The festive season is the perfect time to address this subject, the subject of “all or nothing” thinking. What is an exciting time of year for many is a fearful time for others. If you dont or have never suffered from disordered eating you wont and cant understand how food can create such fear and how this time of the year can create panic. It saddens me how many conversations I had in the leadup to Christmas about food and how to not drown in it and how to cope with being around it and how to not eat it and what to do if they did eat it or all of it. I do not judge because I have been there, year after year and I remember the feeling so clearly. I can happily say that I am not there anymore and the freedom from this thinking and fear of food is so so so worth the work it takes to kick it.
One of the single most important things I did and you can do is lose the “all or nothing” thinking. Single most important and one of the bloody hardest things to do. It really is what keeps us stuck and keeps us on this roller coaster year after year. Living in an all or nothing mindset is like holding your breath. The “all” is the restiction phase, when willpower is exercised and we do everything “right” according to plan. But as you know life doesnt go according to plan and you can only hold your breath for so long. Enter the “nothing” phase. This is when you finally have to breath. Something knocked you off track and things didnt go according to plan so now its time to beat ourselves up, admit we have failed and do nothing. We get in plenty of air (along with every food and bad habit we have been resisting) until we are ready once again to hold our breath. A cycle that takes you nowhere, it doesnt allow you to move forward or progress and it slowly whittles away any self worth and self esteem which just keeps us even more stuck!
“In between all or nothing is something, and consistently doing something is what brings success”. Consistency is where success lays, however we cannot be consistent if the belt is pulled too tight for too long. How about factoring in some breathing space on a regular basis to help us with being consistent. Yes I am talking moderation and if you are anything like I was, moderation was for other people, it was the soft option, it wasnt shiny and new and exciting and didnt promise me amazing things by the end of the week. But after years and years of “all or nothing” and years of dancing around moderation I realised that I was tired emotionally, I was still overweight and unhappy with my body and my life and it was time to do things differently.
Giving up dieting, restriction and punishing exericise schedules can be scary. If it is what you have always done it will take a big leap of faith to do things differently, to let go, to let all food back into your life, to take days off when you are tired, to rest, to eat chocolate and then stop there, to not say stuff it I will “start” again on Monday.
I can tell you now that food is your friend. Put lots of the good stuff in and your body will stop asking for all the other stuff mostly. Make time for exericse because of the way it makes you feel and train and focus on what your body can do instead of what it looks like, lose the calorie burn mentality and using exercise as a form of punishment. Make room in your life for the things you love to do. Try setting the bar a little lower and actually reaching it, then you can put it up a little higher, small steps, progression.
When you wake up after the festive season and you start to panic and get ready to take that big breath and hold it while you are “doing it all”, getting back on track, detoxing or whatever you feel the need to do to gain back control, stop and keep breathing and do things differently. Make a list of things that you can do consistently, on a daily or weekly basis and do them until they are your new normal, then refine or add to the list and work on a couple more things. This is the “something” between “all or nothing” and whilst its not glamorous and doesnt come packaged with images of a six pack and doesnt detail what you are to eat at each meal and any magic exercise formula, it actually does work and is the way to get to being the best version of you and its permanent.
If you are ready to do things differently but need help, then email me.