Upgrading your Lifestyle Starts in Your Head

Oct 10, 2021

Speech is an outcome of our thoughts.  How we think about food and eating affects how we talk about them, which in tern affects our lifestyle. We're inundated with nutrition information from multiple sources, but some is inaccurate and may result in negative thoughts and behaviors. So, when transitioning to a healthier lifestyle,it's helpful to begin by revamping our thoughts.

Compare the following statements:

I can't stop eating cookies.”

"It will be very difficult for me to eat fewer cookies.”

These statements reflect very different thought processes.

The first statement is unequivocal and negative. The speaker has given up and seems unable and/or unwilling to set goals. Contrast that with the second statement, in which the speaker admits that changing his/her eating habits will be challenging- but not impossible. There's hope!

Certain expressions can also block progress. A few examples:

  1. A common response to the recommendation to include healthy fats in one's diet is: But those foods are fattening!” The words “fattening” is unhelpful, because counting calories alone is misleading. When we instead categorize foods in terms of nutrient and calorie density, we can compare them. For instance, avocado is both nutrient-and calorie-dense whereas chocolate is high in calories but not nutrients.

  2. The words “snacks” and “nosh” connote chips, cookies, sweets and other processed foods.  Instead, I recommend “mini-meals” between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner. Mini-meals offer an opportunity to eat nutritious foods that aren't always served during meals, such as fruit, nuts, yogurt, popcorn and, sometimes, even sweets. Between meal energy dips are common, so mini-meals can provide a welcome boost of energy.

  3. Describing foods as “permitted” or “forbidden” is extreme and may prevent us from considering how they can fit into an eating plan. Labeling anything as “forbidden' can also make it more tempting.

 

The power to change is within us!!!

Positive thinking and language can help us upgrade our lifestyle.

Hands-on rephrasing tool: Write negative, discouraging expressions in one column. Then, in another column, rephrase them as positive, encouraging ones. Practice this exercise until it becomes automatic.

By being proactive and planning carefully, we can change how we think and speak about diet and lifestyle and, ultimately, how we live.

If you would like to discuss the rephrasing tool and are ready to start a new chapter in your nutrition journey, contact me.