Are you “All or Nothing” when it comes to a healthy lifestyle?

I follow dozens of Facebook fitness pages and hundreds of fitness accounts on Twitter. I come across motivational quotes on a daily basis. Most are great for what they are. Yesterday I came across a poster that read, “ALL OR NOTHING,” and it caused me to reflect for a moment.

I think an “ALL OR NOTHING” mentality is directly opposed to healthy living.

Maybe I’m taking the quote too seriously; maybe even slightly out of context. Let me explain.

When I work with people on their nutrition, one thing I hear repeatedly is that when they have a cheat mean or when they eat food that isn’t conducive to their goals, it often starts a chain reaction. “Well, I was doing so well, then I had a piece of cake, then another piece of cake, and since I had already ruined the day, I had a couple drinks. A week later I was completely back to my old bad habits.”

The same thing happens with fitness. You get in a good groove – you see some initial results, and you’re all in. But then the results slow down, you get busy, and all of a sudden you haven’t been to the gym in 3 months.

The ALL OR NOTHING mentality leads to people going on diets instead of focusing on real food and a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. People want it all, and they want it now. But then they realize they can’t be perfect, and they give up.

This summer, I trained six days a week for two months. It was great, but I was worn down. I took two weeks off from working out, and I enjoyed some pizza and beer. Now I’m back on my program. We need to allow ourselves failures, cheats, breaks, and rest. But we also need to be dedicated and disciplined to get right back to our goals.

It doesn’t need to be all or nothing; that is a recipe for failure. You can still go all in. You can be disciplined and strict. However, with your fitness program and diet, you can’t be 100% strict 100% of the time.  A better idea is to be 100% strict 90% of the time, or be 90% strict 100% of the time.

You’re not perfect. You’re a person. Lots of little decisions make lifestyle change possible. Forget the ALL OR NOTHING approach and just make as many good decisions as you can.

Certified Personal Trainer

3 Comments on “Are you “All or Nothing” when it comes to a healthy lifestyle?

  1. All or nothing is something see people doing that keep them from succeeding all the time. “Well I ate something bad so I might as well keep doing it, doesn’t matter now!” Well said.

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