If you have read Hungry for More, you may know that words have a very special place in my heart. I grew up in a house in which the words used were very, very exact. My father, a bonafide word connoisseur, would never say, for example, you are being impolite, if I was being impolite (which was rare by the way,) he would use words like impudent and impertinent.
I inherited this knack for syntax and we have a longstanding game in my household, in which my kids and hubbie try to stump me with words (they have yet to be successful, btw 🙂
I have always understood how much words matter. Words matter in our civil discourse (as has become exceedingly clear as of late), words matter in our relationships and in the way we speak to one another and words matter in the way that we speak to ourselves.
Nutrition, of course, is not just about the food that we eat, it is about all that we consume, and that does not exclude the way in which we speak and think to ourselves. And when it comes to our food, our diet, and our habits, this is most certainly the case as well.
We have a cultural narrative around food, diet and exercise that is very much linked to calories and weight loss. And while the desire to lose weight is not in of itself a problem, the way in which we view this concept can impact our ability and desire to engage in healthy behaviors and ultimately impede our health goals.
In this week’s podcast, I talk about some of the common ways we sabotage healthy habits by using the wrong words.
Think of the word diet itself. Diet is merely the food that we eat, however we have come to equate diet with calorie restriction and curtailment of the joy of food.
And restriction, as a word and a concept, backfires.
I have always wondered, why do I wake up on Yom Kippur, (and only on Yom Kippur) and immediately think, ‘hmmmm, I want pancakes?’ Because I am fasting of course!
I am sure that those of you who have ever tried to lose weight know first hand how true this is. When you say, I can’t, you become absolutely fixated on, I want.
In fact studies prove that restrictive behaviors and mindsets promote binge-eating and binge eating behaviors.
Instead of language of restriction, I advise my patients to think of abundance. Eat so much of what serves you so that there is less room, less desire for that which does not. (you have heard me say this before.)
A mindset of abundance takes away the fear and fear-based actions that restriction instills. It may seem like just a matter of word choice but it is so much more. Words impact how we feel and therefore how we act.
The words that we use, impact our feelings and therefore our actions.
So use words that empower you.
I want you to ask yourself, how often are the words you use getting in the way of doing something impactful or transformative?
So as you go into the holidays and into the new year, I want to remind you that health is not just about knowing what to do. I want to suggest that your words and your mindset might matter even more than all that knowing.
This concept has really been a game changer for my patients and I am sure it will be for you as well! Listen to the full episode here.
Wishing you a happy and healthy week!