Do you ever have those moments after a slip up with food and think, “well…game over now. I might as well order allllll the pasta, cheesecake, cookies (cue the binge foods)” If that’s a yes, then friend, you’re not alone.
One of the most common pitfalls in eating disorder and addiction recovery is called the Abstinence Violation Effect. It’s the response that we have after we slip that leads us to say, “Screw it!” It’s akin to getting a flat tire and deciding to slash all the tires and torch the car. We know reasonably that we could just change the tire, but our frustration, shame, disappointment, and non-acceptance of reality lead us to make the situation even worse.
This is an old diet drama story that we DO NOT need to repeat. This Memorial Day, as you may be navigating some tricky food situations, it’s important to remember that you are human. Diet culture has led us to believe that we need to operate our food plan like robots. But that’s not how life works.
To do things differently this year, we need to think about the skill called Dialectical Abstinence, also known as your Anti-Perfection Plan. Here’s how it works- while we still want to aim for the gold (doing our plan to a T), we need to understand that there will be times where things don’t go as planned. These are the moments where we take a mindless bite of food or turn to food out of social pressure or to cope with our feelings. In these moments, we want to try to treat our slips with compassion and remind ourselves that it’s never too late to get back on plan!
Using the Anti-Perfection Plan is a total game-changer in your relationship with food. Slips don’t become disasters, they just become moments for learning opportunities (for more on using your slips for learning opportunities, read the blog post here on making a corrective action plan).
Remember, we’re all doing the best we can. By turning our brain “on” there’s a lot of help, support, and answers for getting through a difficult situation without making it worse. You’ve got this!
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