So you have the perfect plan in hand. You know what exercises to do on what day and what meals to eat at what time and this new plan is THE ONE that will help you finally drop the weight. You’ve made a commitment to yourself that you’ll follow the plan to a tee and anything outside of perfection is unacceptable behavior. You feel you have the right mindset, and you’re so excited and can’t wait to dive into it.
You’re ready, this is your moment, this is your time.
You start your plan and the first week goes amazingly well. You can’t believe how well you did and you know in your heart that you’re on the right track; more importantly, the scale has started to move downward. Week two goes well too, and then week three shows up.
You wake up with a headache and can’t do your pre-selected workout in the morning, so you promise to do it at night. On your way home, the traffic is so bad that you get home late and the last thing on your mind is exercise. Then you go to bed feeling like you’ve failed. You wake up feeling better the next day, but you’re too tired to workout and then you slip on the meal plan.
What seemed to be like the perfect plan feels like it’s falling apart. To make sure you’re still doing okay, you weigh yourself before your normal weigh in day and find out that you gained a pound. And that’s when things really start to fall apart.
This is how a mindset of all or nothing thinking starts to get in the way of your goals.
The problem with all or nothing thinking is that it gives you only two choices – all or nothing. There’s no room for:
- and the curveballs that life throws your way.
And when you live like this for long enough, you start to pile up the nothings and eventually convince yourself that you can’t achieve your goal.
You start to let the “nothings” define you. It get’s worse when your all or nothing thinking drives you to focus on the goal and not the process because…
#1 It doesn’t give you the opportunities to learn
When you’re focused on sticking to a particular plan, you don’t let life’s little accidents teach you lessons that can help you make it better. Instead, you’re fixated on doing things exactly as they’re laid out, and this fixation can make you miss opportunities to make the plan better.
#2 It makes an already emotional journey even harder
Losing weight starts with eating fewer calories than you burn, but it’s so much more than that. The decision to lose weight usually starts from you seeing a reflection of yourself that you don’t like or being given notice by your loved one or your doctor that you need to do something about your weight, if not for how you look, but for your health.
This can be very emotional and it can be a tough pill to swallow. When you do decide to lose the weight, using an all or nothing approach can take this already emotional journey to indescribable heights.
Missteps become amplified to full blown failures, and teachable moments become proof that you can’t do it and might result in you giving up altogether.
#3 It usually results in paralysis when all you need to do is take one step
Some of us start with only a few lbs to lose, while some of us have the enormous task of losing almost half our body weight. But the things that you need to do to lose the weight, regardless of how little or how much, can become very overwhelming very quickly.
Think about it: To lose weight you need eat fewer calories i.e. evaluate your diet to identify what you’re eating right now and then pick out the things that you want to cut out of your diet to make it clean enough to help with weight loss.
Then you’re faced with the question of what a “clean” diet is and if you don’t have access to a coach who’s qualified enough to help you figure out the best approach for you, you have the tough job of navigating the maze of the internet or the weight loss section of the bookstore to find the most reputable information.
You’re also confronted with conflicting information and everyone who knows about your goal chipping in with advice or ideas on programs you should be doing. All of this before you’ve decided on the cuts to make to your diet or how you need to be moving to burn more calories.
Oh let’s not forget that weight loss has a behavioral component to it so you still need to figure out what behaviors to change and the order in which to initiate change to get the most results fast. Then there’s the fact that you need to move more. This can be very overwhelming, and it gets worse with all or nothing thinking.
Imagine trying to do everything all at once this way…
It’s like taking on another full-time job and my guess is that you don’t have time for another one of those. When you try to do it all at once you’ll get so overwhelmed that you end up doing nothing and there’s no benefit to that. It means you won’t take a single step towards your goal.
This scenario is so much worse than doing a one or two things well.
So what do you do instead?
Start with one action at a time! It’s a better way to lose weight and keep it off.
In Chapter 2 of Weight Loss for High Achievers, I explain how to you can tackle one action at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. I not only tell you what to do but how to do it and you can get the book by clicking the button to get started!