How moderation is difficult

Our bodies are hardwired for survival in times of scarcity. Ironically, this makes us prone to obesity.

We all know that indulgence was an evolutionary strategy. Since sugar, fat and other rich foodstuffs are hard to come by in the jungle, it made sense to stuff ourselves when they were available. That is why we are programmed to dispatch cookies down our food pipe until they disappear.

On the flip side, being built for scarcity also hardens our abstinence muscle. When rich foods were hard to come by, we are built to go for long periods of time without them. What we don’t realize well enough is how we can go for long periods without cookies provided they stay inside a wrapper on the supermarket shelf rather open inside a transparent jar on our kitchen counter.

If our pursuit of pleasure were a video game, indulgence is the easy level (with the highest penalty) and abstinence is medium (with the highest payoff). Contrary to its name, moderation is the hard level.

The easiest way to moderate in the long run may well be to alternate between indulgence and abstinence.

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