All or Nothing Syndrome

I heard a good comparison about pushing a shopping cart up a hill and weight loss the other day and wanted to share it with all of you today. Say you are pushing a shopping cart up a hill, and you slip and the cart rolls a few feet backwards. Would you let the cart roll all the way back down the hill then start all over pushing it the whole way back up OR would you just pick right back up where you ended when you slipped and continue pushing up the hill slip or no slip? The choice seems simple, the latter option, right? Why would you give up pushing the cart after just a little slip?

For roughly four years during high school and part of college I found that I fell into the category of the all-or-nothing dieter. I found that I had the tendency and ability to binge eat a lot of food on days that did not coincide perfectly to my diet of the moment. If I chose healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner but decided to have a bite of cheesecake after I told myself that I had blown it and I should probably just eat anything under the sun that I wanted up until midnight then I would be able to start fresh on the new day. Does this make logical sense? Not really, but my all-or-nothing mind frame told me it did over and over again. Many people like myself find that when they encounter a little slip up in their healthy diet plan that encourages them to throw all nutritious caution to the wind. They go into the mindset of “Hey, I’ve blown the healthy day with this ‘bad food’ so I might as well eat all the junk food I can until tomorrow when I can start over”.

I call this mindset the all or nothing syndrome, one that encompasses the yo-yo dieter. It is a common place to find yourself while on crash diets that deprive you of certain foods and have deemed some food items as evil and others as good. This is why at the resort we encourage you to engage in an overall healthy lifestyle change not a time-frame, fad diet. This includes participation in the ninety-ten rule, where ninety percent of the time you are making healthy food choices while leaving ten percent for your favorite treats on occasion. Enjoy that treat every once in while, planned or unplanned, and don’t let it ruin your new healthy mind frame. Remember the shopping cart – be logical and practical with your weight loss. You wouldn’t start all over at the bottom of the hill if you slipped, neither should you throw all of your healthy habits out the door with just one dietary slip-up!

Jessica Hummel, Nutrition Counselor