Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Goal of Imperfection

Last evening I was emailing a friend and admitted that I felt my IE work was "shaky" yesterday. I didn't binge, which in the end is my primary daily goal, but I didn't feel like I was fully honoring my body's hunger and fullness signals. I also was battling against some diet mentality when I chose to eat foods that weren't "healthy" -- potato chips, brownies, fudge. While the portions were small and I didn't compulsively eat them, it was hard for me on a day after a lot of overeating not to fall into restrictive and "healthy" eating.

Again, I sensed the old all-or-nothing, black or white thoughts knocking on the door. I worried that I'm not doing IE right, and because I wasn't restricting myself to lettuce and water the day after consuming a lot of calories, I felt the old fears of screwing up and gaining weight in the back of my mind. And this morning I thought about getting on the scale, just to see how badly the damage really is, but I managed to stay away from it.

Then I read Linda Moran's blog for May 30, and I realized this is what I need to do. This paragraph in particular spoke directly to me:

"How about aiming for APPROXIMATING normalcy? Can that be sufficient for you? Especially because so many dysfunctional eaters tend to be perfectionists and b/w thinkers, I would suggest that the goal of approximating is a worthy one, if for no other reason than the fact that a goal of imperfection may be a new idea for you."

New? How about revolutionary?

So now, looking back at yesterday, it's wrong to call my day shaky. I was successful at approximating normalcy because I fought off the diet mentality and didn't eat compulsively or emotionally. Nor did I restrict or deprive myself. I ate what I wanted and didn't stuff myself. And I didn't cave in to my worries and fears and stayed away from the scale. What's shaky about that?

I know this will be a continuing issue for me, and it will be an ongoing challenge to aim for imperfection. But the more I take the pressure off myself to be perfect, the better I'll feel about myself, and the less I'll look to food for comfort and consolation.


Laura N said...

Wow, Andrea! That's an amazing revelation and you OWNED it wholeheartedly. I love the idea of aiming for imperfection and approximating normalcy.

I'm enjoying reading your blog (we chose the same background for our blogs, so naturally I feel right at home here =).

LMM said...

What a great concept, overcoming/balancing my b/w mentality is such an important step for me to work on. Thank you for reminding me that the world isn't b/w and that is OK.

Tree Lover said...

I didn't even know I was a perfectionist until I started IE. But boy am I ever susceptible to black and white thinking! I like what Linda Moran said about approximating normalcy. It’s such a foreign concept for me, too. Very powerful!

Ty said...

I really admire how you're working through this process. IE is something that I believe is the natural way to be but I'm so afraid of gaining back all my weight.

WifeMomChocoholic said...

Weird coincidence -- I just read that blog entry of Linda Moran's and felt the same jolt.

I'm enjoying your blog and your entry on what caused your last binge struck home with me in a big way (as far as childhood memories relating to present binges).