“I feel like I am so fat. There was a skirt at Harrods for half off that I really wanted but my stomach is too big. Will I ever be thin?”
That was my journal entry on January 26, 1989, less than three weeks into my semester in London. You’d think I’d have more interesting things to write about.
Now, how do you think that question made me feel? And, did that feeling lead me to eat extra veggies at dinner and stop after one pint at the pub? Nope. I dove into a sleeve of chocolate Hobnobs for a treat to make me feel good. Temporarily.
Questions are so powerful, but not all are created equal. Here are three questions that will keep you from losing weight, and how to turn them around to bring about powerful and positive answers:
- Why can’t I lose weight? This question presupposes that you factually cannot lose weight. Follow that belief through the neurological pathway (thoughts/beliefs -> feelings -> behavior -> results) and you’ll prove yourself right. When you ask that question, you are asking for proof that you can’t lose weight. Crazy, right?
Instead ask, “what changes can I make to lose weight?” or “what is the #1 thing I can do right now to treat my body well so that it’s ready to release weight?” Brainstorm 5 more questions that will lead to helpful answers.
- What’s wrong with me? This question assumes that everyone else can do it, but something is fundamentally wrong with you, limiting your ability to lose weight. So unhelpful! The obvious turn around is “what’s great about me?” or “what capabilities do I have that I can apply to my weight loss efforts?”
It requires honesty to ask, “what would change if I did _____.” Fill in the blank with something you know would help you lose weight. Then ask, “how can I do that consistently?” You are not flawed, and believing that you are is sabotaging your efforts. And it makes you feel awful.
- I’ve never been able to keep the weight off; why would this time be any different? Have you ever accomplished something that– to date – you had not yet accomplished? Of course. Remember this, because you want to apply it to weight loss. When you ask that question, you’re essentially saying to yourself “this time won’t be any different.”
At that point, why try? Why put your all-out-effort into something, when you know it won’t work? Instead, consider thinking about your lessons from the past. What worked well, and what didn’t? What can you do different? Where can you find support?
There you have it – three of the most common, most unhelpful questions you can ask that will keep you from losing weight. When you ask questions, your brain wants to find answers. If you’re asking $h!tty questions, you’ll get a proportionate response. Ask better questions and get a better result.
And I know it can be hard to separate your thoughts and questions from facts. When you say them in the moment, they feel true! But they’re not. They’re just words your brain is making up and, in most cases, clinging to.
If changing this on your own feels daunting, coaching can help you see your thoughts clearly and transform them into a powerful force for achieving the weight loss you want. Curious? www.TalkWithHeather.com