In my last post we talked about the relationship between reasons, goals, meaning, and value. Reading posts is great – but DOING posts is better. This exercise is designed to help you discover the meaning behind “the why” you want to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
You can complete this exercise alone, or with a partner.
Answer these questions in order:
1. What are the major “whys” (reasons) you want to lose weight now.
2. Have you lost weight before and then gained some, all, or even more back but then went on to lose it again? What was your “why” at the time(s) this happened?
3. Can you see a difference in the whys? Did they change over time? Even it seems you had the same reason why (“I want to look better”) is there a change in the quality or the quantity of your desired result (Looking better when we are 20 might mean in a bikini, at 51 it might mean fitting back into expensive business attire). You are not interested in the why when answering this question; you are looking to see how your whys have changed over time.
4. What other circumstances in your life had changed? Did you get married? Have children? Get divorced? Graduate college? How did these different circumstances contribute to perceived changes in the reasons why you wanted to lose weight?
Drilling Down to Meaning
1. Now, go back to the reason(s) you listed in question 1.
2. List your reasons (or reason) on a separate piece of paper.
3. Now, here comes the fun part:
a. Read your reason aloud and then ask “Why?”
b. Write your why down, read IT aloud and then ask “Why?”
c. Write THAT why down, read it aloud and then ask “Why?”
d. How do you know when to stop? A few clues will be: You feel pretty choked up writing the why down; you feel a sense of relief writing the why down; you feel great joy writing the why down; you get it, there will be a deep and significant emotional response to the “why” that has meaning for you. Keep doing thisfor as long as it takes. Believe me, all of the sudden you will spontaneously write down a why for losing weight NOW that has meaning for you.
Here’s an example of what my answers might have looked like if I’d completed the exercise before that my first trip to Hawaii:
“I want to lose weight for my trip to Hawaii.”
I want to look good in my bathing suit.
I like walking on the beach and I don’t want people staring at me.
Because it reminds me of getting made fun of in high school when I walked by those girls.
Why (did that bother you)?
Being fat kept me from doing fun things like they did.
Why (did that stop you)?
Because no boy would ask me to dance and I LOVE to dance, and I was a better dancer than most all those girls, but I never went to the dances because I was fat. I was always last to get picked for teams in gym, even for sports I liked like softball because I couldn’t run very well and got out of breath easy. It was so embarrassing, so I just pretended that sports were stupid and that I didn’t evenwantto play.
(I’m feeling pretty choked up here, feel like I want to cry) and I write down:
The reason I want to lose weight now is so I can participate in physical activities that I love, like dancing, sports, and hiking. I’m tired of being on the sidelines watching others do the things I want to do.
Once you have completed this part of the exercise, you may want to do it again with a partner. If you do, make sure it is someone youtrustand can be COMPLETELY honest with (no holding back). Combining “talking it out” in addition to “writing it out” is very powerful and can bring great clarity.
Remember, go through this process for ALL the whys (reasons) you have listed for Question 1 of Something To Think About. It is very likely that you will find there is a common theme, therefore a common meaning, that your whys share.
It is also likely that you will find that some of your “whys” aren’t your whys at all. They may be expectations that others have for you that have absolutely NO MEANING for you (looking “hot” in a bathing suit when I went to Hawaii was an expectation set for me by pop culture and that didn’t mean enough to me to get me through the “hows” of losing that weight). Either way, your meaningful why(s) will become clear to you as you go through the process (but, again, no holding back, be completely honest and transparent).
It is OK to have more than one “why” for losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. I’m not concerned that you’ll have so many meaningful whys that you won’t know which to concentrate on because this process will drill down and direct you to what is most meaningful to you NOW.
I’d love your feedback on this exercise as it would be very helpful to others for me to be able to post experiences other than my own using this technique. I look forward to your comments.
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