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The Power of the Word

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I may have touched upon these thoughts before, perhaps a couple of times, but it's an important subject, mostly because the threads I see keep staying in the "popular" or "trending" threads on the side of the page.

There are a couple of ways to look at your diet. You can think of it as excluding all your favorite things that made you overweight or you can think of it as trying new things to see what you like that have fewer calories and are satisfying. Remember that diet was never a verb until the pharmaceutical companies started wanting to make a buck off our weight issues. Diet has always been the noun that means any item we ingest.

When we look at the thing we wish to eat, there comes emotions. We can get ahold of those emotions (which vary over time) by switching some of the thoughts that go through our heads.

We may at first be sad we "can't" have something, then we may want to "cheat" on our diet. This will ruin any person trying to lose weight anywhere!

Let's look at those words. "can't" means we're denying ourselves something. The only reason someone can't have something is if they're truly allergic to something and it will kill them. Everyone else shouldn't have that in their vocabulary. I know I tell my kids all the time that "can't" needs to be lost out of their vocabulary and it should for everyone else too.

When you "can't" you probably feel like you're being denied and other people will pick up on it and, especially at food based gathering, try to get you to eat something that you "can't". The worst thing you can say to anyone else is "I can't, I'm on a diet."

If you "can't" then you're more likely to "cheat" on your diet. All those things you "can't" have you will possibly binge on, perhaps even planning a "cheat" day where you don't track anything. This is problem #2, not tracking.

When you "cheat", who are you cheating? Its not your spouse or your boss, when you eat out of their view your body will still be able to tell. The only one you're cheating is you and your health. Most of the time "cheating" consists of eating whatever you want, usually something terribly unhealthy and fattening, either full of bad fat or high in sugars, and eating a lot of it! Then when you're done "cheating" you feel bad because you overindulged and your body just can't handle the fat and sugars anymore like it did when you were eating all the junk all the time (even though you probably were tired and feeling bleah all the time then too). You may even feel bad because you failed at sticking perfectly to your diet because you "cheated".

Now how do we fix these negative thoughts?

There are easy substitutions to "can't" and "cheat".

"Can't" is replaced with "don't". You no longer say "I can't", you say "I don't". "I don't want that donut", "I don't care for those chips", "I don't eat that". When you start saying "don't" you put the power into your hands. When you "don't" you're saying that it's nothing you care to have right now. I'm not saying that you never want it, but in that moment you "don't". "Don't" makes you powerful. It puts you instead of the food in the place of power. You are making the choice to not have that item right then. People are less likely to push the food onto you when you "don't" eat it. They may question you, but then you just say you "don't" care for the item. That usually stops the conversation about the food right there.

Now to replace your "cheating". Think of the things you don't normally have as "treats". If you're "treating" yourself, you are going to slow down and savor your treat. It's something that you don't have often, but you enjoy when you do. It may be something that's higher calorie or with ingredients you don't have often, but you do enjoy. When you're having a "treat" it's thought of as something enjoyable.

You only have cake at special occasions like birthdays, right? That would be a treat. Perhaps you only have ribs at summer holidays, or there's this special thing your mother makes for a winter holiday? You can do the same with other items too, an ice cream sundae can be had once a month at a ball game or a pop can be had when eating out because I know you all aren't eating out every day anymore, right? Just be sure you're "treating" yourself when you have the time to slow down and enjoy it and that it's only occasionally because if it's frequently, it's no longer a treat.

So "can't" makes us angry we're denying ourselves, but "don't" makes us feel empowered. "Cheat" makes us feel guilty, but "treat" makes us feel happy.

How are you using your words?

Today's Holidays: Embrace Your Geekness Day, Barbershop Music Appreciation Day, International Puzzle Day, Stone House Day, Beans 'n' Franks Day and National French Fries Day.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • COREY195
    1712 days ago
  • FRAN0426
    Love this blog, and so true. Like the sound of treat instead of cheat, as long as we remember treat in moderation.
    1713 days ago
    Oh so true!
    1713 days ago
    My word is Moderation!
    I know I can have all the things I enjoy just not - the whole bar of chocolate, the whole packet of biscuits, a meal made up of just cheese etc!!!

    1713 days ago
    You've hit the nail on the head b/c words influence attitude and attitude is what will lead us to be winners!
    1713 days ago
    Words are powerful. I've redefined some, shrunk some down and blown up others. I'm going against the grain with the word diet. It is what it is, whatever you ingest on a regular basis, and leaving lifestyle where it should be; it is the whole, whereas the diet is just one piece of a healthy lifestyle.

    Love the blog because you are taking ownership for your words, your power. Everyone needs to do that! emoticon
    1713 days ago
    I try not to use the word diet. I have changed my lifestyle.
    1714 days ago
    Great blog! The word "Cheat" sounds very secretive and shameful to me and as you said guilty. I like your thinking in switching to "Treat". A treat is something we have earned.
    1714 days ago
    Excellent! I especially love switching out "Treat" for "cheat." Instead of "can't," or even the more empowering "don't," perhaps "I prefer this piece of fruit," or "I prefer to have a glass of water," or some other "I prefer..."
    1714 days ago
  • TIGER_LILY_613
    I love this - thinking positively about food choices instead of negatively, it's a very healthy mindset. Thank you for sharing this
    1714 days ago
    Great post. I made the transition from "can't" to "don't" really early on and it definitely helped me. "Can't" feels like a weak word, whereas "don't" seems stronger, more empowering.
    1714 days ago
    Well said!
    1714 days ago
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