Black & White Thinking & Weight Loss

Many people suffer from this black-and-white thinking pattern, which is greatly influenced by their childhood and earlier experiences. The all or nothing type of thinking can seriously damage your sense of self, well-being, happiness, and relationships.

The all or nothing thinking is actually a defense mechanism people use to cope with life’s challenges. Unfortunately, this type of thinking prohibits you from seeing things as they really are.

Things are never as bad as they seem. Or as good, for that matter. Which means that relationships can’t be either “perfect” or “ruined”, people aren’t either “smart” or “stupid”, “strong” or “weak”, “good” or “bad”. We are have a unique mixture of intelligence, weak spots, and strengths, positive and negative traits.

Once you realize that you cannot place things into black and white categories, you are generally happier. Why? Because you are no longer a slave to the “must” and “should”. You accept the “maybes” and “what ifs” as part of your life.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable and allow yourself to make mistakes. Stop passing judgements, stop obsessing about the details, stop over-analyzing and trying to control outcomes. Stop finding faults.

When you recognize that we live in a world of gray, everything changes. The truth is that yes, some food is healthier and others are undoubtedly unhealthy. But, living in the gray acknowledges that there is an in between.

When you live in the gray, you don’t just see food differently, you see struggles differently too. Instead of seeing every setback as a personal failure, you will recognize them for what they actually are—bumps in the road on your long weight loss journey.

When you live in the gray, when you have a bump in the road, there is a bit of guilt, but it’s not the end of the world.  In fact, guilt can be a good motivator.  It will help you focus on your anchor for change, and help you remember that it’s not just about reaching a number on a scale—it’s about getting healthier, having more energy, and making incremental progress.

Here’s some example how you can start using the color grey in your life:

Your promise yourself you will follow your meal plan perfectly this week. You wake up to no eggs left for your planned breakfast.

Skip food all together OR “Oh well the day is screwed up, might as well eat whatever I want the rest of the day.

“No need to panic. Let’s assess what’s available. I don’t like cottage cheese but it will do for now. Don’t forget to stop at the grocery store tonight! All is not lost.”

You set a goal to lose 2lbs a week but this week you stepped on the scale and see that you didn’t lose anything.

“This is the end of the world, you screwed up big time. What did you do wrong!? Next week you must lose 4lbs OR “Yet another major defeat. Why do I even try? What’s the point? I might as well give up.”

“This sucks, and there’s no way around that, but it’s not the end of the world. I need to remember my Anchor—why I want to lose weight. This is about more than weight loss. I feel better and my clothes are not as tight. That’s what matters.”

You said you’d run 3 miles tonight at the gym but 2 miles in you just ran out of gas.

“Finish the 3 miles or else! OR just get off the treadmill and head for the showers, you’re finished.”

“Most days I have this, but today I am just running out gas. No big deal. At least I got 2 miles in. Let’s walk this last mile and then finish up the rest of the workout strong.”

My references for this article:

How to Stop Black-and-White Thinking from Destroying Your Life