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 feel heavy and weigh you down.
For example: “I hate my body.” “This is so hard.” “Things will never change.”
OK - if I tell my body I hate it all the time and I keep telling myself that losing weight is so hard and I believe nothing will change –well, guess what? 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. Her shoulders droop; her muscles feel heavy and fatigued. Her body’s response intensifies her belief. She comforts herself with food. This gives her more reason to feel ashamed and shame becomes her reality.
Now let’s see Anna choose her words wisely:
“I hate my body – I feel so ashamed.” “NO! – stop right there!” 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 very good care of myself. I’m learning to love my body.” Her body relaxes, her breathing slows, and her shoulders straighten. Her improved outlook and lightness in her body inspire her to talk a walk. She becomes unstuck.
If changing your words seems like a big leap to you, don’t worry. Just realize that your words are very 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 will have a profound effect. Make small shifts that feel true, but that also expand how you see yourself. For instance, instead of saying, "This is so hard", say "I'm pleased with myself for the steps I'm taking every day." This improved diet of words will uplift your spirit and help you feel more in control of your weight loss plan.
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 gentle breaths to relax and then say to yourself a few times “I hate my body”. Notice the sensations you experience. Then, clear out that thought and say to yourself “I love and appreciate my body for all it does for me” several times.
What shifts happened when you spoke both statements? Did you experience even 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 will learn to listen to your body and to feel the effects of your language. If you didn’t notice a shift, that’s ok. 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 do they 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
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