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Are You Making This Common Mistake?

Have you ever found yourself saying the lines “tomorrow I will start” or “starting tomorrow I am only going to eat X,Y,Z”? So often my clients come in to my counselling office exhausted and suffering because they keep making all these promises to themselves that are extreme and that, as a result, never work out. It is incredibly taxing when we create an all-or-nothing world for ourselves because it sets us up to feel like failures. It is impossible, for example, to eat cleanly 100% of the time or to go from bingeing and/or purging multiple times a day to never doing it at all.

This kind of thinking will only lead to disappointment and ultimately cause you to give up long term. The more we let ourselves down the less likely we are to keep trying to achieve our goal. Instead of tackling your recovery from this angle, I would encourage you to start by working with a percentage model. Maybe you start with 90/10 or 80/20. If you binge maybe you work to cut down your intake by 10%. Or alternatively, if you struggle to put nutritionally dense food into your body you aim to increase the amount of nutritionally dense foods in your diet by 20 percent.

As a bulimic you could focus on decreasing the number of times you purge by 10%. Depending on how often you purge this may only be decreasing the number of times you purge by 1 or 2 times a week. This model can be more challenging for anorexics at times so instead of focusing on increasing your food intake by 20% I would encourage you to try to see if you could try a different food at 10% of your meals and/or snacks.

To figure out exactly what 10% or 20% looks like for yourself, calculate how often you eat and, using a calculator, take that number and times it by 0.1 or 0.2.

We need to move further away from the all or nothing thinking and instead focus on taking consistent, gentle, supportive steps. Nobody runs before they can walk. If you want to be successful go slow and be consistent and you will reach your desired outcome.


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