Are your words sabotaging your health and fitness efforts?
Many people lose sight of the power words have in our lives, especially the words we choose to use about ourselves. On episode 546 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the types of words that may be sabotaging your health and fitness efforts.
Let's Say Hello
[00:03:21.590] – Coach Allan
Hey, Ras, how are you doing?
[00:03:23.580] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:03:25.420] – Coach Allan
I'm doing all right.
[00:03:26.680] – Rachel
[00:03:27.180] – Coach Allan
Tammy's back from her trip to the United States she brought our granddaughter with us. So she's here experience. She's been here before, but she's going to be here for practically, I guess a whole month with us over the summer, her summer break. And we'll spend some time with her. When I talk about being fit for task, it's like, okay, now it's got to be the active grandfather that can keep up with the 6th grader. So we'll see what she's up to. But to make sure she's having some fun, we got to get out and be active with her and get some things done. So that'll be fun.
[00:04:03.030] – Rachel
Awesome. That sounds great.
[00:04:04.900] – Coach Allan
How are things up there?
[00:04:06.390] – Rachel
Great. Mike and I just celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary.
[00:04:11.290] – Coach Allan
[00:04:12.500] – Rachel
Thank you. And we did that doing things we love. We went camping over the weekend and we had a five K run where we were camping. So we had a really fun weekend.
[00:04:22.670] – Coach Allan
I am so proud of Mike for championing through this with what's going on in his life and the treatments and all that because a lot of people, they would use that as an excuse. And so I just tell Mike I said I'm just really proud that he's still out there doing things he loves and he's not letting this break him. I really have something special.
[00:04:46.560] – Rachel
Thank you. Just a quick reminder. Mike has kidney cancer and his chemo is kind of taking a toll on him. We were both signed up for the half marathon, so we technically downgraded to just the five K, but that's what we were doing. And we love being out there, we love being active and he is doing so good for the circumstances. So thank you. I will let him know.
[00:05:09.070] – Coach Allan
Okay. Well, he's a good example for what we're talking about here today. Mindset. So are you ready to have that conversation?
[00:05:15.960] – Rachel
Are your words sabotaging your health and fitness efforts?
I want to start today's conversation with a little story. This story happens to be about me. I was in my late thirty s and I was sitting on a beach in Puerto Vallarta. And the day before I had tried to play volleyball in the sand and failed miserably. I was so tired and so beat up from just one game that I had to sub out. And that was just not my story. It was not who I really thought I was. And at that point the thought came across to me that I was a fat bastard. Excuse the language, but it really was that I was doing great in my career, but I was hating life, I was hating myself. I was unfit, I was overweight, I was in a toxic relationship and I just really had no joy in my life. And I was losing my family. It was one of the low points of my life. And so I made this decision that I was going to change. And I even started a blog called fatbastard. And if you actually go search and you look up fatbaster.org, it'll actually take you to my current website for this podcast.
Cool. Interesting little fact. Yeah, it's a redirect, but I was sitting on the beach, and I kind of made the decision to do some things. And like most of us, I started on fire. And then I fizzled out. And maybe you can relate to that many times that maybe you've worked really hard and then ran out of energy, ran out of motivation, ran out of everything and eventually went right back to where you started. And what I want to try to go over is why that happens. And it all reflects around mindset and the words that we use and the way that we talk to ourselves, the thoughts that we have. All of these things are important. The mindset is really the driver of all of this. And by the end of this episode, I'm going to give you some tools to help you make sure that you don't fizzle out again. Because I know how that feels. I went through nearly a decade of starting and stopping, starting and stopping, getting further and further down that hole where I thought I was a fat bastard. It only got worse until I was able to turn it around.
And I want to help you turn it around, too. So the first kind of words that I want to talk about here are called absolutes. Okay? That includes words like never, always, can't, I'll never lose the weight. I'll never be able to do this thing. It always happens to me. Something always happens. The gym closes. Something like that always happens. And then examples of the can't is I can't do a squat. I can't use my legs properly to exercise, so I can't lose the weight. I can't exercise. I can't use my upper body. Now, some of these are injuries, and sometimes there's things we got to work through. But what I can tell you is absolutes are almost never true. They just aren't. Almost nothing in the world is absolute if you have the willpower and the staying power to do that. So the solution, what are the solutions that I came up with for absolutely. Well, the first one is whenever you catch yourself using or thinking the word never, always, or can't question it, question it big time. Like I said, those words are almost never true. So you do need to question yourself if you catch yourself using or thinking those words.
And then the next stage of this would be to introduce the term yet I will. So I have never been successful at surfing, yet I will be if I choose to surf. And so you can do that for just about any time you find yourself using one of these absolutes, put it in your head that there is a way, and you have to work your way to make it happen. So it hasn't happened yet, but it will. Okay, the next type of words that I want to talk about are called controlling words. And these are the words we use when we're trying to do something and we get into a situation where we're faced with an obstacle. So you're in the restaurant or you're out, and the guys say, Hey, let's go have a beer. And you're like, I can't, or I'm not allowed to. You've set these absolute rules for yourselves and for yourself, and then now you feel like you're being held back. You feel like it's unfair your friend can go have a beer and he's not worried about it. But if you go try to have a beer, you know you're going to break your code, you're going to break your diet, and then you'll be starting all over.
It's kind of the mindset of it. So you set these absolute controlling words, and for a lot of us, we rebel against those types of things. If I can't have something, I'm going to think about it all the time. So if I can't have the cake, I'm going to want the cake even more. So the solution for controlling words is to own it. Okay? You're in your health and fitness journey, and you have a mission, you have a goal, you have a target, you have a vision, a place you're going. And if these things that are there aren't going to get you there. Now, you made the choice. You made the choice to not drink the beer. You made the choice to not eat the cake. So instead of saying, I can't have cake or I'm not allowed to have cake on my diet, the simple word change is I choose not to, or you can say, It doesn't serve me. So no, in that way, you've now taken control of those controlling words. You're not letting the rules dictate your life. You put emphasis and intent behind your words. I choose not to. I choose not to have the cake.
I choose not to have the beer. And that can be a really empowering opportunity, and it's a very good indication that you own what you're trying to do, and you're much more likely to complete it. So if I said, hey, do you want to kiss that girl when you're married to somebody else? You wouldn't say, I can't, or I'm not allowed to. You would say, no, that's not me. That doesn't serve me. I'm in a relationship. I'm in this thing. So no, I don't want to do that. I choose not to do that. So there's a big difference there on how you use those controlling words and how either you're in control or the rule is the control. The next type of words I want to talk about are called enemy words. And these are where you use words like failed or you call yourself a failure. Words like stupid or idiot or you call yourself weak or you say something like I just really have bad willpower, I have weak willpower. You make those statements that are basically deriving yourself. And the solution to that? Well the funny solution to it is there's an episode of Bob Newhart, there was a show in the it's called Stop It and basically a woman comes in and has some phobias and fears and activities that she does and his answer is just stop it.
It's just hilarious. I don't know that it would be as funny for someone today because it seems a little insensitive to someone but if you're interested you can find that on YouTube. You can go to fortyplusfitnesspodcast. Comstop and that'll take you to a link to that YouTube video. It's about six minutes long and it's hilarious. It's one of my favorite clips from Bob Newhart and I think it's a favorite for a lot of people because it gets a lot of plays. So that is one solution. Obviously if you catch yourself using these words to talk about yourself just stop it. But there are other ways. One is I talked about the Slip to Success process last week. This is a way to do that. You forgive yourself, you recognize we're human. If we made a mistake we didn't fail. We got to learn from this and make it better. And so you can get that Slip to Success model is a little PDF guide that I did. You can go to 40 plusfitnesspodcast.com slip and that'll take you to that guide and it's a really interesting way to sit down and reframe the things that we do that are off plan.
But really the crux of all of this and particularly with the enemy words is you would never use these words to your best friend. If your best friend made a mistake you wouldn't be yelling at them idiot, you failed. You would never say that to them. You would never say that to another human being. Yet here we are saying it to ourselves or thinking it to ourselves. Now I'll admit that this is probably the one that gets me the most. I will do something silly and use something with forgetting or losing something and just be really upset that I misplaced something and I fall back into this little trap and I catch myself saying you idiot. And when it happens, it happens but I have to recover from it and then I have to remind myself I am my best friend, I have self love and that means I don't use those words communicating to myself. And so then that goes through the whole slip to Success process of forgiving myself, learning from my issue and planning for something different the next time and then putting into action. And the final bit of words that I want to talk about that can often fail us or make us mess up are these weak words.
We use these weak words to basically mark our mission, but I'll explain why they're weak words in a minute. They're words like resolution. In the new year, we make that resolution, we're going to lose that £30 this year, starting on January 1. We talk about motivation. Right now, we're motivated. We feel really good. Like I said, we start out on fire, and we fizzle out. We start talking about willpower. I got to work on my willpower. I only have so many decisions in me before decision fatigue causes me a problem. And then what happens is we fail. And when we do, we go back on the tried and true. Well, 90 some odd percent of people don't complete 30 years resolutions. So we're just normal. We can say, yeah, sometimes I lack the motivation to keep going. And we can just accept that people will understand that it's really hard to get motivated to stay on this keto diet, because it's really hard. So, yeah, I had a little bit of sugar, but I didn't really intend to have, and I fell out of ketosis. And then willpower everybody understands willpower is finite. And so our willpower doesn't hold up.
We just accept that. We accept these words. They're very weak words for doing what we want to do. So we counter strong, weak words with strong words. And the first strong word that I want to put out there is accountability. A lot of us will go into this journey not accountable to anybody. And so when I finally did decide I wanted to turn myself around, my accountability was to my daughter. I told her I wanted to do a tough mudder with her, and I didn't want to let her down. So that was a big driving factor to showing up, a big driving factor to changing my food, a big driving factor to everything that I was doing at that point in my life to get myself turned around. I had accountability. And then the other one, probably the strongest of words that I know is called commitment, okay? And when you are committed to something, change happens. Now, I want to finish that story of me, the fat bastard, and how I tried and I failed and I tried and I failed in almost eight years of stop and go and backtrack, stop, go backtrack, and just over and over, and I couldn't get it worked out.
So one morning I woke up. I was in a Malaysian hotel. I'm traveling a lot for work, and I was hungover. And I'm laying there, and I'm thinking, why am I right back here again? Why am I right back to being the fat bastard? And it occurred to me that every other thing that I did in my life that I'm really, really proud of everything that was really hard that I did, I was committed. I was committed to doing well in college. I was committed to doing well on the CPA exam. I was committed to my career when I did things, I didn't do anything halfway, particularly as it related to my career. And so I said, Well, I'm always committed to those things and I get them done. I don't fail and I very seldom even backtrack. So why was this different? And it wasn't. So it was no different for me to look at my life and say, if I want something bad enough, I will get it. And I hadn't committed yet. So that was the beginning of committing. And with the commitment I put in the effort, I made the changes.
And I can tell you, if you are committed and you have some accountability, all the weak words don't matter anymore. You're less likely to use the enemy words. The controlling words go away and the absolutes go away because you're committed to a task. You haven't done something, but you will. It's not that you can't do something, you choose not to. And the enemy words don't happen as often, particularly as you're going through that because you're being more successful, you're sticking with it. And then you don't have to worry about the weak words. You left those behind and you suck yourself to a strong word. And that's going to help drive you through this process of change. Change is hard and it requires commitment and it often requires accountability. So in summary, and the core thing I want you to take away from this episode is that words reflect your mindset, but they can also drive it. So it's really important for you to do the mindset stuff, get yourself settled in your head, because where your head goes, everything goes. So if you have a bad mindset, you're not going to complete the task, you're not going to make it where you want to be.
You've got to deal with mindset. And that's going to come from sometimes reversing it and making sure that the words you're using are the right words. And then they will drive your mindset, and then your mindset is reflected in your words. So you'll see this return on investment. You'll get better and easier at how you do things and things will just become a part of your lifestyle. And then there's no more can't, there's no more lacking motivation. They all just become natural to you. So the words that you want to avoid and deal with absolutes, because they're almost never true controlling words. And I'll tell you straight up, you are not weak. You're listening to this episode and you're still listening to this episode. You care about this. And I can tell you those words don't control you if you control them. Enemy words. Now, if you wouldn't talk to other people that way, stop talking to yourself that way. And then the weak words, don't let your words give you an excuse. Oh, well, it's resolution. I almost never do this resolution. This is the fifth year row that I've started on January 1 with a resolution and it always fails.
So don't allow weak words to be a part of who you are. So you want to start with commitment. You want to have self love. You want to be your own best friend. You want to forgive yourself when things don't go your way or you make a mistake. And you want to own your choices, they don't own you. And finally, find accountability that will help you keep this stuff on track and make sure that if you do slip up, it's much easier to get back up because there's someone there in your corner keeping you on task and watching out for you. So I hope you found this a good episode. I'm going to get on with Rachel here in a minute and we'll talk about this a little bit more. But thank you so much.
[00:22:32.230] – Coach Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:22:33.620] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. This is my favorite topic. You're going to have to keep me under control today. I love talking about mindset.
[00:22:41.020] – Coach Allan
I have a hard stop in 20 minutes and, yes, we can talk for a lot longer than 20 more minutes, but what are some of your thoughts?
[00:22:51.190] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh. So many of these things I see every day. And I guess I'm going to skip right down to the enemy words and I see a lot of people that just don't say the kindest things to themselves. And I hear a lot of people say I'm fat and I can't and I'm lazy. And these are just kind of like waving the white flag of defeat before you even get started. And we are where we are today and we just need to figure out how to talk nicely and a little bit more motivated to ourselves to get going.
[00:23:29.530] – Coach Allan
Yeah. You know, you would never talk to your friends or family that way.
[00:23:37.810] – Rachel
[00:23:37.810] – Coach Allan
Your friend walks up to you and you say, oh, my God, you're fat. You look fat today. No, we would never say that. But we look at ourselves and we use that word talking to ourselves and that's where you have to stop it. I don't know if you watch that Bob Newhart, oh, gosh clip, I could watch it a thousand times. It's just hilarious. And, yes, maybe it would come off as a little mean, but if you need tough love to get you past what you're doing against yourself, then that's the way to do it. I prefer to do it in the self-love model. Be your own best friend and think of it in terms of the words used. When you find yourself doing that, you've got to stop and you've got to think. And then you've got to say, is this something coming out of love or is this something coming from a darker place?
[00:24:34.430] – Rachel
Right. Like what you said earlier, too, is you need to change the narrative. If you keep repeating these words, these hateful words to yourself, then they tend to get stuck. So what I like to do is I like to call my clients, athletes. You're my athlete. This is your training log for your activities. And I refer to them as athletes because I want them to think like an athlete.
[00:24:57.150] – Rachel
So they're going to think, well, what would an athlete eat? What would an athlete do for recovery? What should an athlete do about sleeping? And if you start to think forward in that way a little bit more positively, then you're giving yourself a little bit more self-love and a lot of grace, too.
[00:25:15.850] – Rachel
Just a few minutes ago, I said, Mike and I only did a 5K when we were supposed to do the half marathon. And that wasn't a very kind thing to say to myself. But a 5K is still a great thing to do, and we were trained and in good shape for a 5K. That's a very positive thing. So we just need to think and just a little bit.
[00:25:38.120] – Rachel
Changing that narrative, I think is a really important thing. Place to start.
[00:25:41.830] – Coach Allan
Yeah. What you're talking about? And I actually kind of picked this up from a business podcast I was listening to and I actually did an episode on it. It's called The Be Do Have Model. And so the Have is that you're an athlete. The Have is that you're a half marathoner or that you're fit for task. You're who you want to be.
[00:26:01.610] – Coach Allan
So you start with, Be that person.
[00:26:05.910] – Rachel
[00:26:06.510] – Coach Allan
So now it's like, okay, what does that person do? They get up and they run and they eat right. And they want to keep their body weight within a certain range because that's going to make it easier on their joints. And so the Do then is doing those things. So the Be Do Have is how you become the athlete that you want to be, the person you want to be.
[00:26:27.310] – Coach Allan
And so following that model of just saying, I have to think like them, then I have to act like them, and then I will be them.
[00:26:34.710] – Rachel
Yeah. You know, one of the other favorite words that I heard you speak was committed. The word committed, motivation is lacking. And right now we're in the middle of the summer. It's chaos. Our schedules are all out of focus with kids at home and vacation planning and all these things going on. It's just chaos.
[00:26:52.150] – Rachel
But when you're committed to your goals, you're going to get up in the morning and do your workout or your run or whatever your activity is, because you're committed to doing that. That's another good word to focus on.
[00:27:03.490] – Coach Allan
Yeah, that's the primary word. That's my favorite word when it comes to change, because change is hard. You're trying to rewire if you're working on mindset, you're trying to rewire 40, 50, 60 years of messaging. And sometimes that messaging was your messaging. But a lot of times, whether they meant it or not. People close to us said things that got stuck in our head.
[00:27:35.090] – Coach Allan
You're not good enough. You're looking a little out of shape. You hear these things and you internalize them. Now, I was a weirdo. Like you didn't know that.
[00:27:53.370] – Coach Allan
I grew up in an environment where saying bad things about someone became motivating to me. When someone told me I couldn't do something, I was ten times more likely to get it done. Not the first time, but the first time I was in football where there was actual tryouts, where you had to go in and earn your way on the team. I was cut. Okay. And you flash forward just three years later, and I'm one of the best athletes on the football field.
[00:28:28.660] – Rachel
[00:28:29.530] – Coach Allan
And it was because that one coach said, we just don't think he can do it. Now, I had a lot of disadvantages at that time because of my age and my weight. I was underweight, so I weighed maybe 90 pounds, and I had to be on the 110 pound team. So every kid on that team outweighed me by about 20 pounds. And that's significant 20 pounds relative to 90 pounds. I was way underweight, I was way small, and I wasn't fit.
[00:29:00.690] – Coach Allan
And so I started getting more fit. I started working on being able to go longer and work harder and get stronger and was back on the football field. So for me, a lot of times, the words that would stop somebody are the exact words that would get me going. Then I responded that when I was in the army, when I was playing football, if someone told me I was not doing well enough, I just started doing better. But that came from being obstinate and stubborn and saying, “No, I'm not going to let you stop me.”
[00:29:31.980] – Coach Allan
But I find myself doing the same thing, and I don't find it motivating when the words are coming from me it doesn't work that way. I have to go at it for myself with self-love. But if someone tells me I'm letting the team down, I'm not worthy, I'm not good enough, I'm going to work harder. But it doesn't work the same way for me. But these are things that were put in your head potentially decades ago.
[00:29:56.140] – Rachel
[00:29:56.620] – Coach Allan
And so the rewiring on it is not a one and done thing. The self awareness journey of going through all this process and paying attention to it, the Slip-to-Success stuff that Be-Do-Have, all those things, those are tools to help us do the rewiring. But the rewiring is going to take some time and patience and effort. But it's so worth it, because when you get to that point where you don't refer to yourself as the Fat Bastard, everything kind of changes, because you know that you have the power to do this, and you start doing it. You start seeing it and living it and experiencing it.
[00:30:35.000] – Coach Allan
And I can tell you, crossing that finish line with my daughter at that first Tough Mudder was one of the best experiences of my entire life. And there's nothing that's ever going to take that memory away from me, that work that I did to get to that place, to be able to do that thing, and that experience.
[00:30:56.070] – Coach Allan
And so I think everybody deserves to have those moments, to have that joy in their life, for sure. And that's why I do what I do. I know that's why you do what you do.
[00:31:06.410] – Rachel
[00:31:07.070] – Coach Allan
And it's just this whole idea of if you're defeating yourself, you're depriving yourself of some of the most joyous moments of your entire life. And that's a shame, and it shouldn't be that way.
[00:31:22.570] – Coach Allan
So get a coach. If you need the accountability, get someone that's going to help you work through this mindset stuff. My programs, we spend so much time talking about mindset, they're like, well, what about the coaching? Other stuff I'm like, sure, send me a video of your movements. You want a new workout? Give you a new workout. That stuff is just easy. It just happens. If you do the work, you see the results.
[00:31:45.000] – Coach Allan
But to keep you from quitting, keep you on task, keep you doing the things that you need to do, you got to get your mindset right.
[00:31:54.390] – Rachel
[00:31:54.390] – Coach Allan
It's all of it. It's 100%. I mean, people like to say 90% nutrition, start with mindset. The rest of it will just fall in place.
[00:32:04.740] – Rachel
It really does. Absolutely does. Yeah. Listen to how you talk to yourself. Change that narrative and take that challenge. Do something big. You got this. We can do it.
[00:32:14.730] – Coach Allan
All right, well, I think that's a good note to end on.
[00:32:17.510] – Rachel
[00:32:17.980] – Coach Allan
Rachel, all right, I'll see you next week. Okay?
[00:32:20.390] – Rachel
[00:32:21.230] – Coach Allan
You too. Bye.
[00:32:22.260] – Rachel
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