There is a common theme that I hear voiced regularly from those brave weight loss warriors who are working hard to improve their health and fitness. That theme has to do with the emotional struggle that takes place every week between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded weekend. The question that I often hear from those who struggle to stay the course over this three day period can be summed up as follows – Why do I lose all control on the weekend?
I’m sure that you all know exactly what I’m talking about here. The weekend is a very difficult and emotional time for those trying to lose weight. One of the primary and most obvious reasons for the weekend struggle is that the weekend contains a great deal of unstructured time. With the busy work, family and school schedules most people have during the week, there is little or no time left for relaxation and social interaction. However, when the weekend begins, a whole new schedule emerges and an entirely new team seems to take the field.
Other than discussing the nuts and bolts that differentiate the week from the weekend, I want to focus your attention on something a lot more subtle. It involves the incredible power of semantics. Specifically I’m referring to the impact that the words you use and the thoughts you think have on your motivation, your sense of power and, as I am addressing here, your ability to nutritionally manage the weekend.
For example, some words doom you to failure before you even begin. Take the word can’t for example. In my opinion, can’t is truly a four letter word. If you’re making statements like, “I can’t find time to exercise”, “I can’t stop eating fast food” or “I can’t control myself on the weekend”, the battle is already lost. Why? Because your thoughts direct your behavior and your behavior eventually becomes your destiny. Can’t is an example of a very powerful, debilitating and telling word.
On the other hand, if you avoid words that weaken you and use words that empower you, you create the framework for an entirely different emotional experience and behavioral outcome. By using words and thoughts that give you strength, authority and control, you create a more positive and more powerful frame of mind which, in turn, lays the cognitive foundation for success.
Now let me relate this semantics issue back to the weekend. Again, the words you use influence you in very powerful and subtle ways. So, with that in mind, I want to point something out here that I find very interesting. Phonetically, the words week and weak are pronounced the exact same way. Technically words that sound the same but have different meanings are called homonyms. Anyway, every time I hear someone worried about or struggling with the weekend, I hear WEAKend in my mind.
Now granted, this isn’t going to win me a Nobel Prize but it is a rather interesting thought – don’t you think? So here’s my question for you to consider. Does this phonetic coincidence have some impact on the struggle that takes place at the end of each week? Is it possible that by saying weekend (WEAKend) you actually make yourself mentally and emotionally weaker? I suggest that it may and that perhaps you would be much better served and more mentally empowered by referring to this period of time as the STRONGend. I know, I know. You’re thinking I have way too much time on my hands.
But humor me for a moment and entertain this thought. After all, there’s no doubt that your thoughts drive your behavior. Whereas negative thinking takes you one direction, positive thinking takes you in the exact opposite direction. So my question is simply this. Is it more advantageous for you to think STRONG or think WEAK? Mind/body theory would encourage you to think strong thoughts for the following reason.
Your thoughts have a powerful impact on your attitude, your health and your ability to succeed. I remember reading something years ago that really drove this notion home to me. It was in a book by mind/body expert Dr. Deepak Chopra called Ageless Body, Timeless Mind and goes as follows: “Our cells are constantly eavesdropping on our thoughts and being changed by them. A bout of depression can wreak havoc with the immune system while falling in love can boost it. Despair and hopelessness raise the risk of heart attacks and cancer thereby shortening life. This means that the line between biology and psychology can’t really be drawn with any certainty. A remembered stress, which is only a wisp of a thought, releases the same flood of destructive hormones as the actual stress itself.”
Wow! If this is true, you would certainly benefit by adding this knowledge to your recipe for weight loss success. Our thoughts are very powerful events that influence our lives, health and our bodies in a myriad of ways. After all, what are thoughts? Well, thoughts are actually electrical impulses that create biochemical reactions in your brain. These reactions then release chemicals that impact every single cell in your body. In that sense, the biochemistry of your body is the result of what you think. This is the very basis of mind/body medicine. In other words, wherever a thought goes…a chemical follows. That’s why I always say that you can’t change your weight until you change your mind! Are you starting to understand my concern about week and weak?
So, if you’re wanting to lose weight and you tend to struggle on the weekend, I suggest that you give this notion some serious thought. This seemingly minor subtlety may very well make all the difference in the world regarding your diet and your dream of healthy living. Oh yes, diet. That’s another one of those four letter words that always jump out at me. It sounds like such a negative and ominous word which is why I like to suggest that you don’t DIE it. I suggest you LIVE it. And I suggest you live it STRONG at the end of each week. So, when this week comes to an end what are you planning to have? A WEAKend or a STRONGend? The thoughts you think fuels your behavior so be more mindful of the mental wood that you throw on your motivational fire.
Wishing You Great Health,
Dr. John H. Sklare