This is a demo website

Start 14 Day Free Trial

Staying Active – How to Quit All or Nothing Thinking

Do you relate a healthy daily routine to extreme deprivation, discipline and misery? If so, chances are you are vulnerable to ‘all or nothing’ thinking and have a history of unused gym memberships and yo-yo dieting. There is a way out and we’re here to help you find it.

All or nothing thought patterns are more commonly known as ‘black or white’ thinking or perfectionism – it is when we split our views into extremes. For example, we are either a failure or we are successful, nothing in between. Common thought patterns include…

  • ‘I’ve eaten too much, I might as well eat more and start healthy tomorrow’.
  • ‘I’m on holiday, I’ll go nuts and diet when I get home.’
  • ‘I’ll drink all the booze this weekend and start on Monday’.
  • ‘I missed the gym, I’ll eat pizza and do two workouts tomorrow’.

These thought patterns are more common when we are stressed, anxious or depressed and the ‘quick fix’ diet industry cashes in on our vulnerability. After all, if you feel your life is spiralling out of control then the promise of an easy solution is very seductive. Most often these quick fixes are just an expensive map to a mirage of happiness in a desert of misery.

Perfectionism also comes with some pretty self-esteem sucking thought patterns such as:

  • ‘Im so lazy, what’s the point’
  • ‘I’ve tried everything and failed’
  • ‘I’m useless, I hate my body, people will judge me’

Sometimes it can lead to rebellion (cue adult tantrum); after feeling defeated your ego fights back with thoughts like:

  • ‘Screw it, I work hard and deserve it’
  • ‘I just want to have fun, I shouldn’t be made to feel bad’
  • ‘I could get hit by a bus tomorrow so I’m going to indulge’

The problem isn’t you, the problem is your system. If it’s overwhelming and hard it will be difficult to start and stay on track. Try this – ditch thoughts of perfectionism and embrace thoughts of doing ‘something’ – something regularly adds up to a lot more than nothing.

A simple example –a client wanted to do 4 to 5 training sessions per week on top of his heavy schedule. He’d end up exhausted and quit after 3 months and lose all he had gained. A few months later he’d return and start all over again. We explained that he was better off committing to one or two classes each week ongoing than daily workouts for 3 months – even with the one workout, by years end he’d be stronger and healthier. However his focus on all or nothing meant he kept stopping and starting, ultimately making no progress at all.

Imagine if you shifted your focus to doing your best? For example…

  • I had no time to make healthy food or shop but I can buy a precooked chicken and salad.
  • My menu options aren’t great but I can control my portion sizes.
  • I can’t make it to classes this week but I can do a 20 minute walk each day.
  • I can’t get a solid night’s sleep because of the kids but I can have a 30 minute hot bath with a book before bed to help improve it and lower my stress levels.

What you think and do most of the time is what counts. We can still make progress toward our goals and still improve our health and our fitness—life isn’t perfect and we don’t have to be either.

Coach Nicky McKimmie

  • B.A (Anthropology)
  • Fitness Australia - Level 2 Exercise Professional
  • Nutrition Coach: Precision Nutrition Level One & Two Certified
  • Australian Weightlifting Federation – Level 1 Coach
  • Pre & Post Natal (Exercise in the Child Bearing Year)