A question frequently asked by individuals overcoming an eating challenge is “Why? Why do I struggle with food and weight?” Asking “why” is great starting question. It certainly makes some sense to uncover the reasons behind why an eating challenge or weight challenge emerged. Asking your brain, “Why?” creates a mystery to be solved. The mind logically searches for clues as to why something exists.
Indulging yourself in why questions has some positive aspects. It allows you to uncover the physiological, biological, social, emotional, and spiritual reasons of why you engage in binge, compulsive, or emotional eating behaviors. Letting yourself explore, “Why?” also allows you to validate your life story, gives presence to what had not been previously spoken or written, and provides meaning to your journey. It also allows you to spend time being curious about your situation, instead of running and hiding from your eating behaviors. Asking “why?” helps bring some understanding and compassion to your weight loss journey. It begins the process of moving from a state of victim-hood to one of self-responsibility.
Asking, “Why?” also has its limitations. The problem with, “Why?” questions are that they generally do nothing to solve the problem. Having all the answers does not actually move you toward creating a new outcome. For example, you can ask why you keep overeating and with some willingness to know your reasons, you will uncover some of the correct answers. Given enough time, introspection, self-help books, and guidance, your intellect can eventually piece together the entire puzzle of why something happened.
Then what? You will have a fuller understanding of your situation. Are you any better off? Well, partly. Understanding why you are the way can bring meaning and compassion to the journey ahead of you. You can begin to forgive others and forgive yourself. You realize that your struggle has purpose and meaning at the core of it. However, asking “Why?” alone is simply not enough to allow you to change your life.
It also helps to ask empowering questions along the way. These questions are the ones that allow you to create a vision of where you are going and provide movement forward in that direction. They are questions that help you stay centered in the present reality. This means letting yourself explore options of what specific actions can you take right now to move toward the future you want to create for yourself. The combination of understanding “why?” your situation is the way it is, along with generating a crisp, clear picture of the future you want to build is how you create a fulfilling life.
Since your mind will try to answer any question you put to it, the kind of question you ask makes a big difference. Consider the difference between asking yourself, “Why don’t I love myself?” and, “How could I love myself more?” Or, “Why do I lack self-esteem?” and, “How can I increase my self-esteem?” Another example is, “Why is my life so difficult?” and, “What one step can I take to make things a little better?”
Questions That Create Change
As you can see from the examples above, the type of questions you ask yourself will bring you quite different results. If you are ready to create change in your life, use the empowering questions below to help you clarify what you want for yourself, and how you want to walk the journey of having what you want.
1. What do I want?
What will that do for me?
What’s important to me about that?
2. What would I do if I were compassionate and wise?
How would I do it?
When, where, what, with whom do I want it?
3. How will I know when I have what I want?
What feeling would I have inside?
If I didn’t have it, what would be missing?
What about that would be important?
4. What’s preventing me from having it?
How do I know that?
What will happen if I get what you want?
What does having it do for me? Better than what?
How will this impact significant others?
5. If I get what I want, what do I risk losing?
If I get what I want, what do I risk gaining?
6. What do I get out of what I do now?
Start using these questions today and move beyond “why” you are the way you are into the life you want to be living!