Health & Wellness Articles

Put the ''I'' Back in Your Vocabulary

Increase Your Chances for Weight-Loss Success

823SHARES
Would you believe me if I told you that knowing the answer to one simple question could improve your chances for weight loss success by up to 100%? Well, it’s true. Here’s the question:

Which of the following is the single most important factor in long-term weight loss success?

A. Calorie Counting
B. Regular Exercise
C. Starting your sentences with the pronoun “I”
D. Both a and b

The correct answer to this question is: C—starting your sentences with the pronoun “I”.

Here’s why it’s so important:

You already know that to lose weight, you must eat fewer calories and burn more through exercise. But if just knowing this was enough to drop the pounds, you wouldn’t be sitting here reading this. You’d be off flaunting your incredible body in that new swimsuit you’ve got your eye on. Or doing something—anything—but reading about how to lose weight. There’s a big difference between knowing what to do, and knowing how to do it.

People who succeed at doing what needs to be done are people who have mastered the art of defining problems accurately, and choosing (and implementing) effective solutions.

You can master this art by starting your sentences with “I” statements. Here’s how this works. If you have persistent difficulty actually exercising like you know you need to, for example, you probably don't describe this problem to yourself with thoughts that begin with the pronoun "I". You may tell yourself that your job or your family responsibilities don’t leave enough time or energy for exercise; that the gym is too far away but you don’t have the money to buy exercise equipment; or that your body is so large or out of shape that you can’t do enough exercise to make a difference.

This is the helpless thinking of a victim, which will get you nowhere fast.

What would happen if you started thinking about the same problems but started your thoughts with an “I” statement? When you say to yourself, "I have made working and family priorities, and I haven’t put exercise very high up on my priority list," you define the problem much more accurately. You also bring the only realistic solution to your problem into sight for the first time. That solution, of course, is to put exercise high enough on your priority list that it gets the same amount of effort and attention as other important responsibilities in your life. This is something only you can do, and starting your sentences with an "I" will help you acknowledge that, and take responsibility for your own decisions and their consequences.
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823SHARES

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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • I really needed something like these 10 steps. I want to keep the weight off. I am grateful! - 8/27/2014 9:28:41 AM
  • KATHI319
    Very good article, Can be applied to all aspects of ones life especially if they
    unknowingly have the victim mentality. - 1/7/2014 6:50:10 PM
  • SONOFCZAR
    This story is ridiculous. It's like the whole "power of positive thinking" mentality. The problem with this is that talk is cheap. Take some action, be mindful of your food intake and exercise regularly and you'll lose weight. - 1/5/2014 9:19:05 AM
  • "I" will make intelligent decisions about my own behavior regarding food and exercise. - 11/30/2013 6:00:47 PM
  • I need to prioritze making a habit of using I in my weightloss strategy. It reallymakes sense I think itwill be bery helpful Good article. Thanks! - 8/12/2013 9:15:27 PM
  • Great article. "I" had never thought of this before, but it is SO true. - 7/15/2013 3:09:34 PM
  • Very insightful! I will definitely be putting the "I", back into my way of thinking - 5/27/2013 7:23:08 PM
  • RRROCHAS
    I too have put 'I' into my action, thank you SparkPeople!!! - 3/10/2013 11:35:27 PM
  • I've put the I back into my vocabulary. - 2/22/2013 6:23:01 PM
  • PAUL2274
    Taking responsibility for our actions...mmmm seems like a concept that is very lacking in todays society... everyone is too busy pointing fingers and making excuses. - 2/3/2013 5:27:49 PM
  • What goes in my mouth, I am resposible fore.
    I now have protien shake mix (Winco savay) and veggie powder that I can add yogurt,frozen banana, peanut butter, cereal, fresh friut, whole grain bread, sugar free jello, or anything I need from the food tracker....to be done with eating and meet my requirements fot the day,... and get on with my day.
    No one can take that from me. The house can eat all the food for I dont care. I want and do and have better and more important things to do. Like start actualy living my life, and not be a slave to my fat belly and food. - 1/8/2013 7:22:01 PM
  • The reason I chose "ForME " for my company name. it's just simple.
    http://formetra
    ining.com/ - 12/23/2012 2:27:29 AM
  • While I agree that only I can put food in my mouth,chew, and swallow it, it doesn't help that my retired husband wants to eat in fast food restaurants, wants to buy me candy, wants to cook potatoes, does a carby pea soup giving me 1.5 servings rather than 1 serving, and that is just the start. He has been retired for 5 years now and I have gained 20 pounds. He loves 3cooked meals a day., and gets rather huffy if I decline food. Right now, his life revolves around food and eating it, and he is never happier than when I'm in the kitchen cooking. He loves to cook too. Our conversations are about what we are going to eat and when we are going to eat it, what is in the freezer what is in the fridge, what I need to bake, what recipe we should use,our grocery list, which grocery stores have the best deals, what we have eaten in the past. Which grocery stores are outrageously expensive, and that is just the start He goes on from there. Anyway, you get the gist. - 10/28/2012 11:08:38 PM
  • The only problem I have with the "I" statements is that sometimes it's not a choice. For instance, I have to do all the cooking and cleaning at home (or else it doesn't get done at all) so I end up not having time to do other things. Good grief, I get up at 5:30am and go to work, study at lunch (I'm in grad school), spend as much time as possible exercising after work (20 min to an hour), then cook dinner, do dishes, take care of any other cleaning or prep for the next day (usually that means making lunch in advance), and go to bed. If I'm lucky, I might get to watch 30 min or so of TV MAYBE. My "I" statement is that I don't have time for very much "fun" stuff like working out or catching my favorite show. - 10/9/2012 6:05:34 PM
  • This should be right out on the home page of Spark People so we can all see that it is our own responsibility for being where we are in life.
    I decided to make some wrong choices in the "unhealthy" living area but now I am making more choices to follow a healthy lifestyle.
    It is no ones choices but mine that caused me to be overweight. Now I choose to take steps to become healthier. I choose to make healthier choices for me.

    What a great article. - 9/20/2012 9:32:27 AM

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