Why! Why! Don’t I Ever Lose Weight?


Stress over weight worries seem to accumulate into more stress, like a snowball rolling down a hill.

An increase in stress can frequently turn into ‘WHY’ questions:

  • Why have I gained so much weight in the last month?
  • Why did she ask me to do that?
  • Why do I feel like I should just do everything for everyone and not ask for help?

The ‘why’ question so easily cycles around in the mind and rolls off the tongue, ever at the ready. It can put us in a position of feeling helpless or victimized. I believe one of the most powerful tools we have for changing our thinking and behavior is changing the words we use inside our own head.

Notice how you feel when you hear the ‘why’ word. ‘Why’ can put you on the defensive. It’s a word our parents used to use with us. “Why didn’t you clean your room?” Honestly, I think ‘Why?’ is a hard question for any of us to answer.

Changing the words to ‘How’ or ‘What’ might help you to move from a stuck place into action. You can feel stress about a positive (like a wedding) or a negative (like a job loss) event. However, one of the most stressful positions is ambivalence or feeling stuck and not knowing what to do. This is because you just don’t give yourself any options for action. ‘How’ questions can help you position yourself to DO something.

So, let’s reframe those why questions above.

  • What would help me focus on the small successes I have had this week towards well-being?
  • How can we solve this problem together?
  • How could I ask for help from someone in a way that is not too scary for me?

Empowering yourself with your choice of words can move you away from self sabotaging behaviors and internal power struggles.

So why not let go of ‘why’ and experiment with what happens with you when you start your questions with ‘how’ or ‘what.’ Or you could experiment with this language with your kids.

How do you think you can use this bit of information?  What is one way you can reframe a why question into a how or what question?

One response to “Why! Why! Don’t I Ever Lose Weight?”

  1. changing the question « The Passionate Problem-Solver says:

    […] love this post by Darla Breckenridge at a weight lifted. She teaches us to reframe a question from “WHY” to “HOW” or […]

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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