Ditching the “All or Nothing” Mindset to Reach Your Fitness Goals Faster
“I’ll do whatever it takes to get rid of this fat.”
“What’s the fastest way for me to lose the weight?”
“Once I reach my goal weight, I’ll stop.”
“It’s not going to be fun but if it works, I’ll suffer through it.”
Does this sound like you?
We’ve all fallen trap to the all or nothing mindset once or twice.
You think that the fastest way to hit your fitness goals is to initiate a ton of diet restrictions, hours of cardio, and suffer a lot for a shorter amount of time. You think the more you’re suffering through it, the more effective it must be. You think that you just need to go all in until you reach that goal weight and then you can go back to your normal eating and workout habits.
Well, what if I told you this was the wrong approach?
This all or nothing mindset can actually HURT your results.
This is coming from a place of personal experience and experience coaching 1:1 clients.
Counterintuitively, the best approach you can take to any fitness goal is to implement small, sustainable changes to your habits over time. You can and should work smarter, NOT harder.
1. Extreme training and dieting regimens lead to rebounds.
The more extreme the restrictions, the more likely they will backfire. If you cannot sustain your current training and diet, you cannot continue to achieve results. Psychologically, you start to crave things MORE just from knowing they’re off limits. After extended periods of time with food elimination, you are highly likely to end up binging on the things you didn’t allow yourself to have.
These binge episodes are a result of an unsustainable routine and can lead to total loss of control. This is how weight rebounds happen.
2. Extreme regimens lead to a poor relationship with food.
Did you know that eliminating certain foods is actually considered “disordered” eating? We don’t want to create the understanding that certain foods are “bad” and certain foods are “good.”
This leads to unnecessary food guilt. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Food is meant to be enjoyed. What you do on your diet affects your relationship with food when you come off your diet. Hence, we don’t want to take away the foods you love. That will only create negative feelings around them that will last long after you’ve reached your goals.
3. Drastic measures lead to low energy levels and low moral, which leads to poor results.
Taking drastic measures is actually counterproductive. Take the example of the 1200 calorie diet. (PLEASE don’t implement this approach. I talk more about the harm in this method here.) This low calorie dieting regimen leads to lower energy levels. Food IS ultimately energy.
And it’s energy you need to complete daily tasks and workout efficiently. What does this mean? Well… if your energy levels are low, guess what’s probably not going as well as it could be… your workouts. You may be taking in fewer calories but you’re probably also burning a lot less and suffering a lot more.
Moral of the story: food is necessary fuel for strong, effective workouts. Don’t be afraid to eat.
Here’s what to do instead to achieve the best results:
1. Practice a flexible diet.
I talk more about what flexible dieting is here. I stand whole heartedly behind this approach no matter WHAT your goals are.
This process involves tracking your protein, carbs, fats, and fiber to achieve results. Consider it a healthier extension of calorie counting. Ultimately, to lose weight, your body only cares if you’re in a caloric deficit (calories in < calories out.)
Flexible dieting, takes it one step further by tracking your macronutrients. This ensures your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs while you're reaching your goals.
2. Use the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your calories should come from whole, nutrient dense food sources with 20% coming from “fun” foods that may not be as clean but are enjoyable for you.
It essentially demonstrates “everything in moderation.” It means not cutting out the foods you love. At the same time, it also means ensuring the majority of your intake is healthy and supports your body’s nutrient needs so you can have high energy levels and feel good internally.
This method helps us control cravings by incorporating enjoyable, less healthy foods in moderate dosages.
3. Ask yourself whether or not your routine hinders your other priorities.
Whenever you’re starting a new training or dieting routine, you should seek the approach that interferes the least with your life and your values.
If you’re skipping out on social events, dinner with family, drinks with friends, all because you have to get a workout in or because you’re on a diet, then your approach is not healthy for you.
Healthy lifestyle changes should allow you to meet your goals without sacrificing other areas of your life you really care about.
4. Take baby steps.
Slow and steady wins the race. This means you should NOT drive calories down low right from the start. You should NOT be doing 5 hours of cardio a week right from the start.
You may think these changes will help you achieve results quicker. This may be true. But your body will also adapt quicker and it will result in LESS total results over time. Take small, gradual steps each week. These will be easier for you to sustain long term, leading to better, longer lasting results.
5. Practice messy, imperfect consistency.
What you do 95% of the time is what counts. The person who trains 3 days a week for 30 minutes and has sustained this routine for 3 months is going to see better results than the person who trains 6 days a week for 2 hours and quits after week 3. You don’t need to be perfect.
You don’t need every workout to be your best. You don’t need to spend a full hour in the gym every time. Stay consistent and you will achieve results.
Are you looking for extra guidance to get you to your goals faster and easier?
I've been helping women just like you lose fat and build muscle with an easy to follow flexible diet and FUN, time efficient resistance training routine.
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