Abstainers vs. Moderators, and why should you care?

When trying to adjust your life to accommodate healthy habits, there are generally two schools of thought. The first one is to make small, incremental changes, so it feels like you’re barely changing at all. The second is to overhaul your entire life so that each good habit reinforces another good habit, rather than choosing to maintain some of your less healthy habits temporarily.

So how do you choose which approach will work best for you? This is actually a tricky question, but I’m going to help you figure out which of those ways will be most effective for you.

There is a psychological theory that some people are Moderators, and some people are Abstainers, and each type of person will be most successful when sticking to the strategies for their own group.

Have you ever met a person who could give up chocolate for a month without blinking an eye? Have you ever noticed that most of the time, that’s the same person that can’t stop at just one when they do choose to indulge? That person is probably an abstainer. Although the diet world tends to preach moderation, there is a significant percentage of abstainers in the population that are just setting themselves up to fail with that strategy.

Here is a good start to figuring out which you are:

Also try to remember, you can switch types for specific foods. As an example, you can be an abstainer about everything, but caffeinated drinks are something you do well moderating, and panic at the thought of giving up forever. This is normal, and it’s important to note whether specific foods have this effect on you, so you can set yourself up for success.

What questions do you have about how to structure your diet?