“I Don’t” verses “I Can’t”

Hey Guys,

Check out this insightful post from Coach KDub.

Choices – Part 1: “I Don’t” verses “I Can’t”

Just before Christmas, I was out with my parents helping them do some gift shopping. We’d been shopping all morning, and it came time for lunch.  So, my parents started the usual conversation asking each other where they would like to eat.  Then my dad looks at me and says, “Kelly, we want to go someplace where you can eat; so you pick.”

Did you catch that?  “…where you CAN eat…”

I responded to my dad the way I always do when this statement is made.  “Dad, I CAN eat anywhere.  There are just certain places I CHOOSE not to eat because they do not have choices that I will eat.”

You see, I spent years telling myself that there was a list of foods that I couldn’t eat and a list of foods that I could eat.  Bad foods and good foods.  This mindset would always work for awhile as I was able to muster enough willpower to fight against feeling deprived or feeling embarrassed that I wasn’t allowed to eat certain foods because I would gain weight.  Then I would finally give in and pretty much go crazy.  I would start eating all those “bad” foods that I wasn’t supposed to eat, and sure enough I would gain a whole bunch of weight.  After gaining weight and feeling bad about myself for awhile, I would start over again with my list of foods I can’t eat and list of foods I can eat.

And so the vicious cycle continued…  Until something clicked.  A figurative switch was flipped in my mind.  I truly wanted to be healthy, to take care of my body, to fuel it properly to be able to do all the things I needed and wanted to do.  I didn’t want to eat food that didn’t serve those purposes.  I didn’t want to eat food that made me feel bad both physically and psychologically.   I wanted to eat food that gave me energy, sustained me, made me feel good and was good for me.  It was now my choice!  I was no longer depriving myself of food that I couldn’t eat or wasn’t allowed to eat; instead I was choosing not to eat those foods.

It’s just like the Bible says in 1 Corinthians, “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial.” (verse 23a) I can eat whatever I want, but there are choices out there that are not going to benefit my body.  Now, when those options become available, I say “no thanks, I don’t eat that” or “I don’t want that.”  It is empowering!

I recently read an article* about this concept that quoted Mary Hartley, a registered dietician, who said,

“People who follow structured diets surrender their personal power to the rules of the diet. They know what they are supposed to do so they say ‘I can’t.’ Non-dieters who play by a personal set of rules believe they control their own decisions and behaviors. There is no external authority saying they ‘can’t.’ They personally elect to either ‘do’ or ‘do not.’ This mindset broadens their boundaries, and so they are not likely to say, ‘What the hell?’ and throw in the towel (i.e.      ‘surrender’ to their cravings).

So, if you find yourself often feeling deprived, give it a try.  Change your mindset to “I don’t” instead of “I can’t.”  Your body – and mind – will thank you!

Coach KDub

*To read the entire article click HERE.

Coach KDub walks the talk.  Check out the pictures below.  The first is Kelly’s first visit to our gym back in July of 2010.


Coach KDub these days…

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