The Impact of Our Words
When it comes to taking care of our bodies, and ourselves, how we talk to ourselves is as important as how we feed and move our body. The words that we use to describe and talk about ourselves are of paramount importance. For those of us who have spent our lives struggling with our body’s weight, it is time that we look at the words we use for weight management.
What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word”
Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Every moment of every day we are creating the story of our lives. We create this story with our actions and words. The words that we tell ourselves shape who we are. They are what we believe.
Communication With Our Cells
Every day, day in and day out, we communicate with ourselves. We create who we are, by what we believe and tell ourselves. For years we have been presented proof of this concept. The most profound of this proof can be found in Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work with water crystals. Through his careful study and photography, Dr. Emoto has been able to show how something as simple as a word can change the entire structure of an ice crystal created by a drop of water. The difference between the symmetric snowflake like structure of “Love” and the blob left by “You Disgust Me” is almost unbelievable. Since over half of our body is made up of water, this is something that we should pay attention to.
The words that affect us the most, of course, are the ones that we consistently use. When we talk about our weight, it isn’t with kind, understanding words. It is usually with separation, frustration and disgust. With that thought in mind, lets look at the common vocabulary of weight.
When the Number on the Scale Reduces
The words that we use to describe the event of the numbers on the scale reducing all have the implication that it is something we want to get back.
When we talk about the measurements, or numbers on the scale, going down we typically say we have “Lost” weight or are “Losing” weight. In most dictionary definitions you will find some version of “Failure to keep” as part of the definition of the word Loss. In any other circumstance, when we use the word Loss it is in regards to something we miss and want to get back. For example, the loss of keys, pets, loved ones, and our minds. I don’t know about you, but when I lose weight, I want it to stay lost.
While I don’t hear this one very often, “Shedding Pounds” or “Shedding Weight” has been said. My dog sheds in the summer, with the intention that he will regain his winter coat in the fall. The notion of shedding weight really just implies that you will put it back on.
If we imply that our fat is an energy source, then the result of “Burning Fat” would be that we would need to replenish that source of energy.
When the Number on the Scale Increases
Here, too, we have a situation where the words we use do not typically have the same meaning in other aspects of our life.
Most of the time when we use the word Gain, we are talking about something good: “I Gained 50 followers to my blog.” We don’t say “I gained interest fees to my bank account.”
The disgust with which the phrase “I got fat” is said is enough of a detriment. Equally important, however, is the fact that it implies that this just happened to you, and there’s no responsibility to take, or action that can be taken to reverse the situation.
“Putting On” is actually not that bad of terminology. It actually has ownership associated with the increase on the scale. Plus, it has the implication that you can Take it Off.
Changing Our Words for Weight Management
Maybe the reason why so many of us have such a hard time with weight management, is due, in part, to the language that we use to talk about it. Not only are the implications backwards, but they can imply that it is something that just happens to us, not something we are doing to ourselves. Changing the language we use can actually change the conversations we have about our bodies and lives.
Due to the fact that there is so much more involved in weight, than just calories in and calories out. It is time to start discussing this in a new way. It is time to develop a new vocabulary. A vocabulary that invites us to look at our life style, emotions and habits in a whole new light. I know, from personal experience, that weight issues aren’t just a matter of eating too much, or not exercising enough. Weight issues are all tangled up in our emotions, traumas and beliefs. Until we start untangling that “mess” we can’t treat our bodies with the love and care that they deserve.
To start, we need to change how we talk about weight management. First and foremost we need to change how we talk about wanting the numbers on the scale to decrease. We can “Take Off” the extra weight, or even better we can “Release” it. We can Release that which no longer serves us. This then leads to the question of how it has served us to begin with…