Skip to content

Is an all or nothing approach to nutrition okay?

Ask an Expert: Karina Inkster

I seem to have an all or nothing approach to nutrition. Either I’m on an extremely restrictive diet, or I eat in a way that really doesn’t align with my health goals. What should I do?

There is no such thing as a “perfect” diet. The people who end up getting long-term results from dietary changes are not the ones who stayed on the bandwagon 100 per cent of the time. That doesn’t exist.

The people who get lasting results are the ones who never had a bandwagon to be on in the first place. Allow me to explain:

Recently, one of our clients told me, “I have such an all or nothing approach to nutrition. I’m either ‘on’ 100 per cent, or completely off. And when I’m ‘on’ at 100 per cent, completely on point, it doesn’t last very long. What should I do?"

So I said to her, “Let’s try an experiment. Instead of being 100 per cent on point 10 per cent of the time, let’s aim for 80 per cent on-point, 100 per cent of the time.”

That is what’s going to get you long term, sustainable results and allow you to enjoy the process. So instead of “all-or-nothing,” it’s “always something."

We’re not striving for perfection. Rather, we’re aiming for eating in a way that supports our goals 80 per cent of the time. This means treat or fun foods are built into your routine, so you don’t ever feel like you “fell off” a plan.

Karina Inkster is a qathet region health and fitness coach, author of five books, and host of the No-B.S. Vegan podcast.

If you have expert advice to share with Peak readers, email for submission details.

Join the Peak's email list for the top headlines right in your inbox Monday to Friday.