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Getting Rid of “WHY”: How One Simple Question Keeps Us Stuck (Part One)

Uncategorized May 06, 2019

When I was five years old, my father was deployed to Thailand for a year.  The Vietnam conflict was heating up, and our family was just grateful he wasn’t headed there.

In typical “daddy” style, he brought me a present when he returned home.  I was excited that he was coming home, but I was really excited to see what he brought me!   

This time it was a t-shirt with the word “WHY on the front.  It was in that cool 60s font and surrounded by bright flowers.  This little five-year-old hippie chick thought it was the coolest shirt I’d ever seen.  


Now, fast forward into adulthood.  The question of “why?” was fundamental to anything that caused me pain or confusion.

  • Why did my dad leave?
  • Why can't my husband be honest?
  • Why is my co-worker acting like that? 
  • Why can’t I figure this out?
  • Why am I so fat?
  • Why can't I stop eating so much?
  • Why ___________?

 It’s difficult to admit, but I hid behind “why?” questions for decades.

Of course, some questions were just that – they were questions for which I sought answers.  Questions about my father’s absence or a co-worker’s behavior… it’s natural to want to understand the actions of others.

Yet it was far different to ask myself “why am I so fat?” or “why am I not getting this?”  The truth is, as long as I asked the question "why", it was easier to convince myself that I was actually doing something to demonstrate my concern and engagement. 

The reality was that I was hiding behind intellectualization which provides a smoke screen for in-action.  As long as I stayed focused on contemplation of the question, I could remain there until I came up with an answer which required that something or someone else would have to change. 

Having concluded that the answer to “why” meant that something outside my control would have to change, I was able to stay stuck.  And to be totally honest, I was more comfortable being stuck that I cared to admit.

So – how does this relate to emotional eating? 

Let’s begin by looking at “Why am I so fat?” or related questions like “Why is my butt, stomach, thighs, (or fill in the blank) so big?”

Even just writing that brings tears to my eyes.  How many times have we stood in front of the mirror saying some of the worst mean girl things on the planet under the pretense of self-help through “brutal honesty”?  Honey, that’s not being honest or helpful, that’s just being hateful.  

Let’s face it – you cannot bully yourself into feeling good about yourself.  Stop saying those things to yourself, because the truth is, they only make things worse. 

Instead, how about asking, “What would I need to do or believe to love my body in this moment?  What would I need to do or believe to find my body acceptable in my eyes in this moment?”  

I came to realize that I had been asking the wrong questions all along.  Asking “why?” questions left me feeling like a helpless victim waiting on something/someone to change.  Even if some of those “why?” questions have objective, unemotional answers, they’re still weak questions with answers that demand no action from us. 

For example, if there is a hereditary trend of slow metabolism in my family, it gives me an answer to my “why am I overweight” question without requiring any action from me.  I’ve successfully limited myself and my thinking only to the sphere of explanation… nothing in there about what I can do, about what’s within my control.

In my next post, we’ll talk more about asking ourselves better questions and how to get rid of those pointless “why” questions in our lives.




 Tammy Marshall is a dynamic and passionate Speaker, Writer and Christ Follower, Tammy works diligently to provide tools for her clients to experience emotional freedom from emotional suffering.

At age 14 Tammy knew she was to help others “get out” but didn’t know exactly what that meant. But after overcoming her own addictions at age 25 and walking out the journey of emotional eating, co-dependency, etc. she began to work with others to “get out”. Today not only does she understand what it is it to get out of a damaging lifestyle, belief system and mind set but has created a method to teach others. She is the creator of The UnEmotional Eater program.  She is a certified EFT and AAIT Practitioner utilizing leading edge technology to resolve suffering.  She is committed to shining the truth of God’s love into every lie planted in a person’s life to steal their identity and their joy. 

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