Becoming a powerful person over the way you eat and the way you look at your body takes a commitment to change the way you think, and the way you talk. “Whatever a man thinks in his head, so he is”. What you authorize yourself to think and say will be what you allow to exist in your life. The things you think and the words you say impact our metabolism and have tremendous power in altering our health, whether for good or bad.
According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words can literally change your brain. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, they write: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” Positive words, such as love, joy, and peace can alter the expression of our genes, which causes areas in our frontal lobes to strengthen and increases cognitive functioning. According to the authors, positive words drive the motivational centres of the brain into action and build resiliency throughout all other areas of the brain. (Therese J. Borchard, Associate Editor Words Can Change Your Brain).
How amazing is it that we can change our brain when we think and speak positive words?! Controversy, when we speak negative words we actually interrupt our brains ability to function optimally by releasing stress hormones and neurotransmitters, meaning that we get to decide how successful we’ll be by the words we say. The power is in your hands, therefor you are a powerful person, not powerless one.
I struggled for a very long time believing I was a powerless person. I grew up feeling powerless over my situations, I was always the victim and I needed people to feel more sorry for me than I felt for myself. I had words spoken over me from a young girl that I was dumb, I was a ditzy blonde, I wouldn’t be successful, I was stupid, etc. I believed the words that I heard the more I meditated on them, those words literally changed my brains reasoning. As I grew up, I still had the stigma of being a dumb blonde running through my head, creating deeper neural pathways every time I would speak or think them over myself not realizing the damage I was causing myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. I was creating a destitute reality every time I said negative words about myself.
I had to push through all the pain and discouragement that negative words bestowed upon me as I studied my way through university, desperately trying to prove everyone who said I was just another dumb blonde wrong. Throughout this time in my life is when I found my faith in Godand started believing in all the abilities I actually had and my desire to want to be better than I had thought of myself. I consciously began working towards bettering myself from the inside out by first changing what I was saying about myself. I would wake up in the morning and say the opposite of everything I used to say about myself. Every negative phrase was replaced with a positive one, and every positive word I spoke created new neural pathways in my brain and a brand new perspective of who I truly was.
Words have been the most powerful and successful tool for me on a personal level and one of the most powerful tools in my practice that I use with clients. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are speaking to ourselves all the time, everyday you are saying hundreds of things to yourself. My question is, what kinds of things are you saying to yourself each day?
Body image and nutrition are the two areas where I see clients struggle the most, and most often it's the two areas where they think and speak the most negatively about. They fail to realize that they are powerful over their thoughts and actions when it comes to the way they eat and the way they see themselves. If only they could realign their thinking in a way that’s conducive to progress rather than failure and defeat, and by doing so, they would succeed over every obstacle they face. If you struggle with any form of eating challenge or struggle with a negative body image, I urge you to change the way you think and the way you talk. Pay attention to the words that play again and again in your head throughout the day or the phrases that sound like broken records you quote them so much. Are they words that elicit change or are they words that cause defeat?
How can words change the way you eat?
You probably understand what I’m talking about when I say that we need to pay attention to the words we say about ourselves if we want to change our negative body image into a positive one, but maybe you’re still wondering how words can change the way you eat. How could talking positively to yourself have any impact on your food choices or your metabolism, how can words help you lose weight or change your body?
By speaking powerful words over yourself and your situations on a daily basis, we can change the course of our lives forever. Not only can we change our lives, but we can alter our metabolism the more we use positive words. If you are saying things like:
“I’ll never lose weight”
“I’m too fat, I’m not skinny enough, I’m not…”
“Nothing looks good on me”
“I have a weird shape, my body isn’t right”
"Eating healthy is so hard, I can't do it"
Don’t be surprised when you start to see all of those things come to pass. The more you focus on something, the greater it becomes. The more you focus on your weight, the bigger you’ll look and the more unhappy you’ll become. Not only do you depress yourself emotionally when you speak negative words over your body, but you also depress your metabolism by eliciting a stress response every time you self attack.
When we are in a stress response we release stress hormones, our immunity is compromised, our digestion is impaired and metabolism slows down. Think about the energy you have when someone gives you a compliment or when someone you’re attracted to notices you, think about how your body feels and how your energy gets heightened. This is your metabolism speeding up. Now think about what happens to your body when you hear something negative or when someone criticizes you, what happens to your physical energy? Negativity literally causes our metabolism to slow down. This is looking at your metabolism as a whole, not just your metabolism when you eat, which is called your thermic effect of feeding. When we speak negatively or think negatively, our energy depletes and depresses our metabolism which is counterproductive to weight loss.
Apparently it’s not normal to think of positively of yourself or talk about how great of a person you are. I’m not talking about being conceded, I’m talking about not being self deprecating. It’s become so common for people to put themselves down that when someone says “I think I look great today, I’ve been trying really hard and I’m happy with my body”, people look at you like you have a third eye. Why have we become so self demeaning as a society? What makes us think that it’s ok to slam ourselves up against a wall and verbally beat ourselves up everyday, what makes us think that by doing so, we will achieve success of any kind in our life? The only way to achieve success in any area of your life is to first believe that you will succeed, start to tell yourself that you’ll succeed, and then work towards taking the steps necessary for you to succeed in that area. Think, say, act.
You can start to change your body, increase your metabolism and improve your overall health by changing what goes on inside your head first, and what comes out of your mouth secondly. This kind of practice takes time and patience and will be a lifelong commitment on your part. Start by writing down all the negative phrases you think or say about yourself in one column and in the opposite column, write down the opposing affirmation for your criticism. Every time a negative statement rolls into your head, replace it with your affirming statement and say it out loud. Remember, our physical words have the power to create and to change our brain on a physiological level. Saying positive affirmations about your body, health, diet, life and whatever else you want to see change will be your most powerful tool in becoming successful and it costs absolutely nothing.