All-or-nothing thinking—or, in this case, all-or-nothing eating—can be a big hindrance to your long-term success when it comes to your health goals. 

What is all-or-nothing eating? It’s essentially when you seem to have only two modes when it comes to following along with your diet or dietary goals: strict success or complete relapse. We’re going to pull back the curtain on resolutions and share our top 10 strategies for dealing with this kind of thinking so that you can make 2021 about your health, not your resolution.

No’s are short-term

When building a diet, foods that are entirely off limits can be incredibly limiting and restrictive, and may cause you to crave that food even more. Our goal is for anything that starts off as a “no” in your diet to eventually transition into a “low.”

The middle of the road isn’t that middle

If you’re looking at both ends of the spectrum, between the level you’re currently eating at and where you want to be, the middle usually isn’t where you want to be. You’d rather be much closer to “no,” and maybe just above it.

Don’t blame, explain

If you have a relapse or an overeating binge, don’t blame yourself for the failure. Instead, examine the underlying causes and use it as a learning experience. Why did you fail? What could you have done differently? Outline that and use it for the future.

Change the tape

All-or-nothing thinking creates a very specific script in our minds, and if we don’t take the time to rewrite that script, nothing is going to change. Most people don’t hold others to the same standards that they hold themselves to. So lighten up on the negative self-talk!


Tunnel vision is a big factor in all-or-nothing thinking. When people assess themselves, they always focus on what they did wrong. Instead, focus on what you did well. Most weeks, whether successful or not, are going to contain a mix of things you did well and things you did not do well. Don’t discount the minor successes.

Set eye-roll goals

A big reason that resolutions fail is that we set massive goals that are too hard to achieve right away. Instead, set small goals that are almost ridiculously easy but that get us one step closer to where we want to be.

Embrace the quickie

If you’re only planning on working out when you have an hour to spare, you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities to get your body moving! Embrace lunchtime walks, plan B’s, or jumping jacks during your break.

Nicorette, Methadone, and mocktails

It’s easier to replace than it is to eliminate. Using stepping stones to help you kick your cravings can be incredibly helpful. Things like artificial sweeteners may not be ideal, but they can still be used to replace that sugary snack and will still move you one step in the right direction.

Food should taste good

Healthy food doesn’t have to be dreadful. If your healthy food choices are boring you are just inviting rebellion. Use spices and butter and fat and salt to make your food taste good, and only eat things that are worth eating.


Making progress with goals does not mean living a treat-free life. We all need to be able to veer off and regroup. Long-term food success isn’t about perfection, it’s about overall consistency.




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