Showing the mind what we want is more effective than asking why. If we ask “Why is it that I can’t lose weight?” we don’t give our mind any clear indication of what we want it to do.
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Let’s see why “asking why” can be counterproductive
- Using the word “why” with a negative will not get us anywhere. In The Right Weight Forever course, I often use the example of my low grades in Mathematics in middle school. I was just barely passing, didn’t apply myself at all, didn’t like my teacher. I kept wondering, “Why aren’t I any good at Math?” But the question didn’t get me anywhere: “Why don’t I work harder?”, “Why don’t I like it?”, “Why don’t I like my teacher?”… Had I continued, I could have easily gone down the slippery path to low self-esteem: “Because I’m bad at Math”, undermining my capabilities as a person – or worse – “Because I’m stupid”, undermining my own identity.
- Asking “why” with a negative does not resolve the problem. In addition to undermining your identity, your sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem, asking “Why can’t I lose weight” does not resolve the problem. Actually, it paralyzes you and keep you from resolving it. Identifying yourself with the problem makes it much more difficult to come up with solutions and takes away your desire and the energy to find them.
- Asking “Why I can’t lose weight” does not provide you with an alternative. So, we’ve established that it 1. undermines your self-esteem, 2. paralyzes you with the problem… and 3. does not provide you with any solutions. “WHY + A NEGATIVE” is an explosive combination! It’s demoralizing and leaves you stuck with no alternatives.
Now, let’s think about what we can ask ourselves if – consciously – we know that we cannot lose weight if something doesn’t change
- Asking HOW or WHAT I can do completely eliminates the negative and turns the question on its head. However, “why” is not a word to eliminate completely. For example, “Why have I already lost five pounds?” might be an interesting question to explore, and the possible answers could be “Because I’ve been taking three nice walks a week”, “Because I am more careful about listening to my real hunger”, “Because I’ve been following Debora’s advice on savouring each bite” or “Because I have been asking myself constructive questions”.
- “What can I do to lose weight naturally?” is a question that helps us resolve the problem. It encourages us to take a walk, to move forward, to take a deep breath and imagine alternatives. This is where different thoughts and new possibilities abound. Whereas with “Why can’t I lose weight?” the question held us back, this new question carries us closer to our goal.
- Offer yourself alternatives when you ask questions. “OK, so now that I know I can’t lose weight this way, I WANT to reach out to my habitual mind (the one that makes the change) and offer it ALTERNATIVES.”
Working past willpower and with two minds
With The Right Weight Forever method, you work with your mind, across all fronts, both at behavioral and emotional level. The habitual (or unconscious) mind, which is the brain’s limbic system, manages change. The conscious mind (or neocortex) is the overseer. To guide the habitual mind, I WANT to offer it alternatives that it can see, get excited about and use as motivation.
Therefore, I’ll ask it, “What can I do to start losing weight naturally, enjoying myself, listening to myself and respecting myself, without dieting?”, “What can I do to begin losing weight gradually, with peace of mind, letting my stomach guide me?” and “How do I want to remind myself of this weight loss goal, naturally and with peace of mind, every day in the near future?”.
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Why is it that I can’t lose weight? – Right Weight Forever
Debora Conti is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer and the founder of Giusto Peso Per Sempre®, The Right Weight Forever method that thousands of men, women, nutritionists, dieticians and psychologists in Italy have successfully followed since 2006. She has written bestselling books on her method, like “Il Libro del Giusto Peso Per Sempre” and “Dimagrisci Senza Dieta” with a preface by Paul McKenna. She has been interviewed for magazines, the radio and television and she keeps in touch with the public on Facebook. Debora’s commitment to training is ongoing, with courses, online audio and video content, private coaching sessions and conferences on NLP and its tangible, effective tools..