29 Mar How To Break The ‘All-Or-Nothing’ Mindset When It Comes To Food
It’s a common trap we fall into when we’re trying to lose weight or improve our diet. We stick to a healthy eating plan for a few months and then we have a slipup that threatens to derail all our hard work.
For some of us, instead of stopping at one or two bites of a delicious chocolate cake, we think ‘what the hell, why stop now’! Not only will we devour the entire slice, we might consider having a second piece or even continue our binge for the rest of the day.
It’s like we’ve gone to a land of no return!
This all-or-nothing mindset is not uncommon and it can become a particularly difficult cycle to break if you don’t develop a healthy relationship with food.
The key is to learn what triggers your binging and gain the tools to control yourself when a slipup occurs. It’s okay to eat a slice of birthday cake, but when you hoe into the rest of the desserts and order takeaway for dinner you know there’s a problem!
So how do you stop at just one or two bites and feel satisfied? Here are my tips to get you started…
1. Recognise it’s a control issue
Over time when we eat according to a food plan, we gain a sense of control. Our diet is perfect, we know what to eat when and how much of it, and our body responds the right way. We’re in control.
When we slipup and engage with temptation, we’ve totally lost control. Our mind doesn’t trust that the one single deviation from our perfect diet isn’t going to result in all the excess kilos pilling back on or jeopardise our workout routine.
By recognising this is a control issue we can begin to learn to trust ourselves and our ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Trust that you can get right back on track with your healthy diet after you’ve had a couple of bites of pizza. Trust that your success is not reliant on perfection, but is more a matter of consistency. And trust that you will enjoy delicious, indulgent treats again in the future, so there is no need to devour every last crumb all at once as if there is going to be a famine.
2. Stop labelling foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’
It’s no surprise to know when you have foods on a ‘bad for you’ list, you feel like you want it even more. Being unable to consume certain foods because they have been deemed ‘bad’ is when you start to crave and feel deprived.
This villainising of food tends to make us feel like a failure when we do indulge in particular foods. Having a sense of failure and disappointment can lead to further binging and before you know it you’ve landed in the all-or-nothing headspace.
The goal to eat perfectly is simply unsustainable long term. There are going to be times you’ll slipup and eat something off your food plan. Avoiding labelling foods will help you avoid the feeling of failure.
3. Remember overindulging may feel really good at first, but it doesn’t last
When you’re in the moment that chocolate cake can feel pretty good. It’s satisfying your tastebuds, you’re getting a sugar hit and you feel a sense of reunion as you meet up with a food you’ve stayed away from for so long.
It’s almost a euphoric experience.
The reality is, that instant gratification doesn’t last. The sugar high comes crashing down, the taste dissipates in your mouth and connection with your long lost food lover evaporates the moment you take your last bite.
Overindulging often occurs when you deprive yourself from something for so long and haven’t found a healthier alternative that satisfies just as much. It takes practice and persistence to realise that while devouring a whole pizza as opposed to having a few bites or a single slice might feel great in that moment, it won’t make you feel great in the long run.
4. Practice moderation
What is life without some indulgence! The greater the level of restriction, the more likely you’re going to overindulge when your favourite food passes you by.
There are 365 days in a year. Regardless of what you see on your Instagram feed or on your friend’s Facebook page, they don’t eat perfectly every day of the year. Food is one of life’s most enjoyable gifts. The key is to become educated on what food is good for your and your body. What food creates good health and wellbeing for you. There are healthy options that meet every craving – sweet, salty, fatty or clean. Find ones that bring you joy and don’t make you feel as though you’re falling off the wagon with every bite.
Perfect eating isn’t sustainable. Moderation and consistency is.