Working out which side of this divide you sit on could, in my opinion, be one of the most impactful pieces of self-reflection that you could engage in. Many people struggle for years to balance their diet, constantly giving in to temptation, only to later discover that, if they abstain completely, they are able to better manage their nutrition. The opposite is also true, some try to cut foods out completely yet get pulled back in and binge excessively at regular intervals when having a little bit every now and then could have worked for them.
Working out which side of this divide you sit on couldn't be simpler; take your favourite cheat food item and stick it in the cupboard. Now, after a day, take a bite. If the food is still there in the morning then, congratulations, you are a moderator. If you fail this test then purchase another treat and leave it unopened in the cupboard. if it is still there after a week then, congratulations, you are an abstainer. If the treat gets eaten in both experiments then you are perhaps just greedy or require some new willpower strategies. I'd recommend reading 'The Marshmallow Test' by Walter Mischel as a starting point.
Now that you have your dominant strategy you can start structuring your life accordingly. With your diet you now know whether a bite of chocolate every other day will keep your cravings at bay or whether having the entire bar once a week will work best. The same rule rings true for all other aspects of life; think alcohol, social media use, Netflix TV series and so on. Organising your weeks based on your lead factor will help you stick to your goals, save energy on willpower and feel a more successful person. all of which can have tremendous ripple effects.
Finally you should also consider your dominant strategy for creating positive habits as well as managing negative ones. If you are hoping to start writing a book for example then moderators would find writing a few pages a day a successful way to go about it. Abstainers on the other hand may prefer to have 1 or 2 big days of writing a week or, the opposite, of writing a set amount every day without fail.
I, personally, 100% fall into the abstainer camp. I can stick to diet, exercise and habit protocols very easily for long periods of time yet if I have 1 crisp then the entire bag will be deleted. Knowing this gives me the power to make informed choices!
If you find this topic interesting then I recommend you read more with Gretchin Rubin on her blog which you can access by clicking here. I would also be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences on both sides of the camps. please comment below to let me know.