Cookie-Salad: Banish All-or-Nothing Thinking

All or nothing thinking. It starts like this:

“On Monday I will start my D-I-E-T.” [Shit – I just said a 4-letter word and it wasn’t shit. ]

So all weekend you prime for Monday by eating every bad thing known to man. Why? Because “dieting” is pure and pristine. Everything has to be perfect. Only GOOD healthy stuff in this body. So you eat all the BAD in preparation for this magical parallel universe you’ll enter on Monday. The one where you’ll only eat lettuce and drink lemon water.

Sound familiar? Anyone else live in this world of all-or-nothing thinking where there is GOOD food and BAD food and unicorns that fart confetti?

The problem is this magical universe doesn’t exist. This place where everything is perfect and our eating is “perfect”. Monday rolls around and you have a rough day at work. Or you forget your lunch. Or you have a sick kid. You eat BAD on Monday and instead of saying “I’ll do better tomorrow” you are back to re-setting the next Monday. Or the next.

Why does there have to a GOOD and BAD mentality when it comes to food? Or an “I’ll eat perfect” or “I’ll eat like crap” dynamic?

There’s an in between but with perfectionist like myself it’s hard to live in this gray area. We’ve drawn neat boxes around healthy and unhealthy and have trouble living between the lines.

Why? I’m not sure. But part of this year of body acceptance is to make peace with all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to health and food. Saturday I had Oreos for breakfast and a salad for lunch. My normal all-or-nothing self would say “you started your day bad so let’s see how bad you can eat today!” But this Saturday I broke out of this rut and had a salad for lunch instead.

Living all-or-nothing is a challenge and is a setup for failure. Life happens. Slip ups happen. If you see a slip up as a setback, then you’ll never move forward. Success will never be possible.

So, today I raise a glass of lemon water to my Cookie-Salad thinking. I’m trying to live more in the grey.


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