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Weight Loss Won’t Solve the Problem That Plagues You

Weight Loss Won’t Solve the Problem That Plagues You

In 2008, I weighed 100 pounds more than what my BMI said I should. Disruptive and difficult things were happening in late 2007 and into 2008, and I slowly began losing weight.

After losing about 15 pounds, I plateaued for about a year. Plateaued is a nice word for stopped-trying-and-luckily-didn’t-gain-weight. But in 2008, I knew I had to change if I was going to have the future I always envisioned.

So, I flipped the switch in my brain and wanted health more than I wanted anything else. Without saying it audibly, I told myself, This, That, and The Other will all be solved when I lose the weight.

It’s taken six years for me to lose 70 pounds and maintain it. That’s a turtle-race kind of timeframe—that’s not even 12 pounds a year.

In reality, it’s a good thing it took that long. For one, research says that taking weight off slowly means you’ll actually keep it off. And that’s been true—except for the first year of marriage when I put on the newlywed 15. But I digress.

Additionally, taking the weight off slowly allowed me to manage expectations over time, and the struggle to maintain consistency matured me and taught me how to manage my thoughts and perspectives. Did I want to lose 70 pounds in six months? Absolutely. I see it as a blessing that I didn’t. I probably would’ve crashed and burned, and would’ve gained it back the following six months.

So, when I arrived at the 70-pound loss, I realized that This, That, and The Other didn’t get solved for a while. And it was frustrating. Weren’t girls this new-to-me size supposed to have boyfriends, better attitudes, be happier, have better cars, nicer clothes and less worries?

After grumbling through this in my brain for a while, I had to change my perspective—to accept that not all of my problems would disappear with the weight. Rather, I’d need to unravel what I thought about myself, my worth and my appearance. And fortunately, this time—I attribute this to age—I didn’t navel gaze. I accepted that what I thought was going to happen didn’t happen, and I determined how to move forward and to get out of life what I wanted.

I’ve heard of others who were not as fortunate to bounce back from the disappointment of unsolved problems that weight loss was supposed to solve. They lost significant amounts of weight in short amounts of time and lost themselves. What they thought weight loss was going to solve, didn’t get solved, and they were wrecked to learn that they had internal work to do.

I didn’t lose weight slowly on purpose. But in hindsight, I’m glad it happened that way. Weight loss didn’t solve the problems that plagued me. But the struggle, the renewal of my mind, the persistence and the gradual results appropriately paced a total transformation. And suddenly those plaguing problems didn’t bother me anymore.

Has there been anything in your life you’ve changed because you thought it would solve all your problems? What happened? What did you learn?

©2014 Jennifer Wilder. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.