Apr 012014
 

I’m a huge fan of Dan Savage. I listen to his podcasts (NSFW), I’ve read many of his books. He’s a sex/relationship “expert” and recently I was catching up on some older podcasts when I heard a woman’s call who really resonated with me.

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This woman’s question for Dan related to her weight. She had lost 180 pounds and was having some issues with relationships, men and dating. After she’d lost about 70 pounds, she started dating a man for two years who supporedt her weight loss but (her words) was disappointed when she lost another 100 pounds. Her struggle was that she was afraid to date new people because she was scared to tell them she used to be bigger.

“I feel unable to date men who like how I look now. I feel like lots of these men would be disgusted with how I used to look, and the idea of dating someone who couldn’t have loved me or been attracted to me through this whole journey…I find that disheartening and it makes me so sad.”

She wanted to know how she could get over this, and how does she accept how she looks now and accept that the men that she is dating wouldn’t hate her if she was huge.

Dan’s response was pretty right on. He said, “Tell them you used to be huge. Let them see pictures” on her facebook page, in her house, etc. Those guys will “go the f*ck away” if they aren’t interested. It would be a tool to sort out the shitty guys that would be a waste of time anyways. How they react to “I used to be obese” tells you everything about THEM.

I wanted to scream at my iPhone “YES!” because first, she had voiced the same feelings I had when I was losing 100 pounds and second, Dan was RIGHT. How they react to the old me tells me about their character, not my own.

Like this woman, I felt that way too. Even before I tried to lose weight I wondered, “Why would I want to date a guy that wasn’t interested in who I am as a person because I was overweight?” I rationalized my obesity as a way to weed guys out that weren’t willing to even try to get to know me. This was who I was, deal with it. In reality that was probably just a defense mechanism to make myself feel better.

Me at 250 Pounds:

bluesfest

Me at 200 Pounds:

wedding
Me at 150 Pounds:

pants

Many many times throughout my whole journey this thought came back to me. After I lost about 60 pounds, I started dating again. Sure I’d dated people when I was 250 and had several relationships that last longer than a few dates, but I probably wasn’t seeking out the quality of partner I deserved, instead settling for men that were most likely “chubby chasers.”

When I was getting closer to my goal weight, it was like the dating market exploded. All of a sudden I had TONS of attention from men. Sometimes complete strangers on the street. While I was flattered and definitely loved the POSITIVE attention I was getting, there was always that negative voice in my head that said They would never look at you if you were 250 pounds again!

When I met Michael, I was about 20 pounds away from my goal weight. For the first few months (and maybe even the first year) that we dated, I wondered often if he would love THE OLD ME. If we had seen each other in a bar 10 years ago, would he have given me a second look? Would he have approached me?

It wouldn’t be fair to say, probably not. But perhaps *I* wouldn’t have given him a second look either. We will never know, so why wonder about that? It’s ok to be attracted to people based on surface appearance, the outside, the “type” you usually date. Most dating is based on appearance first anyways. Physical attraction is most definitely part of it!

I would be lying if I said there are occasions even now that I feel insecure and those thoughts pop back into my head. As we are preparing for our wedding and planning our future together, the topic of kids has come up. While we talked about kids all along, the subject matter feels more like PLANNING now as opposed to FANTASY. We may not be marking  a day on the calender but I’d say it would be a real thing in the next few years. And this makes me think, What if I gain a bunch of weight when I get pregnant? What if I can’t lose it all after the baby? How will my body change? Will Michael still be attracted to me?

Why am I talking down to myself? Why am I focusing on the negative instead of celebrating the positive? Michael has made it very clear to me that he loves me the way I am and that I need to stop worrying about what the scale says. What I wanted to tell the woman who called Dan Savage’s show was advice *I* need to take myself: WORK ON YOURSELF. Find a way to make peace with your body the way it is; find a way to celebrate what your body can do and stop focusing on the negatives.

If the topic of weight loss and dating interests you, check out some of these older posts I wrote on the topic:

Is Your Partner Losing Weight? They May Be Planning To Dump You

Fitness and Finding Love

Gaining Weight in Relationships

I think it’s harder for people who have lost a huge amount of weight. There is always that fear of gaining it back and learning how to silence that voice takes really, really hard work.

I’d love to hear your input and hear any experiences you may have had!

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Feb 122014
 

happy2

For too many years in my youth I had the assumption that I’ll be happy when I’m skinny I was very unhappy with my weight, “nothing” was working to lose it (I use quotes because I wasn’t REALLY trying), and I felt frustrated. I don’t know why I thought losing weight was the magical pill that would fix everything else that I was unhappy with in my life but I did.

For awhile it did kind of work. As I was steadily losing weight and getting attention and positive support from friends, family and coworkers, I felt happy and determined. Once I reached goal weight I felt confident and happy and was getting TONS of attention from men that I hadn’t really experienced before. That was a huge ego boost. Then I met Michael and we started dating. I felt happy to have found such an amazing guy.

I saw this quote online and wanted to share it:

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I followed this philosophy for a long time. While I was losing weight my #1 focus was reaching goal. Once I reached my goal weight, I flounder a bit and felt lost–that’s when I started running. My new goal was to run a 5k. Then an 8k, then Hood to Coast. Every year for the last 5 or so, I had a goal that I was working towards. Training for Hood to Coast. Training for Reach the Beach. Training for the Portland Century ride, etc etc. It helped having a goal. It made me focused, I felt happy that I had something I was working towards.

Last year was the first year I didn’t have a big goal I was working towards. I was still coming back from my knee injury and wasn’t cycling a ton. The frequent bike commute to work turned out to be about once a week and it wasn’t the entire route. I was slowly getting back to running but had lost the drive to run any races because I couldn’t do the mileage in order to train for it.

Getting engaged and planning a wedding has been taking over a lot of my life lately. Thankfully I’ve gotten all the vendors taken care of and booked so really, there isn’t much for me to do from now until around June. This helped me with my “I don’t have a big goal to work towards!” blues–at least a little bit. But I’m still feeling lost. I wish I had that same fire I had three years ago to challenge myself to do races and rides. Where did it go???

I wanted to run a 5k in 2014. I know I can do it. I’m up to about 2.5 miles running now. I can bump that up to 3.5 with some consistent training–which is hard in the winter because it rains so much in Oregon and I’m a wuss. And who wants to spend their whole winter on a treadmill?! As for cycling, I don’t see myself doing any big rides any time soon. I’d be happy with just being able to bike to work once or twice a week this summer.

So what do I do? I feel lost. Not sure what to plan for. Not sure where to focus my energy. Not sure not sure not sure!

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One thing I’m sure of is that I do not want to put my happiness on hold. I want to be happy NOW. Being unsatisfied with my job has clouded my moods. Gaining a few pounds this winter has made me feel down about my body. I do know that whenever I get home from work in a bad/sad/mad mood, Bella cheers me up. Her goofy face helps and she seems to be in-tune to emotions in the house. She’ll come up to me and lick my face and neck as if she were saying “CHEER UP MOM! LET’S HAVE FUN!” :)

I know part of my issue is not living in the moment. I’ve tried for decades to practice mindfulness. It’s so hard. I’m the type of person that lives in the future, or as this article calls it a Future Junkie. That is totally me. I’m a planner. Looking forward to my wedding, the honeymoon, planning our future and kids, etc. It’s hard to backtrack my brain and live in the moment. Partly because the current moment I’m in is making me dissatisfied. So I need to fix that!

Note to self: YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT TO BE HAPPY.

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