Today's Episode


Hello! You are so welcome to today's podcast episode.

First of all, I must say I'm really, really sick.

I'm not. Well at all.

I've got a lemsip beside me and I'm drinking water.

However, the show must go on.

I just wanted to tell you in case my voice.

Well, I know my voice sounds funny.

Um, so I hope you can put up with it while we have a really lovely chat and we're going to have a lovely chat today on all or nothing thinking it's coming up to Christmas time and I thought it would be a great idea to chat about that.

I used to really struggle at Christmas time.

Christmas time.

I used to feel so stressed out and so anxious because that all or nothing thinking that I used to do around fitness and exercise was just amplified at Christmas time.

Oh, I had such a lovely day yesterday before I get stuck in.

We were all sick myself, Joe Arthur Emily, all just under the weather storm, Fergus was here.

So we had a perfect excuse to stay indoors.

We got the fire on really early and we stayed in the living room and we watched movies.

So about a week ago, we decided we were going to start watching a movie every night, not one movie every night, but start a movie.

Watch a half an hour before the kids go to bed.

The kids go to bed at 9 p.


So we kind of started around 20 past eight.

However much of the movie we got done we watched and then we just continued it over to the next night.

We started this last Monday.

It's now Monday.

Today we have watched Home Alone, one, home alone two Jeanie, the new movie with Melissa mccarthy, which is a kind of a family friendly film.

It's actually quite good.

It's a bit silly, but in a good way, um, we watched Family Switch with Jennifer Garner for those of you with young kids.

And you've watched, yes, 10,000 times.

This is pretty much an exact carbon copy, exact same format.

Just a little tiny bit of a different story.

Very much along the thread like that.

It's Family Switch.

It's only out on Netflix recently.

And we watched a bit last night of Diary of a wimpy kid.

The animation because we've already watched all the non animation ones so, so far.

So good.

I really recommend it.

It's loads of fun.

It's really bonding.

It's really snuggly.

You get to snuggle in when it's lashing rain outside and it's really nice and you know what?

It was just so great to give ourselves permission to not do anything and to just recover and to get well, I hope you're doing well wherever you are, I couldn't get over the tornado, like the mini tornado in Leitrim last yesterday.

And I was only thinking the other day, my God, imagine if tornadoes ever came to Ireland and yet here we are scary stuff, really creepy stuff.

I hope everybody in Leitrim is ok.

Um, and not too traumatized afterwards.

So I want to get stuck into all or nothing thinking now, um, every time I stick a poll on my Instagram stories and ask you guys to share with me what you're struggling with the most.

So many of you message in to say all or nothing, all or nothing, all or nothing.

And I used to be a huge all or nothing person.

In fact, that's how I used to describe myself.

I used to turn around and say to people, oh I'm very all or nothing.

If you're all or nothing.

I want you to know a couple of things.

I want you to know that all or nothing is holding you back and it's going to hold you back for as long as you keep saying that you're all or nothing.

And as long as you don't fix this issue, if you can fix this all or nothing issue that you have, you're opening yourself up to amazing stuff coming your way when you have all or nothing.

Thinking you're essentially saying that there are only two options for you, their success and there's failure.

Now, the really cool thing is that I used to think that when I was very all or nothing like I'd be eating healthy or I wouldn't be, I couldn't have a couple of biscuits.

I had to have the whole packet.

I couldn't have a packet of crisps.

I had to have five packets of crisps.

That's when I stopped myself.

When I had my fifth packet of crisps.

I couldn't have garlic bread with my spaghetti bolognese because I had to have the whole roll or half depending on what Joe was eating.

There was nothing that I could do.

That wasn't extreme.

Like, literally, I have put myself off Mince pies of mulled wine of many types of beer.

I have put myself off so many things in the past because I over ate them.

Now, that is a little bit crazy to admit.

But I love to be honest on this podcast and that was me.

I used to put, I've put myself off so many things because that was the level and the extremes that I would be all or nothing.

And I remember Christmas time just being the worst time of all.

Like last Christmas was my first Christmas that I wasn't actually all or nothing because those of you listening to the podcast episode know, like I'm into my second year now of truly being healthy.

Um But any year before that, I remember going into the festive season, feeling really excited about it.

And then having my first night out, the first Christmas night out getting the Christmas tree up drinking way too much, eating way too much, waking up the next day eating too much because I was hungover and then just being triggered.

Oh Jessica, you've done it now, I'd be holding my hands, touching my stomach, feeling my stomach thinking, oh my God, I'm so bloated.

I'm getting fat.

Here we go again.

And this, here we go again.

Would ultimately lead me to eating way too much for the rest of Christmas.

And I have unpicked that and unraveled that so much.

And it's this that I want to help you with if you're feeling trapped also in that all or nothing, thinking if you desperately want to be healthy, bot the unhealthiness of Christmas time that you take part in, leads you to drop all the things that help you feel good and turn you into this monster where you just want to or not want to, where you, where you, it just triggers you to eat everything that I want to help you.

And this is exactly what I want to do in this episode.

And the outcome of this episode is that by the end of it, I hope you have taken one thing from it that you can really carry with you through this festive season to help you feel good and to help you really notice when you are doing all or nothing thinking I remember the pit in my stomach like it was yesterday, I'd be sitting on the couch having a glass of wine, somebody able to open the Quality Street and I'd be looking at them for ages, abstaining.

No, no, no.

And then, and then a voice inside me would say it's Christmas time.

Come on, eat one.

So I'd have this like mental battle with myself for about 30 minutes.


Everybody else would be watching the TV.

And then I'd say to myself, ok, go on, have one and then I'd wait about five minutes and I'd be looking at them and I'd be having this internal dialogue with myself.

Oh, Jessica don't have another one.

Don't, don't do it.

Oh, go on.


It's Christmas time.

It's Christmas time.

And then I would take another one and then there'd be about a two minute break and I'd take another one and then bang another one, another one, another one, another one.

And then that would be it.

Then it would be it, it would be free fall.

I would drink way too much.

I would just eat so many sweets and that would be it.

I'd get drunk and then late at night I'd probably get a cheese and crisp wrap secretly and eat it on the way to bed and I would wake up in the morning and I would just feel so depressed about myself.

So I would have the smallest of breakfasts and, and the whole thing would happen again.

And I just had this pit in my stomach.

I felt really bad like a pit in my stomach.

And when I would be getting dressed and trying to put my jeans on over my stomach and I'd feel bloated.

I just think I just feel desperate and I look in the mirror and my face would be flushed from the alcohol the night before.

And I just didn't recognize, well, I did recognize the person looking back at me, but I just didn't want the person that was looking back at me to, to be looking like that flushed face, puffy skin tired, knowing that I was going to have to go through the whole day thinking about food in deprivation mode, just trying to claw back any bit of control that I felt that I had and then getting into the evening time again and doing it all again, drinking too much, eating too much.

Probably when I was starting the eating too much, just like touching my stomach and feeling my stomach and figuring out, am I overweight yet or am I still?


What have I gotten away with?

What have I not?

It's just so depressing.

You know what though?

I used to think that all or nothing was to do with laziness, greediness for myself by the way that I was greedy that I was lazy.

That the true me wanted to be, wanted to eat all this food.

That the True me wanted to drink this and that the, the non true me was the person that was trying to be healthy.

So that when I came to the weekends or when I came to Christmas time, the real me came out and that's when I used to think to myself.

Oh, come on, it's Christmas time.

Oh, come on.

It's Friday.

Oh, come on.

The kids are in bed and it was that kind of thinking that made me think that this is what I really wanted or this was not what I really wanted, but this was the real me.

This isn't true.

None of it's true.

All or nothing thinking if you're an all or nothing person, it's, it's, it's not because you secretly are greedy or you secretly want to eat all the food or you secretly want to be drinking every night.

In fact, it's quite the opposite.

I want you to know that there is no single root cause for what causes all or nothing thinking.

However, things such as anxiety, depression shame, a lack of self-worth all play a part in developing cognitive distortions like all or nothing thinking.

So, isn't that so interesting?

I nearly fell off my seat when I learned this, that you could potentially have all or nothing thinking because you might have anxiety, depression shame, a lack of self worth, difficulty regulating emotions and traumatic experiences.

Now, I can take like four out of those five.

Isn't it really cool to know if you're listening to this now that there's a reason, a deep reason behind the reason that you're all or nothing.

I want you to know that every time you are in all or nothing or you're thinking all or nothing thoughts that you're essentially saying that there are only two options, success or failure.

And I bet you right now listening to this podcast episode that the rational part of you if you're feeling a bit calm and ok, and you're not being triggered at the moment and you're not surrounded by food right now listening to this, that, you know, that's not true that, you know, there is a gray area that there isn't just such a thing as success or failure that there's this lovely, messy grave.

But in between where we're succeeding along the way with setbacks and challenges and it's not black and white.

However, when we get into this all or nothing way of thinking, we automatically think of success or failure that there's two options, success or failure.

So the tendency there is to think in extremes seeing success or failure as your only two options.

And this can happen to anybody, especially during stressful times and what's really stressful Christmas time being around family, more being cooped up indoors, being surrounded by food.

I used to find that.

So triggering being surrounded by food and you know why?

Because I wasn't healed yet, the things that I just described to you, anxiety, depression, shame, a lack of self worth, difficulty regulating emotions and traumatic experiences.

I hadn't healed from all of that stuff that I was going through.

Yes, I was super anxious.

Yes, I had huge feelings of shame.

Yes, I had a massive lack of self worth.

Yes, I had difficulty regulating emotions and yes, I've been through traumatic experiences and up until 20 months ago, the first of May 2022 when I stepped away from alcohol and I started my journey of healing.

Before I started my journey of healing.

I was dealing with all this that actually can bring about all or nothing thinking so I want you to know now when you're going into Christmas time, when you, when you, when you hear yourself saying that you're all or nothing that you're, you're, you're all or nothing you're in or you're out, you're off track or you're on track that it's just symptoms of problems.

And this is why I despise diet culture and the weight loss industry so much because they want you to think that the symptoms are the problems.

Oh, you're overeating.

That's the problem.

Oh, you're all or nothing.

That's the problem here.

Eat plates of vegetables instead of eating potatoes.

And they just pretend that the thing you're doing is the real problem.

And that all you need to do is buy a diet plan from them that will tell you to load up your plate with veg.

You don't need that and you know, you don't need that.

And that is just insulting to you.

What you need to do is fix and heal the underlying problem.

The real problem such as for example, anxiety, depression, shame, a lack of self worth, difficulty regulating emotions and traumatic experiences.

And when we do that, we can really start to move away from the all or nothing thinking.

And that's exactly what happened to me, I was overweight for most of my adult life.

And if I wasn't losing weight, I was gaining weight.

Yes, I got to my ideal weight countless amount of times temporarily.

But I never, ever, ever fixed the reasons to why I was overweight.

I was just on this loop of dieting and of listening to the weight loss industry and diet culture telling me that my problem was that I didn't know how to eat properly.

And if I just did this, then this would be ok.

This would fix it all the while carrying this baggage of anxiety and pain and shame around with me.

I didn't know I was in pain.

I was hurting and I needed help.

So I can't give you advice.

That's going to be a quick fix.

Like take a deep breath and walk out of the room.

Don't eat any treats until six o'clock because that's all garbage.

That doesn't help with all or nothing thinking they're diet tips.

So I want you to get your blinkers on and really start for yourself to weed out the diet tips from people that you're listening to and think.

Oh, no, no, that's a diet tip.

And I don't diet, I don't need to diet.

I don't need to be told to eat a plate laden with veg instead of having carbs and turkey.

Wait, wait, wait, I don't need to be told that there's only 40 calories in this type of sweet.

And there's a, no, no, no, that's diet culture.

So I've written out some tips to help you with all or nothing thinking that, that I've done and myself and up until two years ago I was overeating.

I was binge eating, I was undereating.

I was restricting.

I was dieting.

I was an absolute cereal dieter.

And then I, I did this stuff on myself and I don't do any of that stuff And I'm really healthy now, I'm really healthy.

Healthy, being happy, fulfilled.

I have lots of connections in my life.

I work out, I nourish my body and I enjoy my treats.

That's what I mean when I say I'm healthy.

Um So the first thing that I want you to do over this next four weeks while we're in the festive season is to observe your behavior.

That's the very first thing that you want to do is observe your behavior.

Why am I eating this?

What's going to happen after I eat this?

What do you hate about it?

And what do you really want?

So just observe when I was giving up alcohol, I remember Tony Robbins saying one time he said, you know what?

There's only two ways you can change your behavior.

You can, I in my head, I sound really like him, but I, I know I probably don't, you can come up with an empowering alternative or you can get enough leverage to give it up.

So I decided to go about the finding enough leverage to give up alcohol ie making myself so sick of it, so sick of it that I couldn't help but stop.

And I did this through filming videos of myself on my iphone, talking to camera while drunk and watching them.

The next day, I also did this by observing myself while I was drinking and going.

Oh my God, you're not speaking your truth.

You're talking utter shite, you're tired, you're miserable.

You worked all week so hard and so authentically for what?

For this?

For sitting outside in the back garden drinking wine, talking shit.

This is not what you want.

And I just stayed in this period of observation for so long.

The same with um food with crisps, for example, I say crisps because that was kind of to me the healthier alternative when I was overeating during the week.

And I was like, oh no, well, I won't have any biscuits.

I'll just have some crisps instead.

So I mean, it's just crazy like I'm not fixing anything.

I'm just changing the food, but my behavior stayed the same.

But oh my God, there's less calories or whatever bullshit in crisps than there is in biscuits bullshit.

So I would start to observe myself.

So rather than just mindlessly eat the five packets of crisps on the couch when the kids had gone to bed, I would start to observe myself like almost like I was looking at myself from the outside, looking at myself and I'd be thinking you're eating those crisps.

You don't want to, you hate being overweight.

You love being healthy.

You love being fit.

Look at you.

What are you at now?

I wasn't shaving myself.

I genuinely wasn't.

I was just saying authentically, look at yourself, like, really look at yourself, see yourself eating, see the unhappiness in your eyes eating.

You don't want to be doing this.

And then I really observed what I hated about it.

I hated how my clothes felt.

I hated that I wanted to be really unhealthy.

I wanted to be really healthy, but I didn't feel healthy or look healthy or I wasn't acting healthy.

I spent a long time in observation mode and it was absolutely wonderful.

It was the best thing I could have done for myself to observe, to simply sit and watch myself overeating in my all or nothing.

Thinking in my, I have to have every single sweet in the quality street.

I don't know why I just have to do it.

And it was absolutely the best thing I could have done because over time it got me so clear on what I wanted, what I didn't want what I was working towards what I wanted to ditch, why I was overeating, why I was all or nothing.

And then I was able to work on that stuff because I knew what to actually work on, which was really cool and I really encourage you to do the same the next time you're triggered into your all or nothing thinking and you're sitting on the couch and you're having your fifth glass of wine or your 12th Quality Street and you don't want to and you know, you're doing it for all the reasons that you don't want to just sit and observe and ask yourself what's triggering me to do this and look back on the day and think, are you stressed out?

Are you overwhelmed?

Were you with somebody that day that you don't particularly like?

What is it that's bringing you to this overeating?

And remember the things that I read out earlier on the things that we can carry around us around with us that make us all or nothing.

Is this anxiety, depression, shame, a lack of self worth, difficulty regulating emotions, traumatic experiences, like those things really tune into yourself and figure out what it is.

The second thing that I want you to know.

The second tip is that you can still have healthy habits with unhealthy ones.

And when I started to realize this towards the end of my drinking and overeating career, let's call it when I really started to understand that I started to become healthier in the areas that I was already doing well at now the old me over Christmas time, I used to get to Christmas time.

I used to be exercising and drinking water and eating healthy.

And then I got to Christmas time and my all or nothing thinking would kick in and I would think what's the point?

I'm eating too much.

My clothes are getting tight.

I'm drinking too much.

So I would slowly but surely stop exercising, stop drinking water.

Beat the coffees into me and just be like so dehydrated like a lizard, like an absolute lizard.

I just used to stop drinking water.

All my healthy habits would go out the window.

I want you to know that you can be healthy and have unhealthy habits at the same time.

And in the last year of me drinking and overeating, I really started to get healthier in my other areas.

So I started to drink 2 L of water every day.

I stayed consistent with my exercise and I really focused on healthy eating.

So I was healthy eating and I was exercising and I was drinking water.

And alongside that I was binge eating and binge drinking and overeating on the couch and really going way over the top with the unhealthy habits.

However, I stuck with my, my healthy habits.

Now, I promise you if you stick with your unhealthy habits while you're working out your all or nothing stuff, the healthy habits are going to help you work on your unhealthy habits, the exercise is going to help you clear your mind and be able to think clearly and rationally and you're going to be able to work on your all or nothing thinking you're going to be hydrated, you're also going to be building in really good healthy food habits there.

So the whole time you're going to be working on becoming healthy while you're working on the unhealthy habits.

And so many people over the years that I have coached, I see the same problems coming up.

Women were so hard on ourselves.

And what tends to happen is we start a fitness program or we try to get healthy and our unhealthy habits are still there and we're so hard on ourselves that we say what's the point?

And we stop exercising and we give up on ourselves.

And I have seen so many clients get truly healthy because they're exercising, they're eating healthy and they're drinking water.

And they're saying to me in check ins, I still haven't nailed the all or nothing.

I still haven't nailed the overeating and you're thinking to yourself and I say to them, you legend that you're allowing yourself the freedom and time and space to focus on your unhealthy habits and you're not letting that affect your healthy habits.

That must be one of the biggest mistakes I see women make is that they drop everything because of one thing that they can't seem to get the, the weekend eating right yet.

So they stop or they can't seem to get consistent with their workouts so they stop bothering to eat healthy.

We really need to stop that, to stop that.

I want you to imagine yourself in January having spent Christmas time stuck in the all or nothing.


Because it does take time.

So four weeks it mightn't be enough.

It won't be enough.

So, you, you've overeaten, you've got very all or nothing.

However, you've kept up with the exercise, with the movement, with the water and you had breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

So you're getting to January and all you're working on now is eliminating the unhealthy habits rather than having to eliminate all your unhealthy habits and bring in new healthy habits.

You have the healthy habits there.

So it's more like an elimination process rather than having to start from absolute scratch.

Everything doesn't have to be tied into one thing.

It's not black and white.

Yes, you can work out, go for walks, drink 2 L of water, eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner while struggling with overeating, while eating too many treats, while drinking too much alcohol.

There's always hope and you never give up and you keep striving with your healthy habits.

And I want you to catch yourself when you think if you're thinking about going for a walk or a workout and you've drank loads the night before or you've eaten loads of unhealthy stuff and you're thinking, what's the point of saying?

No, no, no, we don't do that anymore.

We don't do that anymore.

I'm going for a walk because I love to be healthy.

And I find that phrase so helpful and I say it to myself so often.

No, no, no, we don't do that anymore.

I'm going for a walk.

I love being healthy.

Or when you're thinking, what is the point of me filling up my water bottle.

I've just, I'm eating way too much over Christmas time.

I feel like shit.

Say no, we don't do that anymore.

That's all or nothing.

Thinking I'm going to go and drink my 2 L of water today.

I promise you.

That's the way to do it.

That's the way to do it.

Separate it all out.

Work on the real problems.

Number three, tip number three, work on the stress and anxiety that's causing you to overeat, that triggers you into eating a whole biscuit tin into eating all the quality streets.

Work on the real problem and that takes time doing thrive times if you're my client stepping out of the room, going into another room, sitting on the chair, putting your feet on the floor, doing a thrive time, scheduling time for yourself, creating boundaries, making time for your life and your exercise for your hobbies, finding out what you like, what you dislike, making connections, going into a room, a quiet room for 10 minutes, taking your shoes off, putting your feet on the floor, putting your hands on your lap and breathing deeply for 10 minutes.

Or if five minutes is all you can achieve five minutes making time for yourself.

Working at not rushing, working on unlocking your inner peace and calm.

All these things take time.

And that's why we allow ourselves to be healthy and have healthy habits alongside our unhealthy habits.

Because what's the alternative?

You're going to wait until you're peaceful and calm until you start exercising, drinking water and having breakfast, lunch and dinner.

No, we keep our wins.

We keep what we're doing well and all the while we're getting healthier and healthier.

So if you believe that one of the main reasons is you all or nothing is that you're stressed or you're anxious.

Now, you know, you start working on your stress or anxiety.

You don't diet, that's not the problem, you know what to eat, that's not the issue.

You could write the book, you work on your stress and anxiety.

Now, my last tip that I want to give you might sound a little bit funny is don't let them beat you in all my years of coaching women and the things I've been through myself.

Many of us and many of us, many of you listening to the podcast have had somebody in your life that has beaten you down or that has made you feel really bad about yourself and you still have those feelings in you and you're not quite healed yet.

Might be a mother, a father, a sister, a partner, an ex partner, a bully somebody in your life that has made you feel really bad.

And I want you to give you an example of a client of mine, an old client of mine.

And when she first came to me, she was very overweight.

She had really high blood pressure.

Her face was really red from the blood pressure.

She smoked and she drank and she overate and her sister, all her life was really, really nasty to her and her sister was healthy, but a really horrible person, an absolute bitch.

Now my client was really gentle and really lovely and really kind.

And over the years she had been bullied by her sister.

And because of this, she turned to food and alcohol for comfort.

I got to know her really, really well and we chatted so much about this that not only was her sister winning because she still was being really nasty to her.

But also my clients was overweight and unhealthy because of her sister.

So her sister was still affecting her life.

She might have affected her life so many ways when she was younger because she lived with her.

But now years later, she's in her sixties, her sister was still having a really negative effect on her.

So when I say, don't let them beat you.

If there's somebody in your life that triggers you to eat shit and to overdrink and to be unhealthy, I want you to have a big long think about that and think I am doing this because of them.

And do I want that, do I want them to still be having an impact on me?

Even though I don't live with them anymore, even though they're not in my life or maybe they are in your life because of your family.

Am I going to let my family have an impact on my health or am I going to figure out a way to heal myself so that they don't have these ties or controls or horrible pings on me?

And that's what I had to do.

That's what I've done.

A part of my unhealthy journey was to do with how I felt about myself, which was to do with how I've been treated in the past by certain people and I was just continuing on that track.

So my client is really healthy now, really healthy and isn't that deadly that her sister is no longer affecting her health in that way?

So if you go to a family gathering or you go and visit somebody that you don't like or somebody's in your family, that doesn't make you feel good.

And you would normally rush home and crack open the wine or overeat to soothe yourself.

I want you to know that I've been there too and I don't want them to win.

I want you to win.

Don't let them be the reason why you're overweight, unhealthy, why you're drinking too much, why you're eating too much.

Don't let them win, take your power back, take your power back.

It might take a while.

You're going to have to learn how to love yourself again.

You're going to have to really learn how to love yourself again, but don't let them affect you more.



Well, thanks for listening to today's episode.

You can contact me at Jessica at Jessica Cook dot IE totally anonymously if you want me to read out your letter or any challenge that you're going through on the pod and we'll chat about it together.

That's Jessica at Jessica Cook dot IE.

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