I’ve been in medicine long enough to identify some of the common characteristics related to struggles with weight management. One of the most common ones I have seen is the “all or nothing” mentality. So let’s talk about the pros and cons of having this attitude when it comes to dieting.
You looked at yourself in the mirror this morning and hit another low today. You told yourself this was the last time you were going to “tolerate” those fat love handles and finally do something about it because you are done with your weight. So you commit yourself to the gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fat-free, taste-free starvation diet. Does this sound familiar to you?
When you were a kid, it seemed like the all or nothing attitude actually worked for you because you were an overachiever. When you put your mind to something, you got your goal and you coasted on a high knowing that you were getting exactly what you wanted and more. But when that once in a blue moon mistake came around, it felt like the sky was falling. It seemed like doubt, fear, anxiety had culminated an eye in the storm and you were on the radar.
Now in adulthood, you go on a diet and lose 10 pounds just like that. And then maybe something bad at work happened, and all of a sudden you lose motivation and go on a binge instead and gain 10 pounds and more.
The feeling of lack of satisfaction is the kryptonite of perfectionism. Yes, I love my patients who come in with their perfectionist qualities and get amazing results in the beginning. But the tipping point is where I play the biggest role in their journey. There’s a familiar quote that explains it all, “What you focus on expands.” Instead of being on the endless pursuit of perfectionism, you don’t realize that what they focus on expands.
So, either you are laser-focused on your goals and achieving them or you are laser-focused on fear and failure and therefore you will fail. Of course you will not be satisfied because you are focused on what you don’t have rather than what you do have.
There can be significant consequences of perfectionism. Although you may have moments of success, you always seem to find a way to sabotage yourself and sometimes even set yourself back in a major way. Your self-esteem suffers too because again, you keep telling yourself “you’re not good enough”. And one of the major negative consequences of striving for perfection is that you actually freeze yourself from taking action. Fear has taken a choke hold and you end up standing still instead of deciding on something that you know will take you to the better side but you are paralyzed from doing so.
Having the right mindset is absolutely my favorite subject that I talk about with my patients.
You see, managing your weight is not just about calories in and calories out. Your mindset is just as important if not more.
If this sounds all too familiar to you, let’s have a chat and discuss all that together.
Dr. Angela Tran