get it out of their minds. They get exhausted negotiating with themselves - just this once, only a bit, ok maybe a bit more…and so on until the offending item is consumed.
Moderators on the other hand, can have one square of chocolate, a single cookie, 6 almonds, a single small glass of wine and step away, satisfied and happy till another day. Remove this food completely from their plan, forbid it, and they become obsessed with when they can ever have it again - they will fixate on it endlessly, dreaming, fantasizing….you get the picture. This person may be better off allowing themselves the occasional indulgence (a bite of dessert, a square of dark chocolate) which may help them to do a better job sticking to their plan the rest of the time. Sometimes, all these people need is to know that they can and then they don’t - funny huh?
I would take this one step further to say that we may be abstainers for some foods (in my case sour wine gums, Jelly Belly jelly beans) and moderators for others (in my case again, dark chocolate and wine). It could be that I don’t love the latter as much as sour and chewy candies, or, that the sugar and chemicals in the candies light up my brain in a way that renders me powerless - there is no end of information out there about the dollars spent by big food companies to create addictive foods we cannot resist. If you don't believe me check out the book: *Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, it will blow your mind and make you pretty mad to boot. Either way, my reality is that I do not buy those foods I know I cannot resist, Frito's, Doritos, Wine Gums, seriously, nutritionist or not, I am human first and I definitely can be sucked in by these foods. Not having them in the house, they are not there for me and so over the years I have developed the muscle to resist them even when I'm out ion the world and hungry.....I don’t even think about them...but it took time and sometimes at a cocktail party.....
The invitation to you today is to sit down and think about which camp you fall into and use this knowledge to set yourself up for success. Take it a step further and identify the foods that might turn you from a moderator to an abstainer and cut those out completely. Take control back of what you eat by understanding why you eat them is a first step. Knowing which came you fall into, comes next...so I ask you - are you an Abstainer or a Moderator?
Yours in good health,
This blog speaks to topics I look at as a Coach to help my clients achieve their goals. I explore topics in the full realm of wellness,