Diet Mindset – All or Nothing Thinking Sabotages Success

by | Oct 1, 2020 | Dieting, Mindset

The All or Nothing Attitude towards dieting and weight loss is probably the single most common way people sabotage their healthy eating efforts. If you are like most of us who set out to achieve a goal involving discipline and willpower, you are bound to slip up along the way. We all make mistakes; this is what makes us human!

However, just because you had something that ‘wasn’t on your plan’, takeaway or some chocolate, it doesn’t mean that you have ‘blown it’. There’s no reason to give up and punish yourself by going back to old patterns of Binge Eating behaviour.

What is All or Nothing Thinking?

The All or Nothing Mindset is black and white thinking where you decide that there is only one (1) right way to solve a problem. There is no in-between, no grey area. Not only does this Mindset negatively affect your health, both mentally and physically, it hampers your progress and can lead to:

  • Repeated sabotage;
  • Consistent failure cycles;
  • Yo-yo dieting;
  • Emotional eating;
  • Restriction and deprivation;
  • Binge eating;
  • Body dissatisfaction;
  • Body hatred,
  • Self-loathing, and
  • An unhealthy relationship with food, body and self.

This black and white thinking is based on Perfection, with the smallest mistake perceived as a catastrophic failure! Such thought leaves no room for the ability to be flexible, to problem solve or to explore other alternatives.

Many who attempt a restrictive diet and exercise plan with an All or Nothing Approach set themselves up to fail by creating unrealistic and unachievable expectations. The reality is, you are going to stumble along the way and fall off track. You are human! If you maintain the All or Nothing Mindset, your Self-esteem suffers as your harsh internal critic forces you to internalise a sense of failure. Consequently, this leads to an increase in Stress, Anxiety and Depression, which is only likely to further fuel your unconscious need to soothe your emotions through food. Therefore, you are actually causing yourself to unconsciously turn to cycles of Emotional and Binge Eating, to manage your unhelpful way of thinking and behaving!

If you want to learn more about how food rules and dieting cause Disordered Eating Behaviours, read this blog.

Check out the practical tips to help you begin to create a healthier mindset to improve your relationship with food, your body and yourself.

3 Tips to Create a Healthier Mindset

Tip #1 Develop a Mindset For Learning and Progress

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Research shows that successful business people, entrepreneurs, athletes and more, use a Strategic Mindset to help achieve their goals. There is no reason why you can’t apply a Strategic Mindset to stop Binge Eating or Yo-yo Dieting.

Stop expecting perfection! To quote another famous cliche, it’s about progress, not perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist! Rewrite the script in your head.

Instead of calling yourself a failure when you feel like you’ve slipped up with your eating (or anything for that matter), rewire your thoughts to fail forward. Failing forward is the process of deliberately using failure to find success… to fail forward, you must do or try something new.

Whichever approach you decide to take to tackle your Binge Eating or Yo-yo Dieting, having a mindset for success is crucial.

Tip #2 Avoid Restrictive Diets and Weight Loss Challenges

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Restrictive diets, such as shakes or meal replacement programs, have become increasingly popular, over the last decade. These diets have a very low calorie intake. Although they can be useful in losing weight, they can also have adverse effects on heart function and the distribution of fat throughout the liver, abdomen and heart muscle. 

Disclaimer: Research shows that very low calorie diets do have benefits to those who require them for medical reasons. As such, it is recommended that you seek the advice of your medical practitioner and/or be under the care of a medical practitioner, during the short phase of this type of diet. 

The problem is, however, the strict approach of most diets and weight loss challenges feeds the All or Nothing Thinking. Excuse the pun. Therefore, it is easy to slip up as it is unrealistic and difficult to stick to. In most cases, you feel restricted, deprived and hungry. The salted caramel ice cream stashed at the back of the freezer keeps calling to you until you eat it! Once you do then it feeds into your All or Nothing internal critic and you feel like you are weak and have failed, yet again!

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Tip #3 Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is about taking the time to fully appreciate the food you eat. So many of us chow down our lunch without a second thought to how good it tastes or how lucky we are even to have it! Our mind is usually elsewhere as we are on automatic eating mode. Next time, focus your thoughts on the food, taking your time to chew and appreciate the flavours. In short, be present!

Mindful eating keeps you full with less food, promotes healthy digestion and influences your future eating choices, in a positive way. Most importantly, it will help free you from unhealthy eating habits.

Never Give Up!

In short, any Diet Mindset such as All or Nothing Thinking leads to demotivating, procrastinating and continual self-sabotaging behaviours. This is the complete opposite of what you want to achieve if you are a yo-yo dieter, binge eater, emotional eater or food addict. 

No one achieves ambitious goals without failing along the way. It’s not even considered failing if you learn from it. If you want to succeed, you need to change your perspective and create a new mindset. It is only when you can see things differently, can you create new approaches to get a different outcome.


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That said, next time you stumble on your quest to reduce Binge Eating, lose weight and improve your health, ask yourself:

How can I learn from this and try and avoid it from happening next time?

What can I do differently to get a different and better outcome?

Remember, no one is perfect. Perfection doesn’t even exist. Don’t be so hard on yourself when you fall off track. Simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on track again, as soon as possible.

If you are struggling with breaking free of the unhealthy and unhelpful cycles of Dieting or any form of Disordered Eating Behaviour such as Emotional Eating, Binge Eating or Food Addiction…

Discover what's really possible for you so that you can Rescue Your Relationship with Food.

Book a Free Discovery Call to find out the path that will help you to move closer to living a healthier and happier version of yourself.

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