Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Black and white thinking

In the past i have written numerous posts about black and white/all or nothing thinking. Which was my way of thinking when i was sick and also lead me to binge eat, as well as other factors. But i basically thought, whats the point of eating 1 square of chocolate when you could eat the whole bar.... or whats the point in eating 2 sandwiches when i could eat the whole loaf because i have already "ruined" my diet/day. I was very much all or nothing with food as well as exercise. I didnt understand a 15 minute walk.... either i did a 60 minute walk or i didnt walk at all, or either i ran 10km or i didnt run at all. Eventually i found balance and a healthier mindset regarding food and exercise, realised that a 15 minute walk is actually ok, i dont need to walk 60 minutes to "make it count", but also exercise shouldnt just be about burning calories, but about being enjoyed and if all i have energy for is a 10 minute walk then thats ok. And with food, its better to eat a little chocolate everyday than to eat a whole 200g bar at once - or thats my opinion on it anyway, others may think differently. But realising that eating a few biscuits or a slice of cake doesnt ruin everything and i dont need to eat a whole cake just because i ate a slice... instead i can have another slice the next day.

If you feel that you have the same all or nothing mindset you can read more posts about it in the posts linked below:

black and white thinking
All or nothing thinking
Binge eating - all or nothing thinking
Food is not a test, you can't cheat on it


What i have come to realise - or well always known in some sense - is that i still have an all or nothing mindset when it comes to other areas in my life, especially when it comes to studying. I dont see the point in doing 15 minutes studying everyday (even if this is what i recommend most people to do i.e a little everday). Instead if i am going to study then i am going to do it for 2-5 hours, because anything less just is a waste of time.... i always think "1 hour studying wont teach me much... it takes 20 minutes just to get all my documents open and my pens and paper out and to refresh my mind". Even though i know i dont need to spend as many hours studying each time, its like my mind tells me that any less time just isnt worth it. If i am not going to dedicate x hours to studying, then i might as well not study at all.
   Of course this adds stress into my day because its not always easy to find the hours to study as well as it making me mentally tired sometimes to feel like i havent done enough just because i did 45 minutes of studying.  Of course when i write this i realise just how silly it is but thats why im writing this post. Just like when i was recovering from binge eating and realized i had an all or nothing mindset and had to change my thoughts to more balanced ones.

I also have this same mindset when i bake.... i.e why bake just brownies when i could bake cinnamon buns and saffron buns as well? I rarely bake just one thing... instead when i bake i dedicate a few hours and do as much as i can with the same ingredients.  Of course this isnt so bad, but i always end up with so much baked stuff and never know what to do with it... because sure its yummy the first week but after that you get tired of eating the thing you baked and give it away instead. I also do the same thing with cooking, i.e why bake 5 potatoes when i could make 2kg potatoes instead. Or why make lentil soup for just one meal when i could make lentil soup for 3 days..... of course this isnt so detrimental, this is actually a positive thing in my life as it means that i save time and dont have to cook everyday, because when i do cook i then have food for a few days.

I also have this mindset regarding alcohol. I dont drink because i dont want to put all the toxins and alcohol into my body, not to mention that i take medication that doesnt go well with alcohol and that i get tipsy after just half a glass of wine. But its not that i dont like the taste of alcohol, because i do like the taste of wine, cider, champagne... but i dont like alcohol and i dont see the point of drinking alcohol free (might as well just take a coke then!). So when i drink, its basically all or nothing... either i drink nothing or i drink 3 glasses and 2 shots. Hence why i choose to not drink 99.9% of the time, because i know that my all or nothing mindset will kick in otherwise. But i am more and more learning that its ok to just take a glass of wine if i feel like it and not feel like i have to have 5 more drinks just because i had 1. But instead realising that sure alcohol isnt good and i dont recommend it or promote it, but if i really want a glass of wine (because yes.... sometimes i long to just go sit at a cosy bar with friends and sit and talk and drink wine), then its ok to do that and ok to just have a glass!


I am pretty sure i have the same "all or nothing" mindset in other areas of my life, but nothing i can think about now.... but its important to self analyze and realise these things about yourself. And i think i need to try to find more balance in my way of studying and realize that 30 minutes is better than nothing - even if 80% of the time i dont mind spending 4 hours studying, but i guess i dont want to feel like a failure just because i studied less time than i had planned.... and that feeling stems from my own mindset and what i think is "enough".


Does anyone else have the same type of mindset in their life? Are you actively trying to change it or does it help you? Do you have this type of mindset around food and/or exercise and is it something you might need to change?


Picture just because i miss my dog!
And also... i wonder how many computer i have gone through during my 7 years of blogging XD

8 comments:

  1. Omg i feel you!! I also have THE SAME problems!! Mostly when it's time to eat I want to eat everything or nothing. Or when it's time to exercise I want to run 1 hour or do nothing. Ther is not a middle way for me. I am happy I am not the only one with that problem... Thanks for your help and decision to talk about your problem! Do you think it will end one day(black and white thinking about food and exercise)?

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    1. I was able to change the black and white thinking regarding food and exercise, but still have that mindset in other areas of my life. It's about realising balance and that it's OK to do 20 minutes of exercise, it still counts. And it's OK to eat a row of chocolate,you don't need to eat the whole bar at once if you won't want to. Moderation basically... a little everyday instead of everything at once. It takes practise and being aware of the all or nothing thinking, the more aware you are the easier it is to change... I. E don't feel guilty for doing 15 minutes workout instead of 60 minuteso. Or eating a slice of cake, you don't need to eat the whole thing just because you ate a slice. With practise and change of thoughts!

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    2. I think it highly depends on personal preferences. Of course thinking "why eat only one piece of chocolate if I can eat the whole bar?" is very destructive and triggering for a person with ED and eating in moderation must be relearned. But I know lots of "normal" people who never had any ED's that they like to eat rather "clean" and without sweets on certain days and then more sweets on other days intentionally (so called "Cheat Days") and it just works for them. I tend to eat that way too, sometimes but I don't take it to the extremes and I don't find it triggering at all. "Everything in moderation" and "each day a little bit of this and that" is one way to have a balanced diet, but I wouldn't dare to say that everyone should eat like that. If it works better in another way for some people, that's fine as well :)

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  2. Ugh, this post is me! Or WAS me, rather. I lived my whole life like this. All or nothing, in every area. Even my feelings were all or nothing - i lived in extremes, and instead of feeling something and moving on, I would run away from it to feel NOTHING, only to sooner or later feel everything all at once, and be scared right into running away again. There was no such thing as moderation for me, no small effort. I did it all or I did nothing. Days were ruined because I had one bite of something bad, might as well eat everything bad. No point in a glass of wine, might as well get black-out drunk. No point buying one shirt, might as well spend $300 on everything. No point in doing a little exercise, it only counts if I do hours. No point in doing a bit of homework, I did nothing only to have to do it all the night before it was due. It was a soul crushing way to live. This has been one of my greatest achievements in my life, learning to let go of black and white thinking. My life is so much better now, and I feel so much better on a daily basis. I still remember the very first time I stopped a binge partway through - it was the very first time I ever fully understood that it made no sense to keep going and eat everything; that it would be better to stop after a few "bad" things than to keep piling them on. And from there I learned to stop labelling food and behaviour as good or bad. That my actions were merely either helpful or hurtful toward myself, and that what I needed was to lean toward the helpful. Today, I am actually the type of person who can do a little of whatever, and be satisfied with my effort. And in the long run, I make better choices and get more accomplished, because I'm no longer holding myself to some ridiculous standard and constantly failing. I finally understand that 15 minutes of practice with my fiddle is better than no minutes. Putting $20 in my savings account is better than waiting until i can dump $500 into it. I finally am able to see just how ridiculous my thoughts were in the past. Today I actually find it hard to believe that I thought that way for so long. It is so clearly unhealthy, and UNTRUE, and yet it was my total reality. Today i live by many mottoes, but one is "progress not perfection". I have let go of perfectionististic thinking, which was at the heart of my black and white thinking.

    Thank you for writing this post Izzy, it has inspired me to take inventory of my life and see if there are any areas in my life that I am still being a perfectionist about, and to let them go.

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  3. At first I thought "No way, I don't do this black and white thing"....but I realize that I do have some problem, especially with school and social situations. I'm either going to do really well on this project, or I'm going to fail. I'm either going to become a doctor, or some homeless person....which is super ridiculous. But I guess that comes with being a perfectionist. If you don't put 110% effort into a task or project, then it wasn't good enough, therefore I'm not good enough...and I just spiral into this negative self talk.
    I've never struggled with binge eating, so that's a comfort. I can enjoy my piece of cake or a scoop of peanut butter/ice cream and that's good. I don't feel the need to just keep going.

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  4. Oh my.. this is so extremely relatable to me. On all areas tbh. Especially food wise i'mstruggling again atm. Which sucks SO MUCH!! I've been through a binging phase before and now it's started all over again. I really want to stop it. Today i opened up about it to my mom and that felt good. I was scared to be honest with her as it has happened before. Luckily she reacted super sweet and positive and she was able to comfort me somewhat. I am now going to read some of your posts on binging because i need some reassurance :( Thank you for this post Izzy! I needed it.

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  5. I have this thinking too in some aspects of my life: mainly working out (though much less than before), spending money and studying... but I think I've been improving and I'm much more balanced than I used to be. Maybe my feelings are the most black and white.

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  6. This was very interesting, thankyou so much for writing this and being so honest and open about your own way of thinking. My immediate reaction was no, I don`t have black and white thinking, especially not when it comes to food but there are maybe other areas in my life where I can relate to this. Most significantly is buying clothes. If I see say a jumper that I like instead of just buying that one jumper I buy the entire colour range just because they have them and I think well I`ve got x colour so I may as well have y and z as well. If I go to buy a new pair of jeans I can never just buy the one I need, I always buy two or three - again, just because they`ve got them. Does`nt matter that I`ve still got several pairs already at home. I just think well I need one, I`m buying one, so I may as well buy two! This as you can imagine leads to an accumulation of clothes I never get round to wearing, which is a waste as well as a waste of money. Where food is concerned although I don`t eat like this, I do tend to buy in the same way ie I never buy just one can of beans, always two or three at a time. Its crazy and totally illogical when you stop and think about it and I really could do with creating more of a balance in these areas. It would save me a lot of money for one thing!

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