Saturday, August 4, 2012

The problem with all or nothing thinking

As I have mentioned in the past, both my mother and grandmother were anorexics.  Being raised by two woman with this condition seems to have shaded how I relate to food.  I've been so proud of myself for giving up sugar that I have lost count of how many days I have gone without it.  It is well over 40 days now.

The program that I used to give up the sugar was a very good hypnosis program by a company called Thinking Slimmer.  It is meant to give you control over having sweet treats so you can easily give them up.  But, it is also meant to give you greater control over the issue so that you can have them if you want them in moderation.  Today I really wanted a treat.  I saw some nice items at the grocery store today and thought that it would be nice to have something.  But, it became a huge issue for me.

I sat for several hours today going back and forth about if I should break down and allow myself a treat or not.  So far, I haven't given in to the desire for a sweet treat and I am not certain if this is a good thing or not?  The fact that I have had to sit and debate it in my mind like this tells me that I now have a problem.  This has become for me another example of the "all or nothing" thinking around food that being raised by an anorexic can create.

On one hand, I am grateful for how much better I feel since giving up sugar.  My blood sugar is stable and I am have lost some weight.  But, to live in fear (as I now seem to) of eating a sweet treat seems ridiculous.  Yet, I do.  In fact, I have even felt guilty for even imagining eating a sweet treat.  So, as you can see, this has gotten out of hand.  Time to figure out a solution.

So, I broke down and had a small container (5 oz. mini-container) of Edy's ice cream.  I don't even believe it was a full cup's worth of ice cream.  It made me realize that I had made a huge thing out of nothing.  The ice cream didn't actually taste that good to me.  After I had eaten it I thought that I would have rather had a baked apple.  I am now happy to return to not eating very much sugar.  It feels better knowing that I can decide for myself when and if I really want a sweet treat.  And, that I have one it won't spark a binge.  I feel much happier now.


  1. I think you made the right call for you, and that's awesome :) I can't do all-or-nothing thinking either. I read (and know) many people who do and it's lovely that it works for them. What works for me, though, is knowing what my "better not have that in the house" treat foods are, versus what my "I can have this around and eat a reasonable serving and stop there" treat foods are.

    For example, ice cream? I can have that around all day long. I measure out what I eat, and I can and do stop with that serving. Cake and cookies, however, are my Waterloo. If I have one slice or cookie, I'm back for another and another and another... so those foods rarely hit my house.

    Sad, because I'm a good baker! But better that I know my limits than not :)

  2. Good stuff! Sounds like you're making awesome progress!

    That's the problem with 'food as an addiction'...which is definitely what I have. Unlike other addictions such as smoking, drinking, doing drugs, etc., you can't go cold turkey. You can't just say, I'm never going to eat again. You can't remove food from your daily life. Some folks who don't have a similar problem usually say "just don't eat so much". Easier said than done. Do you tell an alcoholic, "don't drink so much"? Do you tell a drug addict, "don't do so muych drugs"? Ridiculous, right? For most of us, it's all about choices, moderation and trying to perfect that balance of diet, exercise and continual monitoring of the right balance of carbs, protien, etc. Again, easier said than done but you're going about it the right day at a time.

    Good luck! And I feel your pain.


  3. I just wanted to thank both Joe and Amanda for taking the time to leave such thoughtful comments. Thank you. It is great to know I am not alone!!!