Are you a chronic dieter? Do you find yourself repeatedly following rigid diet plans?… It’s not that difficult to muster up some willpower and start a diet, but if you have an ‘All or Nothing’ mentality to your efforts, you are leaving yourself open to many sabotaging factors. When you put yourself in the mind-set of “I have I do A, B and C every day starting from now and then I will reach my goal” you are pretty much telling yourself “I have to be perfect every single day”…This is the ‘ALL’ part of ‘All or Nothing’ dieting. Trouble is, perfection with your eating is just not realistic!
We all have the odd ‘off’ day here and there where we’re tired, stressed, hung-over, bored, life’s a bit challenging etc and on such occasions it is easy to lose focus (we are human!) With your mind-set fixed on rigid perfection, when you fall off the wagon the “sod it!” mentality kicks in, you feel a failure and seek comfort from what you are trying to avoid! So the sneaky jam doughnut at works quickly turns into two jam doughnuts, a humongous portion of fish and chips for lunch and your own body weight in chocolate when you get home, “after all I’ve really blown it, so what’s the point! It’s the “nothing” part of the “all or nothing” eating. “I’m doing it perfectly or I’m not doing it at all!”
Your success with any weight loss plan depends highly upon your ability to explore the middle ground, that vast area that exists between ‘all’ and ‘nothing’. Here are some tips to help shift your mind-set a little…I hope they help 🙂
• Stop starving yourself! Hunger is your biggest threat to any diet plan, yet with an “all or nothing” mind-set you are more than likely putting yourself at risk of sabotaging hunger pangs. You don’t have to live off of juice, soup, or measly portions of sawdust in order to lose weight! In fact this is the absolute worst way! Eat enough real food that is both healthy and sustaining, so it will keep you going until the next meal. The first thing we crave when we’re low on energy is usually a carb or sugar hit and you can totally avoid this temptation altogether by simply making sensible and well thought through meal plans.
• Allow and expect the odd ‘off’ day. Remind yourself that no-one is perfect ALL of the time…but those who maintain a healthy body weight get straight back on it after a ‘naughty’ day, instead of panicking and giving up! Real life is not conducive to being perfect all the time!
• Don’t think of food as “good” or “bad” as the rebel in you will be more likely to crave what you have made ‘forbidden’! Think of it as “healthy food” and “treat food”.
• Depriving yourself of food you love will only lead to you feeling utterly fed up and despondent. The key is to have a little bit of everything you enjoy in moderation, so if chocolate is your heaven for example, why not allow yourself the small daily treat of a 4 squares of (healthier) dark chocolate after a healthy meal.
• Balance something a little naughty with something healthy, for example if you really fancy pizza for tea, have some, but balance it out with a large crunchy salad and limit the number of slices you have.
• Give yourself permission to occasionally eat emotionally, even when you aren’t physically hungry. For example you may be tired and cold and fancy a hot chocolate, or maybe you just feel like rewarding yourself after a hard day with a beer and a packet of crisps. It’s ok now and then and doesn’t mean you’re off the wagon! Simply giving yourself permission means that you aren’t sucked into the ‘all or nothing’ cycle of beating yourself up as soon as anything ‘forbidden’ touches your lips! (However if food is a constant emotional crutch for you, this is something you need to explore).
• Don’t beat yourself up if you do overindulge and regret it. Simply think through your actions and what you can do to prevent this happening again. The minute you feel powerless and guilty you reach a dead-end with your thoughts and will make no effort to avoid it happening again and slip into that ‘sod it’ mindset! Be strong and remember nothing is as bad as giving in completely… so draw a thick line under any blips and move on…your success depends on it.
Sarah Weaver is a Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist specialising in weight loss. Sarah offers a range of popular programmes designed to help you make permanent weight loss possible. All it takes is one phone call, or email, to start you on your journey to a healthier, happier and slimmer you. If you are fully comitted, motivated and have time to focus seriously on your weight, get in touch today!