Day 68 – Moderation & Abstaining

Do I eat the rest of the food on my plate? Yes, there are children in Africa starving! Eat it! No, I am full! I don’t want to eat the rest of it. I am full!

pablo struggle

Food…. we need it to feed our bodies, yet if we consume too much it’s bad for us. Isn’t it that way with everything? How much is too much? How much is not enough? Self control, abstaining, and moderation are NOT the same! Or are they? I have been “pining” over this for a long time, and I am finally ready to tell you my opinion. HA! Meaning, it’s just my opinion and I express my opinion simply to get it out, to help myself think and process things. It helps me to come up with a solution that works for me. It inspires my intuition to guide me in the right direction and do what is best for me. Mind you, what is best for me may not be best for you!

This I know. It is a struggle, and hopefully after today, my journey will be perceived as simply, a journey, and not a struggle. I believe that any addiction, obsession or overindulgence is simply a perception problem. I believe that anything can be solved if I learn the lesson, change my perception and move on. I truly believe that. It’s been the story of my life. Take the Mexican Jumping beans story for example. I looked at that as one of the largest mistakes of my life for a long time. Therefore, experiences like that kept presenting in my life. Well, not Mexican jumping beans, but the lesson needed to be learned in order for me to let that go and move on.

So, my perception of abstaining and moderation is the idea that both of them having a lot of similarity, however they are completely opposite is this. Addicts do not have the ability to practice moderation. That is a statement that I have heard over and over and, to an extent, I believe it. I also know that when I started participating in the consumption of alcohol and drugs, I didn’t like it. I would “feel” the effects of the drug and/or alcohol and I would stop. I would actually say, “I am done, I am feeling it”. So, was I an addict then? What happens to constitute addict? The very first time I had sugar, I didn’t say, oh I don’t want anymore of that, I am feeling it. I don’t even remember the first time I had sugar. I do remember being young and LOVING sugary foods. I still LOVE sugary foods, sweets.  In the alcohol world there is a peak. If you cross the peak, it is said that you will NEVER be able to go back to that “I am done, I am feeling it” mode. I have met several that have. I have met several that have not. The point is they have made a choice. To practice moderation and be in control or to practice abstinence. That’s it.

What are some things I do in moderation?

  • I go to the gym in moderation. There was a time that I did not. I went every single day and I made myself so sore I couldn’t hardly walk. Now, I go 3 times a week and work out for about 1 hour and I go home. I try to go at least 2 or 3 other times and just walk on treadmill or I go out in nature and walk for 30 minutes. I practice moderation.
  • I practice consuming food in moderation for the most part. I am still working on this. I reached this point by tracking my consumption of food every single day. I believe that being aware of behaviors is the first step to changing them. I was getting up from the table feeling miserable, so therefore, I was probably over consuming. So, I started tracking what I was eating. I started using smaller plates, and I am to the point that I can stop when I am satisfied. I have practiced putting smaller portions on my plate, and when that is gone, I am done. I can’t really abstain from food. I have read we can live on water, but really?
  • I work in moderation. I take appropriate breaks, and treat myself to “me” time. I take a lunch break, and I do not work after 6pm most evenings unless I have an event, and when I do, I take a long lunch break to make up for it. I take days off and I spend time with my family. I am not stressed about my work, therefore I enjoy it!
  • I practice moderation in Personal Development. I used to think that in order to change, I had to participate in growing myself ALL THE TIME. It took time away from my family, and my health. I overdid it. I simply spend an hour a day on Personal Development now. It works for me. Moderation.
  • I practice leisure time in moderation. I take at least one bath a week and just be. I watch Netflix occasionally. I go get massages, pedicures and manicures. I hang with the neighborhood kids and do things I enjoy.

All of the activities listed above used to be done in excess. I did everything in excess. More, more, more, and it was NEVER enough. So, I have become aware of it, and changed things in order to practice moderation. So, why can’t I practice moderation with sugar/sweets? Is it because it’s too good to turn down more? Clearly, I make a choice when reaching for more. I MAKE THE CHOICE. I can also make a choice to distract myself and do a number of other things in order to stop. Someone said all or nothing is exhausting. Moderation could be exhausting as well. Once again, it’s our perception of it. Please know this. Perception, your perception, my perception is OUR TRUTH. It may not be THE TRUTH, but it’s OUR TRUTH. Period.

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So, if I perceive that moderation is possible, then guess what? I can achieve it. My perception is a part of my belief. I can perceive that my addiction to sugar will not give up EVER and that I have to be miserable for the rest of my life fighting it and depriving myself from sweets when everyone else gets to participate in consuming them.

GOD, that sounds awful!

I would rather perceive that I DO NOT have an addiction to sugar, and that I can consume every once in a while and not be obsessive over the whole gig and move the fuck on with life. I can perceive that instead of having all of those refined sugar sweets, I can partake in alternatives and all natural sugary substances and not even have to fret over any of it again.

I like that. I can practice moderation with that. There, it’s solved. Done. I tried the brownies that I posted on Facebook last week. They were good, but I overcooked them! So, I will try again, and perfect the recipe and voila, I have brownies! It makes small batches and I truly had no desire to have more than one last night.

When I decided to start SugarSobriety, I was consuming at least 36 teaspoons of sugar a day. Refined sugar. My perception of being refined sugar free has changed my life. It’s changed my health, my focus, my attitude and my moderation levels. Abstaining from refined sugar is good for me. Abstaining from all natural sugars and treating myself is NOT. Check out these ideas and please, let me know what you think!

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The idea is being moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance. Experience the Wonder of the World! Some even say that the key to experiencing greater fulfillment (which happens to be my key core value) and pleasure is moderation. How do we achieve moderation? Here are some steps that you can take:

  1. Your senses are key – being aware of what senses are really being stimulated and rediscovering the hidden layers of ordinary experiences. Example: Doing laundry. I absolutely love the smell of fresh laundry. I love the feel of the warm clothes. Instead of perceiving it as a chore, it can be fun to dump the warm clothes on top of yourself on the bed and take in the warmth and the smell of fresh laundry. I can stand outside in this amazing world we live in and smell the exhaust coming from the dryer. Get it?
  2. With the increase in diagnosing ADHD there are some things we can do to avoid that perception. Is it really ADHD or just a short attention span? Just like lengthening short, tight muscles we can lengthen our attention span by practicing doing it. Example: if you cannot make it through a documentary, practice! Practice tolerating things by placing yourself in situations that force you to practice lengthening your attention span. It’s like practicing patience. The best way to do that is to get in the longest line at the grocery store and BE PATIENT. Turn on something that bores you and practice lengthening your attention span. It just takes a few more minutes. Set a timer and go!
  3.  JUST BE. Practice being you. Have you ever just sat in a room with yourself and your thoughts without any stimulation? Try being present in EVERY situation. Do not allow yourself to get distracted during a conversation with someone. We have a choice, control it. Be present.
  4. Take a break. Stop multi-tasking. There is no such thing. Our brains are only capable of doing ONE THING AT A TIME. It will stop the anxiety, and what happens when we have anxiety in our lives? We have emotions and therefore might do something with addictive tenancies. Or we pull away and stop being present. Do one thing at a time. Prepare and plan ahead.
  5. Delayed gratification. Practice it. Check out this story about a 40 year experiment. It was called the Marshmallow Experiment. It is possible. Once again, it’s about making a choice and being responsible for your own actions. If you plan on getting a new car, put it off as long as possible, you will enjoy it so much more. It’s the same with any experience. If you had sex 24 hours a day 7 days a week, it would get old right? Maybe that was a bad example!
  6. Gratitude – if I do not appreciate what I have, how can I appreciate anything else? If I do not practice Gratitude I will automatically be in the mindset that anything that comes into my life isn’t enough because I am counting on that for happiness and a great attitude. It doesn’t work! Be grateful for what you have, and be grateful for the lessons learned as well. BE grateful for the struggles, and be grateful for YOU. It keeps my mindset in a positive place and I don’t focus on what others have and want them, I focus on all of the blessings in my life.

Tune in next week when I talk about moderation with success in business. How does that work?

 

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