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The Weight of Your Words


By +Diane Petrella on Mar 03, 2014 12:00 PM in Dieting & You

By Diane Petrella, MSW

You have the power to improve your confidence at a moment's notice.

Here's how: Choose your words wisely.

A healthy diet of encouraging words is just as important as a healthy diet of nutritious foods.  Because your mind and body are connected, your body responds to your words and images. Your words can either uplift and lighten you or drain you and weigh you down.

For example:  “I hate my body.”  “This is so hard.”  “Things will never change.”

If you tell your body you hate it, tell yourself that losing weight is so hard and if you believe nothing will ever change, well... nothing will change.

It’s a chain effect that starts with your words. Your words become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your beliefs. Your beliefs become your reality.  

For example, Anna says she’s “ashamed” of her body. This leads to more thoughts of feeling ashamed and her body's response reflects her belief. Her shoulders droop; her muscles feel heavy and fatigued. She comforts herself with food and feels shame for overeating. The cycle continues.

Now let’s see Anna choose her words wisely:

“I hate my body. I feel so ashamed... no, stop!” she says to herself.  She takes a deep breath, and then says, “Even though I’m heavier than I want to be, I appreciate my body for all it does for me. I commit to taking good care of myself and I’m learning to love my body.” As Anna speaks more kindly to herself, her body relaxes, her breathing slows, her shoulders straighten. Her improved outlook and lightness in her body inspire her to take a walk. She becomes unstuck.

If changing your words seems like a big leap, don’t worry. Just begin by realizing that your words are powerful and little by little take small steps to eliminate the most damaging ones. Replace them with words that help you feel better about yourself and that lighten your body. Even subtle changes have a profound effect. Make small shifts that feel true and that expand how you see yourself.  For instance, instead of saying, "This is so hard", say "I'm proud of myself for the steps I'm taking every day." This improved diet of words will uplift your spirit and help you feel more in command of your weight loss journey.

Try this exercise to feel your body’s response to your words:

Sit in a quiet space with no distractions. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths to relax and then say to yourself a few times, “I hate my body”. Notice the sensations you experience. Then, clear that thought and say to yourself several times, “I love and appreciate my body for all it does for me."

What shifts happened when you said those statements? Did you experience a subtle sense of tension or heaviness with the first statement?  Did you notice a sense of lightness with the second?

By practicing this exercise you learn to listen to your body and feel the effects of your language. If you didn’t notice a shift, that’s okay. Keep practicing as this will help you to refine your ability to recognize the “weight” of your words on your mind and body.

Your thoughts...

What words do you use to describe yourself, your body and your weight loss journey?  Do these words empower you or keep you stuck?

Diane Petrella, MSW is a psychotherapist and life coach. She offers her clients a spiritual approach to weight loss and helps them develop a loving, respectful relationship with their bodies. Receive a free copy of Diane’s Seven Easy & Effortless Weight Loss Secrets by signing up for her monthly e-newsletter, Living Lightly, for spiritual insights and tips to release weight with confidence and love.  To contact Diane directly visit her website at www.dianepetrella.com 

 



Comments


What wonderful advice. At 70, every new year has brought me new appreciation for the wonder my body is - even overweight, even aging. I try to treat it as my best friend. The fault with gained weight, for me, is not to be blamed on my body but on my habits, which I am trying to reconfigure in more positive ways. 



Positive thinking is important in every aspect of our lives.

I've lost my extra unwanted pounds over a year or more now but I do remember how I felt.

I felt the extra pounds were only temporary because I had set up a plan towards losing them.  In my mind, I no longer looked at myself as overweight; I visualized the slim, fit person I wanted to be.

I became that person.

So many things in life begin with the power of positive thinking.



AMEN! I needed the reminder!  I tell others to "Speak Life", I guess it's time for me to practice what I preach!  :  )

I was feeling so discourage after a 6 lb gain in 2 weeks.  I was walking w/ my head down.

 

God use you to write this article for me and I'm eternal grateful Sealed



2 stone 8lbs down, 5 stone to go! Finally I am not looking in the mirror and hating my self, finally dressed I'm looking none too shabby. I'm just glad I've got here at last!!!! And grateful that I am now inspired to see my weight loss as an acheivable target.

Positive thinking is a powerful tool; next time you feel down jusrt try smiling, force your self, very soon you will feel happier with out changing anything except your expression Laughing



Some days positive thinking is really hard, but it is definitely worth the effort!

Just before I started switching to healthier habits earlier this year, I was constantly telling myself how fat I was and how much I hated myself.  Sometimes we think the negative will motivate us to change, but for many of us the negative just makes us unhappy and in need of comfort (often in the form of bad for us food).

I had some help turning my thinking around, though, and since then I really have been motivated to keep to healthy eating.  Every time I start saying something negative to myself, I actually say "Stop it!" and try to think something more positive.  I've been so much happier and definitely more motivated since I started recognizing just how detrimental all the negative thinking is.

What we think is who we are, so think good thoughts and be happy!



Sometimes (and this may sound nit-picky) I wonder if we should use the term "losing weight". I think there is a negative association with the word loss. We hate losing things. We look for things we lost, and when it comes to weight, we almost always find it again. (Sigh) Slimming (trimming) down! That's a good one. Getting fit! Great.  Reaching my goal! Awesome! Finding my ribs again!!! I could go on, but you get the idea.



Great article. 

 (nycbassist) I read or heard somewhere exactly what you are saying about "losing weight".  They replaced "losing weight" with "I am allowing my body to release this weight."  Just a few simple words really can change your prospective. 

It does take constant vigilance and I do not mean about what we put in our body, but what we put in our mind!  That can be more harmful than the food.  I have learned to do a daily practice of being "aware" of my thoughts and do as Wayne Dwyer suggested:  recognize the thought is not productive and say "cancel" and move on to a loving thought towards my self and others.



I like the term, "I want to get all of this extra fat off of me!"  I guess I preferred a dose of reality.  I had extra fat on me and I wanted to get the extra fat off of me.

It worked and I got 40 extra pounds of fat off of me.

It isn't pretty but I think reality is important.  I think we sometimes try to paint pretty pictures when things aren't so pretty or healthy.

Positive thoughts can be, "I want to get all of this extra fat off of me so that I can feel great, become fit and the best I can be each and every day."

Maybe somewhere inbetween!



Am morbidly obese and strive towards being severely obese. I KNOW that I am on the ROAD OF RECOVERY. It's a journey towards wellness! Guess the destination is not as important as the travel there. Enjoy the ride very much and cannot wait to land in the "country of the normal weight". Of course, once I've crossed the border of "severly obese", I'll be in the "obese land", etc. Very happy that I got a chance to travel!



I love this article.  It's amazing how hard we are on ourselves.  Sometimes I wish that I could see myself through the eyes of others, and that others could see themself through my eyes! There are many good ideas here.  I've never thought of the 'losing weight' vs. 'relesing weight' or 'getting the extra fat off'.  Thank you for all the posts with the great ideas!   



Original Post by: diane_petrella

Original Post by: nycbassist

Sometimes (and this may sound nit-picky) I wonder if we should use the term "losing weight". I think there is a negative association with the word loss. We hate losing things. We look for things we lost, and when it comes to weight, we almost always find it again. (Sigh) Slimming (trimming) down! That's a good one. Getting fit! Great.  Reaching my goal! Awesome! Finding my ribs again!!! I could go on, but you get the idea.


You're not being nit-picky at all! I agree with you. I'm not comfortable with the term "losing weight" either. I sometimes have substituted with my clients the word "release" which can be very helpful. "Releasing weight" is a more gentle term and when we release something we allow for a greater goodness to come in.

I will make a point to use "releasing weight" more often and thank you for reminding me of this!


"release" is amazing! i love this and i am going to really try hard to focus on that today and the rest of my life when i start to feel like my weight is not protecting me any longer.

 

love it!



I haven't yet read this whole article (I will after my morning run), but as someone who lost 25 pounds 7 years ago, and who did so from a complete change in my diet and my relationship with eating, I know all about the power of words.

I once read an article with a resigned attitude about people's supposed "set points" which stated "For those determined to foil biology, strict dieting is a life sentence." So right off the bat, we're subject to this notion of a strict, spartan regimen of deprivation,  where were "sentenced" to endure such a punishment for life. So why even bother trying, right?

But it need not be like that, and part of success is the attitude you bring to it, including choice of words.



For years cognitive therapists have warned us about the tapes we play in our head. Think negative and you do negative. Before Obama was saying "Yes. we can" Sammy Davis Jr. chose the title for his first biography to be "Yes, I Can!" Such a simple phrase. Whenever I start a new project I write down that statement, "Yes, I Can!" and stick it in several places. It's called affirmation. If we want to be healthy and in the process eliminate unhealthy foods, habits, toxic people from our lives than we need to affirm our actions. While it is nice to have others say affirmations to us, we have to incorporate those positives into our everyday lives. It is very difficult if you were raised in a culture or family that has planted a tape in your head that says, "You are not worthy, you are nothing, you are weak, you are stupid, you are ugly..." whatever the tape says. As we grow up and mature we can chose to change the tape and listen to ,"I am worthy of feeling good, I am someone worth loving, I am mentally strong, I am a beautiful soul..." Yes you can, he can, she can, and I can. And when you start to make those words reality- "Yes, I did!"



I like to say get rid of this extra weight or fat. It helps me to think of throwing it away to never have it again. I "get rid" of unused stuff at my house, which means I throw it away, and don't ever plan on needing, wanting or using it again. I too, have been using more positives. Even when I gain a pound, I still say I still look good. I take a quick, very very quick, look in the mirror with no clothes on in the morning and tell myself I am doing good or I look good. I feel better and know I am getting rid of all that fat!



Original Post by: mamasue5

I like the term, "I want to get all of this extra fat off of me!"  I guess I preferred a dose of reality.  I had extra fat on me and I wanted to get the extra fat off of me.

It worked and I got 40 extra pounds of fat off of me.

It isn't pretty but I think reality is important.  I think we sometimes try to paint pretty pictures when things aren't so pretty or healthy.

Positive thoughts can be, "I want to get all of this extra fat off of me so that I can feel great, become fit and the best I can be each and every day."

Maybe somewhere inbetween!


What you're pointing out here is the importance of finding the words that feel true for you and no one else. 

Notice the feeling and the sensations in your body as you use a particular word or phrase.  Does the feeling associated with the word uplift you? Or does it "weigh you down?" Practice the exercise as noted in this article to help you fine tune the words you routinely say to yourself. Your words then become your partners to assist you. 



I rarely say anything bad directly to my body. To me, it's kind of seperate. It didn't make me do anything. I fed it and turned it into this...thing. It couldn't be helped. So it's usually me saying, "I have to get up, I can't be lazy," and then telling my body, "i'm going to make it okay. We'll be okay."

However, I have had many, "I hate my body" days. *w*



Original Post by: dwiedenheft

Great article. 

 (nycbassist) I read or heard somewhere exactly what you are saying about "losing weight".  They replaced "losing weight" with "I am allowing my body to release this weight."  Just a few simple words really can change your prospective. 

It does take constant vigilance and I do not mean about what we put in our body, but what we put in our mind!  That can be more harmful than the food.  I have learned to do a daily practice of being "aware" of my thoughts and do as Wayne Dwyer suggested:  recognize the thought is not productive and say "cancel" and move on to a loving thought towards my self and others.


Thanks for mentioning the suggestion to say "cancel." That strategy is so simple yet so powerful because it enables you to deliberately create space between your thoughts. Within that space you can more easily pivot your thinking in a more positive direction.



Whenever someone says "It's only semantics" I cringe.  Words are incredibly powerful, and most of the leaders in media, business, and politics know it.  Think about how you feel when you hear the phrase "Americans are torturing detainees" vs. the phrase "We are using enhanced interrogation techniques to safeguard the American public".

I am a big believer in facing reality, and sometimes that takes clear, strong language.  But I try to do it in a way that is not hurtful to my chance of changing that reality.  For instance, I may say to myself "I hate being so fat" but I would never say "I hate myself for getting so fat".  I mean, if I hated myself, why should I try to become healthier and more attractive by "releasing" weight?  Why should I make the effort to move more?  Why should I take the time to prepare wholesome, delicious food?  I do these things because I love myself, and want to take better care of my body so that I can continue to enjoy my life.



While sitting in my car this morning, assessing what I needed to discuss with the allergist I would be meeting, I realized I had come to appreciate all the ways my body affords me a lovely life. Yes, I am trying to lose thirty pounds, and when I take the short-term view, I feel frustrated with the three month interlude of tendonitis in my right arm, and a torn achilles tendon at my left ankle. ( "I'll NEVER be able to hike or ride my bike , again...") Those discouraging thoughts often send me to the kitchen to look for something to soothe my sad self.  But this morning, I realized that - ok, short term temporary disabilities, and permanent hearing loss in one ear - there are sooo many things my body allows me to do. I had a nice walk in the sun and a positive visit with the allergist.

Coming home and reading this reminder is icing on the cake! Thanks for the many shared thoughts on the power of language.

 



I never really thought of it this way - but I did re-consider the approach and realize that the positive thinking IS likely what most of us are missing from our day to day. I often think how challenging my weightloss journey has been (since I have been dealing with it for more than 2/3 of my life). I realize the one thing that remains consistent is my 'aversion' to diets and my pre-conceived notion a/b how difficult it will be. In a way I think I set myself up to fail before I even start. Also, I find myself too eager for a quick fix, yet inconvenienced by making runs to the ladies room b/c I have increased my water consumption. It just dawned on me- you know your body is working properly when you make as small of a change as drinkign more water. That only means that in time, if you are consistent th weight will come off as well.

Sites like this one truly help us to put things in perspective and remind us this a journey and we have to pace ourselves.



Original Post by: diane_petrella

Original Post by: mamasue5

I like the term, "I want to get all of this extra fat off of me!"  I guess I preferred a dose of reality.  I had extra fat on me and I wanted to get the extra fat off of me.

It worked and I got 40 extra pounds of fat off of me.

It isn't pretty but I think reality is important.  I think we sometimes try to paint pretty pictures when things aren't so pretty or healthy.

Positive thoughts can be, "I want to get all of this extra fat off of me so that I can feel great, become fit and the best I can be each and every day."

Maybe somewhere inbetween!


What you're pointing out here is the importance of finding the words that feel true for you and no one else. 

Notice the feeling and the sensations in your body as you use a particular word or phrase.  Does the feeling associated with the word uplift you? Or does it "weigh you down?" Practice the exercise as noted in this article to help you fine tune the words you routinely say to yourself. Your words then become your partners to assist you. 


Thank you Diane but I've already lost the weight.  The words I chose were that I wanted to get all the extra fat off of me and get back to my adult weight which was accurate up until the age of 36.

Over the course of almost two decades I had steadily gained 40 pounds and finally I decided to get rid of the extra fat.

I told myself repeatedly that by eating properly and creating a deficit the extra fat would come off as fast as it possibly could in a healthy manner.

I reminded myself that if I worked out consistently by doing Pilates and walking each day, maybe I could tone my body as I went along.

I also envisioned as I stated earlier that younger version of myself.  I thought it would be a small miracle if I could recapture my weight and fitness level of my 20's and early 30's after all the 40 pounds of fat came off.  To my utter amazament, it happened, just like I had envisioned.  I lost every last pound.  I became toned, fit and in the best shape of my life since my 20's. 

I am writing on here so that others may be able to benefit from what I myself have experienced as a person who was formerly overweight and who is no longer.   There's something about actually sharing the experience that creates a bond among people who have a similar obstacle.

I have kept the weight off for over a year and I continue to be amazed how it all came together.

 



I can relate to so many things that people have commented on. I have just started an eating right class and have learned not to say that I am on a diet, but to say I am choosing to take better care of myself. I also do not like to say "losing weight" or "weight loss". Those seem negative to me. I am using the words "body ownership" instead; which means I am responsible for what I put into my body and how I choose to care for it. I also have stopped looking at the 50 to 55 pounds I will ultimately shed and instead have thought of this as a journey to eat properly 80% of the time, one moment at a time. This is the first time I have ever really said and meant that I can do this!



A wonderful book, if you can find it, is "Your Thoughts Can Change Your Life" by

Dr. Donald Curtis.  It's out of print now but you can still find very low priced used

copies at Amazon.com or Alibris.com  I use the affirmation constantly.  Easy done

 



I don't know, sometimes I feel like its human nature to create this type of negativism.  I can remember being in my late 30's or early 40's raising our teenagers with the cycle of negative thoughts on a daily basis.  Actually, I think it is a form of dealing with stress.  It can become a habit that we truly do not need in our lives.  Let's just say, we can't afford to be negative.  In order to get the most out of life, we have to be positive in order to be productive.

I pointed it out to my sister-in-law one day and I asked her if she did that.  She said she didn't.  She told me not to do it.

From that point on, I started to catch myself.  Just like overeating becomes a habit, so does negative thinking.

I started way early on my own children as young adults.  I've told them to turn the thought around and replace it with a good one.

It has become so much easier as life goes on.  Wow, sometimes we simply have bad habits we have to break.

You have to catch the negative thought right when it comes.  You might try saying something like, "Oh no you don't; I can't afford to think negatively; I have too many great things I want to get accomplished today."  Don't worry if it takes time as someone mentioned.  Catch it and turn it around by thinking of something else immediately and then replace it with a positive thought.

It really really works!

 



 Dear Diane,

That Article was a word in time.  This has movitated me to start anew.  I am the one who will put myself down before anyone else has a chance to.  This has to stop right now.  I won't do it again.  No matter what.  "I love myself" and I'm starting to say it.  Thank you for your powerful words! Inspiration from above.



I have not finished reading this article yet, but I am enjoying so far.  I once weighed 365lbs and lost 135lbs.  Over the course of a year I have gained about 20lbs back.  It's been challenging for me, but I have managed to keep the majority off (not without a fight).  However I have always had a poor self image and I say all the time that I hate my body.  This is something I am going to stop saying.  How can I hate what God has created? New day, new start!!!Laughing



This was a much needed reminder. Media and society spin webs of false beauty. I don't want to end up on the cover of a magazine all airbrushed and photoshopped. Jiggly fat and all I am proud to be an intelligent and interesting person with a beautiful smile and wonderful family. All natural beauty.

  Well, that certainly made me feel at least 10 pounds lighter! I should remember to do that before I squeeze into my freshly dried jeans.



I love this advice!  This is exactly what I try and do everyday, both in regards to my health, and life in general as well.  I repeat to myself everyday that half the battle of happiness is allowing yourself to be happy.  Sometimes life deals out tough situations, and while you may not have control of them, you do have control over how you react to them.  I love this one!  Good Job :)



Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit.  I read the postings here but rarely comment.  I have taken much of what has been said and been able to apply it in my quest to lose weight.  I started out at 325 and now am at 279.  I have lost three pant sizes and two shirt sizes.  I am in the pant size now that I wore twenty years ago.  My intermediate goal is 250 which will be the weight I was nearly thirty years ago.  My end goal is around 200 which is what I weighed forty years ago.  I pray every day that God will help me and my wife to make the right food choices and to exercise and to help us lose the weight.  I hope that this will help some one else as much as your postings have helped me.  Thanks.

Southzvi



Positive thoughts in all parts of our lives is the key to a wonderful life!

We need to remind ourselves to be positive and it is worth the effort.

Visualize life as you want it and try and pass your positive attitude along to others.

God speed to all of us to be healthy, fit, and happy!

We need to reverse all of the negativity that we can.



Can I re-post this on my Biggest Loser Forum with full credits?



Good Morning- this whole column and comments should be sent to everyone everywhere.

Collectively the world can be changed with positive energy!!!



Original Post by: nosouix

Can I re-post this on my Biggest Loser Forum with full credits?


I appreciate your inquiry!

I just sent you a note. Please check your private messages so we can chat about this.
Thanks!
Diane



Cool DIane... love love loved this article... I find that I CANNOT let go of my old eating habits if I am not kind and caring with myself... the moment I start being negative with myself (and by extension to others) I hold on to extra weight... every single time.. I swear its karmic...

   I make a concerted effort to refer to my road as "letting go of weight" so that I can remain true to being 75 per cent of the process.. having some measure of responsibility for my process is essential for the longevity I need to let go for what is realistically a quite long committment to this road -- the rest of my life...

   I also want to say that I found myself foloowing a thread today that really upset me, in that it contained bickering and smallness and pettiness that really can harm people in this process... I was refreshed and happy to find a group of women here on this blog who deeply want to appreciate and love one another as they walk the road together...

  Thank you for your sharing... so rich and valuable!



So true the release of anger built up inside just because of being down and depressed from weight issues.  I watched The biggest loser the other night and got insired from the lady that lost her whole family (not to change the subject) but people like that have it hard but shes still doing her weight loss.  Me on the other hand I have it easy so I usually sit in a quiet room and relax whether it be the tub or beside the window and typically I continue to say to myself "I can do this".  The things we go through to get over weight are hard its easier losing the stress and letting go of years worth of reasons why I didn't do it then.



I love this article because it wasn't long ago that I called myself fat and said that I "hated my body".  I am still roughly 50 lbs overweight, but 3 months ago, I was 80 lbs overweight.  I have learned to respect my body as well as the food I put into it.  My mind is clear of all of the negative clutter.  I realized that the key to my loss is to simply think positive thoughts.  I don;t call myself fat anymore.  I call myself fit so that I have something to strive towards.  

I get to the gym 3-4 days a week and I have taken up rock climbing again.  It's amazing how much stronger I've gotten...not to mention that I am not carrying around 30 lbs of excess baggage around!  lol. Our bodies are machines that require daily maintenance.  If we put poor fuel in our bodies, they will run poorly.  

I know it's easier said than done, but think happy thoughts and love yourself.  It's also helpful if you have a great support network like the one here at CC!  I love you guys!  Happy "releasing" of fat! Cool 



"Your Thoughts Can Change Your Life " by Dr. Donald Curtis is my favorite "go to book"  Dr, Curtis was my minister at Dallas Unity Church on Forest Lane in Dallas Texas.  His message was always so positive.  Many of us would leave the sanctuary pumping our arms like the Toyota commercial.  It was the first of the New Thought books I had ever read.   You can find paper back copies on Amazon.com or Alibris.com.  Apply the principals to every stage of your being.  Pepper Jones



I've been learning a great deal about the power of positive thinking lately.  I just read Diane's article "The Weight of your words" and I have also been reading a great book called "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrnes, which, in many ways reflects the meaning of Diane's article.  Bottom line, I am working towards the goal of understanding the importance of positive words and visualization to help return myself to better health. " The Secret" has been something that such famous people as Einstein and many other successful individuals have known for many years and it teaches us that by concentrating on positives and deliberately having good thoughts, we reflect those positive energies into the universe and it bounces right back onto us.   I recommend it highly and I bet it is also in line with the book Pepperjones commented about, "Your Thoughts Can Change Your Life" by Donald Curtis.  I will have to read that one too!  Happy Positive thinking everyone.... I do believe it works!!!



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