I know some of your are shocked I am promoting a new diet, but this is just too good to ignore. Get this… you don’t have to give up ANYTHING you eat. Yup, that’s right. Don’t change a thing about what goes IN your mouth… Change what comes OUT of your mouth... Your words.
So often our words, whether we say them aloud, or just replay them in our head, can get in the way of our best intentions. Have you ever said something along the lines of...
“I’m so bad”
“I can’t believe I’m doing this”
...when it came to something you ate? Or, ever overindulge, left with nothing but feelings of guilt and shame?
Anytime we think about changing our diet and lifestyle, it’s worth it to take a closer look at our overall relationship with food and our bodies first. Starting with the way you talk to yourself and others about food and your body.
In their book, Words can Change Your Brain, Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman prove that even a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.
Positive words can strengthen areas of our frontal lobe, and promote the brain's cognitive functioning and propel the motivational centers of our brain into action. Hostile or shaming language can disrupt specific genes, releasing dozens of stress-producing hormones and shutting down the logic-and-reasoning centers of the brain.
What does this mean? No matter how much you know about nutrition and exercise, if you’re still speaking shaming words, no amount of logic, reasoning, discipline or knowledge is going to be enough to endure any diet or exercise program.
But here’s the catch, when you can flip your script, you don’t have to endure a diet or exercise program. Sure, there might be gentle tweaks you need to make to support your body, like drinking more water, eating more vegetables, or eliminating an allergen, but by building this foundation of self love, respect, and empathy, you automatically and simultaneously strengthen your motivation, relieve stress, and ultimately allow your intuition take the wheel.
How can we do this?
Instead of using the phrases “I feel fat” “I’m so bad” “I fell off the wagon” swap these phrases out with a TRUE statement about what happened. For instance, let’s say you’re having a stressful day at work, and you decide to you NEED a bar of chocolate or bag of chips to mitigate that stress. But, immediately afterwards, your flushed with guilt knowing that you “slipped up.” By placing judgement on both your actions and the food (the chocolate), you are creating an even more stressful situation.
Instead, view this situation with some neutrality. What happened? You felt stressed at work. You were overwhelmed with deadlines and felt like you were running out of time all day long. You had some chocolate. Can you still completely love and accept yourself? Yes.
Next time that happens, maybe you realize in the moment, I feel stressed, but I am going to enjoy this bar of chocolate, mindfully. Instead of eating this bar of chocolate in response to my stress, I am going to eat it when I am able to enjoy it in a more positive environment. Once you build that awareness you might realize you didn’t even really want the chocolate in the first place.
Maybe next time you realize: I feel stressed. What does my body need right now to take care of this? Peace? Love? Quiet? Sleep? The answer probably isn’t chocolate, but the important thing is you build that awareness muscle, and atrophy the fear, worry, and shame muscle by showering yourself with more positive thoughts and experiences.
The work has to come from a place of self love and acceptance, NOT self loathing or it’s going to make it near impossible to ever get to a place where you will be truly happy or satisfied.
How will you flip your script? Is there something that you find yourself always saying when indulging in a “forbidden” food? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
In the upcoming weeks I'll be releasing my new podcast: BodyLove Studio (just like my YouTube channel), where I will spend the first season talking about Intuitive Eating. If you'd like to learn more about this topic, make sure to sign up for email updates so you're the first to know!