Real-life Recovery from Food Addiction: Harm Reduction

In the sexy world of dieting, this is where the hot and steamy relationship comes to a sad end — to the tune of a couple of pints of ice cream and a sweet little bender of all of the foods you have been restricting for the days, or weeks, you’ve been on your diet.

In the sadly unsexy (yet incredibly effective) world of Beacon, this is where HARM REDUCTION comes in. It’s just about our favorite thing to talk about — given that you’re only being taught what not to do and not what to do when the little saboteur devil comes on your shoulder and tells you to throw the towel in.

The biggest tangle we get into with our food is the black-and-white, on-or-off, binging-and-restricting cycle that has us being either little angels following a food plan and on the road to success, or little devils — Tasmanian usually — whirling our way through binges and food that takes us away from physical and emotional peace and happiness. There must be an in-between.
Harm reduction is a principle that considers reducing negative consequences when we can’t or won’t do what’s in our best interest. The research nerd in me needs to tell you that this method has been shown to work wonders in the field of illicit drug use. So why not with our food?

The three principles we abide by in harm reduction at Beacon are:
1. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. Sometimes the long-term outcomes of good are way better than the rigid ones of perfection.
2. Something is always better than nothing. Trying a little to achieve your goals count. Even if you don’t hit them at least you are part-way there.
3. One size doesn’t fit all. It’s important to find a way of life that works just for you that helps to achieve your goals. That may vary day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month and year-to-year. Staying true to your goals and your best self is all that matters.

It’s so important to honor that we can’t do it perfectly — it’s an inevitability with your food (and with your life!) that all sorts of obstacles are going to come your way. Throwing in the towel can’t be an option: harm reduction can.

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