It's time to change the question

In weight loss we’re always looking for new answers. Well, maybe it’s time we start changing the question …

A few years ago I went to a parenting conference that challenged us moms and dads to ask ourselves, “How young can my child be and still handle a task well?” rather than “How old does my child have to be?”

An example they gave was doing their own laundry. If you carefully go over the steps of proper laundry care, it’s amazing how young your child can be and care for their own laundry. It made sense to me so upon returning, I immediately gathered fifth grader Aleeta and third grader Adam into our laundry area and carefully explained how to sort and prep, run the washer and dryer and fold so the clothes needed little ironing. I showed them how to read a laundry care label and bought each of them their own hampers. Once they became responsible for washing their own clothes, they realized a pair of jeans could indeed be worn for more than a few hours at a time.

I do have a confession to make. About a year later, my husband was watching Adam do his laundry and happened to notice that he added the Downy fabric softener before shutting the lid of the washing machine. “What about the laundry detergent?” Mark asked. “What do you mean?” Adam answered. “I just put it in.”

“No you didn’t. You added fabric softener, not soap.” Mark said. The two of them looked at each other and slow grins spread as they realized that for a year Adam had been doing laundry without any soap. Adam did start using detergent from that day on.

So what does this have to do with weight loss? Well nothing … and everything. Sometimes a slight change of perspective can result in big changes in our lives. Are we asking ourselves the right questions?

Here’s the question that changed the way I looked at “dieting.” Instead of asking myself, “How much food can I get in each day on my weight loss program?” I asked, “How little food can I eat and still be satisfied?”

Those who know me know that I’m all about quantity in eating. At 350 pounds I was used to and mentally needed a large quantity of food to stay on my program. My recipes reflect that.

The next time you want to eat something just because it’s time or just because you have the calories left, try asking yourself the question that changed my perspective and see if it makes a difference in your life, too.

If you don’t ask the right questions you won’t get the right answers.

Kim Bensen, author of Finally Thin, was a lifetime yo-yo dieter who lost 200+ pounds and has kept it off for more than 10 years. She owns the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and just opened Kim’s Light Café at 405 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton. For more information, tips and recipes, go to