(WellnessNova.com) - We all know that words can be powerful. But did you know that words can impact your journey toward health in some very powerful ways? It’s true! Words, whether they’re spoken aloud or passing through your mind, can impact mood and your subconscious in some truly remarkable ways.
Harvard University is investigating the impact of positive words – specifically, words related to happiness, security and victory. There is already evidence to suggest that words can trigger the release of neurochemicals, like oxytocin.
Oxytocin is linked to positive feelings, such as happiness and a sense of well-being. So by staying positive with affirmations and using positive words, you can quite literally make yourself happy!
How can positive terminology or even a positive affirmation impact your ability to lose weight? Well, negative feelings and a bad mood can really harm your motivation to stay active and eat a healthy diet. In some cases, those negative feelings may trigger you to eat more if you’re prone to eating in response to emotional situations. In an extreme situation, you could be left feeling hopeless, which causes you to give up!
So how can you harness the power of words to lose weight? And what words should you avoid during your weight loss journey? Let’s explore!
The Power of “No”
Researchers placed subjects in a fMRI scanner and they were asked to view a number of different words which were displayed on a screen. “No” was displayed for less than one second. In response, the subjects experienced a sudden and near-instantaneous release of dozens of hormones and neurotransmitters that have been linked to stress.
Those chemicals have the power to interfere with your ability to communicate and even use reason and logic. When the word “no” was spoken aloud, the effect was even more dramatic.
Those researchers discovered that other negative words had a similar effect. Many subjects experienced feelings of stress and anxiety, while those who were already battling depression reported that they felt even worse. Focus and ruminate on those negative words and you may actually cause lingering physical damage to vital brain structures that control emotions and memory.
Now combine the power of negative words with your weight loss journey – a journey that requires commitment and motivation to overcome challenges and effect lasting change – and you can understand how harmful negative words can be. It’s widely known that stress can impact hormone levels, which make it more challenging to shed those pounds. And when we’re feeling negative, it’s hard to find motivation. In fact, you may even find yourself giving up and throwing in the towel!
What Words Should You Avoid on Your Weight Loss Journey?
As you embark upon your weight loss journey, you’ll maximize your chances of success when you use the right, positive terminology both in your language and in your thoughts.
Of course, our perception of a word (as positive or negative) is largely subjective. So you must begin by taking some time to consider you associations with some of the many words surrounding weight loss and health. Make a list of the words you mention and then go down the list one by one and think of how each one makes you feel. What do you associate with each term?
Let’s look at a few of the most common negative weight loss-related words and some alternatives.
• Diet – “Diet” is amongst the most important words to avoid. It’s a term that makes us think of discomfort, deprivation, restriction, and struggle. In fact, an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association recommends removing “diet” from your vocabulary entirely. Instead, if you’re referring to the actual food, opt for a more neutral, positive term, like “meal plan” or “nutrition therapy.” These terms also imply action, which makes you feel more in control.
• Weight Loss – “Weight loss” is inherently negative since it includes the term “loss” which subconsciously triggers negative emotions. So instead of focusing on loss, you should be focusing on what you’re gaining – better health, greater confidence, and a slimmer figure. Instead of referring to “weight loss,” you can use terms like “health gains” or “body transformation.”
• Work out – The problem with “work out” is that it sounds challenging and unpleasant. It sounds like hard work! Very rarely do we look forward to hard work. You may have a similarly negative view of “exercise” too. So let’s use something more neutral and positive like “activity session,” “fitness routine,” or “movement session.”
There are loads of negative words surrounding appearance and physique too. Terms like “fat” and “obese” are rather obvious, but there are many other terms that aren’t so apparently negative. “Heavy” is a good example of a term that’s inherently negative. It brings to mind a burden, a challenge, a struggle.
To help cleanse your vocabulary of negative terms related to your appearance, make a list of words to describe yourself. Then, go down the list and consider how you view each individual word. What sort of things come to mind when you think of that specific word? Are those associations positive or negative? If a majority of the associations are negative, consider another (more positive) term that can be used as a substitution.
Remember, in order to effect lasting change, you need to change your vocabulary and your way of thinking. Your thoughts have a power that’s comparable to the words that you speak aloud.
Don’t allow your words to be a burden that weighs you down. Harness the power of these words to make yourself happier and healthier!