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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Borer

Abstainers vs Moderators

Abstainer: a person who holds back voluntarily, especially from something regarded as improper or unhealthy

Moderator: a person keeps within reasonable or proper limits; not extreme, excessive, or intense

Which one are you when it comes to habits in your life? For instance, can you have just one cookie or do you have the whole box? Can you eat just a single serving of almond butter, or is it the whole jar? Can you have just one drink, or is it the whole 6-pack?

If you know that you are a moderator, a diet that is extremely strict and does not allow you any deviations from the program may not work for you, as moderators often do not like the idea that they can never have a food/drink/item every again. Instead, they have the innate power to control their intake and/or portion of a particular item. Moderators are the type of people who can have one or two bites of their dessert and call it good, saying that they are “satisfied.”

Abstainers, on the other hand, struggle controlling their tendency to overindulge; therefore, it is simply easier for them to never yield to the temptation in the first place. Abstainers often thrive in situations with clear cut rules and boundaries where they know their limitations and what is “off-limits.”

Personally, I’m an abstainer. I’d rather not have anything at all than have just a little and try to moderate my intake from there. Those who are moderators may look at me and think I’m crazy, but honestly, abstaining makes me happier. It eliminates the decision-making process and instead, forms a habit.

For example, I do not eat processed foods, gluten, or sugar. It’s a habit for me. I choose to abstain from these foods because I know that they are not good for my health, and I don't want them! I crave other foods, like fruits and veggies, instead. However, for a moderator, this example may sound unrealistic and extreme, and that is okay!

Neither option is wrong or bad, per say. It truly is a unique characteristic for each person. What matter is whether we recognize our tendency to be either an abstainer or moderator, and make it work for us and our habits.

For instance, if you know that you are an abstainer and want to adopt healthier habits, maybe a clear-cut elimination diet overhaul is more suitable for you. On the other hand, if you are a moderator, an approach to getting healthier that allows for a greater freedom of choice may be more appropriate for you.

Either way, I hope that this descriptive categorization gave you a bit of insight into your own habits and tendencies. Which one are you: a moderator or an abstainer? How does it manifest in your own life? Let me know below!

Which tendency are you? Read more on Gretchen Rubin's blog.

The concept for this post was taken from Gretchen Rubin's book, Better Than Before.

xoxo Olivia

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