One of the most common mindset issues that we see in diet counseling, is the all or nothing mentality. This is a mindset that says you either diet or you don’t and it typically pushes people to one extreme or the other.
This is a form of cognitive distortion based on perfectionism. Either you do this perfectly or not at all.
Obviously, this isn’t a healthy of way of living, even though it’s fairly common. This way of thinking can go as far as becoming an eating disorder.
The great thing is that there is a middle ground where you can find balance in order to live a healthy life intuitively. Here are some things to think about in order to defeat your mindset.
No one is Perfect
The diet, binge cycle is based on “well I failed, so I might as well eat X,Y,Z”. But this isn’t the way we think about most things because we know that somethings failures happen. No one is perfect all the time.
Eating healthy should be a journey, not a one-stop destination. If you were to learn an instrument a missed a practice session you wouldn’t just say “I missed a day, so I might as well miss a week!”. Learning to eat healthily shouldn’t be any different.
You as a human come with both good and bad days, but that doesn’t mean you’re a life failure. It means your human. When you view eating something “bad” or failing to keep within your calories as an end-all, it just creates feelings of guilt, shame, and frustration.
This Leads to Disordered Eating
All or nothing is not only just kind of a crazy way to look at food, it’s damaging to both your mental and physical health. If you struggle with dieting and then binge eating, there’s a good chance you’re living life in a black and white frame. Good or bad. And the reality is there’s no such thing.
When food is all or nothing it often goes unnoticed, but it looks to professionals like an eating disorder. What this might look like is someone eating a cookie with their lunch. Because the cookie wasn’t part of their diet they see their diet as being “blown”, so they eat more cookies. They feel bad about it, and continue binge eating junk food for a couple of days or weeks before the guilt and self-disappointment push them to restrict again.
See the problem?
Ditching Diet Mentality Its THE Solution
One of the best ways to get rid of this problem is by ditching the diet mentality. A great way to do this is with intuitive eating. I personally like to recommend combining intuitive eating with a detox first in order to get rid of cravings brought on by chemicals processed foods. Intuitive eating is about getting in touch with your mind and body to learn how to approach food in a moderated and balanced way. It’s not about following a “diet” but about listening to your cravings, and needs. Want pizza?
Hungry for pizza? Have a slice. Want salad? Have a salad. Learn how to notice your hunger signals and what your body wants. We’ve found that not only does it cure the all or nothing mentality, but it helps clients loose weight and keep it off for good.