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Old 07-06-2009, 03:56 PM   #1
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Default All or nothing mentality?

Hope everyone had a nice holiday!

I've realised that I have a MAJOR "All or Nothing" mentality when it comes to weight loss. I start off ON FIRE! I have a perfectly clean diet and I kill myself at the gym. I show absolute self control when faced with temptations and I feel I am unstoppable! Then a week or so passes by and my resolve starts to diminish. I start eyeballing that thing i've been denying myself and I end up bingeing. I then feel like such a failure and that i've probably just undone the entire week/month of effort in one sitting and I end up quitting. I get frantic and constantly wonder if i'm exercising enough or if i'm making the right food choices. I'm so afraid of putting tons of effort into something and not seeing results that I would rather not even try. That's terrible! I'm killing myself slowly this way and I need to get out of this rut. I now understand how much of a dangerous habit it is. Each time my 'bursts of perfection' are less and less each time (first was 2 months, next was one month, recently i've only been able to do it for about 2 weeks.) Now I'm to the point where I've "failed" so many times that I can't even get myself motivated to start again.... THIS NEEDS TO STOP! I need to learn that if this is going to be a life change than I need to not only expect less than stellar days I need to PLAN for it. I need to pick myself back up and dust off and KEEP MOVING!

So after that long rant, I have a question for all of you wonderful people:
How have you gotten over your 'all or nothing' mentality? Any tips or tricks of the trade would help me tremendously!

OH, and happy monday!

Made it to ONEDERLAND (the first time) 16/nov/2009!!!
Gained some back, but will be back in ONEDERLAND soon!
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:10 PM   #2
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It's a daily struggle for me - in more areas of my life than just dieting.

This round I am trying to live in the middle. I even plan in things I like like McDonald's ice cream cones (150 calories). It's a challenge, but you can do anything you set your mind to.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:22 PM   #3
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I used to be the same way, and I think that most people, period, have that all-or-nothing mentality. But in order to break it, you need to be able to forgive yourself for your mistakes and realize IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. This is LIFE, not some little school project you need to do perfectly to get an 'A' on. So if you go over your calories a little (or a lot) one day......so what? Just use the rest of the week to focus on eating healthy, and put in an extra 15 min. at the gym. Realize that you are only human, and for every step BACK, you can just as well take two steps forward.

And you know what? I bet there is not one person on this forum who has met their goal because they were "perfect" EVERY minute of EVERY day. It's all about planning, and doing your best, and just NOT GIVING UP.

Keep going.....you are definitely worth it!
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:26 PM   #4
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Hmmmmmmmmmm! Great question To be honest, I'm not sure I have a great answer to this one, save to say I know EXACTLY what this is like and I have detailed my feelings about the 'perfection' syndrome on my blog. I think the need for perfection, whilst it certainly has its positive aspects, is something that can really get in the way of *long term* success. I can't tell you how many times I have had 'blow out' nights I have had, when I know I have exceeded my calories, and then just kind of mentally *slapped* myself the next day and got on with it. I think the key is to truly understand this is a life long journey which will inevitably have bumps along the way. We cannot allow the need for perfection to block our progress. It is, in fact, simply another way to give ourselves an excuse NOT to succeed because we can't have it 'just so'. *in my view* So...pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry on. Most times you will find that after a lil' binge out session, you can claw it back the next day. The thing is to not completely give up because it will take MUCH MORE than that to completely undo your progress. On days I have 'binged' or made poor food choices, I simply pull it back (in terms of calories) the next day, and I find that helps make me feel like I am back in control of the situation. So...good luck and remember this journey is one you take one day at a time. Best wishes...

Last edited by UKbarristerchick; 07-06-2009 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:28 PM   #5
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I'm reading a book right now that may help you with this, The Thin Commandments Diet by Stephen Gullo. Most of the book is the thought process, not specific diet and really does a good job of discussing this very issue.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:29 PM   #6
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1) Prayer

2) Friends

I am on Weight Watchers and I started off EXTREMELY STRONG! I was perfect and made NO deviations from my healthy guidelines. Then about a month or so in, I went to On The Border and I had chips and salsa. I almost cried afterward. I was so afraid of my "failure", but I had a wonderful friend to talk me from the ledge. The sad thing is it wasn't even a huge binge, but my requirement for perfection (which is NOT attainable) almost did me in.

So yeah, I have an all or nothing mentality to an extreme fault! I am still a work in progress, but I've gotten MUCH better.

Be strong, girl! We are here for you. I know EXACTLY how you feel!

Last edited by Cali Doll; 07-06-2009 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:36 PM   #7
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I am TOTALLY using that as an excuse! I see it now! I get that stubbornness about me where if I can't have everything 'just so' then I don't even try. Well, that's enough of that! ::mental slap:: lol Thank you all for the advice! I will certainly check out that book. I love to read.

Made it to ONEDERLAND (the first time) 16/nov/2009!!!
Gained some back, but will be back in ONEDERLAND soon!
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:53 PM   #8
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I bet there is not one person on this forum who has met their goal because they were "perfect" EVERY minute of EVERY day. It's all about planning, and doing your best, and just NOT GIVING UP.
Quoted for truth. Nobody is perfect!
Goal Met - 10/28/07 - My Progress Picture Collage - My Goal Story - Where Have I Been?

No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch!

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Old 07-06-2009, 04:54 PM   #9
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Progress not perfection is how I try to live.

Take this fourth of July- I had two margaritas- they were yummy, and the rest of the time I loaded up on veggies and only had TWO tacos (all homemade stuff) the rest of the day. Sure I was off a bit- but I wanted to celebrate too! After that day the rest of the weekend was about getting back on track
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by EveLHaelf View Post
How have you gotten over your 'all or nothing' mentality?
If someone finds this answer, bottle and sell it!!

I have this bigtime and when I have been most successful at losing and keeping weight off, it has been when I take a militant approach. I am not convinced it can be otherwise.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:38 PM   #11
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As another chick said, perfectionism can be used as an excuse for not succeeding. I have fallen into this trap myself, but no more. I am not giving myself that "out" this time around.

I also don't believe in calling eating off plan "slipping", because usually there is nothing accidental about it. Oh, once in awhile we hear of someone eating what they thought was a healthy salad, only to be horrified at the 850 calories when they look it up online later.

No, usually when we say "slipping", what we really mean is "making a conscious decision to eat something that I know darn good and well isn't a wise choice". And you know what? Sometimes it's OK to eat something unwise. I have a Skinny Cow ice cream treat or a 100 calorie popcorn nearly every night. If I was to eat 2 ice creams, is that "slipping"? No, it's a conscious decision. And I'm not saying it's WRONG, I'm just saying that we should take responsibility for what we put into our mouths.

Both "slipping" and "perfectionism" are, to me, excuses that we sometimes use to justify going back to our old way of eating. So again, I'm not giving myself that out this time. No excuses. If I make an unwise choice, then I've made an unwise choice. Acknowledge it and move on, because I am NOT getting derailed by some false notion that the whole day is shot because of a couple of cookies or some Dorito's. Nope, not this time.

Progress, not perfection. It's said here all the time but it bears repeating. Progress, not perfection.

Short-Term Goal

One dancer for each 5 lbs lost!

Last edited by Windchime; 07-06-2009 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:48 PM   #12
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What I tell myself is that every little bit I do counts, and it all adds up. That house salad I had instead of the Caesar, that time I really didn't want to go to the gym but I made myself go and only did 15 minutes and went home, that time I took the stairs and maybe burned the equivalent of a tic tac but helped my heart out that extra little bit, things like that...they all help, they all count, and they all add up.
155 by July 4th: Achieved 6/29
148 ("normal" bmi) by Labor Day: Achieved 7/15
140 by my birthday, November 26: Achieved 9/03
New goal: 135 by Halloween--Achieved 10/31!

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Old 07-06-2009, 08:51 PM   #13
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I feel ya hun. I'm pretty stubborn. But for me it goes both ways. I want to be able to have cake and still diet. I find a way to make that work. It's hard to be perfect when you aren't on one side or the other.

because of my need to follow the strict rules--diets with a bunch of NOs never worked for me. I handle maybes a lot better. Now I eat what I want but in a certain time frame and smaller portions.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:02 PM   #14
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For me, it took turning "dieting" on it's head. Instead of doing absolutely everything I could to lose weight (whether it was healthy mentally or physically), until I couldn't any more, I decided to do only what I could see doing for a lifetime. I took weight out of the equation, and health (not weight loss) was my goal.

At first my changes were so small, there wasn't any weight loss at all, but that didn't stress me, because my goal wasn't weight loss. My goal was to improve my strength, stamina, and overall health (knowing that weight loss was likely going to be a byproduct of doing so).

It's not the traditional path, but it does have two huge advantages. No self-hatred, and no quitting or serious backsliding. I've gained water weight and a few pounds here and there, but I get them right off again, and haven't "gone off" my plan, because that's the deal I made with myself - to only add things into my life that I wanted in there forever. If I change my mind, I have to deal with the consequences of that, which would be regain of weight and loss of function.

I think the worst part about the all or nothing mentality, is the tendency to wreak havoc with ouselves for failure (or perceived failure). It would be like climbing a large staircase or cliff, and after a small stumble, deciding to throw yourself to the bottom (no matter how high you had already climbed).

I think that if we remove the evil stigma from weight, it becomes easier to do. Picking yourself up and brushing yourself off and keeping on keeping on, is a lot easier if you don't think you're evil, stupid, lazy, or crazy for having fallen in the first place. It's only for sins and crimes that we punish ourselves by indulging in the sin or crime some more.

For a lot of people, guilt is a barrier to change, not an aid. If guilt works for you, that's great, but if guilt triggers a wallow in more self-destructive behavior, then get rid of the guilt. Find another motivator for change.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:02 PM   #15
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I have struggled with perfectionism (in many areas, not just weightloss) for years and years. It is only recently that it has dawned on me that there is another way to live.

I don't need to agonize over every decision and detail. There aren't many single decisions in life that can't be corrected or that have a real permenant effect on my whole entire life. Each time I am presented with a choice or decision to make, I try not to dwell and give it any more importance or associate an undo drama with it.
Make the decision, move on, live life. There will be another decision to make moments later.
Nothing is worth paralizing yourself over.

This realization has literally changed my world.

Success, for me, is an overall collection of mostly good decisions, and I can live with that.
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