How to Stop the All-or-Nothing Mentality with Food

Have you ever had that voice that says,

“Well, I messed up breakfast and had something really unhealthy, so now there’s no point in healthy eating the rest of the day.”

“I blew it on Friday’s dinner out with family, so I may as well eat whatever this weekend and start over on Monday.”

This is often the all-or-nothing mentality that we have with nutrition. We think that if we had something unhealthy, that it now doesn’t matter if we keep eating unhealthfully. We think that we need to be entirely healthy, or entirely unhealthy.

So, we continue to eat unhealthy foods for the rest of the day, the rest of the weekend, or the rest of the month, resolving to start over and be perfect later on.

However, this is totally illogical from a physical perspective.

Your body will still benefit from healthy foods no matter what else you eat! If you drink green juice, your body will still get benefits from the chlorophyll, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. If you have a salad, your body will still benefit from the high-quality fiber and health-building amino acids, as well as the vitamins and minerals packed into it.

Physically, there is no such thing as your body operating in an all-or-nothing manner. It makes no sense to deprive your body of healthy food just because you had something unhealthy. Every habit we have, healthful and unhealthful, adds up over time, and our health and weight is a result of the overall mix of these habits.

Sure, if you are eating junk food 80% of the time, then the 20% of your diet that is healthy will not erase the results of the junk food. However, long-term, your body will still benefit from 20% of your diet being healthy instead of 10% or 5%.

Also, including healthy foods as well as juices and smoothies into your diet can make a major difference in the physical cravings you have. Including them despite whatever else you’re eating and drinking, can actually start helping you to shift your overall cravings towards what’s healthier.

Insisting that you are perfectly consistent when eating healthfully is also not realistic. It is a process for us to change our body chemistry, our taste buds, our habits, and to address our emotional relationship with unhealthy foods. No one’s health journey is perfect, and so if you’re going to go off the rails every time you take one wrong bite, you’re going to have a lot of interruption to your healthy eating.

Instead, do your best to catch yourself when you’re in the all-or-nothing mindset and behavior, and redirect yourself to what’s logical, which is that there is never a pointless time to eat and drink healthfully.

Even if you’ve “messed up” breakfast, go get a healthy lunch. Even if you overate junk food on Friday night, have a healthy Saturday breakfast. Grab a green juice to go at any point in the day, no matter what else you had. 

This will add up over time and benefit your health and improve your physical cravings.

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