All or nothing thinking is a type of cognitive distortion where you live with one extreme or another. You feel that either you do something perfectly, or not at all. This can lead to issues throughout your life, including when it comes to the way you eat and living a healthy lifestyle.
Many dieters struggle with all or nothing thinking, which causes you either to be very strict with your food, or give it all up and go on a major binge session. But what you will find in the middle of this, is balance, health, and eating intuitively.
Nobody is Perfect All of the Time
If you keep getting caught up in the all or nothing thinking, something to remember is that being perfect all the time isn’t something anyone can achieve. You are a human being, and that comes with having a lot of good days, and some bad days. Nothing is black and white, so if you have this thinking, it is only going to lead to feelings of negativity, guilt, shame, and frustration.
This Leads to Yo-Yo Dieting and Disordered Eating
The all or nothing is not only damaging to your mental health, but your physical health as well. If you have trouble with dieting and binging, or any type of disordered eating, it might be partially from this black and white way you live your life.
When you start thinking in all or nothing as it related to food and dieting, it often means you are either on a restrictive diet, or you are overeating/binging to the point of being sick. If this sounds like you, it is this very attitude that is holding you back. You feel like if you eat a cookie for a snack, you just blew your diet, so you might as well eat the rest of the dozen. Then you experience shame and guilt, followed by more binging, for days or weeks until you start restricting again.
See the problem?
Intuitive Eating Helps to Get Rid of This Mentality
Intuitive eating is a great way to start to think about balance and moderation, as opposed to all or nothing. It promotes just living your life and striving for fulfillment and satisfaction. Through eating intuitively, you don’t follow a diet, you don’t count calories, and you don’t wear a fitness tracker.
Instead, you eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, focus more on mindfulness and how you feel, and don’t limit anything from your diet. This means some days, your lunch is pizza, while other days it is a delicious salad. There is no right or wrong, it’s all just food.