I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. I took time off from writing and just spent time with the family. After I ran the Turkey Trot with my second daughter, the family all enjoyed a meal of turkey, dressing, rolls, salad, fruit, sweet potatoes my way, and a couple of homemade desserts. We had my oldest daughter’s fiancé over and it was special to have our first Thanksgiving with him. (He’s the one in the plaid shirt!) His fiancé is taking the picture.
The next day some of the family went out shopping while others stayed home and began the process of unpacking the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations. This makes me stressed so I typically take a shopping break and deal with the stress of the mall instead! Here is the crew with one of the trees already decorated!
While I was out shopping I stood in more than a few lines and overheard several conversations that went something like this:
Woman 1: “How was your Thanksgiving?”
Women 2: “Good, how was yours?”
Woman 1: “Nice, but I ate too much. I was supposed to be on a diet but I just couldn’t say no.”
Woman 2: “I know what you mean. I felt like a stuffed pig after Thanksgiving dinner and we hadn’t even brought out the desserts.”
As I listened to them talk I thought about the words “Can’t” and “Choose.”
Those words played a tremendous role for me as I was on my own personal journey to lose 150 pounds. When I dieted before that last time, I said, “I can’t have that,” a lot. Saying those words annoyed me and feeling as though “everything” I liked was in the “I can’t” column made me stressed and eventually I caved in and had “everything” that was on the “can’t” list. That included ice cream, cakes, crackers, fried chicken, french fries, etc.
The last time I lost weight, I made a decision to look at the food I was eating as a choice and try not to use the words “I can’t have that,”. It made a tremendous difference to my mental well being when I was losing weight to get rid of the “I can’t” and replace those words with “I choose.”
“I can’t” has a negative connotation whereas “I choose” does not. When you can’t have something because your diet tells you you can’t, you often come to resent the diet and want the food even more. When you tell yourself that you are choosing not to have a particular food because it is not what your body needs, you are putting the choice to say no in a much more positive light.
Positivity definitely helps in weight loss. The “I can’t” mentality is a negative phrase, whereas “I choose” is more positive.
Here’s a real life example. One time recently I was at a reception. There were a lot of really fabulous looking desserts and other foods laid out on the table. I had just finished a big dinner and had a bite of sherbet as dessert. I was not really hungry but some of that food did look good. Instead of telling myself that I couldn’t have any because I had already had something sweet that day, I told myself that I could have some but I was choosing to say no. I visited with the people at the reception and left without feeling deprived or annoyed that I couldn’t have any of the food. I chose not to have any and that made it all okay.
I realize that coming to this point as you are losing weight takes time and practice. You can’t just utter the words “I choose not to,” and magically not want the food. However, taking away the negative connotation of the words “I can’t have that,” really can help you stop feeling deprived and start feeling empowered.
I want to encourage you during this food frenzy of a holiday to really be deliberate in how you say no and yes to foods. Choose those foods that are good for you and choose to say “no” to the foods you do not need. Try to eliminate the whiny words of “I can’t have that.” from your vocabulary and see what a difference it can make.
Are you guilty of saying “I can’t?” I know I was! Diane