The Two Letter Word That Is Hard to Say

Let’s face it. Saying no to yourself isn’t really popular, or a lot of fun.

It’s not fun to tell yourself “no” when you want to buy a new pair of shoes, a new laptop, or a new outfit. But, if you are working on reducing how much money you spend, you have to learn how to tell yourself “no” and mean it.

Likewise, if you are trying to lose weight, there are times when you have to tell yourself a big “no.”

Not surprisingly, telling myself “no” was a major failing of mine as I tried to lose weight during my obese years. I didn’t want to say “no” to fast food meals, chocolate milkshakes or chocolate chip cookies. Instead, I wanted to have all those things and still lose weight.

As I rejoined Weight Watchers, or tried a new diet book, I found it very difficult to resist the foods I loved. Believe me – I tried the “moderation” approach, but in the beginning stages of my diets, I wasn’t so great at moderating anything. That came with time and practice.

The lure of sugar-filled doughnuts, or the yellow package of M&M’s seemed to call my name more strongly than the salad or brown rice did. And I heeded the unhealthy call, and hence passed up the opportunity to make the right choice.

Telling myself “no” was part of the process of self-regulating myself in order to succeed at losing weight. Other facets of the weight loss process involved developing strategies to combat bad habits, committing to an exercise routine, controlling emotional eating and retraining my cooking skills.

When I started to lose weight that last time, I found it easy to say “no” to myself for the first few weeks of my dieting experience. But even though I saw pretty heft weight loss totals those first few weeks, after about three weeks, I began to feel sorry for myself. I still had the desire to eat a lot of junky foods, and telling myself “no” when it came to cakes, cookies, etc. was tiresome.

Instead of succumbing like I always had in the past, I gave myself a lot of pep talks about how miserable I was as a 300 pound woman, how tired I was of being constantly tired, and how much better I’d feel (and look) if I weighed less. In addition to pep talks, I also refused to buy those foods, walked away from dessert tables at social functions and chewed a lot of gum.

Over time, I didn’t mind saying no to most of those unnecessary foods, but instead relished in the fact that I could now say yes to smaller clothes, more energy and compliments from my husband.

As my weight loss progressed, I learned to say “yes” to the occasional treat that rated a “10″ in my book, but still said a lot of “nos” along the way.

How are you at saying no to yourself? Or do you believe that you shouldn’t have to say “no?” Diane

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
About Diane Carbonell

Diane Carbonell is passionate about weight loss. Subscribe to regular blog updates and receive the latest information on weight loss, weight maintenance, and healthy living. Keep up with Diane by following her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


  1. I may have swung the other way with my NOs (to others).
    Ive been noing all over the place lately and just drawing those boundaries.
    Miz recently posted…Seeing the world through the Tornado’s eyes.My Profile

  2. I’m getting better every day at saying “no.” This time around, it’s been easier and because of that, I’m getting very near to goal. It’s a word I plan to continue using liberally as a useful tool in maintenance.
    Sharon recently posted…Reflections on The Songbird TrailMy Profile

  3. I do better with maintence when I say NO to myself towards sugary, sweet treats because once I start down that path it is hard to stop so moderation doesn’t work for me but saying NO does!

  4. Strange enough, I do not often say “no” to myself. Instead I ask, “Do I really want to eat this right now?” If the answer to this is “yes”, I eat a little (and sometimes a little more *sigh*) of the treat in question. This way there are no “forbidden fruit” – which would more likely be forbidden sweets, crisps and ice cream instead anyway. ^^
    Diandra recently posted…Friday check-in… can you feel it?My Profile

  5. It is really hard to say this word especially to those you love but sometimes you have to
    jacquelyn recently posted…How to choose the best Mother of the bride plus size dressesMy Profile

  6. I do say it to myself. Not that clearly and emphatically, though. More like – you don’t need this (new shirt, cookie, etc.).
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted…Walk This AwayMy Profile

  7. Saturday is the day I normally will have something I have been wanting. During the week I telling myself no, it just open the door to bad eating.

  8. It gets easier to say no the longer I am on this journey. I’ve told myself that there is nothing that I cannot have. I do have the rule that if I eat junk food, I must make it myself, so that limits me to what I am willing and able to make. And, saying yes to things that are good for me that I like, makes it easier to say no as well.
    Jennifer recently posted…Fit Mommy UpdateMy Profile

  9. For the 2 years I was losing 100 pounds I said no to myself and to everyone else. I said no to happy hours, trigger foods, alcoholic drinks, etc. I was a woman on a mission and reaching goal weight was what I wanted MORE than pizza!

    After maintaining the weight for 4 years now, I say yes more often to things. I’d like to say no to social eating more often but for the most part I have a handle on moderation.

    One thing I still say no to is the food pushers at work. Most of them have learned not to tempt me with the donuts, cakes, etc that they bring in but once in awhile someone will say “Come on, have the donut!” I just say no thanks.
    Lisa recently posted…Are Bananas Just Like Cookies?My Profile

  10. For me the goal is to not even have to say “no” to myself. As I often say, my ideal state of being is that I don’t have to control food and food doesn’t control me. I have a rebellious/resistant streak and so the minute I (or someone else) say “no, you can’t have that,” the minute I say, “oh yeah? watch me.” I know it’s childish, but I have gotten to know myself well enough to know that saying “no” doesn’t “work” for me. I am currently not living in my ideal state…I am feeling hungrier than normal and am craving salty/sweet snack food. I’ve come to understand that when this happens, it’s due to a physiological imbalance so I am following up with my naturopath and my hormone specialist.
    KCLAnderson (Karen) recently posted…Proustian? Maybe At One Time…My Profile

  11. Mairib216 says:

    I do better with saying no to entire groups of things. I said no to milk chocolate, artificial sweetner & all soda except seltzer and so far its working. I still have to say no to myself but now the list isn’t as long.

  12. I’m like you in that moderation with my most-loved foods doesn’t work … I do best when I get beyond having to say no to not having them on my radar at all. Where even seeing cupcakes/chocolates/etc elicits no response from me. Kind of like the way I feel about seaweed … no desire to even think about eating it. :)
    Siobhan recently posted…Vacation interrupted …My Profile

  13. Saying no to myself has been very hard, but I am realizing it is necessary for success. I do allow treats in moderation. And I find in general that asking myself if I really need the item/food makes me think before acting. More often than not it’s, “No, I don’t really need that.” and it’s getting much easier to walk away.

    Like you, I need to give myself pep talks so I don’t get depressed about what I’m denying myself …mainly in food though.
    Leah recently posted…Weigh-In … Poof! & A Funny StoryMy Profile

  14. I am a huge NO fan! ;-) Not only did I learn to say NO to foods that would not help me long term (except for my occasional treat) but also to events or other things I really did not want to do.. our time is important too & over doing is not a good thing. Ya have to put yourself first when you know that is best.
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Chia Seed Shake; Coconut Flour Chia Jam filled Power MuffinsMy Profile

  15. This is very timely for me, because I’m struggling with this right now! I hardly ever buy ANYTHING, so sadly a treat to eat has always been much easier on the pocketbook. I’d love my goal to be intuitive eating one day, but it’s pretty far in the future!!!!!
    me recently posted…THURSDAY-FRIDAYMy Profile

  16. Agreed! NO is the simplest and most difficult word in the world, I was not good at using it on myself or others for a long time.
    Christe @ Path to The Half recently posted…Birthday PartyMy Profile

  17. I think I’ve been pretty good with the “no’s” since I had all that practice as a terrible two year old!

    I have learned to team it up with the polite “thank you,” however. I do live in the south after all :-)

  18. It’s strange, but the hardest things for me to say “no” to are grandchild care and food. Spending money–I can say “no.” I am also learning to say “no” to too many time commitments. Sometimes I get pretty tired helping out with the grandkids, and I will need to tighten up on that too, because I think the fatigue is hard on my weight loss process. With food–out of sight, out of mind, so I do a lot of avoid food-filled situations, at least for now.

  19. I’ve found that saying “no” once and not revisiting it is the easiest thing to do, but the thing I’ve said “no” to isn’t food, where I have to keep having a bit of it every day. It’s much easier when you can just say, “Never,” flip the switch in your head, and leave it that way. (And fair enough, it’s MUCH easier to do that before your relatively small problem grows into a larger one. Big problems start out small and grow through neglect and underestimation of how easily they can get out of hand.)

    But if you just say no once and leave it, you can just make one decision and forget about it instead of having to sap your energy and attention making endless small judgement calls. “It’s just one glass.” “I haven’t had any in a while.” “I’m celebrating.” That sort of back-and-forth garbage just tires me out. I hate constantly revisiting old decisions instead of making one and moving on. “No” is much easier to handle than “maybe” in the end.

  20. ‘immaturity’ isn’t a popular word either, but that is exactly what was going on with me before the start of my process. I was stuck in that 4 year old level in many ways. Good post.

  21. Great post, as always. “No” is always hardest at the beginning – sigh!

    I’ve been away for awhile but am thrilled to read about your book, Dr. Oz and the Shape article! Good for you! Well deserved!

  22. I say NO a lot. I’ve learned that once I say yes and give myself permission to eat something with a lot of sugar or flour, I will start craving other things I do not need. It will also make it more difficult to say no the next day. Most of the time, it’s just not worth it for me to start down that road.
    Caron recently posted…Saturday 4-28-12My Profile

  23. Funny you should ask, I was just having an internal conversation with myself about eating too much junk food or even semi junk food. After our night at the ball game last night I woke up not feeling the best. I never sleep well when I eat bad the night before. The thing is I didn’t even eat that bad, I packed my own salad but had a few pizza crusts, a few candies and some frozen yogurt and ice cream. It could have been a lot worse but my stomach is just not used to it and it lets me know.

    It helps me stay on track when I know my body will not let me sleep well if I misbehave.
    marie recently posted…Play BallMy Profile

  24. Telling myself “no” was and STILL are hard but like you say, if one wants to lose the weight (and maintain it), then you need to learn how to say “No” to yourself. A very important part in healthy living.