The Weight of Your Words
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.
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