For many of us who overeat we tend to be extreme; extremely extreme at times. We will go to any length, use any rational to acquire foods that will provide us maximum joy for that moment we indulge. Equally extreme is the guilt and shame that follows a binge and the extreme promises to never do such a thing ever again, especially when we know full well we eventually will.
John is a grossly overweight man. He overeats in binges and feels like most of his life is in control but will admit freely that he occasionally makes bad food choices despite his best intentions. John will freely admit this because he can’t hide it. It is blatantly obvious to all around John that he is overweight. But John has to take to the extreme, he’s unwilling to admit he is not in control. Sometimes John attempts to be in control of his eating by announcing he is dieting, when he fails he proclaims he has an undiagnosed health condition. In this way, John attempts to show control even as he completely fails at controlling; extremes.
Sally won’t spend $20 to join a support group or fitness club but she has no issue at all justifying $20 or more a week for take-out food. “We all have to eat don’t we?”, she remarks when asked about her budget choices.
John is extreme in that he must appear in control. When he is obviously not in control, his extreme nature creates an alternate reality for John, one in which HE is in control but his undiagnosed health condition is the cause of failure. Sally is extreme in that she won’t spend a penny on things that could actually help her but has no issue spending extravagant amounts of money to make sure she has her fix of binge foods.
Of course there are varying degrees of both of these examples but I think most of us can in some way relate to these stories in their own lives. We are too extreme, extremely extreme sometimes. Most of our recovery from stinking thinking is going to be learning to cope in an imperfect world without the use of food for comfort. Our food choices should feed and nourish our bodies, it should be tasty and enjoyable, but it should not be used to cope.