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How to Ditch the All-or-Nothing Mentality

I remember the lure of the all-in mentality back in my pre-FBG yo-yo dieting days. It felt so good to be so motivated and committed. Like, this was it! This was the time I was truly going to make a change and never eat/always eat whatever food again. That day 1 feeling was almost intoxicating — like I could change the world.

And then on day 2, it would fade a little. Day 3, I’d be obsessed with all the foods I couldn’t have or dreading the workout I had to do. By the end of the week, I’d be completely off my plan, in a downward spiral of overeating and feeling really, really shameful about it.

My thinking was never: What’s wrong with dieting or restriction? It was always: What’s wrong with me?

And each time I went back into the yo-yo, the day 1 high was higher and the day 7 low (if I even made it that long) was always lower. I came out of it each time with a little bit of my confidence chipped away, until eventually, my weight was the only thing I cared about. It was an obsession to control and change and manipulate.

It was a misguided attempt to love myself. It was an unconscious way to hate myself.

I was strongly gripped in the all-or-nothing mentality. AND IT SUCKED.

Nowadays, I think we can all agree that extreme diets based on deprivation and restriction don’t work. But, honestly, whenever you go on any “health kick” or “sugar-free detox,” or even when you’re just trying to make healthier choices, if you don’t have the right mindset, you can easily fall fully into all-or-nothing thinking. I know I did.

However, getting yourself into the right mindset isn’t impossible — I know, because I found my way there, and I’ve never looked back. And it’s not just me! We’ve helped hundreds of women overcome the same issues in our Love Your Body. Love Your Life online course. Here’s how you can get your mind right, too.

How to Ditch the All-or-Nothing Mentality

1. Find your why … your real why. We talk about this one a lot, and it’s with good reason: it might just be the one thing that will make the difference between you actually making change and just hoping you’ll make a change. When you get down to the root of why you want to be healthier/lose weight/etc. (and, believe me, it has nothing to do with a swimsuit or size), it resonates. (And it might actually lead you to not care about a silly number and help you to realize your true worth and value … )

2. Get mindful and trust your body. When I was in the yo-yo weight cycle, I ate and worked out because of all kinds of reasons — it was time, I “had” to, I felt fat — but none of them had a damn thing to do with what my body was telling me I actually needed. Once I slowed down, honored what my body needed (rest … a hug … peanut butter) and started paying attention to my hunger and fullness cues and honoring them above all else, it was hard for the all-or-nothing approach to survive. Our bodies are amazingly wise and intuitive. We just have to listen and trust them.

3. Replace instead of cutting out. What’s the first thought you have when you’re told you can’t have something? You want it, right? So instead of trying to take a bunch of unhealthy foods or habits out of your life, try replacing them with something healthier — ideally, something you genuinely like. And …

4. Remove good and bad labels. French fries aren’t bad. Eating fries doesn’t make you bad! But eating too many of them gives you a stomachache. Likewise, carrots aren’t intrinsically good, and snacking on celery because you think it’s a “good” food won’t make you a better person. Take the guilt — and the halo — off of foods. Instead, try to choose the healthful ones that make you feel good the majority of the time. (And then, when you do have French fries, enjoy them!)

5. See what else is going on. Having “problems” with food and exercise can actually be a blessing in disguise. In a lot of ways, it’s your unconscious self trying to tell you something — receiving that message allows you to go deeper into what that “something” is. Admittedly, that isn’t always fun — this process requires some self reflection and time getting real with yourself. But, it can lead to some huge breakthroughs in areas of your life that are lived off the scale (and, girl, a lot of your life is off the scale). Are you self sabotaging? Dealing with perfectionism? Do you not believe you deserve to be healthy and feel good? Are you avoiding something? What do you really need? (And — spoiler — it could be that you’re totally fine as you are and need to just love and embrace the amazing person you are RIGHT NOW.)

6. Remind yourself that you have the power to change. You know that day 1 feeling? You can have that every day if you focus on one itty bitty thing that you want to improve. Don’t try to change it all at once. Focus on one very doable thing, like, say, drinking more water or taking the stairs when you have the opportunity. Then do that thing until it no longer takes any willpower to do it. Then, do another one. And then another … and another … and another.

7. Practice self love every day. Forget the scale; put your focus on feeling good. What can you do today to show yourself unconditional self love? Do that. Starting today.

The all-or-nothing mentality hold can be so strong — especially if you’ve been in the pattern of thinking that way for years. But you can trust me when we tell you that life is SO much better on the other side!

If you want to take this even further, we’ve got a downloadable worksheet you can go through RIGHT HERE. We know this work is challenging — but it’s so, so, worth it because YOU’RE worth it!

Do you struggle with the all-or-nothing mindset? What will you do right now to improve it? Remember, baby steps! —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Jen says:

    So spot on! Find your real why and you have the power to change are my favorite tips. Thank you for the insight.

  2. Great list! And yes #1 is the most important. Know your REAl WHY! This is a game changer for sure. When my clients get really, really clear on their WHY there is NO Stopping them. It is a powerful tool for change. Glad to see others sharing this message of change. Thanks. Regards, Wendy

  3. I have struggled with the all or nothing mindset, but I’m definitely getting better, and it started with your #1 tip–know your why. My why is to be active and independent for as long as possible. I want to be able to hike, travel, run, and live independently well into old age. For me, that’s a much more powerful and sustainable why than to look good in a swimsuit or reach some magic number on the scale. That said, the looking better motivation got me started on the path to a healthy lifestyle, so I’m not knocking it. I’m also a big proponent of baby steps, so thanks so much for the important reminders.


  4. I see these tips looks very effective for my health. these are very useful and helpful for me.thanks for sharing.

  5. Tanveer says:

    Very good write-up. I certainly love this website. Thanks!

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