The Dangers of the All or Nothing Mindset…

It’s Friday evening! And that means, it’s the weekend! Wahoo! Now, for those of us lucky enough not to work over the weekends, it’s a sacred time. A time to relax and restore, to spend time with friends and family and do the things you love outside of work. BUT for people with an ‘all or nothing’ mindset who are looking to improve their body composition and drop body fat then the weekend could be a diet disaster waiting to happen.

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So first of all, let’s clear up what  I mean by an ‘all or nothing’ mindset – Individuals with this mindset are often on the wagon, or have fallen way off it. More often than not, they find themselves victims of yoyo dieting and drowning in restrict-binge cycles. I will hold my hands up and admit I have fallen into this trap – trying to be perfect throughout the week by being super restrictive, eventually giving in to my cravings, usually at the weekend when I have less of a routine and then thinking that I’m a complete failure, that I may as well write this weekend off and start again on Monday.

This mindset is a huge barrier to progress – consistency breeds success. The problem with being all or nothing is that there is no consistency, you fluctuate between over-restriction and binging. Instead, you should try to realise that choices are on a continuum – what can you do to be a little better? Look for incremental improvement.

For example, if at the weekend, you decide to have an alcoholic drink – an all or nothing mindset may lead you to believe that because you’ve opened a bottle of wine and had 1 glass, you may as well finish the whole thing. By consuming that 1 glass of alcohol, you’ve gone off plan, already failed, so anything drank after that point doesn’t matter.

Alternatively, you can decide to have 1 glass of wine with dinner, sip it slowly and savour the taste. Know that the 1 glass of wine, which you thoroughly enjoyed, doesn’t make you a failure. Did you deviate from your plan and perhaps consume an extra 200 calories? Yes, but that’s okay, no body’s perfect and 1 glass is much better that the 1 bottle you normally have every Friday and Saturday night.

Weekend-Eating-Weight-Gain
Photo credit @maxweberfit

I think that being all or nothing and labelling yourself as either perfect or a failure suggests that you may lack of self – compassion.  Tips to cultivate self-compassion is another blog post, one that I promise will be coming soon!

For now, if you recognised that you sometimes fall into this all or nothing mindset, for each decision around food or drink that you make, ask yourself, ‘what would be a bit better?’

Have a great weekend and if you have any comments or questions about this post, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Paula xo

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