Losing Weight and Gaining Health

Weight Loss

The skill is learning to ask the right questions. In all my classes, seminars, and articles, one of the recurring tools I use is asking questions like, “are you interested in gaining your health and your body’s ideal size, or are you committed?”

The reason I have found this tool so valuable is that the wrong questions, or even worse, no questions, will absolutely and totally doom you to failure.

We see evidence all around us in our own spheres of people who ask no questions at all, or ask the wrong ones. In relation to our specific topic of healthy weight management, we all know about obesity, an American epidemic.

I think we all know some of those statistics personally, and most of us have either gently or rudely (probably started at the one and ended at the other) encouraged our loved ones and friends to make better choices. It’s been proven conclusively that obesity contributes to life-threatening illness, so it’s not only a luxury to be a healthy weight; it is more a matter of health.

But when we make these efforts, and I know from having been the recipient of them when I was overweight, we are usually met with hostile resistance.

The reason is that these people have not asked themselves the questions which would undoubtedly push them to the “whatever it takes” to regain their health and body’s ideal healthy size.

For example, my work at the YMCA has brought me to meet an inspiring woman named Joanne. Previously, she plodded along through each day without an effort to challenge the 100+ extra pounds she carries. She’d tried it all, and it always ended up this way. So, she had given up. No more questions.

Then one day her 9-year-old son Paul Wayne began crying when she picked him up from a friend’s house. It turns out the friend’s mother had lost a great deal of weight, this set Paul Wayne’s questions running. What would happen to his mother if she didn’t lose weight? Asked the right question, Joanne moved from complete disinterest to solid commitment.

“At first I was afraid that treadmill would roll me through and spit me out the big picture windows of the Y,” says a naturally exuberant Joanne, “but I just tried anyway.”

Nearly a year later and 40 pounds lighter, she retains her firm commitment, despite the inevitable challenges. Why? Because her son had asked the right question and it gave her the commitment she needed to quit living in denial.

There is not just one right question or right answer to any of life’s many challenges. This is a habit you will find useful for all goals, and you need to ask plenty of questions about everything, refining them to Sam Donaldson-like perfection.

For example, in pursuing your social segment, the question may be, “is my weight a way that I use to keep men at bay?” I worked with women for whom the answer, right after a devastating divorce, was yes.

THIS WEEK’S ACTIVITY: in each of your Health Notebook’s segments, write probing questions for yourself. (Your Health Notebook is just a 3-ring binder with notebooks in each of these categories: Spiritual; Emotional; Physical; and Social.)

Some examples:

SPIRITUAL: what will it take for me to feel at peace spiritually?

EMOTIONAL: do I have unresolved past emotional baggage I carry that interferes with my goals? What can I do about it?

PHYSICAL: what are actions I’ve taken in the past which have worked well for me in eating well and exercising that I want to try again?

SOCIAL: what can I do to feel I am more connected to my friends and family?
Only by learning to ask the right questions can you find the right answers.

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