Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The All or Nothing Way Of Thinking

I was just talking to my sister this morning and we were discussing why we think that if we make a mistake and eat something we shouldn't we decide to ruin the entire day.

This conversation really got me thinking. This all or nothing way of thinking is really a hard thing to change. It is still something that I haven't completely conquered during my weight loss journey so far. So why do we do this? Why do we think that if we mess up once during the day we may as well eat whatever we want the rest of the day and start over tomorrow?

When I first started this journey this was my biggest struggle. I can't even tell you how many times I did this. I would eat something that I knew I shouldn't and then realize that there was no way I could stay in my points for the day so I am just going to eat whatever I want and enjoy the day. The worst part is that I would get upset with myself and then binge on whatever I could find. Usually it was something that I normally wouldn't let myself eat. It was such an awful feeling.

Every time I did this I felt like I was sabotaging myself yet I still did it over and over. Why? I don't know. I just kept doing it and feeling depressed because I felt like I couldn't control it. I felt so weak sitting on my kitchen floor with a box of cookies or cupcakes. I would think I already ruined today I guess I will just eat the rest of these and get it out of my system. What an awful feeling to hide in the kitchen and stuff my face.

Somewhere along my journey I started to realize that this all or nothing way of thinking is a bunch of crap. If I eat a cupcake I didn't ruin my diet. I just ate a cupcake and now I can't have as much for dinner. Yeah, it kind of stinks but in the long run I knew that I could lose weight even if I ate a cupcake or a cookie. Rather then gaining weight because I ate the whole box of cupcakes.

It was really hard to change my way of thinking because honestly I have used the all or nothing way of thinking ever since I can remember. I remember doing the same thing when I was living with my parents and dieting.

Don't expect your thinking to change overnight. If you think about it I had been thinking that way for at least 15 years so to think it was going to change overnight is crazy. It takes time and many mistakes along the way. I can't tell you how many times I binged and felt the same exact feeling. I knew that I shouldn't be doing it. I felt bad about it. I felt depressed and I felt fat. I knew that it wasn't the way I wanted to live my life and I knew it wasn't going to get me anywhere by eating like that. Yet I still did it.

I did it because it was an excuse. I could convince myself that this is the way things are and if I messed up I may as well do it right and enjoy it. What an awful way to think. Isn't it funny the way we use excuses to make ourselves think it is ok. We convince ourselves that we are going to feel better after we binge. When we know good and well that we aren't going to feel better. We are going to feel sad, depressed and guilty after we binge not better.

Right now I can look at it rationally because I have been on both sides. I have thought the all or nothing way and now I don't. Well most of the time I don't. I still have my relapses sometimes and I hate it. It is usually when I stressed or really tired and I use it as an excuse. My mind is so full of excuses it isn't even funny. Sometimes I even convince myself that I would rather be fat so that I can eat all of the cupcakes I want. When we all know that it isn't true. Cupcakes do not make me feel as good as I feel right now.

We have to be so careful with the way we think. If we let excuses rule our lives we will never lose weight. We will always think of a new excuse when one gets old. I have seen people that let excuses and lies keep them overweight and they honestly have themselves convinced that they eat perfect and they just can't figure out what they are doing wrong. Our minds are a crazy thing. They can make us or break us.

We need to figure out why our minds are thinking these things and make a conscious effort to take the high road. It is so hard to change our way of thinking. It is the hardest part of the journey but once you figure it out and get past it things will get so much easier. Don't expect it to happen overnight. It is a lot of trial and error. A lot of learning from mistakes along the way. So don't get discouraged when this happens to you. It is part of the journey. Next time you eat a whole box of cupcakes don't let yourself think about how you will start again tomorrow. Think about why you did it and really try to remember each time how it makes you feel. In the end you will realize that the temporary feeling of binging does not compare at all to the way you feel when you lose weight or drop a clothing size.

The all or nothing way of thinking is something that I think we all struggle with and maybe we will always struggle with to an extent. We need to realize that we have this problem before we can correct it. Then we can more forward and work hard to correct our way of thinking.


Do you/did you struggle with the all or nothing way of thinking? How do you/did you work though it?



Secret Mom Thoughts said...

It is hard to change that all or nothing thinking. I'm working on it.

rachael said...

Oh man...I felt like it was me writing the post. All the stuff about the guilt and knowing later you'll regret it, etc... We joke in my house that I'm all or nothing in every area of my life. I struggle with starting and stopping on projects all the time and this weight loss battle is no exeption. :)

Mallory said...

We could be twins! Let me know when you come up with the magic pill to make our brand of thinking go away. I'll stock up by the case load!!

:Deliciously Healthy said...

WONDERFUL post! Thanks!!

Elizabeth said...

The all or nothing thinking is still my biggest struggle, that and when I'm having a stressful day I feel like I deserve chocolate.

WWSuzi said...

I'm still trying to stop thinking this way!!

Anonymous said...

I still think that way. And every Monday morning is my 'start over' day, which usually gets ruined by Monday evening or Tuesday. Then I continue for the rest of the week! And I'm full of excuses too...seems like any little event is a reason to eat whatever i want. I also rewards myself with food, like if i get this project donw at work, i'll walk over to the dollar store and get a candy bar. If I could just get my healthy thinking to outweigh the 'all or nothing' thinking, i think i could be on the right track!

Jessica @ Pudget: Losing Weight On A Budget said...

I am so glad that so many of you understand the way my mind works. Sometimes I feel like I am the only person in the world that decided to sit down and eat a whole bag of oreo's because I think that one oreo ruined my day so I guess I should eat them all. It's crazy but hopefully someday we can all conquer this way of thinking.

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