I’ve been sitting here. Ruminating. Trying to figure out WHY I can’t commit to lifetime change to get my weight under control. I remember the 5 Whys in grad school as (supposedly) a way to get at the root cause of a problem. Toyota made it famous and it’s used in business a lot. So I gave it a go.
Why can’t I lose weight?
- Because I’m not committed.
Why am I not committed?
- Because I know I will fail.
Why do I know I will fail?
- Because I have failed in the past.
Why have I failed in the past?
- Because I can’t sustain whatever it is I’m doing.
Why can’t I sustain whatever it is I’m doing?
- Because I am tired of working so hard.
Well THAT was helpful, huh?
But is that really the root cause of my inability to lose weight? I’m tired of working so hard? On some levels I think it is. I’ve done this so many times. I’ve failed so many times.
Let’s try this again with a different why.
Why do I think I need to lose weight?
- Because my doctor/friend/husband/society says I need to.
Why do all those external voices say you need to lose weight?
- Because being obese is not healthy.
Why is it not healthy?
- Because mounds of conflicting medical research says so.
Why is the research so conflicting?
- Because there are no simple answers to why some of us are obese.
Why are there no simple answers?
- Because we’re humans. Not machines.
Still not helpful.
It just raises more whys for me.
- Why do I NEED to lose weight?
- Why do I WANT to lose weight?
- Why do I CARE what others think about my weight?
Honestly? I think. I truly think. The reason I need/want/care is because I’m embarrassed.
I am embarrassed for a lot of reasons. Let’s play the 5 Whys again.
Why am I embarrassed about my weight?
- Because it implies I’m weak/stupid/slovenly for not being able to keep my weight under control.
Why does it imply I am weak, stupid and slovenly?
- Because I react viscerally to being called weak and/or stupid and/or slovenly.
Why do I react viscerally to these traits?
- Because I think I am strong, smart and industrious.
Why do I think I have these traits and not the others?
- Because nobody works hard to be weak, stupid and slovenly.
Why do I assume one does not need to work at being weak, stupid and slovenly, by definition, these terms mean lack of effort?
- Because I’m overthinking it.
I am, at heart, a thinker. I love to problem solve and analyze. I love data and exploring trends in the data. It is satisfying to find the cause and effect of a problem. I am, for all intents and purposes, an overthinker.
And my friend, mentor, and coach Bonnie Lefrak said this and it truly resonated with me:
Ding. Ding. Ding.
So. My next small change is: Think new thoughts!
I’ve weighed every day for the past few weeks. That was my first small change. Stop the slide. Seeing that number every day affects the choices I make that day. It matters.
On to new thoughts!