Back when I wrote Big Love: Dating While Losing Weight, y’all pretty much told me off.
I mean, let’s be real, here. Few issues are as thorny, on this blog, as ones involving dating and relationships. Let’s just say that y’all are very protective of your dating prospects and the ability to pursue them. I ain’t mad at it… I am confused by it.
I wrote the following:
How do you handle dating while losing weight? I’ve already admitted that after a break-up in the early part of my journey, I became abstinent and didn’t date. I was not only vulnerable, but working through insecurities that would’ve only made dating an embarrassing experience for myself. I valued having time that was mine and mine alone because, quite frankly, I’m dope and interesting when I actually pay attention to myself and learn about me.I mean, I can understand a desire to date – if for no other reason but the sake of company and being sociable – but I wonder if there’s a part of a woman’s journey (and I specify gender there for a reason) where, if it’s extensive enough, she’d benefit from not dating. My journey was like literally demolishing a building and rebuilding it from scratch. Would you let anyone set up their home in your building, knowing that it wasn’t completely solid, sturdy or even able to provide adequate shelter? If a house is still being actively rebuilt, I wouldn’t rest my head in it.
People kept assuming that by referring to “rebuilding,” I was referring to their bodies… but I wasn’t. I was referring to their minds. I was referring to the reality that in order to live a more fit lifestyle, you have to demolish everything that gets in the way of developing that in order to do what you have to do. And really, no shade, but I’m generally of the mind frame that most people need to take some time off to reassess themselves and what they want before they go out and date. Most people need to know what it feels like to put themselves first and treat themselves right before they dive head first into treating someone else “right.” Most people need to know what it means to love themselves before they commit to loving someone else.
When I write, I write with myself in mind. Everything I’ve ever written on this blog, I’ve written for myself. Writing in my moment of clarity gives me something to look back to and read when I may be struggling. I write a lot about compassion, because I find myself involved in an environment where there isn’t much compassion, and my writing serves as a reminder. I wrote a lot about getting over sabotage because I found myself encountering people who didn’t have my goals and best interests at heart. I write a lot about body image and learning to love myself because I struggled with the idea that I could simultaneously love myself while wanting to change myself.
That last sentence is important. I learned that a huge component of loving myself is accepting that I am not perfect, I am worthy of love even in spite of this nonperfection, and that I’m even worthy of love during this process of change because I’ll always be changing. I stopped chasing perfection, and instead decided to strive for excellence. At least with excellence, there’s an implied understanding that the goal isn’t “working so that I never have to work anymore.” There’s not some finite point that I should feel guilty about not reaching. The goal post is always moving when one strives for excellence, as you are constantly learning what’s possible as you progress forward.
Why am I saying all this? Because these are the things that I addressed that made me a different person. Addressing these things changed how I approach life. How I approach relationships. And while I understand that for the woman who only wants to lose 20-30lbs, the issue may be far more topical like food changes, a godawful soda habit, or learning to cook a little more… for the woman who’s in a strange place, like I was, who needed to lose upwards of 75lbs altogether? You might have a challenge that is as much emotional as it is physical.
For me, I dated during my weight loss journey. I dated a couple of men – some who’s intentions were more noble than others – but there were lots of time between them, because there were specific parts of my journey that all out demanded time for self-reflection. I advocate for that approach because as I reached new hurdles, I needed to allow myself to be vulnerable enough to jump over them… and that’s not something that can be done with everyone. However… there was one man who not only supported my self-reflection as a friend, but encouraged it. When I admitted my experiences with sexual assault and binge eating… when I snotted up his shirt sobbing about things that I was thinking and feeling… he was there, wanting to be trusted, wanting to be caring and wanting to help me grow. He saw how I was learning to love myself, and he contributed to that love by adding some of his own. He was just… always there, and always enjoying it. He wanted to be there.
And then, when he came to my house a week or so ago… when he knocked on the door… when I opened it, holding back two huskies who obviously smelled him on the other side of the door and were excited to see him… he was there. On one knee. With The Ring in his hand.
So, yeah. I’m currently engaged. Squeeeeeeeee!!!!!!
Back to seriousness, though.
Suffice it to say, I think that there’s a genuine connection between where my head and heart were, how I treated the relationships I was in and how I understood care and love. And once I changed how I approached those, it became easier for me to find what I was looking for… or, rather, for it to find me.
It is not my intention to talk about this as if it is “the ultimate fairy tale.” It is my intention to talk about this wonderful addition to my life that I wouldn’t have been able to experience without reassessing my headspace. I know myself. The old Erika would’ve made a man like my current fiancé take off running in the opposite direction. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate him for who he is if I were the old me.
I bring this up in conjunction with the Big Love post because so many women claimed that it was unnecessary to “assess their headspace” during their journey because that wasn’t a legitimate reason to not date. If anything, it made it easier for me. It made dating easier, for starters, because some men simply weren’t on my level. It made it more enjoyable, because I was more able to speak up for myself, felt less desperate and felt more capable. I didn’t have to struggle so much with being a people pleaser, and believing my desire to be a people pleaser would be the most important thing (or the only thing, for that matter) to make a man stay with me.
This won’t be the situation for every woman who embarks upon a weight loss journey, but this is how it was for me. And though every woman isn’t on a weight loss journey, I think that it should be a goal for everyone to be, at least, emotionally solvent… to be able to give as much as they get. My journey not only granted me that peace… it’s brought lots of joys along the way, one of those being the man I’m going to marry. If all it takes to bring a little light into your life, is to reassess oneself emotionally… there’s absolutely nothing to lose, and a lot [of love] to gain. The changes I’ve embraced along the way have changed my life for the better, now, in more ways than one. And I couldn’t be happier.
SOOOOO happy for you! Also, if you need a jazz singer at your wedding, HOLLA!!! LOL
First off, congratulations Erika! I’m so happy for you!
Secondly, I feel that your points are super valid. It is definitely an emotional journey, at least for me and I expressed this to a good friend of mine the other day. I definitely am doing some assessing and re-assessing, because its valuable and valid and needs to be done. I think that when people don’t take time out to look at themselves, they do a disservice (in my opinion). You definitely have to know you better and love yourself before you can expect someone else to love you. I appreciate this post and it lets me know that I am on the right path and keeps me encouraged.
Congratulations! You are so right that taking some time off from dating when making a life change is often a necessity. Its so important to know who you are and where you want to go. To love yourself as you are imperfections and all before you can enter into a mutually beneficial relationship. All men want a women they view as beautiful, when it comes to marriage my belief is that they also want a woman who is secure in who she is. A woman who because she is able to love herself, she is free to love him as well. I wish you two the best that love and life has to offer – Congrats again and thank you sharing so openly of yourself – you are truly a blessing to your readers!
Congratulations on your engagement!!! I wish you and your future hubby much happiness. I too am losing weight, checking myself and getting myself “ready” for a great relationship. Sure, I could date while I am in the process, but THIS time when I get back out here in the dating world I want to really feel ready. In the past I have dated when I was desperate to please others, did not think I was good enough etc. – no more of that kind of dating. I was so insecure and wondered if I was enough …. I want to date when I feel comfy with my body again and confident in myself again – no that does not necessarily mean that I will be in a size 10 or 8, but it is a lot healthier than where I am NOW. Mentally, emotionally, physically etc. I want to be ready when I meet the right guy, I want to speak up about my wants, dislike, desires etc knowing that I am important enough to myself to do so. Taking time for me right now is essential in fulfilling that goal. Thanks for sharing your process with us.
Erica!!! OMG!!! Congrats hun! Really. I fully understood everythign that you said on the original posts. There is a mind-set in place that keeps one bingeing, making unhealthy choices under the guise of pleasure/satisfaction, and putting others first and self last–and who would want that carrying over to the future? I’m so glad to see your transmutation–and now the evolution!! Yaaaaay!! congrats to the Mister as well!!
I need to read the initial post and comments to see what was going on.
The way I see it,when one is overweight- and I’m not talking about the extra 15 lbs because you think juice is a healthy alternative to soda and the only walking you do is to the car in the morning, and to the bathroom during the day – it’s because you don’t know how to love and appreciate and take care of your body and your self.
It’s the whole your body is a temple thing. If *iiiiii* can’t see/respect/appreciate my body/soul as a temple how in the haaaiiiil can I expect Mr Right to?
So I totally get the whole non dating thing, while you are getting your spiritual/physical house in order.
So does this mean the blog is going to change to cover your wedding stuff?!
If it’s ok with Mr.BGGTWL, let us know what your menu will be!
Nah, I’m not going to use BGG2WL for that – I don’t think that’s what people come here for, and I don’t want to abuse my audience.
It DOES mean, though, that I’m going to be doing more meal plans and more publishing on Amazon and the like. We’ve got a wedding to help pay for, now. LOL
I’m doing my own teenage girl squeal over here and holding back tears and trying not to have church over here after reading this post! OMG! I was reading this and Be Blessed by Yolanda Adams was playing at the same time. Needless to say, I’m having a moment here. It’s gonna take me a minute to write this. WOW! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Seeing your journey has shown me the benefits of journaling. It’s coming full circle for me now. This is just WONDERFUL! I know that the other readers are just as giddy as I am. Taking the time to love yourself, to REALLY LOVE YOURSELF during the times when you didn’t feel love, didn’t feel compassion. Amazing! Awesome! No one can say that this journey was not emotional. Heck, I’m all emotional right now. The work it takes to get to that a-ha moment in restoring your health in your mind AND body is not easy, but you have done just that and shared it with thousands of others who are working on doing the same. The new path that you will take will be just as challenging. But Erika, you have been blessed and you have been a blessing for others who are going through their own journey. As long as you both continue to put in the work for each other, your efforts will be rewarded. May God bless you and your union! Congratulations!!!!!!
Congrats, girl, on your recent engagement. 🙂 I too am on a journey of self-discovery. I’m trying to find me, trying to get myself together. Could I put myself out there and date? Sure, if I want to fall flat on my face and humiliate myself and my dignity. But I choose to save myself and my heart for a man that is worthy of it. I don’t want to be with a man with all of the baggage that I have. I want to be free from all of that. I love myself, true, but I still have other issues that I have to work out. About my weight. About just being me. So when my prince come, I’ll be ready for love, because by then I’ll be well equipped with enough love to love him back.
that’s a great post! you will find each other soon ! 🙂
Congrats and best wishes to you and your family.
Congrats to you Soror! You look fabulous, you love yourself and love has also come into your life. You are an inspiration!
Congrats Erika!… And geez, you spoke right to my right-now struggle with the “need” to people please. Keep it up!
I just keep smiling for you. 🙂
Congratufreakinlations! I wish you and hubby-t0-be success and blessings as you move forward.
I understood everything that you meant in this post and the original. I did not have a lot of weight to lose from my body but my heart and head were heavy. I am still in the process of self-discovery and reassessment and have taken a dating hiatus. I don’t really see a reason to date unless there is a good reaon, ie the person lifts my spirit and is inline with what I need in a mate. Until then, let’s be friends. 🙂 This has been an absolutely awesome experience and journey. I truly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am now if I had not taken the time to work on my head while I worked on my body. Thank you for sharing your experiences and, again, congratulations.
Congratulations! I am so happy for you and your family. You do amazing work here and deserve all the happiness in the world.
I didn’t see the first full post, but any woman who doesn’t think you need to take some reflection time and clear your head after a breakup, then I just don’t know what to say about them.
Anyway, congrats congrats!!!
Congrats Soror Erika, So happy for you!
Omg !! !! !! !! Congrats Lady !! !! !! !!
This is absolutely wonderful, and I understand where you are coming from. This actually helps me put together where I am currently. My weight loss journey, my taking time out to enjoy and love me, is more than weight loss. I have to clear my head and heart, and some do not understand that. Thank you so much for this, and I really wish your family this best. You’re truly an inspiration.
So happy for you. Best wishes for a long life together.
Congratulations! Thoughtful post
Congratulations Erika! At times I want to make sure that he really does wish us well, but my fiance always jokingly says that we can’t take engagement photos until we lose a few pounds. Super side eye at that.
Congratulations are in order Erika. Good Luck!
CONGRATS, Fantabulous Erika!
::jumps up and down, throws rose petals::
Although I’m a bit jealous. When I lost 50 pounds, you know what happened? Nothing. So I gained a lot of it back. Since I’m swimming now, I am starting to lose again, so you never know.
Oh, I just got reminded that it’s not true that nothing happened. I did get a better job that I still have today. So not a total waste.
What a lovely blog! Very inspiring! I was inspired before you got to the engagement part and it was just the icing on the lovely cake you presented! Huge congratulations! You certainly deserve it! xxx
My prayer for you, your future hubby, and munchkin a blessed, peaceful, and loving marriage!!
I like you-had some sexual abuse in my past that I finally accepted had sooooo much to do with my eating habits and weight gain. I tried to lose the weight before without addressing the causes behind it–I lost a little and failed. I finally decided to stop running from the pain and put down the junk and began to work on me. I am in therapy now, joined a support group for sexual abuse survivors, hired a trainer, cleaned up my eating–I am down 46.8lbs, lost a whole lot of inches, and getting better everyday.
I dont believe that I am ready for love because I am still learning to love me properly instead of abusing me with food as others have done in the past.
I am fully confident in the God I serve that at the proper time with enough healing in my heart, mind, spirit, and body–My Mr. Right will find me. Like Fivel on American Story–He is watching the same moon I am and thinking about me as I do him! 🙂
Congrats again and thanks for sharing
Congrats Erika!!! You know, I was *just* thinking about the Big Love post the other day and wondering what your dating life was . . . now I know! LOL!
I would be lying if I didn’t admit there was a part of me that wants to suck my teeth and say, “Hmph. Of COURSE she is getting married. She’s skinny now.” But I know it’s so much deeper than that. To that end, I am wondering if you could expound more on what you said here: “The old Erika would’ve made a man like my current fiancé take off running in the opposite direction. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate him for who he is if I were the old me.” Without tellin’ all yo’ bidness, would you mind explaning how the “old Erika” would’ve chased Mr. BGG2WL away?
Congratulations, girl! I wish you and your future hubby all the happiness in the world!
Congratulations. This article hit home for me. Thanks.
I agree with you totally. You decided to take a healthy look at your own needs, rather bury yourself in another relationship, trying to find answers from an external source. Until a person reassess the mental space, there will not be permanent progress in the physical space. Congratulations on gaining the love you truly want and deserve!
Congratulations on your engagement! May the blessings of God continue to enrich both of your lives.
Congratulations Erika!! I really appreciated both of those posts, and wish you and hubby-to-be a wonderful and happy marriage!
(pretty please, please, start a wedding blog!! How about weddings for health conscious black girls? Please? 😆 )
Congratulations on your engagement and your journey
Congratulations, I’m so happy for you! I read all of your posts and love the way you tell your story. I identify with your journey and wish you continued happiness and much love. You deserve it. You are very inspirational because you are real. At 54 years old, I am in the process of reinventing myself. You are my role model.
Congratulations! I wish you happiness and continued success!
Love this post! And Congrats on your engagement! I’m “squee”ing with you girl! Lol
Geeze…obviously, I meant CONGRATS!
Really late to the party, but congratulations to the groom and best wishes to you and your impending marriage! Squee, indeed!
Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! 🙂
Awesome news! Congratulations on your engagement!!!
I sent my well wishes before but I wanted to bless your blog. congrats Erika! I’m very happy for you and your hubby to be! 🙂
And your blessings are well appreciated, Reecie! Thank you! 🙂
Congratulations on your engagement!!!! ^-^
Congratulations on your engagement Erika. Your journey is an inspiration.
Congratulations! So happy for you!!!!!!
All I can say is Amen, I’m happy for you and you deserve it!! I am new here and I believe once I get dedicated I will be walking in the freedom I deserve!!
I’m so very happy for your family and upcoming and BLESSED union.
Thank U for sharing so much of your life with us. All of the ups and downs and candidly honest struggles/challenges, insight, wisdom and valuable knowledge you have learned throughout your journey. You’ve literally peeled back the layers (mentally, emotionally and physically) and connected with your authentic self! Identifying one’s TRUTH in my opinion is the ultimate prize!
My spirit is jumping for JOY for U and I pray one day soon to make my own connection with “self” and open the possibilities of being blessed with my own story to encourage others as U so beautifully encourage us. Thank U and CONTINUED BLESSINGS, wellness, fitness, happiness, success and peace all the days of your life!
I’m so late.
Congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy life filled with love.
I wish you and your family all the best! =)
First off CONGRATULATIONS pretty lady Erika! second I can truly relate to the transformation that takes place in your mind when you begin a weight loss journey, I personally transformed into another person mentally and emotionally as well as physically. I agree, it’s best to do majority of this transformation without a lot of dating. I know each persons situation is different but we should be mindful of what’s going on with our minds. I personally don’t even like the same kind of men, the old me chose men out of my insecurity the new me out of my confidence!
It’s funny that I read this post today because it is sooooo relevant. I am in the midst of rediscovering myself and reorganizing my headspace. This weekend, I had an experience where I had a slight meltdown because a guy that I was interested in ignored me and fell in like with my gorgeous and shapely friend. I often wonder if I am invisible as men climb over me to get to my friends. I end up wondering why I have not been in a relationship since my son was born 7 years ago. Since then, I have bought a house and gotten a masters. Still no love. I know that I am on a journey to lose 75+ pounds and I wonder if I will be skeptical of a man’s intentions once I lose the weight. One thing I can say is that I know the one who is meant for me will accept me as I am, but I am tired of hearing people tell me to wait and that he’s. coming. Is he walking from Africa?
I wondered when my “prince” would arrive and said there wasn’t anyone in the entire country for me. Guess what? He was currently in the Netherlands…we met when I was 38 and married (1st and only time) when I was 40. Every day he shows me he was worth the weight.
I’m very new to this blog but wanted to say Congrats and I am loving your insight!
It’s funny that I read this post today because it is sooooo relevant. I am in the midst of rediscovering myself and reorganizing my headspace. This weekend, I had an experience where I had a slight meltdown because a guy that I was interested in ignored me and fell in like with my gorgeous and shapely friend. I often wonder if I am invisible as men climb over me to get to my friends. I end up wondering why I have not been in a relationship since my son was born 7 years ago. Since then, I have bought a house and gotten a masters. Still no love. I know that I am on a journey to lose 75+ pounds and I wonder if I will be skeptical of a man’s intentions once I lose the weight. One thing I can say is that I know the one who is meant for me will accept me as I am, but I am tired of hearing people tell me to wait and that he’s coming. Is he walking from Africa? Congrats on your engagement. I caught something you said about wedding books in another post, but I figured I had missed something. Some people have issues acknowledging the truth but as far as I’m concerned…….I really needed this post to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Be blessed!!!!!
Wow. This has put a big smile on my face. Congratulations, Erica!
Oops! Excuse the typo. 🙂 I meant Erika with a “k” of course.
I truly feel a weightloss journey is not about the food or the pounds. It’s a personal journey that you have with yourself. The extra pounds and the food are an external manifestations of a much deeper issue. I applaud you for putting everything out there for us to read and learn about ourselves… Congratulations on your engagement. May God continue to bless and keep you and your fiancée.
Congratulations and continued blessings to you, your new husband-to-be, your beautiful toddler (and any new ones…lol!) and of course, this blog!
Thanks for putting yourself out there so your readers gain invaluable insight, advise and most importantly encouragement!
I haven’t been keeping up with reading, sorry for the late acknowledgement however: Congratulations!! to you, your daughter, and future husband (yeah Erika!)
Even though I don’t know you personally I’ve been reading off and on your blog since January 2011. I searched for an African American blog about weight loss and I came across yours and what you have written in this as well as other post has resigneted to me in so many ways.
I had to stop reading your blog, because I wasn’t ready to put in the work. Although I have never been over weight I can be an emotional eater. I’m also getting older (I’ll be 31 in September ) so ok eating habits, and now two children later my body is not as firm as my pre-pregnant ( don’t have to try so hard to look ok days). I do believe the act of wanting to maintain a healthy life style does take a certain type of introspection and constant evaluation. Thanks for sharing your story with us and giving me the push I needed.
And a great post, too: Too often we haven’t been used to care about ourselves, and what a grand day when one realizes one can handle the reins of one’s own life (even if that requires a bit of work ;D)
What a blessing to have found the right partner at the right time! Go head, Sister, and soak up all that love with a big ole biscuit (whole grain, of course!). Best wishes!
CONGRATULATIONS!!! I’m so happy for you and pray for nothing more than continuous blessings for you and your family (new & old).
Congratulations!!! Wishin you and the future mister a blessed and loving marriage.
Now about the other part of your post–I think too many women try to dismiss the effect body image and self-esteem have on a relationship. I am currently married and when my hubby met me, I was a size 8 (after years of yo-yo dieting and finally losing 50lbs on Weight Watchers). A few years and kid later I’m a size 16/18 and I am constantly thinking about my weight. My husband says he loves me just the way I am, but I notice the difference in compliments and such. And please note that I don’t want to lose weight to get compliments. I want to lose it so I can be healthy and finally stop the up and down weigh loss, the constant thinking “i need to lose weight” and for vanity reasons I want to wear certain things and feel like I look good.
When you have struggled with your weight for most of your life, it has a MAJOR effect on your psyche, there are added vulnerabilities that people don’t like to admit. I’m sure smaller women have them too, as a matter of fact I know they do, but those that come along with being bigger…well yeah.
So I say that to say yes, when losing a significant amount of weight, there also has to be a mental “weight” loss or you will most surely find yourself back where you started.
Thank you. for sharing what’s in my head. Best wishes. for finding (being found by) your life’s partner. Stokes the hopes I always keep alive.
I completely agree with everything you said here. Until around a year ago, I had been in serious relationships for 10 years of my life and it feels interesting and good to be just by myself for a while. I’ve started doing things I never thought I’d enjoy (exercising!) and treating myself well. And now I feel that for me to give up this freedom, it has to be for someone more than worth it, because I’m so happy being alone.
Ok, as usual I am late to this party, but in the interest of learning some more about you and in turn myself I read this article today, March 1, 2012. I want to start off by saying a belated congrats Erika, you will never know how much I am learning from you on my own private journey. After 17 years of being in a mostly unhappy last 10 years relationship, I’ve been mulling over my need to change, to stop smoking, to Lose some weight!, to become a better Patti. Your blog has become opne of my mainstays mainly because you are thoughtful, you make sense, and you are succeeding at your goals. I love that. This article was important because I need to realize I am not the only one singed by love who is now taking stock and learning how to heal and heed my own needs first. It is a struggle but because of you, I know that it is ok to feel this way and go my own way. Thank you Erika, just plain Thank you
This post had me at “emotionally solvent.” Deep.
Congratulations! Your story sounds eerily and beautifully familiar. When I started loving myself unconditionally and without restraint is when my now husband proposed to me over two years ago.
You are sooooo right. I love how you expressed “I strive for excellence not perfection” That is my new motto.
Thank you for your words and positinve expressions/ thinking. This is my first time to your website and not my last. Congratulations!!!!!!!!
CONGRATS MISS LADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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