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Words matter

mindset Dec 16, 2022

Words matter because the most important person in the world is always listening.

One of my lovely clients was sitting in front of me this week, despondent because she's been to several social occasions in the past week and hadn't been able to stay on track the way she had wanted to.

“I’m so angry with myself…why am I so useless and weak when I get around other people.  Maybe it’s just my destiny to stay fat…”  She said.

It was heartbreaking to hear this.  I know her thoughts well because they were once my thoughts too.  I'd tried following eating plans but could never stick with it for long enough to get decent results and always ended up feeling like a failure.   I too thought that I was simply destined to be overweight for the rest of my life. 

I ask my clients if they would ever talk to their best friend the way they talked to themselves.  Of course the answer is always a resounding "NO!".

Meeting my nutritionist and having the space to say these thoughts out loud proved to be the lightbulb moment for me. It's so powerful to talk with a coach and verbalise out loud, in front of another person, the thoughts that go in in our head.

Food and body image thoughts can be be stored in very deep places: from childhood, family experiences, what you've seen on the media, what your parents said and what your friends said.  Food is part of all special celebrations, events and ceremonies. It’s an integral part of life and, accordingly, is an integral part of our memories.

I can tell a lot about someone’s past, present and potential for success by the way they talk about themselves and the way they talk about their weight loss journey.

Common phrases I hear include:

“I’m just so unmotivated..I’m so useless”

“I am just so lazy”

“this is so hard”

“I know the next week will be a big challenge”

“I’m just not strong enough in the moment to say no”

As a coach I listen out for these deep-held beliefs when someone is talking to me and this is what we discuss during our appointments.

This is what I tell my clients:

You must be very careful what you say because the most important person in the world is always listening:  YOU

Whatever you say will be the truth.  If you want weight loss to be hard, just tell yourself that it is and 9 times out of 10 your wish will be granted!

If you want to change your mindset in a powerful way, here are actions you can take:

  1. Become an active observer in your own thoughts. Listen to what you say out loud
  2. Notice when you are making statements about yourself and your relationship with eating/food/body image
  3. Write these thoughts and words down in your journal.  Looking at them on paper gives you space to analyse what's true and what's not.
  4. If what you are saying is simply not true, come up with an alternative statement that is true and start saying this to yourself whenever you hear the negative belief come up.

For example, a thought of "weight loss is hard" may become "weight loss requires daily focus.  Being overweight is harder."

This is not something that will change overnight, but by taking the time to hear your words and truly listen to what you are saying to yourself, instead of being your own worst enemy, you may just become your own best friend.

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