Health & Wellness Articles

Put the ''I'' Back in Your Vocabulary

Increase Your Chances for Weight-Loss Success

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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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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.

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