When it Comes to Indulgence, Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

When it Comes to Indulgence, Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

At a recent conference, I had the pleasure of hearing a talk by Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling book The Happiness Project. At the time, however, I didn’t know what she would talk about. I mean, how much happiness can you cover in 50 minutes? It’s kind of a big topic.

What Gretchen focused on was very relevant to the Plum Deluxe mission. Her question, in the context of indulgences, was the question: are you an abstainer or a moderator?

abstainer vs moderate

Abstainers Are…

An abstainer is someone who doesn’t want any easy access to an indulgence, or else they will over-indulge. For example, when it comes to cookies and sweets, I am an abstainer. If they are laying around the house, I will devour them, and not stop until they are gone. Same for chips.

However, if I go for days without sweets, and then I’m at a restaurant or at the store and pick up the ingredients, I’m happy to have a nice dessert. It’s enjoyable. I don’t feel guilty. But then, it needs to go away!

Moderators Are…

A moderator is someone who wants to have easy access to an indulgence, or else they can’t stop thinking about it. For example, I know many people who are chocolate moderators – if there is no chocolate in the house, all they can think about is why the heck there isn’t any chocolate in the house.

But, if there is chocolate in the house, they can have a small piece each night and feel just fine.

Actually, You’re Probably Both an Abstainer and a Moderator.

If you have trouble with cravings or over-indulgence, then it’s good to know the difference between the abstainer and the moderator. Most people are both, actually.

I’m an abstainer for sweets, but not always. For example, I love to have nice jam on toast sometimes for breakfast. If we are out of our homemade jam, it’s all I can think about. But if we’re well stocked, then I’m just fine and I tend to enjoy it slowly and deliberately.

This logic applies to not just food, but wine and booze, exercise, or really anything where you are treading into the all-or-nothing zone.

I’ve found that just by knowing when I am abstaining and when I am moderating makes me feel a lot less stressed about indulgence. I can identify when I’m on a fast track to the danger zone, and when I’m truly enjoying an indulgence – which can be done without the guilt, by the way.

So, are you an abstainer or moderator? Come share your thoughts on our Facebook page. My thoughts, in summary:


When it Comes to Indulgence, Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe. He authors our award-winning weekly email newsletter, The Blend and curates our popular organic tea of the month club.

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