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!!!