Last week, I posted Want to be free from French fries? Or, why abstaining may be easier than you think.
The comments were so fascinating that I want to post some follow-up questions to you Abstainers and Moderators out there. (If you need to catch up on the whole abstainer/moderator split, or figure out what category you’re in, read here.)
I’d love to hear your responses:
If you’re in a relationship with someone who’s in the other category, how do you manage it? Conflict around this issue seems to be a common source of tension within couples.
If you’re a moderator, do you have a general sense of what is “moderate,” or do you follow rules that you’ve set for yourself? Examples of rules might include “I’ll have one small square of excellent chocolate at lunch every day” or “I never eat dessert at home but do order dessert in a restaurant.”
If you’re an abstainer, do you abstain narrowly or broadly? E.g., do you abstain from the chocolate-chip-and-butterscotch cookies served every afternoon at work, or do you abstain from sugar? I’m a broad abstainer not a narrow abstainer, myself.
Moderators: Would you say that having a little bit of something makes you want it less? Abstainers, would you say that having a little bit makes you want it more? I definitely want things more when I have them; when I don’t have them I don’t want them.
For both categories: Do you find temptation to be a matter of availability–or not really? Do you have trouble managing temptation only when an item is right there in the cupboard, or would you just as readily go out and buy that tempting thing? I’m very swayed by availability. Follow up: do you consider a restaurant to be a place where something’s very available or not available? For me, the hurdle of making a purchase makes something far less available than when it’s freely available (this is true even though the added purchase is just added to the main meal, so no more difficult to pay; illogical I know). Probably part of my under-buyer mentality.
For both categories: Do you find yourself trying to convince other people to resist temptation the “right” way? For instance, might you say, “You should learn to eat moderately,” “You should go cold-turkey,” “You shouldn’t be so rigid with yourself,” “You shouldn’t keep that stuff in the house,” “You’ll just fall off the wagon and stuff yourself later, if you try to be so strict.”