What is the diet mindset that will ruin your progress? The “all or nothing” mentality.
I’ll explain exactly what that is..
Have you ever just said “F it” and ate way more than you should, and you know it? Have you ever just thought, “Well, I had that pizza, might as well eat whatever I want for the rest of the day!” And, have you ever said that you’ll “restart your diet” tomorrow?
I have been sooo guilty of this. I remember so clearly. Probably because the following instances happened more times than I can count.
All Or Nothing.
My boss brought in doughnuts for breakfast. I had one. And another. I thought to myself “I shouldn’t have had those doughnuts, but I might as well just have a cheat day now.”
So I would.
On my lunch break I would go to the store and grab chips and candy. My two guilty pleasures. I would only get just enough so that there would not be any left over by the end of the day.
When the next day came, I felt so guilty. I had to just not eat anything off plan at all, so I could stay on track!
And for the next week I did just that. Stayed on track.
Fast forward to the time my parents invited me out to dinner. I knew that I would order something like a fried buffalo chicken sandwich and cheese fries.
So I would think, “Well, I’m gonna do bad tonight, so what I eat today doesn’t matter.”
I felt as if I was not in control of what I was eating. I felt like blaming the person who put these temptations in front of me.
My relationship with food was NOT a healthy one, at all. All throughout my teenage years and most of my 20’s, I loved yet hated food.
I knew I had to take the blame for my OWN actions, because that’s what adults do right?
Open Your Eyes.
What I needed to do was open my eyes and realize how much this mentality affected my health. I had to see how much I was really eating when I said “Screw this” and ate whatever, versus just having two doughnuts and staying on track the rest of the day.
So I grit my teeth and entered my “cheat days” into MyFitnessPal.
I was embarrassed and ashamed.
I couldn’t find the exact days where I entered everything correctly into MyFitnessPal on my “eat whatever I want for some dumb reason I made up”, days.
So, in order to show you exactly how much mindset affects you, I had to just make up a day. *This is going to be highly accurate, even though this occurrence didn’t actually take place, because obviously I know the foods I eat and what I would have done in both of these scenarios.*
I put in all of the foods that I would eat, and exactly how I would form my cheat days after I had the forbidden doughnuts.
Here is how my day would have played out if I had just eaten the doughnuts, and moved on. Sure, the totals are a little off, but I replaced the planned breakfast with doughnuts. One meal replaced with something unhealthy isn’t as bad as all of the meals.
Huge difference huh?
This is why you can’t let this mindset control you. It will throw you backwards faster than it took you to get forwards. Don’t let the all or nothing thoughts come into your head.
Your day is NOT ruined just because you ate something that wasn’t in your plan.
You will NOT gain all the weight back if you have a slip up.
Because it happens. It happens to everyone. It happens to me all the time.
But I don’t let it affect me like that anymore. I don’t let food take over my whole entire day, when I had healthy meals already planned out.
If this is something that you struggle with regularly, I highly recommend that you do what I did. Track it.
Download MyFitnessPal if you don’t already have it, or use whatever food tracker app you prefer.
You don’t have to wait until your next all or nothing day to do this. Just enter the foods you would normally eat on those type of days.
First enter the food that would be the start of a downward spiral. Next, enter the foods that you would typically choose on a cheat day.
You can go to a different day to put in the different scenario or you could do it on the same day as long as you screenshot it to remember, as painful as it is to look at.
Enter the first food. Then enter what you would eat as if it were a normal day.
See the difference?
Or, if you’re that unpredictable and have no clue what you would choose to eat, do your best to remember the last time something like this happened.
If it does happen again, break out your phone and enter everything into the tracker.
It hurts to look at, and it’s embarrassing. But is so eye opening, and it will make you rethink your choices in the future.
There are no bad foods.
I want you to BELIEVE this statement. There are no bad foods.
Why? Because believing some foods are bad, makes them forbidden. After all, who can be healthy eating a diet rich in “bad” foods?
When foods are not allowed in your diet, it does this weird thing in your brain that makes you want it more. I know it definitely does for me! I would daydream about all the junk food that I just couldn’t have. Yes, I really did.
And then when that one “all or nothing” day came along, I said “Oh yes, I can finally eat chips again, for this day only though.”
Now, I don’t tell myself “I can’t have chips”. I tell myself “I can have chips if I want some, I just don’t want any.”
Replace these foods with healthier options.
And if you just really want something that just isn’t a good choice, and it’s driving you absolutely crazy, then just have a little in moderation.
Once you switch your way of thinking to “I can’t” to “I can, I just don’t want to”, the desire to eat “bad” foods won’t be as strong.
This is WHY you have the all or nothing mindset. Because certain foods are restricted from your diet and when the opportunity presents itself to have a cheat day, you take full advantage of that and eat all of the foods you “can’t have”, because this is the ONLY day you are allowed to do so.
Once tomorrow rolls around, you are no longer allowed to have those foods.
Don’t do that to yourself.
A healthy lifestyle is the ultimate goal, not just losing weight only to continue the eating habits that became a problem in the first place.
Don’t let this mindset ruin your diet progress. You can get out of your own head and not feel like it’s all or nothing when it comes to food. It will take some practice and persistence, especially if you’ve had a poor diet for quite some time.
It comes down to tracking your food, and NOT telling yourself that certain foods are off limits. It’s ultimately up to you to make healthy choices for yourself, but I hope I helped you learn how to make the right choice.