In this week’s News-Sentinel column, I ask the question: “If you were marooned on a desert island with just three kinds of Halloween candy to last you the rest of your days, what would you choose?”
It’s my take on bestselling author Gretchen Rubin’s moderator vs. abstainer dietary model, and as I was revisiting her writings on the subject, I was struck by how weird it is to realize that some things we perceive to be sources of pleasure actually fill us with anxiety and frustration.
For Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, giving up Halloween candy altogether was easier than facing the mental exhaustion of constant inner debate over when she could eat it and how much she could have.
“But if I tell myself I can never do something,” she writes, “I simply don’t think about it.”
As Rachel, one of my so-called “normal people” dietary advisers, noted in an interview a few months ago, it helps to know whether you’ve got an abstainer or moderator mindset. I lean abstainer myself, though I’ve used moderator strategies at various times in the past. The desert island scenario is a compromise, I guess. Yes, I can have Halloween candy, but only certain types. It reduces the amount of temptation I’m exposed to, especially if I don’t buy my desert island choices.
FYI, my three picks are: Snickers, Reese Cups and Hershey Bars with Almonds. What are yours?