Go Big or Go Home: Mindset Self-sabotage | TMOHP Episode 060

This is the third in a series of episodes where I’m sharing five mindsets that might be keeping you stuck in cycles of overeating and emotional eating.  Today I’m covering the way that high-achieving, big expectations can sabotage your efforts to stop overeating.

The idea of big, fast, dramatic results is so sexy and so appealing, but it can create problems. In fact, when this is your way of making changes, you might actually be getting good results but feel like you’re failing. I have an example of this which I share in this episode.

Be sure to check out the other episodes in this series exploring five mindsets - ways of setting your mind - that you might believe are helping you, but that usually are not.

In this episode:

  • Stories you might be telling yourself that set you up to sabotage efforts to stop overeating or emotional eating
  • Why Go Big or Go Home thinking is sexy but doesn’t lead to the results you want
  • The antidote for procrastination, rebound eating, and yoyo dieting

Featured on the show:

Episode Transcript

Hello everybody, welcome back. Or, if this is your first episode, your first time that you're catching the Too Much On Her Plate Podcast. Welcome glad to have you here. We are in the midst of a series in which I am covering some of the top sabotaging mindsets that I see smart, busy, high achieving women get stuck in while they are trying to make changes with their eating or their weight, or tackle emotional eating and create peace with food.

There are ways of thinking and ways of approaching change that are so comfortable that we are so conditioned to take on, and that sometimes we actually think, oh, these are our winning strategies. But that actually make everything around making changes with your eating and overeating and emotional eating so much more difficult. And it's so important to take a look at these things, to take a step back and to notice that these things go on. And no, they're not success strategies, they're actually not helpful at all. And that's the reason I'm doing this series. So this is number three. If you've missed one in two, you want to go back and check out those episodes, we will put the link for those episodes in the show notes for you, but you don't need to listen to them in order. 

So today we're talking about a way of thinking that I swear high performers can do in their sleep. We do do it in our sleep. We don't even realize it's happening. So take a, take a moment, take a deep breath to make sure you're present and that you hear what I'm talking about today.

Today I'm talking about a strategy that, well, is strategy the right word for something that doesn't work? An approach that doesn't work that I call go big or go home. Here is the thing. We expect a lot of ourselves have really high expectations of what we will do and how we will perform, and our time and energy is valuable. So if we're going to put effort in it makes a lot of sense that we want to get big results out of what we're doing. Right. And also, Big results and big moves and dramatic actions. Those are sexy. Those are things that have been so amped up for us in, you know, by marketing and diet culture and, you know, thin thighs and 30 days kind of ideas. And also human is the reality that we're impatient. When we want something, we want it now. Again, that is not helped by the culture that we live in. 

On top of these things, or maybe because of these things, many of us have these stories that we have told ourselves so often that we don't even know that they are just stories about what it takes to make changes or to really make changes. And that really is in air quotes, especially when it comes to making changes with your eating habits, with your weight, with overeating. We have these stories like you should work harder. Lots of shoulds. You should be working hard, you should be working harder. You could work harder. It will always be a struggle. Everyone knows it takes sacrifice. These thoughts, they come up and we, we begin to believe that they're just the truth. This is something I will always struggle with. Okay? Both the idea that you are always going to have to be fighting this thing and that it is going to be a fight and that it's going to be a struggle, those are stories. 

We also have stories about what we do and how we should do it. Like you might as well make it count. If you're going to do it, you might as well add this on as well, right? If you're going to show up, no pain, no gain. In a nutshell, we have a lot of stories that revolve around this idea of go big or go home, go big, or why bother?

Here's why this is a problem. When you fall for the go big or go home mentality, then you end up trying to do most of the time too much, too fast. So it's like when you go to the gym and you haven't been in months, and in reality, the big accomplishment is that you got your butt to the gym and you're starting this new habit. But you have the go big or go home mentality, and you're like, well, if I'm going to be here, I might as well do all the things. A 20 minute workout doesn't count. I really need to be here for 90 minutes. And then you do all the things and you hobble on home and you can't walk or sit down comfortably for a week because your glutes are so sore. 

And then, First of all, you lose that week because you can't keep going with any kind of consistency. And then when you think about going back to the gym, the dread factor is huge. So when you go big or go home, the risk is this, the risk is that you overwhelm yourself. The risk is that you set up a plan of action or a set of expectations for yourself that is simply not sustainable. And it easily falls into an all or nothing kind of categorization. It's either big or it's nothing. It's either worthwhile or it's nothing. You either stay at the gym for 90 minutes or it doesn't count. And you know where that all or nothing kind of thinking can lead and I'll talk about that more in a minute. But also when you go with this, go big or go home mindset. You can find yourself backed into a corner where the expectations feel so high and the actions that are required of you feel so big that you don't even want to start.

In, go big or go home it's like, you know, you have to give up all the sugar and you have to clean out your pantry, and you never get to go out to your favorite restaurant again. Because that's what it's going to take to make changes and it's time to get tough. So many smart women find themselves well, what I hear from so many smart women is I know what I need to do, and then they will recite this long, go big or go home list, and I can't figure out why I can't get myself to do it. I just can't get up the motivation to do it. It's because it's overwhelming and it is because there is most probably a part of you that already knows that it is too much.

Some more things I want to say about the go big or go home mindset, because it leads to all sorts of problems. The mindset of, you know, it has to be so big and so dramatic leads to you overlooking or devaluing or just dismissing the small wins the little wins. The changes that are happening that can and do create big changes if you keep doing them.

I have to tell you, I've worked with so many women who have said to me at some point, Melissa, it, nothing is happening. I'm not getting anywhere. I'm so frustrated this isn't working. And then I've had them take a step back well, first of all, what is not working? And it's usually a one singular go big goal. I haven't lost the 35 pounds, or I have a hundred pounds to lose. Or the scale didn't move this week. Right, Okay. But what is working? What has happened? 

And the little wins, and I have little in air quotes, because they don't think these things are little at all. They always rise to the surface. Right? When you set aside all or nothing thinking, when you set aside the go big or go home mindset, you can start to see the little wins, like the win that you've been paying more attention to your emotions that you've been taking a break after work, before dining into dinner prep. And since you've been doing that thing, you've lost two pounds. Inside the go big or go home mentality what I hear from clients is, but I haven't lost enough weight this week. But wait a minute, you lost two pounds. Were you dieting? Was it hard? Was it a struggle? No. Did it feel like you were being deprived? No. Does this feel like something you could keep doing? Yes. And you lost two pounds. Wow. That two pound weight loss that came about effortlessly because of a small change that didn't take a lot of effort. Our brains don't register things like this when they are stuck inside, go big or go home ways of thinking.

So to stick with that particular example here is a client who has lost two pounds by trying something simple that feels good, that isn't difficult, that is not a diet that doesn't leave her hungry or feeling deprived. But within this mentality, since her go big or go home brain is saying, but you should have lost 10 pounds by now. If she doesn't look at that. If she doesn't catch this thought error, she ends up feeling discouraged or telling herself this isn't working. Or saying, well, yeah, that doesn't count because it should be 10. That is one of the prices you pay within the Go Big or Go home mindset. 

Another thing that happens with this way of thinking is that you so easily get pulled into those cycles of yo-yo weight loss and yo-yo dieting because you are constantly starting over. You are setting yourself up with these big expectations and these big goals and these big unwieldy plans of what you're going do, and then you fail and, and because you failed and it's, and, and big. Go big or go home thinking and all or nothing thinking are like a married couple or like best friends. They just go together. And so it is very easy to get pulled into this cycle of feeling like you failed and endlessly starting over. And that feels awful. 

And not only are you prey to this idea of endlessly starting over and yo-yoing. But there's the rebound eating. Can we talk about the rebound eating? Because if you are within this way of thinking, here you go. You set yourself up with these unsustainable expectations, and then you blew that big plan that you had. Right? And blew is an air quote, quotes, but you blew the plan. And now because you blew it, you're going to have to start over. But that is going to be so hard, right? Because it's a big plan. Go big or go home and because you're going big, you know you've got to work yourself up for it because it's just takes so much effort and motivation and right now you're feeling like a failure because all or nothing thinking. And so you might as well eat all the things right now before you have to start over again. That is rebound eating. And it is. It is so much a part of this. Go big or go home mentality. Go big or, go home sounds really good. But when you play out what it looks like, it doesn't work. 

And then the, the final piece of this that I want to make sure to talk about that you're probably already thinking is procrastination. On the one hand, we, we feel charged up when we jump into a problem with that go big mentality, right? We're going to do dramatic things, we're going to get big results, it's going to happen fast. That's the one side of the coin. The idealistic side. But the other side is, it's going to be so big, it's going to be so hard. It's going to take so much energy. I don't know. I really can't do that this week. Oh, the holidays are coming up. There's the, I certainly cannot do that. I, you know, January, January would be a good time. , right? Procrastination we tell ourselves and we have been told that this way of thinking, thinking big leads to big results. But so much of the time, especially if you are already busy and you have a lot going on, thinking big, making big plans, being dramatic, not taking into account real life it leads to procrastination. 

And this is so important. You are not procrastinating because you are lazy or because you are unmotivated or because there is something wrong with you. In this scenario that I'm outlining for you, you're procrastinating because the plan is not a good fit for you. And it's probably not going to work anyway, and there's a part of you that already knows it all.

So the antidote to go big or go home is so amazingly unsexy that you need to take a moment to prepare yourself for it. It is the opposite of the dazzling big results and happening fast and instantaneously that comes to mind when you find yourself in that big, big thinking, dramatic place. This is the antidote, and it may not sound sexy, but the results you get from it are very, very sexy. The antidote to go big or go home is small doable steps. I know it sounds boring, but the small things, the doable things, the things that fit into your life, the things that you can easily or almost easily make time for, those are the kind of steps that you will keep taking. Those are the kind of things that are realistic. Those are the kind of things that are sustainable. I know those are all very unsexy words, but here is the, 

Small steps, those steps that your brain is telling you are very small. They really aren't. When you start taking actions. That you can sustain, that you can keep going with. And when you keep experimenting with the small actions to figure out which are the ones that really work for you and which are the ones that don't, and you continue onward with the small steps that work for you. And when you start to see results and when you step outside of the go big or go home mentality so that you can give yourself credit for the quote unquote small results. Amazing things happen. 

One thing I hear consistently from the women I work with who have created freedom from overeating, who have reached their goals, who have found the way of eating that works for them, that doesn't feel hard, that isn't a diet that doesn't leave them feeling deprived and hungry, and where they feel like, well, not like where they feel confident that they can continue to eat this way for the rest of their lives because they want to. The thing that I hear consistently, It was the small things. It's so crazy. I thought I was going to have to do these huge, big, dramatic things to see changes. And really it boiled down to some very simple changes that I made. And once they started giving themselves credit for the small changes, once they decided that, Oh wow, I can say that was good. I accomplished something this week. I learned something this week. This was enough. This is working. Two pounds. Wow. Without dieting, without going hungry. I could keep that going. Two pounds, that's a great result. 

Once they started giving themselves permission to look for the small things that could make a difference, to give themselves credit for the small actions they took, that made a difference. That once they gave themselves permission to look for the ways they could make, small changes that they could easily sustain, that would fit into their lives, everything started flowing more easily. 

The antidote to go big or go home is small steps. Seeing the small wins, collecting the small wins, and letting these things snowball and gather momentum and help you feel more confident and create a way of approaching things and thinking about your relationship with food that feels absolutely sustainable. 

So there you go. The idea of taking small, doable steps and seeing small doable gains doesn't sound sexy, but the results that come from moving out of the go big or go home mindset, those results, they feel really sexy. 

I'll talk to you soon.

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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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