Anna Wootton

emotional eating help

Living an All-or-Nothing Life Will Get You Nowhere Fast!

So many of us have been conditioned to think that it is bad to live in the ‘average’. The in-between. Things have to either be amazing, or suck. Does this apply to you?

Do you have an all-or-nothing mentality?

If you have an all-or-nothing mentality, then it probably applies to all areas of your life in one way or another:

  • You’re either full-on dieting, or eating without any regard for health or nutritious choices
  • You’re always in romantic relationships that are like emotional rollercoasters, with passionate highs and devastating lows
  • You either LOVE something or you hate it

Sound familiar?

A while ago, I walked into a psychic’s office and the first thing she said to me as I sat down was that I was “very all or nothing”. She went on to say that I would have a successful career in helping people, in something health-related, but that I wouldn’t be able to help people until I stopped being so all or nothing with myself, and could accept ‘just okay’ some days.

How can I improve this?

Whether or not seeing a psychic is your thing, this story may well resonate with some of you. You might have heard similar advice about your own personality from someone that knows you very well, like a family member or a friend. I left her office and took a whole new approach, from that day, to my eating. I couldn’t let go of rules right away, so instead I made my rules a lot more relaxed. Then slowly I started to forget about the ‘rules’ as much as I could. From there, I ended up here, working with women one-on-one and in my group programs to help them overcome issues with emotional eating and live their best lives ever – where we aim for an awesome life, but with moments of ‘just okay’, too. No more all or nothing, up or down, great or horrible!

How does this mindset relate to my emotional eating and weight loss?

Here’s the thing: most emotional eaters are all-or-nothing people – we’re perfectionists, and if we fail or fall ‘off the wagon’ we give up entirely until we can conjure up enough willpower and gusto to give it another go. Consider this: the couple of days before you were about to start a ‘new diet’ or a cleanse (isn’t it amazing how we always schedule them to start on Monday, so we can have a particularly indulgent weekend?), did you go nuts and have every food you loved in the world, that you wouldn’t be ‘allowed’ on this new diet? I call this the Last Supper mentality – a demonstration of classic ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking.


We won’t accept ‘just enough’ or ‘okay’ or ‘average’. It has to be perfect, following the rules exactly, or not at all. But the problem with that? We have great periods (let’s call them 10s) and then all of a sudden we have stretches of time where we ‘fail’ at everything we set our mind to (we can call those 0s). Then you start asking those questions: “How do I stop emotional eating?” “Why can’t I stop eating so much?” And then you’ll go on a diet and be “really good” for a few days, perhaps even weeks. And then the cycle will repeat itself all over again.

How to fix it

Wouldn’t it be better to just abandon the 0 or 10 idea and aim for 5 or 6 to start with? Aim for a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then really enjoy and savour that dessert? Aim for moving our bodies every day just for 15 minutes, so that any chance to actually make that yoga class or go on a hike with friends is a bonus?

Here are 5 ways to introduce more shades of grey into an otherwise black-and-white perspective:

  1. Allow your workout schedule to change. If you’re not feeling it, do a 15-minute workout instead of your usual 6-days-a-week 30-minute workouts.
  2. Become a ‘sweet snob’ – that’s my mantra. Enjoy any treat you want when you crave it, but be selective! No more cheap chocolate, no more processed junk. Enjoy high-quality desserts and savour every bite. That’s a much easier goal than ‘no more desserts, ever!’
  3. If you want to eat more veggies or fruits, focus on introducing one extra serving a day three or four days a week. Anything else will be a bonus, anything less is no big deal.
  4. Consider reducing your number of goals. Focusing on one or two goals is less stressful and more achievable than trying to get through a long list and feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Take a look at your savings goal for the year and consider breaking it down into quarterly goals instead of monthly, to allow for wiggle room in case unexpected expenses hit you one month.

Talk to me!

Any other ideas? Does this mentality sound familiar to you? Share your thoughts with me (InstagramFacebook, Twitter) or just send me a note, whether just to chat, ask questions, or find out if we can work together to get you out of your all-or-nothing mindset, which is often the very thing stopping you from achieving your life and health goals.

I can’t wait to hear from you!