How to Eliminate “All or Nothing” Thinking

By Kimberly Taylor


Woman fell

One Sunday many years ago, I messed up with my eating.

My husband, Mike and I were driving home from church and I was hungry. Now usually, I will put an apple or banana in my purse so that I can eat it on the way home.

From experience, I’ve learned that I’m tempted to get fast food when I’m hungry during those times. Fast food is quick and I typically don’t feel like cooking much after serving at church.

So here I was after church without my normal backup plan. Visions of crispy, fried chicken danced in my head.

I usually put our main course in the crockpot before church so that it is ready by the time we get home.

But I didn’t do that either.

I told Mike that I wanted to go get the fried chicken. So we drove to the fast food place. We got the biscuits and the sides too. It was all delicious.

Now someone might say, “But Kim, you failed! That wasn’t healthy at all. Why don’t you just give up on living a healthy lifestyle? Just quit and live off fried chicken and biscuits forever!”

Actually, that “someone” would have been me back in the day. I had a bad case of “all or nothing” thinking.

Let me explain.

When a typical person decides to lose weight, they usually try to overhaul everything all at once. They do well for a couple of weeks on the new plan, but then they make a mistake, not doing things exactly according to plan.

Since they did not do everything perfectly, they discourage themselves and quit.

That’s how I used to be. I would turn a slip into a slide! The slide meant going all the way back to the same old habits that made me gain weight at the beginning.

In hindsight, that made about as much sense as slipping on the stairs and deciding to throw yourself down the rest of them!

When it comes to weight loss, perfection is not your goal; commitment is.

Commitment is required to stay the course until you obtain the results you want. You learn from your mistakes along the journey and use them to propel you forward.

Check out the following calendar below that represents how the days might go for someone on a weight loss plan. The green days illustrate when they did most things right and the yellow days illustrate when they did most things wrong:

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If you look at the above month, would you say that the person had a successful month? Most of us would say “Yes” because the person had more right days than wrong days.

However, someone with an “all or nothing” mentality would say “No.”

Why? Because they focus only on the mistakes the person made.

They fail to consider that as long as the person has more right days than wrong days, time is working on that person’s side!

Given enough “right” months, the person will succeed eventually.

I finally succeeded with weight loss when I took the option to quit off the table. I decided that I was determined to reach my ideal weight – giving the process the time it needed to complete.

I realized that if I had more right days than wrong days, I was going to win in the end.

Now that I’ve reached my goal, I take mistakes in stride. That particular Sunday was just another day in my life. In terms of my health choices, it wasn’t my best day. But it certainly wasn’t my worst!

My philosophy is that you can eat any food you want, but there is a proper time for it. For me, that fast food outing wasn’t the proper time.

Within each day are opportunities to learn from your successes and your mistakes. The key is – learn the lesson and move forward because you will have another day to make adjustments, God willing.

For me, that means packing a piece of fruit in my purse and deciding on a plan for Sunday dinner ahead of time.  I will give myself plenty of time Sunday morning to prepare what we need for dinner.

Good planning will always beat great intentions!

An African Proverb says, “Don’t look where you fell. Look where you slipped.” My slip was in not giving myself enough time to plan and execute my “after church” strategy.

The point is – an “all or nothing” mentality just makes you want to quit when challenges occur. Let’s face it: Challenges will always happen.

But when they do, do not quit. Quitting is the 100% way that you won’t receive that for which you are believing. Say this with me: “As long as I don’t give up on myself, I will never fail!”

This is your life and you can go through it as you choose. The Lord says in Deuteronomy 30:19-20:

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…”

I choose life and blessing. How about you?

You may stumble on the path of life. Give yourself grace for mistakes. Commit to correcting them, being patient with yourself. But keep moving forward.

That is the surefire way to ultimate success!

Be blessed with health, healing, and wholeness,

Kimberly Taylor

Author of the Take Back Your Temple program

P.S. When it comes to weight loss, do you often know what you should do but have a hard time doing it?

I struggled with this issue on my own weight loss journey, but I discovered the truth of this statement:

“Nothing is different until you think differently.” – Pastor James MacDonald

In the Take Back Your Temple program, you will discover how to win the Spiritual and mental battle that often causes us to become inconsistent and get off-track on our weight loss journey.

Join a community of other Christians losing weight and keep it off.

Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program

Kimberly Taylor

About the author

Kimberly Taylor has a heart to encourage others struggling with emotional eating and weight loss. Once 240 pounds and a size 22 herself, she can testify of God’s goodness and healing power to overcome. She dropped over 85 pounds through renewing her mind with Biblical principles.

  • Kim, you asked if this post was still relevant. I would say “absolutely!” As I’ve heard you say before, focusing on progress instead of perfection can mean the all the difference in our wellness journeys!

  • Yes, I suffer from an all-or-nothing mentality. But you have just taught me a better way! I will count my days as being successful because most days I do fine. I want to learn from the days I don’t do as well!!!! Thank you Jesus for this wonderful lesson!

  • Thanks for the reminder of how “all – or nothing” mindset thinking works. Yes, this article still relevant. I constantly have this battle. Being aware of these thoughts & recognizing them is key. This is where I get caught but I know I am an over comer because I don’t have to stay there when I go there. Learning to Rely on the Holy Spirit to quicken me immediately to identify these negative thoughts. Pray for me. I won’t give give up.
    Thanks Kim Taylor keep updating & writing we need it!

    Blessings

    • Thank you for that feedback, Kimberly! May the Lord continue to bless you as you walk out this journey of wellness with His help 🙂

  • I remember reading this back in 2020. I have slipped in 2021 (was more disciplined in 2020). I realized that the discipline has fallen off my wagon in 2021, and it has consumed me with worry. After re-reading your article this very early morning in November, it gave me hope and the urge not to give up. God has so much more for me to do. Thank you for reposting it.

    • Wonderful Joyce! I am glad this encouraged you today – after all, life goes on. It’s up to us to choose how we go!

  • Wonderful article thank you
    I love the African proverb. It is true to look where you have slipped not where you have fallen. I have an all or nothing mentality now I’m going to readjust that. That has caused me to slip and slide through my journey.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Denise. Each day (even each moment), we get to choose how we want to approach the next moment…with faith and diligence or with discouragement and defeat. May the Lord strengthen you as you give yourself grace in moving forward.

    • Amen, Sister! Thank you, Lord for your grace. We believe your mercy is new every morning and your grace is new every MOMENT.

  • Thank you for the encouragement and being real!
    I added, “When it comes to weight loss, perfection is not your goal commitment is” to my journal. The entry just above that was, “Blessed to be all in.”
    Those two quotes seemed to contradict each other but the more I thought it through they don’t. They balance each other out.
    My goal is to be all in with healthy eating and not letting food be an idol in my life. On occasion,as recently, when I do mess up I look back and see how, when and why I slipped up.
    Time to dust myself off and move forward!

  • Your article make so sense to me, a slip doesn’t have to end in a slide. It’s the mindset that most of us have lived with through out our lives. Weight loss commercials and society’s has fed the skinny message, Instant gratification that says eat what you want then join a grp to take off the weight. So thankful that the Lord got my attention through TBYT. I thank the Lord for using Kim Taylor to teach us the Lords way not ours.

  • Oops… I hit SEND in error. As I was saying above, it’s Sooooo embarrassing to lose significant amts. Of weight only to regain it ALL back Multiple times! ! However, after reading your post, I think I’ve found another fight in me to keep trying. Thanks again, you are a tremendous blessing!

  • It reminds me that a toddler does not learn to walk in one day….it is a process of commitment, desiring to get to the next place. Like a toddler, we need to keep our eyes on where we want to be…(in our case, our goal weight)
    This was a very encouraging word to keep on keeping on.
    Thank you.

  • Thank you Kim ,your words of encouragement helped me change the way I think , I feel good about many decisions I’ve made following your examples, your strategys and bring it to prayer has changed my life, I’m more free to make choices like never before, and not felling I’m a failure, rather I’m doing good looking at how I feel about my choice of foods. Blessing to you and to the calling on your life.

  • Thank you Kim for sharing the things you have learned with us. It is always a blessing. I appreciate you and your encouraging words.

  • This made me cry; I am going through this the last few weeks beating myself up because I slipped a day or two or I do well until I eat something unhealthy. Kimberly that you for giving me courage to not just give up. God’s Blessings

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