I have never known how to do anything half-assed. If I had to do something, I wanted to do it all the way, get it done, and do it well. It served me well in school as I was a straight A student. It served me well in sports as I always hustled and gave my all. I thought it would serve me well in fitness, but little by little, I began to see where the land of all or nothing can take you, and how stressful it is there.
The first time I encountered my all or nothing mentality was during my eating disorder freshman year of highs chool. I mean, it served me well if sticking to my illness was serving me. Which it must have been for a little while if I stuck with it. Until it didn’t serve me anymore.
Then I led a rather balanced, happy life until I decided to compete in a figure competition. That was where my all or nothing mentality really got hot. I was strict on controlling my diet (until I landed face deep in a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch all too often) and I was allllllllll in on my workouts by doing as much as physically possible. Rest just wasn’t an option. After I did my shows, at a physique that did not reach my full potential, I decided to hop on the infamous ALL OR NOTHING ROLLERCOASTER. And what a long ride this was. Up and down for YEARS. Every few months, I would be all OR nothing.
When I was in my ALL portion of life, nothing could stop me, and I speak regarding diet and nutrition. It got ALL my focus. That meant I was scheduling workouts anywhere I could fit them, even if it was hopping on a cardio machine between clients. There was no such thing as too much working out. I would weigh myself at least once a day and my mood was determined by what it said. I would wake up early on Saturdays to get some of my workout in before clients and usually get more in with their bootcamp and anything else I could fit in as the day went on. In terms of food? It was the ultimate control. Not that I restricted calories though, that phase of my life was over thankfully, but I only ate certain foods I knew would not make my body look any “worse.” Going out to eat was scary. Planning meals was a must. Plotting my daily schedule was stressful. Spending time with loved ones was sidetracked. But I was ALL in to my fitness routine.
This ALL phase usually consisted of losing about 10-15 pounds, depending how long I hung on. I got major compliments. Getting dressed was so “easy.” I really looked like I knew what I was doing. And you would think I was so happy. But I wasn’t. I was exhausted. So I’d hit a wall. Usually it looked something like… “messing up” one day because my brain was basically in survival mode so no matter what I did, I just couldn’t keep it up. So one “bad” day turned into a couple and I would start to fear my body looking terrible again, like all my hard work disappeared. I’d get depressed and then the NOTHING part of my rollercoaster would take action.
I would rebel against control and restriction and planning by doing NONE of it. Eat anything I wanted. Eat things I didn’t allow myself. Workout whatever whenever which usually meant no structure and several days a week of not much. My weight would go right back to where it was “comfy” which was inevitably a weight I hated. And then came the self hate. The shame and frustration. The feeling like all I did was for nothing. And in actuality, it was. Because I was forever living this all or nothing cycle…
Well, today I am off the rollercoaster. And for once, being off the ride makes me happier than being on it. Want to know how I did it? Want to know what happened in my mental space? Well… then stay tuned for part 2.
If you can relate, help is on the way, if you are as exhausted as I was. There is beauty in shades of gray… stay with me…
As always, thank you for reading.