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How to Lose Weight for the All or Nothing-er

I have a confession…drum roll please….I’m pretty much an expert at how not to lose weight. AKA losing it, gaining it back, plus a bit more. As a matter of fact, I have lost, gained, lost, and gained my way to my highest weight before. How is that for an accomplishment? {Insert applause here}

I am a perfectionist, which has become the most horrible trait when it comes to one thing in particular, weight loss. Everything I do I will take time to go over and above. I am not okay with second best. I’ve been known to throw projects away and start over many times. I’m not happy unless it looks, well, perfect. My mom used to always say, “if you can’t do it right then don’t do it at all”. This was engrained into my mind and I took it to heart. As a matter of fact, it has 100 percent become a part of who I am. However, it is this all or nothing mentality which has really hurt me.

When you approach things with “all or nothing” there is a 50/50 chance that NOTHING will win. ~Amylia

And those are some pretty horrible odds. I certainly wouldn’t bet anything on those odds {says my logical self}. So why have I continued to do this with my weight for the past twenty years?

Fact: I have been approaching weight loss wrong for twenty years. I have tried everything and because of that have learned a thing or two along the way. Recently I started writing everything I have tried down, what has worked, what has not, how food makes me feel, and why I give up or stop. What is remarkable is that once written down on paper it made sense. The dots were connected and I could see the writing on the wall. The problem is my All or Nothing attitude. I have recently made some changes that work with my personality and have found some seemingly simple solutions which have proven to make the biggest difference. The best part is that all are sustainable and not faddish or radical.

This is what I have learned about All or Nothing-er’s & Weight Loss:

Why fad diets are a favorite for all or nothing people. Fad diets have an end date. It is easy to mark the 30 day end point on the calendar and stay focused for that amount of time. They expire. They can be done PERFECTLY for the week or two they are tried. Contrast that with the thought that eating habits are changed FOREVER. Now that is hard to chew, no pun intended. So for a perfectionist who knows they can’t do it right, they probably just won’t try at all. Or if they do try, they will realize that it is not sustainable and give up.

Eliminating all vices from a diet is ultimate destruction for an “all or nothing-er”. I have pretty great eating habits save for a few vices. One is zero sugar energy drinks, the other is the Little Debbie Nutty Butty’s, and the third is fresh popcorn with butter and sea salt. Other than eating those things occasionally I eat very healthy. A while back I decided to clean up my diet and eliminate all of my vices. The plan was to never to allow those things into my diet again. Week one I stopped eating Nutty Buddy’s. Week two I decided to get rid of the energy drinks {which meant 3 days of detox headaches}. Week three I stopped making popcorn. And do you know what happened? One day I was running out the door without breakfast to an appointment which took extra long. I left famished, drove directly to the gas station and picked up an energy drink. My thought? It was zero calories and would tide me over. Shortly after I felt as if I had ruined my new diet, so the thought was I may as well eat another goodie. If I wasn’t going to do it right then I guess I wasn’t going to do it at all. In hind-site it would have been better off just leaving in my favorites and limiting myself so I wouldn’t sabotage my weight loss. Again, the all or nothing mentality.

Why counting calories is perfect for a perfectionist. After 20 years of yo-yo dieting I am finally, for the first time ever, counting calories. No more eating all that I want of any specific food and doing some chemical magical reaction to my body to shed the pounds. Because that way of eating (regardless of the crash diet plan) is not maintainable for an all or nothing-er. But counting calories is. Let me explain. Counting calories is a day by day thing. If it is goofed up it is started again tomorrow, therefore it easily becomes a life-style change. I have found that it is very achievable if losing at a slow and healthy rate {as long as calories are not drastically reduced into starvation mode}. When I have reached my calories then that is it for the day. Plain and simple, regardless of what I eat, a calorie is a calorie. Now this is something I can do perfectly and completely, which feels like winning to me.

Finding an exercise that is loved is a must for an all or nothing-er. I have to admit that I just am not one that loves going to the gym. So for me to sign a contract with myself to get there every day “or else” is setting myself up for failure. Again, if I can’t do it right I won’t do it at all. Because of this I have gone on a mission to find any type of activity that I love and then commit to that. I am going to try everything and not limit myself to lifting weights and getting on the treadmill. Tennis, swimming, yoga, and hiking are just a few. Recently I took up Yoga and found that I loved the down time, the stress relief and the ability to escape from my busy world for an hour a day.

Look at yourself in a skinny mirror and see how “perfect” you can be. This was a game changer for me. I accidentally saw myself in a “skinny mirror” at Target and it changed something inside of me. As a matter of fact, I noticed the change instantly. That something which was changed was my perspective. I felt like I could literally reach out and grab myself in this perfect image before me. Because it was my actual body it became very real and my point of view changed. It also showed me that I can look perfect in my body. So the psychological issues of thinking that I have ruined my body and I may lose weight but will never look good enough–those all left. In fact, they vanished. This mirror image proved to me that I can do this. So now I want to stay the course.

If you can’t find a skinny mirror to look into then find a picture of you when you felt you were “perfect”. If you do not have a picture of yourself then photo shop your face on an obtainable body image. Remember the key here is not to feel defeated and that you will never achieve in your mind what perfection is or the all or nothing inside of you may eventually give up and do nothing. Therefore, it is important to find a realistic image that feels very procurable.

My reflection in Targets “skinny” mirror.

Perfectionism and Goal Setting go hand in hand. If you haven’t physically written down a weight loss goal then do it immediately. There is magic in setting the intention and letting it go into the universe. I believe that is why I was able to do all of those fad diets successfully. I once went on a 40 day Lemon Cleanse, I have also eaten Whole 30 for thirty days. I am one tough cookie. I can really do anything when I put my little perfectionist mind to it. Thinking back when I did those diets I wrote goals down and wrote in my journal every day. When setting a goal I am not talking writing down “I want to weigh 150”. I am talking about writing down life changing, harder than you think you can achieve, goals. Goals like “I will become an IG sensation with my weight loss” or “I will be on the Today Show and the Joy Fit Club“. Don’t down play your abilities or stifle your biggest dreams. After you write the biggest thing you want down with your weight loss, go back and include all of the details and a plan on how you will get there. The universe loves details. It helps us get to where we want to be.

Understand that an all or nothing-er may have to go it alone. People hold people back, and likewise, people can help people up. It is more fun to do something with a friend, but that can easily morph into not doing anything at all. I have started and stopped work outs with friends so many times I can’t even count them. Being an all or nothing-er I have had to realize that to give my all takes one person, and one person alone. That person is me. Giving my all doesn’t mean that I have to be co-dependent and only exercise when I have a friend next to me. As a matter of fact, looking back, I have always been more successful when I am independent. That doesn’t mean that I do not share my journey or occasionally exercise with friends, because I do those things all of the time. I just don’t make it something that has to be done to motivate me. You should be accountable to yourself and reaching your goals, even if your friend bails. Find what works for you and do not be guilted into going at a slower pace or something unenjoyable. Because you then start playing that game, those horrible 50/50 odds of Nothing will probably win.

When you love yourself enough to put yourself first, the odds turn into 100 percent success. ~Amylia

It may seem a little selfish, but it is not. It is time to put you and your needs first. I am certain that one reason you may need to lose weight is because you have put yourself second for quite some time…or even third or forth. That is certainly the case with me.

All or nothing-ers need a constant flow of motivation and education. I’ve read every book on every fad diet. That is one big reason why I was able to do them. So to achieve the “perfect” me I have added reading books on becoming successful, motivation tapes, as well as education on food and how it works in the body. Anything that grabs my attention and inspires me to become better. It helps me maintain the course and it gives me the extra that my busy mind needs to feel like I am moving in the right direction. I am linking some of my favorites below.

Lets get our Perfectionism ways on and give our All, because you and me, we are worth it.

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