Your words matter. Why, because different words create different feelings inside of you. Your words make up the sentences in your brain. These sentences are your thoughts. Your thoughts create your feelings. Your feelings create your actions and your actions create your results. That’s why the words that you use matter.

When it comes to sustaining long term weight loss, the actions that you consistently take are what determines your success or failure. Therefore, the language that you use daily matters. As a Weight Loss Coach, I’ve noticed three words that are commonly used when trying to lose weight that could actually be making the weight loss journey harder for you.

The first word is should. When you say to yourself, “I should go for a walk”. The word should generates feelings of guilt, like you’re not doing enough and it can lead you down the path of beating yourself up. These thoughts make you feel useless, miserable and definitely not interested in going for a walk.

Try swapping the word should for the word could. “I could go for a walk”. The feeling you get from this sentence is so different. The word could shifts your energy immediately helping you to feel lighter and think that going for a walk is achievable. It may even inspire you to actually choose to go for a walk.

The word could helps to empower you to make a change. So next time you think, “I should go for a walk”. Swap it out for “I could go for a walk” and see the difference in how it makes you feel.

Photo by Arek Adeoyeon Unsplash

The second word is can’t. “I can’t go to the gym tonight because I’m too busy”. Again the word can’t generates feelings of guilt and disempowerment. Using the word can’t is giving the power to something outside of you. You’re allowing the thought that you’re too busy to be the reason you don’t go to the gym.

Try swapping the word can’t with the word won’t and it will feel more truthful. Thinking I won’t go to the gym allows you to own the decision that you’re choosing not to go to the gym. You can always make time for the things you really want to do so being too busy is generally just an excuse.

Next time you think, “I can’t go to the gym tonight”, swap it out for “I won’t go to the gym tonight” which empowers you to own your decision and allows you to take responsibility for the decision you’re making. Acknowledging this decision is not so much about helping you to take the action of actually going to the gym, but rather opening you up to understanding how the words you use make you feel.

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The third word is want. “I want to eat healthier foods this week”. Again the word want doesn’t make you feel good or in control. It’s describing something as though it’s out of reach and you can’t achieve it.

Try swapping the word want for the word will. “I will eat healthier foods this week”. Using the word will means you’re making a commitment to yourself that you will take action to achieve your goal. You’re making a decision in that moment and empowering yourself.

It may even inspire you to sit down and make a meal plan for the week. Then write a shopping list and go to the supermarket to buy only the foods on your list. This will enable you to be able to cook nutritious meals so you can eat healthier during the week. If you continue just saying “I want to eat healthier”, you’ll just keep thinking about wanting to do it, but never actually taking action to achieve the goal.

Photo by Brooke Larkon Unsplash

Are you ready to start changing your language and choose more empowering words?

The first step is being aware of the current words you’re using. When you’re thinking about doing something that you know that will serve you in your weight loss journey, listen to the language and words that you use.

Listen for the shoulds, the can’ts and the wants. Start to catch yourself. When you hear them, ask yourself the question, is that really true? For example, is it really impossible for you to go to the gym or are you just choosing not to go to the gym. Then correct yourself with a more empowering word.

Start listening to the words other people use too. Now that you’re aware of these words, you’ll probably start to notice when other people use the words should, can’t and want. Notice what actions they take when they use these words, if any.

This will help you to realise that you’re making progress in your own journey by choosing not to use these words anymore. You’re choosing to empower yourself with words like could, won’t and will instead. You’re setting yourself up to create long term habits that will help you to take action and achieve your weight loss goals.