Why you should ditch that diet perfection mentality
I don’t think it’s ok that so many of the health gurus paint such a perfect picture to their clients. In reality, it can be far from that.
It is definitely good to educate people on how things should look like in a perfect world. But acting like everything should be perfect all the time, can do much more harm than good. We are not in a perfect world, are we.
Some people are not capable of doing certain things that these X or Y health guru said they should be doing. Due to this picture of perfection that many draws, they then feel bad about themselves.
Unfortunately, this often leads to “all or nothing” mentality. They either go all in, where they are doing all the right things. Or they fall into the other extreme, which is… doing absolutely nothing.
An example of an “all or nothing” thinking
Now imagine a girl named Anna, who decides to start eating only raw food. But for her birthday, she gets her favorite cookies. She resists and resists. For a while, she can.
But sooner or later she gives in. After a really long and stressful day at work, she decides to eat ONE cookie.
Immediately after that, a horrible feeling of guilt sneaks. She gave in the temptation and she feels bad. So she eats another, because why not? She already blew up her diet!
She tells herself: “Only today, but tomorrow I’m back on track again.” And since she can only eat those delicious cookies that evening (but not again tomorrow), she eats the whole bag of cookies!
This is much, much more that she would eat otherwise if she wouldn’t have created these restrictions in her head.
But what will happen the next day? Anna will wake up without much energy and with a guilty conscience because of the yesterday’s binge.
She will once again decide that this was the last time and from now on she will again eat only healthy food. But the problem is that this thinking will last only until the next time she will desperately want to eat something from the forbidden list and will binge again.
Sounds familiar? Don’t worry. I have a solution. :)
This is a typical example of “all or nothing” thinking and it brings much more harm than good.
First, feeling bad about yourself is never healthy (positive thinking and self-love are so important).
And second, overeating and binge eating can cause much more problems than if Anna, from our example above, would just eat that one cookie after lunch or dinner whenever she would feel like doing it and continue with a healthy life.
Don’t put foods on the forbidden list
The moment you put a food on the forbidden list, something very interesting happens.
You want THAT EXACT FOOD.
Then, you resist and resist, but always a moment comes when you give in. And then the amount of food that you eat is HUGE. You eat way too much because you realize that this is a mistake that you do not plan to make any time soon. Thus, if you “sin”, you sin boldly.
In the raw food, world eating cooked food is often a big taboo. People behave as if raw food is a cult where you belong in if you are a 100 percent raw foodist. That is if you are perfect. I noticed it many times.
But the thing is, lots of my clients cannot yet be (or they don’t want to be) 100% raw, but only 95% … or 80 or 50. And because of this, they have a terrible bad conscience, they think less of themselves.
Which is absurd! Just see what kind of food they are beating themselves up for. Every evening they eat one cooked sweet potato beside lettuce. Or a vegetable soup in the winter. Or a vegan lunch, which their loving grandmother prepared especially for them.
Nothing bad at all, but they still felt so bad afterwards. The worst thing is that they were beating themselves up due to the food, which is actually healthy. Food that contains no animal products and is very nutritious. Not optimal, but it is not unhealthy.
It’s better to eat one cookie than a whole bag
You see where I’m aiming? Much more important than this “all or nothing” thinking or 100% mentality is that at any moment you try your best.
A year has 365 days. If I assume that, on average, you eat 3 meals a day, this is 1,095 meals per year. If within a week you eat 3 non-optimal meals, that is still 939 healthy meals! Which is much more than most people in this world.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you have to eat 3 less healthy meals every week. I want to just say that it is much more important to not beat yourself up if you do. Enjoy in those foods, notice how you feel afterwards and go on with your life.
The food will lose the power it has over you
It is important not to classify your food as good or bad and to not create any restriction.
At any given moment just try your best and consciously decide what is best for you. Try to always choose the most healthy option.
But if a day comes when you want to eat something less optimal, you can do that as well. Then tune into your body. Be honest with herself. Eventually, you’ll notice that you want less and less of that food. It will lose the power it has over you.
Pleasant memories associated with that food will be replaced with bad ones because your body will show you quite clearly when you’ll eat something that is not good for you.
Be gentle with yourself
So do not worry because of occasional side turns. Every one of us has them, trust me.
Am I as an advocate of healthy lifestyle always perfect? Definitely not. Like everyone else I also have my ups and downs.
But I always like to be forgiving with myself and try to learn from my mistakes instead of judging myself. And I sometimes had to make the same mistake over and over again before I finally learn the lessons from it. :)
I myself have consciously decided some time ago that I don’t want to be 100 percent raw or 100 percent of anything because it always creates more problems than benefits. These are all just labels, with which we represent ourselves to other people.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are always my first choice. But I will definitely not beat myself up if I’ll ever eat something not that optimal. I alone am wearing the consequences of such a choice (such as feeling sick) and nobody else.
But to let go of the power that certain food has over me, I sometimes have to eat something not optimal. I will gladly do it + I’ll enjoy doing it.
And I recommend it to you as well. Be gentle with yourself.
Listen to your body and love yourself.
So, I would love to know what you think!
Let me know in the comments below, have you ever fallen in this “all or nothing” thinking or have you ever experienced this 100% mentality?
Thank you so much for reading. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
With much love,