Life In Grayscale

Life In Grayscale

Happy Tuesday, to you!  I always feel like once Monday is out of the way, I’m good.  Monday can be my best friend or my worst enemy.

Especially back in the day when I used to spend the entire weekend going out, drinking far too much, eating fried food at 3 am (most likely off a truck), and being physically reckless.  Monday was not a good day for me, pretty much every single week.

Honestly, some days I say, “Oh well, I was in my 20’s, ” but honestly, I should have been wrapping that ridiculous carrying on up long before I did.

Still, out of all of my bad habits, there was one habit I had for most of my life that dictated all the rest.  It’s a habit I think many people have and it’s a worthwhile one to kick.

The “all or nothing” mentality.

I couldn’t just drink one glass of wine.  Once it was corked, so was I.

I couldn’t leave any french fries on my plate.  I’d make those my “last” french fries for the month/year

If I joined the gym, I was going seven days a week.  If I missed Monday’s workout, I’d wait until the next Monday — the week was wasted already.

I couldn’t just eat one Oreo.  I had to eat the entire sleeve of Oreos, or maybe even the whole pack.  After all, it was going to be my last Oreos for the month/year.

The very act of typing out those statements just reiterates to me how much I was destined for failure without actually trying.

2007 2015

2007                                                                                                    2015

When I finally decided to take control of my health, I vowed not to use any scales or measurements to track my progress.  I decided to allow my body to show me the progress in ways that would help me train myself to stop thinking in such black and white terms.

As an individual recovering from years of bulimia and emotional eating, my black and white thinking was just about the only way I knew how to approach anything.

You can probably imagine — or maybe you know firsthand — this way of thinking is extremely limiting regarding perceived success and fairly extensive regarding failure.

Life In Grayscale

You find out when your printer is running low on colored ink, and it asks you if you would prefer to print in grayscale to preserve your supply?  I try to live by this approach when it comes to my lifestyle.  I guess you could say it’s on par with “everything in moderation” but for a black and white thinker, I think it has to be much more of a visual reconditioning.

I never used to understand moderation, and since it’s such a subjective term, my version of moderation was different than the term used by most people.  I grew up with a grandmother who made a stack of 12 pancakes per grandchild!  I come from a long line of indulging in too much of a good thing.

So, for me, thinking of my lifestyle as the “grayscale” worked best.  It’s not entirely white though there are varying shades of lightness.  And yet, it is not entirely black, though it can be on the darker side at times.

Grayscale is a place where I don’t have to feel a constant state of guilt about not giving 150% or only giving 15%.  It is a place where I can focus less on the restrictions of having to choose one side or the other.  Good or bad.  Right or wrong.

It’s all okay and living here has brought me more joy and accomplishment than I ever thought possible.

Won’t you join me?

[Tweet “Stop living life in black and white. Try the grayscale! #SelfImprovement #MentalHealth #EatingDisorder via @BeetsPerMinute”]

Are you someone who thinks in “black and white” terms?  Do you often find “moderation” to be a subjective term for you?

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  1. January 12, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    Yep, my personality is very much all-or-nothing. I’m a drama queen. I used to use the words “always” and “never” way too much. Once I went through therapy, I learned to think grey scale. I love that analogy! I still get passionate about things and give it my all, but I pick and choose what to be passionate about, and when to loosen the grip a bit. It’s a learning process!

    • Erin
      January 12, 2016 / 8:27 pm

      Us passionate types suffer the most from the all or nothing syndrome, I think. You’re right though it’s definitely all in the decisions we make and saying, “hey, I did my best” is a better decision than thinking that you’ve failed or should throw in the towel. Definitely a learning process, a lifelong one at that! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Suzy!

  2. January 12, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    Gray is definitely the way to be! Now to just find a way out of that black and white mentality. Some days are certainly easier than others!

    • Erin
      January 12, 2016 / 8:24 pm

      It is something that takes time for sure. On those tough days is when I think it’s best to take a step back and get into the gray (whenever possible)! 🙂

  3. January 12, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    This is a great post and I think a lot of people (myself included) think of life as black and white. Stepping back and realizing there is that fine line or grey scale is important. This is a great reminder.

    • Erin
      January 12, 2016 / 8:21 pm

      Hi, Hollie! Thank you very much. I think so many of us struggle with the all or nothing mentality. It’s very much ingrained in us. I’ve just learned it calms my anxiety when I can visualize that color scheme while I’m having anxiety over something. I am glad you could relate! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. January 12, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    I love this way of thinking of moderation ! So clever 🙂

    • Erin
      January 12, 2016 / 8:23 pm

      Thanks, Abigail! I’m such a visual person and I think so many of us are. This is just a great way to take a step back and think about, “if I had to classify my thought or emotion would it be black, white, or is it more likely something in between?” We all need to cut ourselves some slack and enjoy the journey more often, right?

  5. January 14, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    I’m so, so, so all-or-nothing, and I’m also working really hard to NOT be. I wanna be on a grayscale.

    • Erin
      January 14, 2016 / 3:02 pm

      It’s really easy to be a black and white thinker. It’s the societal way, really. You just have to ask yourself when you’re beating yourself up or struggling how you can be kinder to yourself in this situation or what really worked for me was, “how would I talk to a friend right now if they were being so hard on themselves?” We are so much more critical of ourselves than anybody else ever could be. It takes time, but you will get there! Thanks for reading and commenting, Ellen! 🙂

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