Living Within the Parameters of Imperfect Abstinence…An Interesting Dilemma

When I think of “abstinence,” as I learned in treatment, I think of no sugar, wheat or flour, no restricting, bingeing, or purging, weighing and measuring, following a food plan to the letter, etc. While this was great for me at the time, I eventually began to seek out moderation in my food practices.

Moderation is wonderful, except when you have a brain that defines abstinence as perfection; meaning, encompassing all of the above, every single day. Moderation has allowed me to not follow the “no sugar, wheat or flour” regimen—because, unlike the compulsive overeater, who has an allergy to those substances, my addiction doesn’t send me off running to the races when I ingest sugar, wheat, or flour. While I’d spent plenty of time b/p, I was most-addicted to purging, thus alleviating any feeling of fullness (i.e., uncomfortableness).

Where guilt ensues is in the following my food plan perfectly bit. Every day, I plan my food. Some days I eat exactly as planned. But on most days, I will eat an extra of this, or skip that, which makes my perfectionistic brain go crazy!

My dilemma is that I want to achieve what I have defined as perfect abstinence. But, the real question to ask myself is, do I really need to? Why do I have to do it perfectly? Couldn’t “perfect abstinence” be just as mentally shackling as the ED itself? I’m beginning to think so.

So, the question then is HOW do I mentally train myself to accept imperfect abstinence? A lot of mental conditioning and cognitive restructuring is my guess…oy vey!

FOR TODAY: I will attempt to follow my food plan perfectly, but if I don’t, I will practice being gentle with myself.

Off to do some mental push-ups!!!