What is the Difference Between “I Can’t” vs. “I Choose Not To”?

I believe that many people do not like being told “what to do” and “what not to do”. This starts out as children when our parents mandated a certain bed time, study time, etc. and most certainly continued as rebellious teenagers when limits were placed upon as to when/where we could drive, what time we had to be home etc. Fast-forwarding to adulthood, we still do not like being tasked by bosses at work telling us what we can’t do or must do. From homeowners associations telling us what we can’t put in our backyards to HOV lanes to a number of other “rules and regulations”, we, as independent, free human beings often want to make our own choices.

Now, to the weight control arena of life: Similar to the above, people on weight control journeys do not like being told by others or themselves: “You CANNOT eat this” or “You CANNOT drink that”. Our patients will not hear me or the team tell you that “You CANNOT ________”. A much better mindset is: “I CHOOSE” not to eat/drink_____”.

Choosing to do or not to do something implies that the control is under the person’s own purview. Being told “you CANNOT” imposes the rules of someone else on the affected person. We respond much better when we feel that we are making a conscious choice on our own volition to either do or not do something.

During your weight control journey, try to develop the mindset that you are choosing not to eat/drink the carbs/fruits/alcohol that derail your efforts. Do not tell yourself that you cannot eat/drink these sources. There is an enhance chance at a better outcome with this mindset.

Dr. Robert Posner One of the world’s leading medical weight loss researchers, Robert Posner, MD, operates his state-of-the-art weight loss clinic, Serotonin Plus, in the heart of Burke, Virginia, in the suburban Washington area.

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