How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t have that I’m on a diet”? Maybe you’ve even said that yourself. Saying this or other denial phrases keeps food in control over you instead of the other way around. When you say “can’t” you’re telling your subconscious self that you’re not allowed to do or eat something and then as humans, we take that challenge as something to overcome. “Can’t” language regarding to food also trickles down to our children or nieces and nephews who might be listening which can create a new generation of young people who lack body confidence.
Shifting you language from “can’t” to “don’t” puts you in the power position over food by making your diet a choice not a mandate which makes us way less likely to want to rebel against it. “Don’t” or “choose not to” language also promotes conversations with the little people that we love. My niece once offered me a juice box and I turned her down and said, “no thanks, I don’t drink juice” she asked me why I didn’t drink something so tasty. So I followed her question saying, “well, it has sugar in it and lots of sugar makes my body feel icky and hurts my teeth.” (Notice I never said that sugar would make me fat, or something similar).
By giving her a health reason I opened up a conversation and allowed her to think about how the food she eats makes her body feel. I also never felt a need to sneak the juice because I never said that I couldn’t have it and I verbally reaffirmed that it makes me feel bad and hurts my teeth, I was reminded that I was making a choice about what I out into my body based on how it makes me feel.
Think about your language the next time you’re offered food that you don’t think will serve your body and remember it’s a choice and you have power over your body and what you put into it.