What to Stop Saying During Your Weight Loss Journey

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I work with many clients who have goals of losing weight. I hear certain phrases often, which can actually be counter-productive and harmful in reaching weight loss goals – let me explain why:

  1. “I’m having a Cheat Day/Meal”

    If it’s a ‘cheat meal’ you are implying that you are missing something from your diet. Ask yourself – do you feel like your diet is too strict? If you need a mental break or a ‘cheat’ from your diet, it just might be.

    To be clear, it’s not the actual meal that is the problem. It is the mentality that goes along with it. Thinking “I will go back to my normal eating pattern tomorrow so now’s the chance to eat everything that I’ve been missing!” This leads to a deprivation-binge eating cycle. You feel overwhelming feelings of guilt after that binge, which leads to periods of restriction to make up for that binge.

    We’ve been taught since we were little that cheating is bad, so let’s get away from that language. This language brings a whole bout of negative emotions and sense of failure.

    What to say instead:
    I choose to eat healthy foods almost all of the time because they  make my body feel good. Occasionally I choose to eat less-healthy foods, and I enjoy them to the fullest. I eat less-healthy choices guilt free, because I make room in my eating pattern for them.”
    They key here is to make the less-health choice a conscious, expected choice. This keeps your food choices within your control.

  2. “I Have No Willpower”

    Many people blame faulty willpower for their imperfect choices. However, lack of willpower isn’t the only reason you might fail to reach your goals.

    Willpower is the ability to resist short-term gratification in pursuit of long-term goals or objectives. Willpower can be compared to a muscle that becomes fatigued with overuse. Studies show that repeatedly resisting temptation drains your ability to withstand future enticements.

    What to say
    “Are my goals realistic and achievable? Am I trying to tackle too many at once?”

    Being depleted in one area can reduce willpower in other spheres, it is more effective to focus on a single goal at a time rather than attacking a list of multiple resolutions at once

    Willpower is only part of the equation for making a change, so it is not best to rely on willpower alone.  Make sure you start with small, realistic goals that you can build on.

  3. “I Turn to Chocolate When I’m Upset/Stressed/Angry etc”

    Food is emotional and we associate a lot of things with food. For example, a comforting memory, relaxation, stress relief, etc. It’s important to realize what we associate food with. How many times have you turned on a movie and automatically reached for those chips? Those chips are associated with watching that movie, which in turn means relaxing.

    What to say instead:
    “What kind of hunger am I experiencing?”

    I talk to my clients a lot about mouth, heart and stomach hunger. Mouth hunger is wanting the physical pleasure of food. Heart hunger is eating in response to emotion. Stomach hunger is true hunger. Mouth and heart hunger occur without stomach hunger.

    So instead, try working to identify what kind of hunger you are experiencing at various moments. This awareness will lead to changing your eating behaviour. You will realize when you are eating in response to different emotions and will find alternative strategies to deal with those emotions, instead of using food as a void.

  4. “I’m Avoiding Carbs”

    I hear this usually around carb-dense foods – “I’m avoiding bread” or “I’m avoiding pasta”. While decreasing carbs in your diet is a good tactic for losing weight, if we focus on eliminating something completely from our diets, we’re going to want it more! It’s like that forbidden fruit – something that we find desirable, that is off-limits.  Besides, who says that having a sandwich once a week is really going to dampen our weight loss efforts?

    What to say instead:
    “I’m focusing on adding __ to my meal” (for example vegetables or protein). By virtue of focusing on what you’re adding to your meal, you will be leaving out something (let’s say bread for example).

    Consider this: “I’m focusing on adding protein to my breakfast”. Your breakfast all of the sudden transforms from muffins to Greek yogurt and fruit…and you’re not even focusing on what you’ve eliminated! 
    The difference is the frame of mind – by thinking about what you can add, you avoid feeling restricted and deprived. 

Do you hear others say these phrases? Have you every said them yourself? What do you think you can say instead? Let me know 🙂





To Whey or Not to Whey – The Protein Powder Breakdown

It’s hard to ignore the buzz around protein powders lately as they are quite popular in body building circles and with athletes. It is clear that protein is a key macronutrient that can helps us obtain our performance, weight loss or muscle-building goals. However, you may be skeptical because these powders can be costly and may contain additional additives such as sugars and artificial sweeteners. This may cause you to ask “Is protein powder really necessary for the average person?”