What Words Inspire You To Do Better?

Terry and I have been meeting most every week to catch up on his weight loss progress. Due to schedule constraints and some physical things he’s looking to work through, he’s doing his own training at home and circling back to me for accountability on food intake and keeping his mindset in the right place for his goals.

This is also not Terry’s first rodeo.

I’ve been working with him on and off for several years now. Before he met me, he lost a lot of weight (twice) and regained each time. Every time we’ve worked together in the past, there has always been some issue that creeps up that invariably has to halt the training.

So, when we decided to give it another go most recently my questions came back to:

What makes this time different from before?

What will you do differently than before?

Why is any of this important now?

And one aspect of this which was curiously missing from our previous times working together was really getting Terry to wrap his head around caloric intake.

For him, he always looked at food from the lens of “good food/bad food”. This also became “good day/bad day”. I think most people who’ve ventured down the road of weight loss can relate.

However, I kept pushing this issue: this big, overarching calorie “issue” with him because I needed him to really embrace it. Fortunately for me, Terry is in a financial industry. While the parallels of caloric intake and bank accounts don’t completely mirror each other, they sure are really damn similar.

With calories, you’re either eating within the range of what your body requires (relative to your goals) or you’re not. With money, you either make more than you spend or you don’t.

With weight loss, one big problem is that your body won’t just shut off or sound the alarms if you eat more calories than necessary. With your bank account, if you overdraft, you’re going to hit a wall fast (and pay a nasty fee as well).

As Terry and I have continued these conversations, he’s learning more about how he can manipulate and play with certain variables in his diet to keep weight loss going the right direction.

One area where we were in slight disagreement was over the notion of healthy habits. For Terry, there’s something about the word “habit” that has a negative connotation to it. It became a barrier to success.

For him, he likes the word “ritual”.

For some context, when you’re trying to lose weight you generally want some strategies in place that minimize the choices you have to make, reduce decision fatigue, foster more “willpower” when needed and make the general slog of weight loss easier.

I call them habits. Terry likes rituals. We even agreed that “systems” is a good middle ground.

Regardless of your terminology, think about the words that motivate you. Think about the words that confuse or fluster you. Most importantly, think about the words that consistently drive positive change for you.

When Terry and I met up most recently, we also discussed another set of words that could make or break a weight loss plan: Can’t vs Don’t.

I like using those who follow a vegan lifestyle for this example. Not because I’m vegan (I’m not) but because it makes sense to basically everyone.

A vegan will not say: I “can’t” eat animal products. They’ll say I “don’t” eat animal products. That distinction is important to make.

When you say you “can’t” have something, it sounds like punishment. As if you’ve been grounded and Mom and Dad won’t let you have what you want. I don’t know about you but that treatment only made me want something more.

Saying “don’t” is a line in the sand. It’s you in the driver’s seat. There’s no shame, there’s no guilt. It’s simply, I “don’t” do that.

As a recovering addict this makes a world of sense to me. I don’t tell people I can’t have cocaine anymore. I tell them I don’t do cocaine anymore.

In the world of dieting where it can feel as if we are powerless to the food decisions we make, an element of control and the feeling of being in the driver’s seat is crucial for success.

So, I challenge you this week to find the words that make sense to you. Find the words that drive you to success where you have failed before. If someone you seek inspiration from uses a choice of words that doesn’t resonate with you, find the verbiage that does. It matters. The words you use to inspire this journey all matter. They won’t be the same for every person.

Below is our Adam S. He’s lost 25 pounds with us so far and this is his most recent personal record of 465 pounds in the trapbar. Like Terry and like you, Adam has had to find the words that inspire him to succeed as well.

I’d say he’s coming along just fine…

“We Make Great People Greater”