When I was overweight, I was always boo’d up. Always. Dated different kinds of men – some were complete fitness freaks (military style), others were… well… not. I was lucky enough to have men who loved me for me in my life, and I’m grateful for the woman I’ve become because of that love.
That being said… I can recall my weight coming up only once in my few years of dating. I can remember saying “Maybe it’s time I start trying to lose a few pounds,” and being told “Aw, you don’t need to lose weight… you’re beautiful just the way you are.”
There are, maybe, three different elements to this that need to be addressed in detail.
1) I’m convinced that people say things like this just because they think it’s appropriate to make a kind remark in response to someone making themselves vulnerable. Let’s face it – openly saying, to another person, that it’s time you lose weight (especially if you have a lot to lose) is the equivalent of you admitting it’s time you do something about the big zit on your nose. Sure, you may have learned to live with it, but society sees it and probably judges you (albeit unfairly) for it. Admitting that you want to change something about yourself leaves you vulnerable. It’s admitting that you’d prefer something about yourself be different. The kind response would appear to be something similar to “Aw, it’s not so bad.” I don’t think there’s anything malicious to that – your circle of friends would probably say the same thing. Mine did, but they also supported me all the way, too.
However… the problem with this, to me, is where we respond with “You’re right – I don’t need to lose weight… so I won’t.” Why? You got up the nerve to admit to yourself that it was time to start making some changes, you left yourself vulnerable and open to the idea… then it became too tough, too scary, too nerve-wracking, too frightening. You didn’t want to become one of those people. (I don’t know who “those people” are, but I know “they” exist.) The thought of everything you have to do in order to start losing weight is overwhelming. It’s even kind of an ego blow. Having someone you trust tell you that you don’t need to “go through all that to be beautiful, because you’re beautiful just the way you are” is comforting… but it also allows us to retreat back into our shells if we let it.
2) If I have type 2 diabetes, you know this, and I say it’s time I start trying to lose weight… it’s inappropriate for you to tell me I don’t need to lose weight “because I’m beautiful.” If I want to lose weight because I’m facing health complications, telling me I’m beautiful doesn’t reverse the effects of my diabetes. Being beautiful doesn’t do anything for my heart condition. Being beautiful won’t allow me to take off running to save myself in a zombie invasio– um, let’s just say that being beautiful doesn’t help me run faster. I know I’m beautiful. I’m beautiful at 300lbs, I’ll be beautiful while I’m losing and I’ll be beautiful when I’m done losing.
It’s kind of interesting, though – we always say “beauty is on the inside” and “inner beauty” but we let a line like “you’re beautiful just the way you are” stop us from changing our outside appearance… if we truly believed beauty was an inside trait, we’d know that doing something that’d change our outside appearance wouldn’t affect our inner beauty. I’m the same kind of “beautiful” I was at over 300lbs. That’s no different, to me. So either it’s just a line we feed ourselves to make ourselves feel better, or we truly believe it. We need to make up our minds.
3) There’s also an element of this that speaks to the insecurity of the mate. Yes, I do believe this has to be said, too. If this sentiment is shared repeatedly, with someone beating you over the head with this “you don’t need to lose weight… I like my women with x, y & z” kind of of thing… that’s a problem. Think about how dating works. We like to have arm candy on our arm. We like to walk around with someone we’re proud to have on our arm. For men, its usually that they want their girl to look better than every other girl in the room. For women, we usually like him to be well off, well dressed, well known… some kind of stock.
Now… don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that it absolutely IS better to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. What I am saying is that in this society… we know that the closer one is to that kind of figure, the more they are prized. Why would a significant other intentionally prevent you from doing something they know would garner you more compliments? Why would they try to dissuade you from doing something that you believe would make you better? Why consistently sabotage you? Why try to convince you to stay where you are, if you’ve already admitted (if not to him, at least to yourself) that you’re unhappy where you are?
I’ll just flat out say it. It’s because if you become more prized, they fear having to put forth the effort required to keep you around.
There’s a catch to weight loss, and I can admit this full stop. The more weight you lose, the larger the dating pool grows. It’s strange, because even men whom I’d been around for years were treating me differently. Speaking to me differently. People I’d joked with for years were all of a sudden hugging me closer, touching me differently. Men of different races were approaching me (which means the dating pool grows exponentially.. that is, if that’s your thing.) It’s somewhat bizarre and unfortunate – the fact that there are lots of people out there who simply will not date women beyond a certain weight – but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a very real reality… one that many of our current significant others do not want to face. They’d rather not compete with others for your affection. They’d rather not put forth the effort that would be required to regularly, repeatedly and consistently show you that you belong with them.
I’d never say that people choose overweight mates because they’re “easier”… but I do think that people get comfortable with their mates, and don’t like having to work harder than they’re used to in order to keep them.
Okay if you prefer curves then fine, but remember that it’s my body. If i’m trying to get fit, then that’s my thing. I don’t think they are trying to sabotage you on purpose, but they are thinking only about themselves. A woman I know she goes up and down with her weight. She said simply. “Michelle when a person says, don’t loose to much weight, because you aren’t that big” She said what if they said you aren’t that ugly. or you aren’t that stupid. She left it at that…she didn’t have to explain it.
She also let me know that tons of people will tell me, you won’t look right skinny, or whatever. At the end of the day, who are they? Why do they care? – Farrah
I think some men say that to make you feel good about yourself because they think you feel bad about yourself even if you dont. My husband use to say that to me till we fought, then I was all kinds of fat b****s. The man Im with now see’s a slim girl and be like “she has no meat.” and to me, sometimes, she is a bad chick. I just laugh. I love me regardless if I need to lose weight. – Sonya
Reply to hubby: “thanks babe, I love that unconditional love for me no matter my size, but I’ve got to dig me too, and I’m digging healthier and fit.” Since the hubby is (should be) a keeper, no ultimatums in the response to him, just a gentle reminder of mutual committed love.
Reply to boyfriend: “thanks for appreciating me where I am – I like that…stick around and let’s see if you can appreciate where I’m going cuz that’s onto a fitter and healthier me…you’re welcome to hang around for the ride.” Boyfriends are disposable (don’t believe the hype). A lack of respect for your desires today equals the same tomorrow. Everyone is entitled to their preferences and if the new you isn’t his preference, I think it’s best to keep it moving.
Do you ladies and enjoy it while you’re doing it! – Leslie
My ex – husband told one of our friends “I have to keep her fat so she won’t leave me”. The results of that relationship speak for themselves. By contrast, the man I have now loves me as I am, is affectionate, tells me I’m beautiful, cooks vegetarian meals for us, and goes to the gym with me. He loves me enough to do good by me and my health. – Evelyn
If a man said that to me, husband or boyfriend, I would worry. If Im not happy at a certain weight and I feel the need to lose the pounds, then my partner should be SUPPORTIVE, not encouraging me to stay at the same weight indefinitely or even GAIN MORE WEIGHT. As Evelyn wrote above, I think A LOT of men are scared that once their partner loses weight, their partner will leave. Some men use their (overweight) partner as a a source of self-esteem to build themselves up. Also, for a man to say he doesn’t want you to lose weight when you want to is a form of him trying to control his partner in their relationship. I say NAY to that! We as woman have to stay EMPOWERED and never let a man OR another woman try to tell us what we need or don’t need to do in order to “fit in” or so that he or she can feel superior to us in some way. – Mira
That being said, I think it’s important to say that we all have insecurities… and if your significant other is merely coming from a place of “I fear you might leave me and find someone better” and you genuinely are in it with them for the long haul… then a little reassurance can’t hurt. Now, if you know you’re going to be on the prowl once you get where you want to be, then that’s different… and if you truly believe your significant other is coming from a malicious place (especially if they’re sabotaging you, too), then you might want to consider how “significant” they should really be. We’ve talked about the importance of a support system here, and if mine weren’t as strong as it was, I might’ve failed. They’re way more important than we realize.
I say all of that to say… a line like this can come from a place of good intentions, questionable intentions or maliciousness… but you have to be conscious enough to not let it slow you down or change your mind. I think there’s way more to this than just “you and your weight loss,” but the most important part of this is to not let yourself get sidetracked or stunted by these words. They may be cute and sweet, but if they lull you back into not doing what you need to do? They need to be ignored… and that’s real.