A lot of people seem to think that the ultimate in self discipline is complete denial. No junk food ever, no alcohol ever, no sex ever, etc. you get the point. But when we hear that we think “Wow! That person is like a superhero of will power!”
….or is that just me?
Either way, I don’t think it’s correct. I think, in the grand scheme of things, complete denial of something can be easier than moderation. And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t misunderstand me. Addiction is real and it can happen with almost anything. It is scary and a brutal thing to deal with and in those cases, yes, complete denial of the thing IS the right option.
But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the person who, often in a burst of pride will state that they never eat junk food. I think complete avoidance of the thing is hard. But I think enjoying something in moderation is even harder.
There is a lot of science out there that tries to explain exactly how the brain works. But it’s a complicated little creature who makes us want things that we enjoy. And I think it’s way harder to try to enjoy something moderately.
At least personally, having a few potato chips out of the bag is way harder to do than simply not buying the bag. But, as I’ve talked about before, complete self denial is no good as it can lead to the pendulum swinging the other direction.
I want to work on this. That’s one of the reasons I don’t want to completely eliminate anything. I want to learn to enjoy food, but in moderation. While I know it exists, I don’t think I have an addition to unhealthy foods. I think that I, for too long, have lived in my all-or-nothing bubble and need to start exercising the self-control muscles a little more vigorously.
And at least for me, I know that learning to live a more balanced life will lead to long term sustainability. I’m ready to take down that damn pendulum. Or stop the yo-yo. Whichever thing you prefer.