Red Frogs, Grog & Cigarettes

My search for holy grail of “moderation” began in 2015. I had renounced my strict “no wheat, no sugar” diet, and found an extra 7 or so kilos had decided to call my body their home. Despite some initial half-hearted efforts, I found it hard to remove them, because – quite honestly – I just didn’t care that much. Sure, I was extra-curvaceous, but meh.

That’s why God invented stretchy pants.

While body image wasn’t enough to motivate me, other factors were. I’m quite fond of my teeth, and my good health, and therefore recently decided to “moderate” my behaviour.

Not everyone can relate. I have friends who have their own vices, but sugar is not one of them. In fact, sugar is such a non-issue for them, they can’t see any “sameness” in our behaviours.

“Just eat sugar in moderation!”, they say. “It’s not rocket science”.

I’m always so darn impressed when they tell me remarkable stories, like “oh my gosh, I can’t believe myself. I thought I’d have a couple of red frogs for morning tea, and before I knew it, I ate half the entire bag!!”

Wow, only half the bag?

For me, there have always been 2 options: All the red frogs, or no red frogs. But it gets rather tiresome, living in a world of all or nothing.

I am sympathetic to other people’s vices and addictions – drugs, alcohol, gambling – because these “red frogs” are much more serious, in that moderation is usually not a viable option.

Although, interestingly, there have been studies that show the chemical reaction to sugar in the brain is quite similar to that of drugs. It leads to the question: why some people can easily handle small doses, and some people cannot?

The same question applies to why some people, such as myself, can happily have one glass of wine, and let the rest of the bottle turn to vinegar in the cupboard without a second thought. It all seems inexplicably random.

Whatever the vice, or its reason – sometimes its grip is so strong, that any attempt to quit or moderate behaviours come with thoughts which are far from rational.

I recall my efforts to quit smoking at the age of 30. I’d been puffing away since 15, and my favourite thing in life was to wake up and have 7 minutes alone outside, just me and my cigarette, birds chirping and sun on my face as I blissfully blew perfectly formed smoke rings into the sky.


I wondered: what was the point of life without my favourite pastime?

It makes me laugh now, as the last thing I’d want first thing in the morning – or ever – is a cigarette. Hopefully, I’ll feel the same way about sugar one day, eating only half a bag of read frogs while chuckling at my old self and thinking “ha! I remember when I’d eat the whole bag! Grossssss.”

Here’s to moderation, may we all one day enjoy only half a bag of red frogs, or no red frogs. Whatever those red frogs may be…


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