Perfectionista: The Diet with All or Nothing

You have to start a diet on a Monday or the 1st of a month, you expect to eliminate your favorite foods entirely, you describe food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and if you have a little slip up and indulge just once, you completely throw in the towel. Does this sound like you? Because if it does, you could be an all-or-nothing perfectionist dieter! But I am here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way! No human, no life, no situation, no experience is, or will ever be perfect so why do we think our diets should be?


It’s normal when starting a new diet or program to want to follow the rules to a T, and that’s great to want to do your best, but again we are human and you need to allow room for error. You are going to fall of the wagon once in a while and indulge with friends after receiving great news; you are going to hit some speed bumps. Having too high of expectations increases your chances of failure, especially with an all-or-nothing attitude and that’s not what we want! Here are some ways to prevent that from happening:

Don’t ‘start’ a diet…especially on a Monday or 1st of the month

  • Beginning on a Monday or the 1st makes you feel like the month before or weekend before is your “last supper” because you’ll never be able to eat whatever you want ever again, but that’s not the case. If your new plan is too restrictive, you are not going to succeed. You need to incorporate and allow for small indulgences every so often
  • Instead of starting on a certain day, just begin making healthier choices for different meals and that will be your time to refresh and ‘start over’, instead of waiting for a whole new day or week. This will relieve you of the intense pressures “starting” can bring

You can still eat your favorite foods!

  • The only way to keep your cravings at bay before they get completely out of control is to eat whatever you’re craving as a part of your diet program—No guilt, no shame.
  • To keep yourself from overeating, try indulging when you’re around friends at an event or out to dinner. Indulgences need to be included in your program, but moderation is important here
  • Having a slice of pizza with a large salad is a great way to balance it out

There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods

  • These words enable that all-or-nothing lifestyle we are trying to stay away from
  • Naming a food ‘bad’ leaves a forbidden mark on it, which makes us want it even more. Sometimes that is more appealing than the actual taste
  • Instead of using ‘good’ or ‘bad’, think of how the unhealthy foods vs. healthy foods make you mentally and physically feel, and base your food choices off of that instead.
Tara Collingwood
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

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