Losing Weight and Reducing Inflammation? Choose Your Words Carefully

You might not realize it but what you say can greatly impact your habits and behaviours as it relates to food and healthy choices.

Dr. Mike Breen and I run the Healthy Transformations Weight-loss and Anti-Inflammation program. We have been running this program for five years and and we have seen it time and time again. Mindset makes all the difference and part of your mindset is indicated by the words that come out of your mouth.

The Healthy Transformations Information Sessions are launching again this fall (2018), please go to the Healthy Transformations website and find a date to register now. Can’t find a date? Email us directly info@healthytransformations.ca.

How does this work?

Our unhealthy habits have roots in the way our culture defines rewards.  We are trained to crave the very foods that hold us back. We feel as though we deserve to treat ourselves or to have a cheat day but these are often pitfalls for slipping back into the old mindset, old thinking and eventually the old body.

For someone to have a true transformation they must not only change their body, but step into the new body and this includes getting your mind there too. If words are an indicator of mindset, and they are, then we must focus on language as a key function of changing our minds.


Here are a few words we know can be a little bit dangerous for sustained health outcomes

Treat or Exception – Treat is a word we use to give ourselves latitude to enjoy something that is normally outside of the scope of what we would typically eat in our new lifestyle choice. Something to consider, is it still a treat if it makes your body react by gaining weight and causing inflammation? In our program, one of the participants chose to redefine this word. Instead of relating it to food, he chose to only relate it to sports activities that he never thought he would be able to do again. Skiing was his new treat.

Cheat – Similar to “treat”, this is a word people use to give themselves latitude to eat outside of their normal food choices. This is what we call a saboteur. Instead, if you want to eat something that is off program, simply acknowledge what you are doing and make a conscious choice. We don’t encourage the use of this word but rather that you make a conscious choice and do so guilt free. By doing this, you may taste your food better and it won’t be a guilt ridden rationalization.

Tradition  or Gift – This is a trap we fall into around special occasions or holiday times. This one can be particularly tough when we are trying to say no to family or friends. In our program we call these people “food-pushers”. They are the well intended folks who know your favourites and say “come on, it’s Christmas” or “it’s your birthday”. Your body doesn’t know the difference of a celebration day or a cheat day. Inflammation is inflammation. We encourage you to again, make good food choices, explain your health situation to others, and make conscious choices. Even if you choose to eat outside of program, be sure to build it into the rest of your day and keep your portions small. Also, understand why you are indulging in this thing and choosing to eat it. As it relates to gifts – your only job when you receive a gift is to say thank you. What you do with it after that is up to you. I can tell you I have personally thrown away my absolutely favourite chocolates from a very good friend. I just couldn’t live with eating them and knowing what they were doing to my body!

Comfort Food – We choose to eat these foods when we are feeling at our lowest. They tend to be unhealthy foods for most of us. There are two solutions to this: 1) Realize that science can now show that there is no increased comfort from eating our favourite foods. Even in self-reported studies people did not report higher levels of comfort after eating their favourite foods; 2) Find new foods that are comfort foods. Choose foods that are in line with your new eating lifestyle. You CAN create addictions to things like greens and vegetables. Ask me how I became addicted to spinach!!

Moderation – The most dangerous word of them all. “It’s all okay in moderation.” We don’t subscribe to this model AT ALL. You can not measure moderation. It doesn’t serve your best interests. If you have an inflammatory response to certain foods how much is too much? None!


What can you do about it?

Use different thinking and different words like the below:

Mindfulness / Awareness – Increase your awareness through mindfulness tactics around food and food related behaviours. There is a ton of stuff out there. A simple google search will give you what you need. When you are eating food that is on or off your plan, occasionally pause to really taste your food and feel it in your mouth. Simply notice it.

Boundaries – Set boundaries with yourself and those around you. What will you allow into your sacred space and what must stay on the other side of the fence? Be firm with these and be sure those around you know it too!

Discipline – Dr. Breen really likes this word. He says this is the stuff that grit is made of. I agree. Dr. Breen uses discipline based on science. Meaning, if science says it’s right then that is what I must put into my body. Anytime you struggle with this focus on one simple question, “By eating this, what instructions am I giving to my body?” This will help you to put that already bitten into chocolate bar into the garbage.

Say no to yourself – Someone recently reminded me about this when they said to me, “Christopher, I am not so special that I also don’t have to suffer.” We all go through suffering, why not choose what suffering you will go through. Saying no to yourself now may save you years of suffering later through poor health outcomes.

The Healthy Transformations Information Sessions are launching again this fall (2018), please go to the Healthy Transformations website and find a date to register now. Can’t find a date? Email us directly info@healthytransformations.ca.


Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Change My Business Coaching—  a fast growing whole-life coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

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