Upgrading your lifestyle…..starts in your head
Our speech is an outcome of our thoughts… including talk about food and eating. The
way that we think about food and eating, effects not only how we speak about them but
also how they impact on our lifestyle. Our environment is inundated with nutrition
information from ads, therapists and well meaning neighbors. Sadly, not all of this
information is accurate or helpful. Incomplete or inaccurate information can lead to
negative behaviors and thoughts. If we want to have a healthier lifestyle and improved
eating habits, we must start “from the top”.
Negative and positive speech
Compare for example: “ I can’t stop myself from eating borekas”
to : ”It will be very difficult for me to decrease the amount of borekas that
The two statements differ significantly, most likely have different outcomes and they are
the result of very different thought processes.
In the first example, the statement is unequivocal and negative. The speaker has given
up. He seems unable and/or unwilling to set goals. Contrast that with the second
statement. The speaker admits that it will be challenging and difficult to change his
eating habits. However, there is hope. The opportunity to move forward exists.
Although it will be difficult, a positive result can be achieved.
The truth is that the ball IS in our court! If WE decide that we want to move forward and
upgrade our lifestyle, then it can be done. By being proactive and planning more carefully,
we can change the way we think and we can learn to rephrase our statements.
Ultimately, this can help us to modify our behaviors.
Expressions that can Hinder
There are also a number of problematic expressions about food and eating which lead to
a certain mindset and make it more difficult to move forward and improve our eating
For example, nutritionists recommend including healthy fats in the daily eating
plan, such as nuts, avocado and tehina.
Often, the response is “but those foods are fattening”.
The word “fattening” does not help us to move forward because it doesn’t give us tools or
information for comparing different foods.
It is much more informative to categorize foods as nutrient dense foods or foods that
are not nutrient dense. For instance, avocado is a natural food that contains healthy fats.
It also contains lots of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber. Contrast
avocade to milk chocolate, which contains is calorie dense but nutrient poor. If one says
that avocado and chocolate are fattening, one skips over vital nutrition information that
can be helpful when deciding which foods to include in one’s eating plan.
“Diet” is a very negative word.
Often dieters feel pressured and limited in time when they eat according to a diet
plan. If they “go off” the diet, they will often describe themselves as cheaters.
For these reasons, it is much more positive to speak about an “eating plan”. The word
plan is vitally important because it includes the concept of thinking and planning ahead.
Planning ahead not only helps avoid black holes in the menu but also take into account
out-of-the-ordinary eating events, such as Shabbat, parties and eating out.
In order to take the guesswork out of these events, techniques can be practiced which
help in planning for them…before they happen.
Another advantage of using “eating plan” is that family and friends can’t ask how the diet
is going. Telling them that you are improving your eating habits will silence any
“Snacks” and “nosh” are also problematic terms. When we invoke these terms, we
often picture potato/corn chips, cookies, sweets and other processed foods.
At “Achla Achila” we find it much more positive to speak of mid morning meals (between
breakfast and lunch) and mid afternoon meals (between lunch and dinner). Depending
on the individual, a light nighttime snack may also be eaten. These light meals offer the
perfect opportunity to eat nutrient dense foods, including fruit, nuts, yogurt, popcorn, and
fat free crackers that are not always eaten with meals.
Not to worry! We also include sweets in these light meals….by planning ahead!
“Permitted”/”forbidden” are extreme terms which prevent us from
appreciating how different foods can fit into the eating plan. It’s vital to comprehend that
there are wholesome, nutritious foods which we should try to fit into our eating plan on a
daily or nearly daily basis and that there are processed foods which do not have to be
eaten. If we choose to eat processed foods, it should be only small amounts and only
The power to change is in Us
To sum up, if WE decide that we want to upgrade our lifestyle, it will greatly enhance our
process if we think about it and talk about it in positive terms. By practicing, we can
change our thoughts and get used to phrasing things positively.
To do at Home : To practice this, write the problematic expressions in one column. Then
in a second column, rephrase these concepts into helpful, positive ones.
Readers who do this and email the alternative list to me, will receive a one time 10%
discount on an Achla Achila workshop or on the first coaching session.
In conclusion : When we decide that we want to improve our lifestyle, we need to think
about it and talk about it in a positive that will help us move forward and help us achieve
It’s also important to make sure that the sources of information in our environment are
reliable. Before reading an article or an ad, we need to ascertain who wrote it
and what their motive might be. We need to check out alternative therapists carefully
and make sure they are accredited and the most important thing….when something isn’t
clear, questions must be asked.