Black and white thinking

Black and white thinking can be really detrimental whenever you are trying to change behaviour. I want to encourage you to recognise when you are doing it and stop. There are two main types of black and white thinking when it comets changing your diet.

The first type is the “I have already eaten badly today so I might as well continue”. It is easy to do, particularly if you are looking for an excuse to indulge! But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to either eat perfectly or not care about what you eat. You could eat badly in the morning and then eat well in the afternoon. You could have great meals and bad snacks. There is a whole spectrum in between eating perfectly and eating badly and it is so much better to do some damage limitation than to completely cut loose.

The second type of black and white thinking, and also one of the most common reasons I see for people for giving up on changing the way they eat, is that they were putting in so much effort and didn’t see or feel the changes they’d hoped for. This is particularly common in people trying to lose weight.

If you are trying to lose weight then I want you to picture weight loss as a journey. Let’s say the journey is your daily commute to work. You walk to the station but when you get there you see your train is delayed by 10 minutes. Your journey to work is now going to take you a bit longer than you hoped but you don’t turn around and walk home again. You maintain the progress you have made, wait for the train to come and arrive at work a bit late. This is how it should be with weight loss, or in fact any kind of changes you are trying to make.

Example scenario

For example, you start off with 15kg to lose. You do really well for the first month or so and lose 5kg and now you only have 10kg to lose. Then weight loss slows down (even though you are doing really well with your eating) and you lose only half a kilo one week when you were expecting it to be more.

Please, please don’t immediately decide to go back to eating the way you were! You are still half a kilo closer to your goal than you were the week before and you still have an amazing 5.5kg loss overall that you need to protect! Even if you eat really well and you don’t lose anything one week, it can be easy to feel completely nihilistic and eat a whole cake but it makes no sense. Unless of course being overweight is better for you in the long run than being the right weight.