Whatever the issue in life, we are all on a continuum between extremes, and we may shift to different points along that line at any given moment.
This awareness really helps to diffuse all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of seeing yourself as all good, or not good at all, it’s about placing somewhere along that path between where you want to be, and where you don’t want to be.
In the medical field, people often ask patients to rate their pain on a continuum from 1 to 10. In eating disorder recovery, we may ask someone to rate their hunger on a scale from 1 to 10.
I usually offer a scale from 1 to 100, e.g., “Today I feel like an 87; yesterday I felt like a 12.” A 100-point scale gives more flexibility and room to grow before “arriving” at some magical place.
There are several different versions of a continuum for eating disorders, such as this eating issues and body image continuum, which spans from the ideal state of body ownership to the less desired states of body hate and dissociation. At any moment, you may identify with the statements on different points along the continuum.
We find this an excellent visual tool for our clients – especially new clients. Not only does it give us more insight into how we can help them, but it gives them a glimpse into all the gray areas between the extremes.
This formula for recovery can really expand your mind. When you see life – and eating disorder recovery – as a continuum, it’s easier to accept where you are at this moment, and see that we’re all moving back and forth at our own pace. The goal over time is to spend more time on the healthy end and less time on the other end.