Having worked with a wide range of people and their eating challenges, there is something that I think many of us are familiar with:
The “all or nothing” approach to nutrition and weight loss.
This common strategy is founded on a very simple view of eating: either we’re doing it perfectly - eating all the right food in the right amount that will help us be healthy and thin forever - or we cut loose, let go of all our good guidelines and eat whatever we want, who cares.
Chances are, if you’ve been eating or dieting in this way, it can be a lifelong roller coaster ride that never ends.
When we’re eating perfectly, we feel on top of the world. But when we let go, we feel a strange sense of freedom and rebelliousness, followed by some very predictable guilt and often self sabotage.
Let me just point out here that unfortunately the all-or-nothing approach to weight loss and healthy eating is destined to fail.
Of course, we put our hopes in this ill-fated strategy for a good reason: we believe that if we are “perfect,” then we’ll win the weight loss and health prize. We convince ourselves that this is the ultimate game plan for lasting success.
In this way, being a “perfect eater” is a hero’s strategy. After all, the hero within us is the one who can do anything, who can save us from the evils of imperfect eating, and bring us the coveted prize of eternal health and wellbeing.
This is the part of us that believes in “magical thinking”. It’s the child in us who wants to rise above all of life’s challenges and never make a dietary mistake ever again. But because we are human beings who are beautifully imperfect, none of us can keep up our ideal eating - however we define it - for very long. Life inevitably catches up to us, and we jump to the opposite extreme.
Can you see how this strategy will never take us where we want to go?
Chances are, if we’re taking an all-or-nothing approach to food, we are likely doing this in other parts of life as well. The bottom line is, the all-or-nothing philosophy always gives us a temporary false sense of victory, soon to be followed by a crushing defeat.
So here’s the good news. The remedy for this is very straightforward:
Take the middle road. Create balance. Let go of perfect. Embrace your own diversity. Stop the magical thinking, stop believing you need to be perfect, and begin to see life as it truly is. You’re a human and you’re not perfect. It's ok.
Taking the middle road isn’t something you try once to see if it works. Rather, it’s a daily practice.
In my clinic, I help clients identify the ways that they can incorporate fun, pleasure, balance and some forbidden foods - along with all the healthy strategies - into one beautiful and doable approach that people can get behind.
From there, we can begin to find a freedom that we didn’t even know existed for us.
Life is seldom an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s time to see food differently, and in doing so, see the world differently.
Click on the free 15 min call button if you would like to talk this through further.