Giving It My All: '100% Mindset' in Recovery
In our latest guest post, Abi shares with heartfelt honesty how she's been feeling in her recovery, and why, for her, the only way is the 100% way.....
I think one of the biggest challenges I'm finding at the moment in recovery is fighting the urge to "80%" things. By that I mean eating in a way that ticks almost all the recovery boxes in terms of quantity, frequency, density, tastiness, satisfying others etc but not quite pushing through to 100%.
So today, for example, I defrosted a big tub of bolognese from the freezer and thought "Right, spag bol for tea”. We all like spag bol in our house. It's hearty, filling, nutritious; there's certainly nothing diet or "low cal" about it. I happily whack cheese on top of it these days and it would have been a decent dinner.
But it would have been an "80%" dinner. Because what I actually wanted was lasagne. Heaps of creamy, cheesy, meaty lasagne. That was my "100%" dinner - the meal I genuinely really wanted. Not much different from spag bol but different enough. More cheese. More butter. More milk. Just that 20% more infuriating to my ED than the spag bol.
I knew if I made lasagne I'd eat more of it than spag bol because I bloody love lasagne and always have seconds and thirds.
But I know, deep down, that when I settle for "80%" dinners or snacks or any other meals, I am settling for a future stuck at 80% recovered. And we've got to aim for 100%, haven't we?
Don't stop at bolognese when you want lasagne.
Don't stop at toast when you want a bagel.
Don't stop at plain hot chocolate when you want cream and marshmallows on top.
Don't stop at yoghurt when you want icecream.
Don't stop at butter when you want Nutella as well.
Don't stop at pizza when you want garlic bread too.
Don't stop at a burger when you want a double cheeseburger.
Don't stop at a biscuit when you want cake.
Don't stop at scrambled eggs when you want a big, cheesy omelette.
Don't stop at a Kit-Kat when you want a Mars Bar.
Don't stop at a 3 course meal if you want another pudding when you get home.
I could go on. There are hundreds of examples I could give of my own 80% meals, but yours will be personal to you. You know if you're avoiding the last 20%. You know if you're sticking with margherita pizza when you actually want loads of pepperoni on top. You know if you're really after chips when you tell yourself a jacket potato will do fine.
I'm not talking about the difference between a rice cake and a doughnut (that's a 5% snack versus a 100% snack). I'm talking about the difference between a plain doughnut and a doughnut that has a big dollop of custard inside. I'm talking about that sneaky 20% difference that everyone around you would be oblivious to but that you know is there. Don't 80% this business. You deserve that extra 20% of food. That extra 20% of life.
That extra 20% isn’t about what you need, it’s about what you deserve. It’s about unconditional permission and freedom and self-compassion and all of the other good stuff that will release you from the not-quite-full life that comes with an eating disorder.
I don’t technically need cake instead of a biscuit – I’m at a “healthy” weight (whatever that means) and biscuits are nice – but I do deserve it. I don’t need to push on for 100% recovery - my life at 80% recovered is pretty decent and there’s much to enjoy – but I do deserve it. Your ED voice may tell you differently, but you deserve better than to settle for a life where 20% of it is given over to short-changing yourself physically and mentally, to constantly taking yourself down just a little peg or two. You’re short-changing those around you too. They deserve to experience you when you’re running at maximum you-ness; the full whammy, the good the bad and the ugly.
If you allow yourself to negotiate with the ED – “Ok, an 80-20 split isn’t too bad considering not so long ago I was 100% at your mercy” – you are settling for a life accompanied by a soundtrack of (unlike the shampoo advert…) “Because you’re not worth it”. You’re keeping a place at your table for an unwelcome guest who makes you question if you’re allowed a second helping of crumble; that makes you feel that familiar pang of shame, failure or weakness not just for having that second portion but for even wanting it in the first place. You wouldn’t choose a life with that soundtrack for your friend, sibling, parent or child, so please don’t accept it for yourself.
100% THIS BUSINESS.
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- Sep 2020