Most people who aren’t “dieting” operate on an incredibly more stringent set of sacrifices than my nutrition coaching clients who lose 50-100lbs.
I tell clients they can eat anything. There is no can’t. You’re a grown up. You always can do whatever you like, whenever you like, however you like, in whatever manner you choose. There is no can’t. There is no good. There is no bad. There is no should. There is no shouldn’t. The weight of those words is too great to bear.
That verbiage is for the teetotalers, the moralists, the ideologues.
No thanks. Live free.
Meanwhile, the scoffers, the doubters, the non-fitness-progressing individuals routinely, throughout most days, think or say out loud, “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t.” That’s bad self-management. It doesn’t work. Obviously. It reinforces a cycle of disempowerment, guilt, shame, and lack of follow-through on your word. Rebellion against imperatives shackled to you is healthy. And so you rebel.
I have never, upon exiting my vehicle, paused and stared longingly at the gravel on the ground beside my car and thought, “if only I could eat that gravel... but, alas, I CAN’T.” It’s gravel. I can. I just don’t.
And this is where word choice isn’t hairsplitting superfluousness. There is a monumental difference in the psyche between “can’t” or “shouldn’t” and “don’t.” “Don’t” is final. There is no waffling. I’m not on the fence. You cannot tempt me. I feel no split between my moral imperatives and my basest desires.
Then there’s “can’t.” Ugh. Just vocalizing it makes me feel weak, victimized, and entitled to the rectitude due to me by setting the record straight. Oops. My indignation is damaging my mental state and physical health. But, oh well, being proven right, even for the wrong reasons wrestles back a sense of agency I left behind with “can’t” earlier. And I’ll eat all of these feelings into oblivion now.
People: but wouldn’t you enjoy this treat?
Me: no thanks.
People: oh, you can’t do that on your diet? A little won’t hurt.
Me: I just DON’T eat that.
“Can” everything. “Can’t” nothing.
“Do” what you want, what you must, what you love.
“Don’t” what is counterproductive, what you don’t want, what you mustn’t, what you loathe.