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Say what? How to talk yourself healthy

Text: Nicola Davidson; Photography: People Images

March 7, 2017

Say what? How to talk yourself healthy“I’m trying to eat better.”

“I’m giving up sugar.”

“I’m going on a diet.”

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Most of us have made similar declarations in our quest to live a more healthy life. But while we spend so much energy and focus on what we eat and how we train, there’s one area that often gets overlooked altogether – what we say.

Related: Can you really trick your brain into healthy eating?

Healthy living is about more than simply a healthy body – it’s about a healthy mind, too. And while we may not realise it, one of the easiest ways to start creating a positive mindset is through positive language. The phrases we use to describe healthy living to ourselves and others can often be very negative. When we talk of ‘trying’, we instantly imply failure. When we talk about ‘giving up’ something, we instantly imply restriction and punishment. And when we talk about ‘going on diet’, we instantly imply going off it at some point, as if healthy living is a destination to be reached, rather than a lifelong journey.

Here’s how to start changing your negative thoughts into positive ones:

1 Become aware

For most of us, negative self-talk has become such a habit that we hardly notice it anymore. Which is why awareness is the first and most important step. As soon as we become aware of our negative thoughts and language, we can work to start shifting our dialogue to a more positive, constructive one.

A simple trick to help you become more aware is by wearing an elastic band or bracelet on one wrist and switching it to the other every time you catch yourself thinking or speaking negatively. It may take a little practice at first, but the more aware you become of your inner dialogue, the sooner you can start working to change it.

Related: Here’s the real deal about losing weight (and keeping it off)

2 Reframe your thoughts

So you’ve caught yourself speaking negatively. Now it’s time to channel your thoughts in a different direction. This process is called reframing – turning an idea on its head and looking at it in a completely different way. So you’re not ‘giving up’ sugar, you’re saying yes to being ‘sugar-free’. You’re not ‘trying’ to eat better – you’re making better food choices. And you’re not ‘going on a diet’ – you’re engaging in a healthy, vibrant, energetic lifestyle. Start using more positive, constructive phrases, and you’ll instantly start feeling lighter in mind, and eventually in body as well.

Want more tips for eating well? Here’s how to eat clean on a budget (yes, it’s possible!) and how to survive dining out.

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