Perfect Eaters, Perfect People—Not
Disregulated eaters, as we know, tend to see things in terms of perfect or defective. How many times have you looked at someone who appears healthy and thought how they must be eating “right” all the time? How many times have you met people whom you thought had no flaws and wished to be them or like them? The truth is that there are no perfect eaters because there are no perfect people.
Because I recognize that people who know of my work may perceive me as a perfect eater, I’m wary when they ask what I eat or how often, and evade answering these questions as best I can. I also know that clients who feel defective often project a wish onto me that I be perfect, and I try to show them some of my (many) imperfections to dispel this untruth. If I show and accept my flaws, I’m hoping they can accept theirs too.
Holding the perspective that you’re defective and others aren’t gives you a decidedly skewed view of life. Ditto if you think that you’re perfect and everyone else is defective, but disregulated eaters rarely have this problem. Rather, they assume that somewhere out there are perfect people who know how do to everything right, including eat. This causes them to relentlessly pursue perfection as if it were reality rather than their own fantasy, enabling them to believe that once they arrive at perfection, they’ll never have to struggle with food or anything in life. All I can say to that is ha!
If you start from the premise that each of us has strong and weak points, assets and deficits, you’ll give up the dead-end pursuit of perfection. What if you looked around wherever you are and accepted that whoever surrounds you (family, co-workers, strangers, etc.) all have pluses and minuses? You’d know that no one is unimpaired and wouldn’t ever think about perfection as an option. You’d know that, like you, the tendency for some people is to put their best foot forward which makes them look better than they are. And that others muddle along trying to hide their flaws and appear flawless—just like you do.
The truth is that everyone is doing the best they can, with food and otherwise, even though their best isn’t always what they wish for. In fact, sometimes our best is pretty awful; but it’s still our best for the moment. Tomorrow your best and their best might be somewhat or markedly better. Be extremely wary of folks who act as if, and want you to think, they’re perfect, right, problem-free, and on top of everything, and know that their real problem is feeling defective and wanting to appear—and be—perfect!