Sunday 16 August 2015

Moderation and Dieting

I was reading Shane Watson's column in the Times Magazine yesterday.

I've always liked Shane Watson. The title of yesterday's article was 'Why I Hate People on Diets.'

As I read it, chuckling away, it struck me that trying to drink 'moderately' is very much like being on a diet.

Here's what Shane says about dieters - see if it rings any bells:

They (moderators) are unrelaxed and unrelaxing, reek of self denial and vibrate with unfinished business. For obvious reasons they tend to have a short fuse (who wouldn't, with the day stretching ahead with only three litres of Evian (one glass of wine) to look forward to), and God help you if a long-anticipated meal (drink) is held up for any reason....

....they are wired and restless and keen to get to the next stage, and then the next stage, before they finally collapse into bed and lie there, jaws clamped tight.

Remember all that? I think part of the reason we dread sobriety is that we've all played with moderation and assume that being sober is just the same but endless.

But it's not! Sober is like ditching the diet and eating what you want, it's just that you've got to the point where you no longer want to eat (drink) the bad stuff.

So, I'm nodding along, feeling smug, when Shane says: saying "I'm no carbs" is like saying "I'm teetotal."

Can you hear the implied scorn? I've always hated Shane Watson.

She goes on: dieters have....made us self-conscious about food. They've taken one of the most enjoyable things in life and made it awkward. That's why I hate people on diets: because they affect the way I feel about food and the role food plays in my life. Eating normally showing off.

With a horrible sinking feeling I recognised that that is exactly how people see 'teetotallers' at a dinner party. Party poopers. Fun suckers. Energy drains.

We make them question their own habits, and we make them self conscious about drinking in front of us.

That's why I usually stay quiet.

I let people fill up my wine glasses which I then don't touch. It's not because I'm ashamed of being sober - I'm not, quite the reverse.

It's because I'm worried that however much they pretend to admire me and be impressed, they're secretly thinking "bloody hell, they've sat me next to the sober person! Beam me up, Scotty!"

Love SM x


  1. Hi SM, I dont think dieters have made us self-conscious about food I think journalists looking to fill column inches have made us self-conscious about food..'food that we should eat/shouldnt eat, celebs that are too fat/too thin'..etc etc. The more people 'come out' as soberites and say how bloody good it is the less it will be seen as a social embarrassment. Be loud and proud! X

  2. ...and thinking about it maybe its the drinkers that are actually more like the dieters as they've both bought into the idea sold to them that happiness is only achieved through an altered state. The teetotals all know what bulls**t that it! X

  3. Going off the point slightly -have you read Jason Vale's 'freedom from the diet trap'? Its a good read. It even pushed me to do his '7lb in 7 days' which is basically a regime of freshly juiced fruit and veg for a week. It's great though because it's a cleansing regime (just what my alcohol battered body needed). It's like his drinking book and changed my perception of food thus getting on top of my sugar addiction. For now anyway. x

  4. Unrelaxed and unrelaxing. Self-denial. It is a perfect description of me trying to moderate. And funny enough I don't believe in diets.

  5. As long as you're not treating your dinner-mates to long passages out of the AA book, I can't see how anyone's fun could possibly be sucked. I like the simple, refreshing statement to those trying to serve you alkie bevs: "I don't want that." Same response as when the telemarketers call on the phone. No explanation needed. Don't want it. Why? Because I just don't. Hahahah! Hmmm, maybe this is why no one invites me to dinner parties...
    Regarding dieters, as much as I hate people who "hate things", I see the point. What really annoys me is when people are constantly dieting and never seem to lose any weight but they're always on about their dieting. Because you KNOW they are not really decreasing their total calorie intake (which is how you actually LOSE the weight), yet "Just lettuce for me. Who wants to split a prawn?"

  6. I always get to sit beside the "gluten-free" person. Who only ever reveals that they are "gluten-free" when the meal arrives. The person who will eat the burger sans bun, and then try and steal the fries off your plate. But I'm over it now. Really.

  7. Any article that indicated they hate someone, anyone, is not one to take advice from.

    Honestly, people are much happier to be by the non drinker than the drunk enough lush. At least that is my experience. When I think how fun I thought I was I cringe.

  8. Hee hee fun suckered! Have to be very careful with that one. I have started to tell people I've stopped drinking. It's funny as it gives those drinking plenty to talk about. I just feel like a weight has been lifted and I don't need to worry about how and when my drinking will be each day. Moderation was much harder! Have also been a serial dieter but my overeating has also stopped without alcohol telling me to eat a load of crap. Long may it last and, feeling like I do at the moment, I can't see what would start me drinking again x

  9. When I try to moderate I pretty much go right back to daily drinking. It's good for me to see that in writing. We are on vacation in Tahoe and had friends for the weekend. I drank with them because I didn't want to be the only one not. I was counting the hours that they would leave so that I could go back to my life of sobriety. I've learned to love sobriety, but was willing to hurt myself for friends I don't even know that well or even really like much.

    1. That is a huge realization. You pit others needs above your own.
      And it hurt you.
      You are the most important person in your life. And since you can't please everyone, you should just focus on pleasing yourself.