BEWARE: The All-or-Nothing Mentality
The all-or-nothing mentality is something we’ve all fallen prey to, whether we know it or not.
It’s what happens when we try to follow a diet, make one teeny mistake, and then decide to quit.
That’s what the all-or-nothing mentality is. It’s exactly what it sounds like.
You see, we, as people, are always striving for perfection, but when we aren’t absolutely perfect, we get frustrated. That frustration from not being perfect causes us to quit.
This is dangerous, because how can you ever become better if you expect perfection from the get-go? Tony Hawk didn’t step on a skateboard for the first time and end up doing kickflips and other crazy tricks, did he? So how could you expect the same from yourself?
Dieting, exercise, and getting in shape are a skill that takes time to build.
It’s important to make the distinction between perfection and striving to be perfect.
Change the Way You Think!
Vince Lombardi put it best:
There’s no such thing as perfection. But in striving for perfection, we can achieve excellence.
THAT’S what you need to do! If you strive to be perfect you can catch being excellent, but you must accept that perfection isn’t real. You won’t reach a point where it’s always easy, or where you don’t make a single mistake.
I’ve been working out & “dieting” for over 8 years, and guess what? I still make mistakes! However, if I expected to always be perfect I would’ve probably quit long ago.
Abandon the fact that you should be perfect. You’re going to stumble, trip, and take steps backward. That is going to cause frustration, but you can take that frustration and make it positive. Take that energy and the setback as a challenge to push you to do better. Show the world, and more importantly yourself, who you are & what you’re made of.
Use Your Hidden Superpower
The special thing about being human is that when we fall and get back up we become stronger. When your bones break they grow back stronger, your muscles tear from exercise & grow back stronger, and your spirit is the same.
When you overcome frustration, anger, and setbacks you’ll come back stronger. That’s how we grow as people.
I’ve fallen and failed more times than I can count on all my fingers and toes, but I never let it hold me back from becoming better. You can do the same, you just have to make the choice, even though it’s hard.
Our lives are the consequences of the choices we make, good or bad. So, you should always make the hard choices in life because you know what they say: “Easy come, easy go.” And obviously, you don’t want to gain back that 50 lbs you lost. Every time you make a hard decision you vote for a better future.
The truth is I don’t wake up every day motivated to work out, write articles, do videos, write programs, or do any of the other things that go into running my in-home personal training business. Likewise, you won’t wake up every day motivated to eat healthily & work out, but you must choose to if you want to be that better you.
Be Ready For Obstacles
So, when you start chasing your goals you need to be aware of what’s going on.
Whenever you are facing setbacks and challenges, you need to take a step back and look at them. When you fail it’s hard to understand why this is happening to you. BUT you have to remember failing ≠ failure. You’re always going to fail at things when you first try. That doesn’t make you a failure. You’re only ever a true failure when you give up on your goals.
By disassociating from an experience, like cheating on your diet, you can reassess the problem for what it really is. It isn’t the end of the world and doesn’t mean you won’t ever lose weight.
Rather that moment was a learning lesson. Figure out what went wrong. What could you have done a little better? Then, try to implement those changes in your life.
By abandoning the all-or-nothing mentality you will open your mind to the opportunities that you weren’t able to see before. You will unlock the door to the best version of yourself.
It’s Toxic, Believing All-or-Nothing
The main reason all-or-nothing is a toxic mentality is that it causes eating disorders. We’ll start with one you haven’t even heard of: orthorexia.
Orthorexia – being so focused on eating healthy that it damages your wellbeing
When you focus on strictly healthy eating you are going to miss out on a lot of things in life. We are taught that you have to strictly diet in order to lose weight. But, that is a very dangerous mentality.
By restricting yourself from the “junk” food, you’re depriving yourself of social situations, and foods you enjoy. That leads to a miserable life, and I’ve personally suffered from orthorexia.
My Own Struggle With Orthorexia
Going from obese to skinny I struggled with the all-or-nothing mentality. By losing weight, I heavily feared ever becoming fat again. During high school, I wouldn’t eat out with friends, drink, or do anything that didn’t involve working out & eating chicken. This damaged my relationships, and I missed out on a lot in life because I thought if I wasn’t strict I’d become fat again.
On the other hand, the all-or-nothing mentality also leads to binge eating. Which is another eating disorder. When we try to eat super strictly but make a mistake, oftentimes we let loose entirely. Our mistake becomes a reason to eat whatever the hell we want. So, we overeat all the unhealthy foods, like ice cream or cookies, as revenge for us fucking up. This is a classic case of binge eating.
The REAL Weight Loss Mentality
When you’re truly ready for fat loss, you’ve ditched the all-or-nothing mentality, then it’s time for you to adopt the real weight loss mentality. This mentality is very simple, but effective if you want to stay in good health for life.
Simply put the mentality is this:
BETTER THAN YESTERDAY
Even if you are 1% better than you were yesterday, then you will see improvement. Here’s a graph, from the book, Atomic Habits, explaining this very thought.
Rather than changing everything all at once, and striving to be perfect, you aim to just be better than you were yesterday.
Think about it, if you continually improve won’t you reach your goal regardless? Even if they were small improvements? The answer is obviously yes.
Example In Real Life:
Let’s say you’ve made the habit to eat a McDonald’s double cheeseburger every other day. Well, the 1% better mentality would not ask that you entirely eliminate it. Instead, you could do something simple like remove the buns. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but that would take off almost half the calories from that cheeseburger.
Now that you are eating fewer calories than normal you WILL start losing weight. It’s that simple!
You don’t have to be perfect to start, but you have to start to be perfect. I encourage you to just take the first step. It won’t be a perfect one. A baby’s first steps are wobbly, but the more steps they take the better they become. When you first start you’re going to be that baby, but you’ll grow up into a beautiful version of yourself.
You see, the weight loss mindset is far more sustainable because you don’t have to change everything all at once, and perfection isn’t required. Rather, it just asks that you do something more than you’re already doing.
Remember, it’s much easier to move a couple of rocks, rather than an entire mountain.
Live & Love Your Body
The first step to change is becoming aware that you are trapped in the all-or-nothing mentality. Then, it’s best you start working on your mindset because, at the end of the day, we are what we think about. So, if you have a toxic mindset, you will get toxic results. You’ll be caught in the forever loop of starting and stopping, over and over again.
Likewise, when you believe in yourself, persist through obstacles, and have a positive mindset the possibilities become limitless. Believe and you can achieve whatever your heart desires.
The man who thinks he can andHenry Ford
the man who thinks they can’t
are both right.
So, ditch the all-or-nothing mentality for a much healthier mindset, the 1% better mindset. By aiming to be a better person than you were yesterday; you will feel more excited about getting in the best shape of your life. By being just a little bit better you can actually grow as a person, rather than trying to go from 0 to 100.
Remember, it’s about the journey and not the destination. You have to set little goals so that you can enjoy becoming the healthier, happier you. Learn to enjoy the process of becoming. Every time you become a little closer to that version of yourself you want to be, be happy, that’s where success is!
Just know it IS possible and I know you can do it. Get out there and achieve your dreams!
For more on all things health and fitness, check out our Fenix Fitness Blog.