I didn’t decide to lose weight out of a desire to improve my love life, but intentional or not, it had a huge impact. Shedding more than 50 pounds completely transformed dating for me, and not in the positive ways magazines tell you about. Here’s what changed.
I had to learn a different kind of confidence.
I’ve always been pretty confident in my body, but losing weight changed everything. I hardly recognized myself in photos and didn’t even move the same way. Slowly but surely, I had to grow comfortable in my own skin again and rediscover familiarity and confidence in my body.
Guys started dating me because I was skinny.
One thing about being over average size is that you don’t have to deal with losers who only go for women who take up minuscule amounts of space. As soon as I lost weight, guys who never would have spoken to me let alone gone on a date with me before I lost the weight wouldn’t leave me alone. It took me a few months to stop feeling flattered by their attention and start feeling disgusted by their shallowness.
I had to relearn how to have sex.
Before I lost 50 pounds, I underestimated how much of my sexual identity was predicated on the dimensions of my body and how they related to whoever I was with. Once my body changed, sex was uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to move or how to make the most of the experience. It took months for me to redevelop my relationship with my body so that I could have sex and feel like I was present within my physical self.
A lot of people didn’t care about who I really was on the inside.
It’s not as if dating while 50 pounds heavier was easy, but most guys I was with were at least a little interested in who I actually was as a human being. A weird thing happens when you reach a certain weight, though. Men seem to think you’re nothing but a body and treat you like you have nothing more to contribute than your physical appearance. Being ignored for who I really was so depressing it made me want to quit dating altogether.
People felt comfortable to body-shame fat women around me.
One of the shocking things I learned after losing a lot of weight is that fat-shaming is even more prevalent than I thought. The number of people who felt comfortable talking about “fat chicks” around me and making insensitive and hurtful comments about them made me feel sick. Eventually, I just started telling people that I used to be exactly the same size as the people they were making fun of. I’d rather create a deeply uncomfortable situation for all involved than feel complicit by saying nothing.
I missed my curves.
One thing no one tells you about losing weight is that your boobs and your butt will disappear. Before I lost weight, my curves were a huge part of my identity and my favorite physical features. Losing the weight was a double-edged sword because all of a sudden, I lost the shape of my body that I was so used to. No matter how many great things you expect to achieve from losing weight, you will always miss certain parts of yourself that aren’t there anymore.
I felt less shame but also less confidence.
Being overweight puts you in a constant battle with the world. Everywhere you go, there are people who think it’s their duty to tell you that you are inferior and somehow at fault for something you never thought was a problem. But being overweight also teaches you fierce self-love. If you can love yourself when everyone else is telling you that you should be ashamed, your confidence is pretty unshakable. When I lost the weight, however, I was no longer confronted by discrimination and as a result, my confidence in myself became much more fragile. For once, all of my validation came from the outside, and I had to relearn to love myself.
Guys stopped asking me out.
You’d think that being “thin” would make guys hit on you more because sadly, thinness is associated with hotness for a lot of men. But instead, the number of guys who asked me out plummeted after I lost weight. Apparently, men are intimidated by women they think are desirable and are a lot more confident about approaching women who they think no one else is attracted to.
I had to get a lot more assertive.
Because guys became a lot more reticent around me, I had to be proactive. In hindsight, I wish I’d done this when I was a few sizes bigger because it’s actually pretty empowering. Even when someone I approached ended up not being interested, I still took something positive away from the exchange and I met people I definitely wouldn’t have met otherwise.
I no longer associate fatness or thinness with desirability.
Before I lost the weight, my dating life was great. I had great boyfriends, and any guy who was a jerk about my size wasn’t someone I wanted to be with anyway. When I lost the weight, I realized that I was no more attractive to the men I wanted to date than I had been before. You are your same beautiful self no matter what size you are, and that’s the beauty that people who deserve you see.
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