I Lost a Lot of Weight But Resent All the Men Who Now Find Me Attractive

Dear Evan,

I lost 60 pounds (hooray!) and physically I am a completely different person. Before the dramatic weight loss, I didn’t really go out to try to find dates. I’m 23 and have never even “talked” to a male let alone go out with one. Being overweight made me very self-conscious physically and since no males ever showed interest in me, I never gave the effort to pursue.

Now, I’ve been fairly OK with never dating: I have career/education goals and I’ve always been independent and very able to take care of myself. Having someone romantically in my life just seemed like another thing to put on my plate. But seeing as 77% of my friends (I did the math!) are married and the other 23% are in serious relationships, I thought maybe I should think about doing the whole “dating” thing. In the past, I would go out to social events with my friends but never had any males approach me. Of course I assumed it was because of my physical appearance, but I always thought “oh well, their loss.” Now I go out with friends and I get bombarded by men, especially since I’m the only one in the group unattached.

I feel cocky to say this, but I know I have a great personality. I have goals, I’m ambitious, educated, really sweet and caring, very funny (I think everyone I know can attest to that,) patient, and just all around pretty easy going. I want to start dating, but I can’t get past the thought, “You know, this guy wouldn’t even give me the time of day if I were still fat.” What can I do to get rid of this or work past it? I know you say that physical attraction really does matter to men, but I have a pretty awesome personality and I want that to be, if not of most, of high importance. Please give me some insight! I’m pretty sure asking every guy that approaches me, “would you talk to me if I were fat?” is not the best way to go about things.

Thanks!
Sandra

Dear Sandra,

There’s an intelligent, successful, charming bachelor in his 40′s. Let’s call him George Clooney.

So George, sick of women throwing themselves at him because his rich and famous, decides to go undercover. He grows out his beard, he gains weight, he starts wearing ripped sweatpants wherever he goes. He’s the exact same guy underneath, but it’s really important that a woman want him for HIM – not just for the dashing image he projects and the life he can provide.

We can’t separate looks from the package. It’s PART of the package, whether we like it or not.

Now, George looks like a homeless man and goes to bars to talk to women. He still has great knowledge of Darfur, Edward R. Murrow, and the politics behind oil. He can still turn a phrase and crack a joke. He still has an amazing smile. He just can’t talk about being an Academy Award winner, lest anyone value him for something superficial. It would probably not surprise you that George would struggle in his quest for love. He may blame women for not valuing him as a homeless man as much they did as an actor – but he’d be the one losing out.

And that’s where you’re boxing yourself in, Sandra. See, we can’t separate looks from the package. It’s PART of the package, whether we like it or not. A store might have amazing and classy merchandise, but if there’s a misspelled sign outside, flyers on the window, and graffiti on the door, you might not go in to find out. Is that YOUR fault for judging the book by its cover? No, it’s the store’s fault for not realizing that looks matter.

Simply put, when a man finds you attractive, he will take the time to learn about your amazing personality. If he doesn’t find you attractive, he won’t. Which way would you rather have it?

The people who do best… are not the ones who try to rewrite the rules of society, but rather, figure out how to navigate them successfully.

On a personal note, I have dated three women who lost over 50 lbs and had the same exact issues that you did. One girlfriend used to complain to me that the men in the gym were looking at her – and remark that they never looked at her before. As if the men were to blame for buying into conventional societal standards of beauty.

Would the world be a better place if being 60lbs overweight didn’t matter? Sure. Would the world be a better place if 5’4″ men fared as well as 6′ tall men? Absolutely. Wouldn’t it be great if a male second grade teacher had as much status and appeal as the C.E.O. of a Fortune 500 company? Yep.

But that’s not the world we live in. And the people who do best in the world we live in, Sandra, are not the ones who try to rewrite the rules of society, but rather, figure out how to navigate them successfully.

It sounds like you have a great sense of self-esteem to back up your efforts to lose weight. If I were you, I’d literally DROP the idea that the “right” guy doesn’t care about looks and embrace the incredible opportunity you created for yourself. You deserve it.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    JuJu

    delicia,

    with it works in precisely the opposite fashion: I only find more things to not be attracted to over time. :-(

  2. 32
    delicia

    @ Starthrower post #27, I meant “get over it” about the guy thing. Obviously if there are more deeply-rooted self-esteem issues (which there may very well be and there’s nothing wrong with that) I think that goes beyond the scope of a dating blog comments section and she should definitely seek advice of a mental health professional.

  3. 33
    starthrower68

    Delicia, I agree with you, she probably should seek out a professional counselor. I think given that she is so young, she sees this as a dating issue, and may not quite see there’s something deeper going on here. As we grow in self-awareness, we learn to face those unpleasant truths about ourselves.

  4. 34
    Cilla

    Delicia, agree, there has to be *something* there from the start. When I go on the first date or two, I ask myself, “Could I kiss him?” If the answer is no by date two, at the latest, I don’t pursue the relationship. I just know the physical attraction isn’t there and it’s not going to be. If I could see myself kissing him (or better yet, want to), I know there is something to build on. Who knows where it may go from there, but there needs to be a kernel of something–call it a spark, chemistry, whatever. That being said, if I’m on the fence, and he is charming, witty, kind, etc., he has a better chance than if he’s just good looking. I guess I’m like everyone else: I want a good looking person to like me for me, but to also find me as attractive as I find him. Fortunately, I’ve got that going on right now.

    Give it time, Sandra. You’ll find someone who thinks you’re wonderful in all ways, and instead of resenting him for it, you’ll find it endearing.

  5. 35
    Janet

    Thank you, JuJu (#25)! I don’t know where this b.s. about men being visual and needing physical attraction and women not got started, but I wish some big media outlet would take it on, esp. since there are so many studies showing that men and women are pretty much the same in this regard. I know that men have a lot of trouble understanding this given women’s behavior. But in recent times (because of social changes in the 20 c.) women have not had anything to “sell” in relationship except their attractiveness and fertility, so what do you expect except women obsessed with their attractiveness and men feeling entitled over that issue. It’s quite a fascinating shift historically (read “Marriage, A History” by historian Stephanie Coontz). But it has not always been thus. And neither have overweight people always been considered unattractive, and they aren’t in all parts of the world.

    As greater numbers of women gain their financial independence and come to rely on other skills besides housekeeping and manipulating their looks, relationships between men and women have changed–and that change has been rapid. The good news for Sandra is that a woman’s personality, intelligence, and career success are counting for a lot more than they used to, and a lot of men are into that. You’re young yet–hang in there and see if you don’t find that the qualities you have developed (and that others on here seem to be lacking) become more valuable as you age, while your looks become less of an issue. I am hoping that you find a guy who has also been through a painful time and has emerged stronger and more insightful because of it.

    And doesn’t everybody on here just want to marry Steve? :)

  6. 36
    Cilla

    @ Janet

    I agree with you that men and women both need physical attraction to their mates. However I think women, in general, are a little more forgiving about what they find attractive or what they are willing to overlook in a man. I also contend that attractiveness can develop more over time with women, versus men who make up their minds within about 5 seconds of meeting someone whether or not she is attractive.

  7. 37
    Honey

    Though I have always made decisions in the first minute or so of meeting someone as well (it was instantaneous with the BF) and sometimes I have changed my mind one way or the other by the end of a first date, I HAVE NEVER been in doubt by the end of the first date about whether I want to see someone again.

    There have been plenty of folks who got weeded out after that as their more unpleasant character qualities surfaced, but I have never regretted not going on a second date with someone because I wasn’t attracted to them. In fact, I declined so many second dates when I was “on the market” that my friends thought I was too picky and said that I should give the poor fellows a chance, so for awhile I had a minimum of 3 dates if the fellow seemed sane. However, I reverted back to my original method soon after because I just felt like I was stealing dinner – I was never wrong about a first impression (at least as far as whether someone was right for me).

    So I don’t buy this crap about guys are visual and women aren’t, either. Maybe it’s just part of being HUMAN – the world doesn’t revolve around you guys, sorry fellas.

  8. 38
    Steve

    Janet Jun 4th 2009 at 12:42 pm 34

    Thank you, JuJu (#25)! I don’t know where this b.s. about men being visual and needing physical attraction and women not got started

    I don’t think that is what “they” are saying.

    Obviously both sexes are driven by looks.

    If that wasn’t the case, I could happily get away with wearing gym shorts on a date and the character of “Sawyer” on Lost wouldn’t be a heart throb.

    I think what “they” are saying ( and I agree ) is that men are significantly more driven ( that doesn’t mean 100% driven ) by looks than women.


    And doesn’t everybody on here just want to marry Steve?

    I enjoy Evan’s blog, please don’t scare me away :)

  9. 39
    JuJu

    Cilla,

    I make up my mind about the kissability of any given man within my first glance at him.

  10. 40
    Sandra

    Hey, I’m the OP, and I really want to say that everyone’s comments have also been helpful along with Evan’s answer.

    I’d let like to get a few things out in the open since I didn’t really think it was all too necessary to give my life story along with the question:

    1. the double standard issue: I’ve been attracted to heavier guys in my life…unfortunately, even they didn’t show interest in me. I definitely have certain physical traits i’m attracted to, but it really has nothing to do with weight. I’ve liked heavy and not-heavy men.

    2. I didn’t lose weight just so I would be more attractive to men. There are so many health issues that run rampant in my family and I made the life decision to take care of myself. It just happens to be that I feel I should start dating now that I literally started a “new life”.

    I have had a lot of rejection I suppose. I’ve asked out 3 guys in my life (because come on! I was tired of waiting) and got a no from all three. I reclused from the “dating scene” because I just got tired of it and had a lot more to worry about. I know i’m young…but i’m not getting any younger! So I decided to try again…better late then never!

    It makes sense that i have to just work through the thoughts and “get over it”. Hopefully things will work out!

    p.s. thanks to everyone for the congrats on the weight loss! It was a long process but amazingly rewarding at the end.

  11. 41
    JuJu

    I think what they are saying ( and I agree ) is that men are significantly more driven ( that doesn’t mean 100% driven ) by looks than women.

    What makes you think so, Steve?

  12. 42
    starthrower68

    Cilla, looks do count for us girls, too but I think we tend to be attracted to men on a mental or intellectual level first. I think Keanu Reeves is one of the loveliest creations God has put on the planet, but (and this is a nice little Christian girl saying this) I’d prefer he kept his mouth shut if I ever had the opportunity to bed him. Not that I would and he probably wouldn’t have sex with a plus-size girl but it’s an interesting thought, nonetheless.

    1. 42.1
      RacheL

      hi starthrower68! its tough to generalise, lots of women do sumhow get attracted to men more on a physical level than ‘mental or intellectual’ level.  definitely when i was a kid i did get crushes that way, and there are women who take a long time to outgrow that! lol!
       
      similarly many men do care a lot about that ‘mental or intellectual’ level. iv dated guys who only liked me lukewarmly at first, and really really liked me after a few dates. i guess my heart is nicer than my face! haha.
       
      lastly, on keanu reeves, saw this funny page. he does seem ageless! :)
      http://blogs.infobae.com/teorias-incomprobables/files/2013/05/keanu.jpg

  13. 43
    Sandra

    oh yeah! and this:

    chubby chasers are just as bad as men who look for super skinny girls. They are still into just the looks!

  14. 44
    delicia

    Juju, post 37, so do I. I’ve tried to change this but it is just the way I am I guess.

    Steve, I think that wipes out your “men are more driven by looks than women” theory. ;)

  15. 45
    starthrower68

    Sandra @43,

    Some of us are steaks and some of us are sides of beef…..ok, bad joke but since I’m a plus-size girl, I can make that kind of joke.

  16. 47
    Cilla

    @ JuJu

    I have done that, too, if the review is egregiously positive or negative. But I still say *most* women take more time deciding on someone’s kissability (or attractiveness in general).

  17. 48
    casualencounters.com/blog

    I agree with the conclusion, but only for a pretty narrow definition of “do best”.

    But yeah. The problem here is not what one thinks of societal standards of beauty and success, but the fact that this chick is missing out on some good life-stuff because of her bitterness.

    Not that she necessarily has to get over it. There’s always the option of finding an equally bitter man and building a love/hate castle of extreme facepunch together.

    casualencounters.com/blog´s last blog post…AmateurMatch review

  18. 49
    starthrower68

    Honey, see? Female beauty takes on many shapes and forms….

  19. 50
    Honey

    I think men don’t want to believe that women are just as oriented on the physical as they are, because a lot of them are in BIG TROUBLE if that is true!

    In fact, I have now decided to believe that any fellow who says that men are more oriented on attractiveness than women are is insecure about what he has to offer in that department.

    :-)

    Honey´s last blog post…Interview with Dream, Founder of the 21 Convention

  20. 51
    Kenley

    Sandra,

    Don’t you like the way you look now better than you did when you were 60 lbs heavier? Don’t you feel better about your self and don’t you feel more comfortable in your own skin now than you did when you were 60 lbs heavier? If you are like most people who have lost a substantial amount of weight (and I am one of them myself), then the answer to both questions is yes. So, why be angry at men for finding the thinner you more attractive when you find the thinner you more attractive too?

  21. 52
    WithLove

    Sandra, you have done yourself, healthwise, a wonderful thing but also the benefit of opening up the dating world to you. As everyone above has mentioned looks really is the
    first thing that attracts people “usually”. I read somewhere that babies and young children are more open and friendly to nice looking people than the….not so nice looking. Interesting. I feel your pain and like Steve says…you should probably have some counseling sessions just to clear your head and see how wonderful you have always been. There are alot of mean, rude, inconsiderate, selfish, and arrogant people out there. Let’s just accept that and weed them out! Like looking for the perfect piece of fruit….you touch, squeeze, even smell or like the looks of the fruit……you SHOP. Not everyone will like you and YOU WILL NOT LIKE EVERYONE. I know the pain of trying to find the right person….trust me I have my own issues as well….I usually attract the players and well the less than desirable for anyone people. Nothing in between and it’s been this way since I can remember in my 46 years. My best friend who I have known and been friends with since we were 11…always got the guys. They would ask her to dance and talk to her…..not me. Then we got older she got married and we would go out somewhere same thing…..we just went to a movie recently and these 4 guys saw us both walk in, let me give ya a visual…I am shorter gal, weigh about 115, nice long hair, healthy and am told very attractive. My girlfriend 5′ 7″, weighs around 200 lbs, and still nice face, very bleached out blonde hair….they couldn’t stop looking at her….it STILL HAPPENS TO ME!!!
    I just had to laugh….whatever…it’s ok, just gotta find the one when she isn’t around! h ahha h hahhahhaha just kidding. Anyway, it’s a new day, a new you, and new opportunities ahead of you. Don’t stay angry it isn’t productive. Smile alot and just embrace being healthy and alive! Wishing you the best!

  22. 53
    Blue

    So … Sandra. Just how many men who are 60-100 pounds overweight (approximate equivalent to your previous weight) are YOU making eye contact with, smiling back at, flirting with or otherwise encouraging to approach you?

  23. 54
    Janet

    Honey, that is the biggest LOL I’ve had all day! Ha!!! I will remember that one!!

  24. 55
    Jennifer

    I’m a little uncomfortable saying most women aren’t as driven by looks. Reason being, I think women have some ‘nice girls don’t think/do x’ issues going on and it makes them feel better to think they are attracted to a man’s mind or character first, but i think physical appeal is pretty much instant (or not) for more people than not.

  25. 56
    delicia

    Jennifer, I really enjoy reading your (always very intelligent and well-thought-out) responses.

    And EMK, this quote is AWESOME:

    The people who do best in the world we live in are not the ones who try to rewrite the rules of society, but rather, figure out how to navigate them successfully

    Thanks all!!!

  26. 57
    JuJu

    Cilla (post 47),

    how do you know if it’s *most* women?

    I also tried to let some men grow on me, for various reasons, but like I said in post 30, it really doesn’t work. :-

    1. 57.1
      Malcolm

      IMO: No matter how true this is for you . . . it’s also true that it becomes more so the more you keep repeating it.

  27. 58
    Offwinger

    I’m going to take a slightly different approach to what others have written (including Evan). That doesn’t mean I disagree with the general advice, though.

    Here’s my suggestion:

    Don’t go out of your way to look or feel your “hottest” all the time in terms of hair, clothes, makeup. It’s fine to still carry yourself with confidence and know you look good. But if you tone it down just a smidge, you might “trick” yourself into realizing that the guys who are approaching you are doing so, even though you do not look your very best at that moment.

    Anyone who has followed the “what is a 7? What is a 10?” discussion from this blog and Lance’s is aware that we can make ourselves seem more or less attractive just by what we wear, do our hair, etc. We can also “feel” different based on those choices – even if other people will still notice our looks nonetheless.

    I know it’s sort of weird advice to give someone, but my personal experience is that when I was younger, I used to think that guys were into me because of my personality & then I would be confused (or even a little suspicious) if someone expressed interest without really “knowing” me. Now, I can appreciate that looks were always a factor, especially at the onset, but only one among many factors once you got to talk to someone more/date.

    Still, there is a part of this that I probably will never “get.” I am a hardcore jock. I know that when I’m playing ice hockey, punching stuff at the MMA gym, or lifting weights, I look like “crap.” You know the people who dress for the gym as though they are going on a date? That ain’t me. I sweat. I focus on getting it done. I’m training. The end.

    It took me a while to figure out that I can be wearing what I consider to be “not remotely sexy” work out clothes to-from-after, and my hair will be a mess, and I need to shower, and I will still get hit on. And this is not because of my awesome (snerk) personality. It is because of looks, plain & simple. Nonetheless, there is a part of me deep down that thinks “but why? I’m gross” – because I’m feeling “I need a shower,” not “I’m hot & my body is lean & athletic.”

    I think you can duplicate something similar to this – though not at the same extreme – just to get you past the hurdle of giving the first bunch of guys the time of day without being too dismissive of them for being superficial. Wear a decent pair of jeans, not your “hottest” pair. Or wear a less revealing dress. Or whatever it is you think makes you look the best – don’t do it. Go to a place where you’ll still garner attention. The fact that you feel inside that this isn’t you at your most physically attractive may give you the confidence to relax long enough to get past the ‘look’s aspect that fuels the initial meet-up & just focus on enjoying the experience of dating different people, getting to know their personalities, and sharing yours.

  28. 59
    Jennifer

    @Delicia #56- what a wonderful compliment thank you so much! I greatly enjoy reading your posts as well :-)

  29. 60
    starthrower68

    Sandra, something else occured to me that might give you some insight. Just because people have certain preferences in what attracts them to someone doesn’t mean there was anything inherently wrong with you when you were heavy. This is something that I’ve had to learn because I had a lot of negative chatter drummed into me as a kid due to my weight. I have two single guy friends that I think the world of, but I don’t have an attraction to them. They are great guys who any girl would be lucky to have. There just isn’t a romantic chemistry between me or them. Do I think they’d prefer a thinner woman over me? Sure. But I’m not bothered by it because their friendship is unconditional. They accept me as I am and I accept them as they are.

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