When The All Or Nothing Mindset Holds You Back
"I give it all or give it nothing", is the phrase I hear most, day to day from clients, and it's the most common mind set I come across in women of all sizes, shapes and ages, who’s common goal is a slimmer body and healthier habits.
And this attitude, (because it really is just a frame of mind) is responsible for maintaining your excess weight and lack of motivation.
I’ve heard it said in many different ways,
“When I’m trying to be healthy I give it everything I’ve got, but once I slip up, I give up”
I also hear,
“I’m dedicated to losing weight, until I get bored and I can’t keep going”
and lets not forget,
“When I try really hard I do lose weight and, I know I can. But when I stop trying I just do nothing and end up gaining the weight back again”
Last but not least,
“I’m either starving, or bingeing. For me, it’s all or nothing, there's no middle ground”
Recognize a few of these thoughts? I know many of you will. And you know what? I’ve had this approach in the past. I’ve been at times very slim and healthy, worked hard and dedicated myself to being “skinny” and I’ve also been the opposite. I’ve been to the extreme where I gave up on myself and didn’t care what I did or ate, and didn’t even recognize myself in a mirror.
I made a decision many years ago that I would change my habits and that started with changing my feelings about myself. It began by unlearning the beliefs I held for a very long time.
One story I told myself regularly was that I was naturally big, and would never be really slim, or being over weight was in my family so it was part of who I was. Mostly I clung to feelings that I didn’t matter in this world and treated myself accordingly. And part of my journey in this life has been learning to love and accept myself, and treat my body with love, care and respect.
And one of the greatest parts of my work as a Hypnotherapist and Coach, is the opportunity to work with wonderful women who also want to experience change inside and out. And I suppose that’s why I love Hypnotherapy, because it’s helped me to understand that anything is possible if you are open to try. But this blog isn’t just about me, it’s about you. And what you can do for yourself.
As I've said, the most common attitude I come across is, “It’s all or nothing”, for weight loss. And today I invite you to challenge that approach. So often we set out to lose weight as if heading to war and our bodies are the battle ground, we aim high and set out win. And when we fail, we fall hard.
Not experiencing any change in the short term leaves us feeling defeated, depressed and discouraged. What’s the point of trying just to see no results? And once we give up, and decide we need a break from all this exercise and healthy eating, we are back at square one, over eating and unable to squish ourselves into our jeans.
The all or nothing attitude stops us in our tracks, and usually discourages us from even trying. The sooner we can create a new approach of living each day being the best we can be, the sooner we will experience lasting change, mind body and soul
So lets take a moment to imagine that you drop your phone on the ground. What would you do next? Do you pick it up, dust it off, pop it back in a pocket? Or would you stamp on it 10 times to make sure it's definitely smashed? I'm pretty sure we would pick it up. So why is it different for healthy food or exercising?
Life is full of moment to moment choices, and by choosing to start each day fresh and let go of yesterday we take an important step not only towards living healthily, but living in the present. So where do we go from here? How do we begin that shift in our mind to a positive approach to a healthy lifestyle?
Below are some changes in attitude, thinking and behavior that I find the most effective for moving forward, and and like most things, they do become easier the more you practice them.
1. Patience – Learning to be patient with yourself is a key step. If you think back through your life to things you have learned, whether it’s a language, sport, a job or parenting, it took you time to learn the ropes. No one wakes up and instantly has all the answers. And it’s the same with your body. Whether it’s reducing your daily intake of food, starting a new exercise routine, or any new habit, it’s going to take your body and mind time to adapt. Results are unlikely to come over a week or two, but will happen over the next few months. So be patient and think long term. One of thing I frequently tell myself, even in the gym midst work out is “Each time I exercise I am teaching my body to become stronger, fitter and healthier”
2. Acceptance – There will be times in your life you want to eat salads and go the gym, and there will be times you want to cuddle on the sofa eating cup cakes, there is even memes about it I see all the time. But its’ true! Maintaining our weight is a myth, because as we move through life there will be different events, the natural ups and down’s of life, the inevitable's and the unexpected. All of these things can lead to days, weeks or months where we eat more than usual. Just as there will be times of your life that you to exercise more. As a culture we celebrate with food, who doesn’t get a birthday cake? Or celebrate at a party with extra drinks? You are always going to be increasing or decreasing your intake in some way. Life doesn’t stand still, energy doesn’t stand still and neither will your weight. It may come to a much more even keel and steadier over time, but learning to accept that there are times we may eat more and times we may eat less is helping to free our mind of the guilt associated with food and indulgence. Accept that life is a continual flow of energy, and your health will flow too, it will not stay the same all year round, it will flow with you, just as your body will.
3. Make time for your mental well being. Whether it’s in the form of meditation, tapping, long bubble baths, reading, or doing anything you truly enjoy, deliberately setting time aside for your mental well being reminds us we are living here in the present. When we are connected to each day, we are less likely to carry forward feelings from the past, and less likely to stress about the future. Remember it’s the body you are in right now that will transform, not the body you had 10 years ago, nor is it your future self you are doing this for. It’s you, right now! A great way to connect to the day is using positive affirmations. Saying them in front of a mirror, meditating on them or even just breathing them in when you wake up is a fantastic way to stay grounded in the present. A few examples I use regularly myself are below, and as you can see I keep them short and simple!
I love and accept myself I treat my body with care and respect I trust myself I nurture my mind, body and soul
4. Be flexible. Not just physically, but mentally, because it’s great to be consistent and determined but also important to listen and learn along the way. How often do we start with a plan, perhaps to exercise everyday but end up having to re shuffle when we realize life has many other priorities too? I’ve been very guilty in the past of trying to calculate what size I can become by this date, if I xyz…..And yes I completely over think it all! So what I suggest is be flexible, because this is when that all or nothing attitude kicks in and can leave you wanting to quit. If something hasn’t turned out exactly the way you expected, or when we haven’t managed to fulfill our own expectations, it’s important to learn what you can, be flexible and try something differently. A great question to ask yourself when you feel yourself stuck is “what else can I do instead” and more often than not, a new idea will inspire you.
It’s time now for you to let some of these thoughts sink in and hopefully they will help you progress in a wonderful way!
For more information on looking after yourself, check out our selection of free Meditations and Relaxations now on Payhip.
Love & Light Jennifer x