The 3 Words that are Holding You Back from Reaching Your Weight Loss Goals (and what to say instead)

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by Sil Pancho

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12.04.2023


Have you ever noticed that sometimes the simplest things can trip you up the most? One minute you feel like you’re rocking it, then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, something derails you and sends you spiraling backwards?

Why is that?

Believe it or not, often it comes down to our WORDS—literally our self talk, and the things that we say to ourselves.

Because let me tell you, the older I get, the more I realize just how much the words we use and the way we talk to ourselves actually have a profound impact on our beliefs and our mindset, and our beliefs and mindset are what ultimately shapes our actions—the things we do and the choices we make—which in turn shapes our results.

So, to put it in very simple terms, if you’re using the wrong words, you’ll get the wrong results.

And I can tell you this is something that’s true for me too. Even as a goal setting junkie who’s been working on my own personal development for years, I still struggle with this all the time. It’s a constant battle to be intentional with my words and with my thoughts, and not let them slip back into old patterns and old ways of thinking that have not served me in the past.

And it’s been a good reminder for me that this is something that we ALL need to be aware of and to work on, pretty much ALL the time.

Because honestly, it’s not always easy. Sometimes it feels like our brains are just hardwired to focus on the negative and to look for the problems. We’re hardwired for self-protection and self-preservation, and sometimes that means we’re constantly looking for what’s going wrong, or what’s going to go wrong, or what could go wrong.

And so we say things to ourselves like “I’ll never be able to do it” or “it’s just too hard” or “I’m always going to be this way” or “I’ve always struggled with this” or “I just don’t have the willpower” or “it’s just not meant to be” or “I’m just too busy” or “I don’t have enough money” or “I’m not strong enough” or “I’m not good enough.”

And while it may seem like those are just words, they are actually incredibly powerful, because every time we say something like that, we are reinforcing a belief, not only in our conscious mind, but also in our subconscious mind, which is where our actions ultimately stem from.

And it’s those actions—or lack of action—that will always determine our results.

But what if you could change that? What if you could change your words and change your results? What if you could start to be more intentional with your language and with your self-talk, and reprogram your subconscious mind to BELIEVE that you can achieve your goals?

Honestly, that would be pretty powerful, right?

And the good news is that it’s actually possible. But the first step is always awareness. You have to first recognize the words and phrases that are holding you back in order to change them. 

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The 3 most dangerous words in your vocabulary

So, let’s start by talking about the three most dangerous words in your vocabulary, at least when it comes to losing weight and getting healthy. I’ll bet you’re probably using these words all the time without even realizing it. In fact, I pretty much guarantee it, because it’s something almost everyone says, and it’s something that’s become so common in our culture that we don’t even really stop to think about it.

And those three words are “I don’t have.”

Let that sink in for just a minute. “I don’t have.”

Have you ever said that before? I’m guessing that you probably have. Maybe you’ve said it out loud, but even if you haven’t, I’m guessing that you’ve probably said it to yourself in your own head.

“I don’t have enough time.”
“I don’t have enough money.”
“I don’t have enough willpower.”
“I don’t have enough energy.”
“I don’t have the right genetics.”
“I don’t have a supportive spouse.”
“I don’t have a good metabolism.”
“I don’t have the right resources.”
“I don’t have the ability to cook healthy food.”
“I don’t have the right gym equipment.”
“I don’t have a gym membership.”
“I don’t have the right tools.”
“I don’t have the right environment.”
“I don’t have the right education.”
“I don’t have the right support system.”
“I don’t have a good plan.”
“I don’t have the ability to stay on track.”

The list goes on and on and on and on. And while all of these things may FEEL true, the reality is that they are simply not true. In fact, they are all just excuses.

None of those things are actually true. But they FEEL true, because they’re the words you’ve been using to describe your situation for so long. They’re the words you keep telling yourself over and over again. They’re the words that have become so ingrained in your mind and in your belief system that you don’t even realize you’re saying them anymore.

And those words—”I don’t have”—are incredibly dangerous, because they’re incredibly dis-empowering.

They take away your power to change, because they make you believe that you’re stuck and that you have no control over your circumstances.

And the truth is that, while you may not be able to immediately change every single circumstance in your life, you ALWAYS have a choice in how you respond to those circumstances.

You can either choose to keep telling yourself what you don’t have, and keep getting the same results. Or you can choose to start telling yourself a different story, and actually get different results.

So the question is, if you’re using the words “I don’t have” and then following it with some kind of excuse, what are you really choosing for yourself? And is that the choice you want to make?

The power of reframing

But what if you could make a different choice? What if you could change your words, and change your outcome? What if you could start to re-frame your excuses and turn them into something empowering?

Well, you can. And it starts by changing just one word. Instead of saying “I don’t have” you can start saying “I won’t.”

“I won’t make time.”
“I won’t invest the money.”
“I won’t prioritize my health.”
“I won’t change my habits.”
“I won’t get off the couch.”
“I won’t cook healthy food.”
“I won’t take care of myself.”
“I won’t get help.”
“I won’t quit the sugar.”
“I won’t do the work.”

Because that’s the truth, right? You’re not actually doing those things. You’re choosing not to do them. And again, that’s a choice you get to make. But at least when you start to recognize it as a choice, you can start to ask yourself some important questions.

Questions like “why am I choosing this?” and “is this really what I want?” and “what would happen if I chose differently?” and “what do I stand to gain, and what do I stand to lose?”

And those are really powerful questions, because they force you to take a long hard look at what you’re really saying to yourself and the stories you’ve been telling yourself for so long.

And I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. I think you’ll realize that a lot of those excuses that start with “I don’t have” are really just fear in disguise. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of what other people will think. Fear of the effort required. Fear of losing the comfort and security of your current situation.

And that’s okay. Fear is a very normal emotion, and it’s something that we all have to deal with. But you don’t have to let it hold you back.

Once you realize that all of those “I don’t have” statements are just a choice, you can start to make a new choice. You can start to choose to acknowledge your fear, and then take action in spite of it. You can choose to be brave. You can choose to believe in yourself. You can choose to take small steps forward, even if you’re not 100% sure of the outcome.

And that is where the real magic happens—when you start to take action based on the new choices you’re making for yourself. Because every time you take action, no matter how small, it changes your momentum. It propels you forward. It gives you energy and confidence to keep going. It allows you to start reaping the rewards of your new choices.

And it all starts with the simple act of changing your words.

How to change your words and change your results

So, now that we’re aware of these three little words that have such a big impact on our ability to succeed—”I don’t have”—and now that we’ve talked about how dangerous and dis-empowering they can be, it’s probably worth taking a few minutes to talk about what to do next.

After all, awareness is only the first step. Once you’re aware of what you’re actually saying to yourself and the way those words are impacting your mindset, you can start to be more intentional in choosing different words.

So, how do you do that?

Well, honestly, it’s as simple as recognizing when you’re using those three little words and then making a conscious decision to choose different words.

For example, let’s say you catch yourself saying “I don’t have enough time.” Instead of saying that, you could say “this is not a priority for me right now.”

Or instead of saying “I don’t have enough money.” You could say “I’m choosing to spend my money on other things right now.”

Or instead of saying “I don’t have the right resources.” You could say “I haven’t found the right resources yet.”

Or instead of saying “I don’t have the right support system.” You could say “I’m choosing to not seek out a support system.”

And that might feel a little bit uncomfortable at first, because it forces you to take ownership over your own choices. But I promise you that it’s a lot more empowering than continuing to tell yourself the same old story.

And every time you catch yourself using those three little words and choose to re-frame your statement, you are taking back control. You are choosing your own path. You are telling yourself a new story.

And that, my friend, is where real change happens.



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