How to get rid of the “all or nothing mentality” when it comes to food.
As a nutritionist, one of the biggest issues I see people face is letting go of the all or nothing mentality when it comes to food.
As we know – All diets work in the short term. Motivation is high at the start.
You get yourself all organised, plan meals, turn down any treat foods that comes your way. Maybe get into some exercise, cook dinner no matter how tired you are, and you might even turn down social occasions?
Weight loss can happen quickly, and that gives an extra boost of motivation to try keep up this perfect eating regime.
BUT THEN LIFE HAPPENS
The meal planning doesn’t happen on a Sunday, and you need to get a take-away meal.
It’s someones birthday and it would be rude not to try some cake (and its your favourite cake!)
You have a crap night sleep, or get your periods and eat half a block of chocolate the next day
You get home from a stressful day of work and all you want is cheese crackers and a glass of wine.
And then to your absolute dismay, your weight hits a plateau or increases.
All of a sudden, it can feel like you’ve been defeated, you’ve ruined everything, and whats the point in trying.
And Instead of letting it go, for some reason, we see it as more logical to ditch self-care behaviours all together and go down the self-harm route.
- Negative self-talk: “Your a failure, why did you do this”.
- Eating “whatever” regardless if it leaves you feeling lethargic or bloated
- Skipping meals
- Resorting to basic meals or packet food instead of making recipe which taste nice and fills us up.
Welcome to the all or nothing roller coaster.
I know many people struggle with this, so I’m going to give you some of my top tips on how to get out of this all or nothing mentality.
1. Don’t start or attempt a diet that feels restrictive
“If you wouldn’t want to stick to it long term, then it’s not right for you”
When setting your intention of how you would like to eat, I recommend considering the following,
What foods do I enjoy?
What foods don’t I enjoy?
How many times do I like to eat in day?
What are my nutritional requirements – is this giving me everything I need to be full?
In order to prevent yoyoing, you really need to find a way of eating that you genuinely enjoy and would do out of choice.
If you love high-fat foods like cheese, nuts/seeds, dips, etc, and your not a fan of protein powder. Going on a high protein, low-fat diet isn’t going to last long term.
If higher fat foods make you feel a bit icky, you don’t respond well to dairy, and you do a lot of gym training, then an LCHF (low carb) way of eating also probably won’t work long term.
There is no right or wrong way of eating.
If you are a bit confused, ask a Qualified Nutritionists. We can give you the BS-Free, pros and cons rundown of different diets, and help you design a way of eating thats suits YOU.
2. Remove the “weight pressure” from the start, and focus on “health outcomes”.
Who’s had a “STUFF IT!” moment on the scales before where you’ve thought “what’s the point”?
Although seeing your weight drop can be motivating, the exact opposite can happen when you jump on and see it go up or stay the same – am I right?
If you are someone who gets affected by scale number and struggle with yoyoing, it really is time to put them away.
Try and focus more on clothe feel, feeling healthier, less bloated, more energy, less cravings, better sleep, eating tastier food and having more variety.
When you focus on these things, you should be able to find the motivation to keep eating a certain way, regardless of what your weight is doing. Because trust me, weight is always going to fluctuate at least at some stage.
3. Set your intentions, but be realistic about the consistency
I think it’s good to have an intention/plan of how you want your eating days to look like most of the time. This is what I help people with in the clinic.
And it’s also good to aim for some level of consistency, and this often relays on to consistent energy levels, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, regular digestion, stable appetite levels and so on.
BUT we need to remove the expectation that our eating is going to be consistent ALL the time.
Life zig-zags. Which means we HAVE you allow for zig-zagging when it comes to our food.
Set your intention, aim for consistency, but prepare yourself for days where it doesn’t happen.
When you have a meal or a snack that wasn’t planned, and isn’t very nutritious, instead of beating yourself up – try to use the following positive affirmations:
“I choose to nourish myself most of the time, and I am allowed to zig-zag”
“Indulgences are apart of a healthy lifestyle”
“I trust my body can handle and imperfect meal – I am okay”
Take a deep breath.
Learning how to un-diet isn’t easy, and it does take practice and patience. But it’s also SO so rewarding when you get there.
If this is something you need help with please don’t hesitate to make contact. I would love to work with you xx Kim