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Putting the "I" back in my vocabulary

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Sunday, April 07, 2013

I am determined to get through this amazing 10-article series "Mind Over Body" to reduce emotional eating and creating a more healthy lifestyle.

"I-messages" are familiar to me already. I use these in my therapy practice for various difficulties from depression, anxiety and interpersonal conflict. When you use an I-message, you take your power back.

Think of it this way, if losing weight was as easy as counting calories and working out then we would all be thin! But the thing is, we come up on roadblocks and have problems/difficulties. How do we overcome these?

By framing it in a way that gives us power to create effective solutions. How do we do that?

You guessed it, by using "I-statements"!!!!

So for me, I have a difficult time exercising and I am the queen of excuses! "I'm too tired, I want to spend time with the family, I have too much to do". This is the thinking of a victim. This is the way I usually think.

But... If I reframe it into an "I-statement" such as "I have a number of priorities and exercise is not high on my list" then I open it up to have a more realistic solution present itself. There is no right or wrong way to do this. I could reframe it in terms of time management "I choose to spend more time watching tv then working out". It still works because I now have another solution presented that I have the power to initiate.

The best way to get better at this is to practice it daily. Not just in weight loss and healthy choices, but in relationships, at work and when dealing with your kids.

Obviously it won't take all your problems away, instead it allows them to be seen in a different light and gives you the power back. And of course, you aren't perfect and some decisions may not be the healthiest but re better then others. But by using I-messages, you set yourself up for the best success because you take personal responsibility for your actions.

Now for the practical part. HOW!?!?

Start by writing stuff down, I'm a big advocate for journaling as the thoughts in our heads are not always accurate and they can be hard to challenge or change when they are swirling around up there.

Start by writing it down, no matter what it is.

"My husband cooked high fat, high carb meals this week, the Easter candy was so enticing on the table, it was too cold to walk and I was sick.".

Then go through and change the statements to reflect more appropriate I-statements that take the responsibility back.

"I let my husband cook, I chose to snack on Easter candy instead of the fruit and I decided that I didn't want to walk in the cold".

Now we look for solutions!

1. Plan healthy meals and leave a menu and recipe for husband to follow OR cook meals myself when I get home.

2. Hide the Easter candy in the pantry so its not as easily accessible as the fruit is

3. Have a workout video or video game handy on days when it is cold.

Eventually, you won't necessarily need to write it all out like this. But in the beginning it can be helpful. My goal is to start using these daily and see how that impacts me overall. I think that by taking responsibility, it will be a powerful tool for me. I encourage you to try it as well!

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