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

I Lost a Lot of Weight But Resent All the Men

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.


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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  1. 151
    Curly Girl

    EMK, you owe Honey an apology. She is definitely NOT selfish.

    And it’s nice that you didn’t Starbuck’s your wife on the first date. Don’t do caffeine myself, so I have always appreciated the non-coffee first date. Where DID you go? Or have you already shared and I missed it?

  2. 152
    Evan Marc Katz

    Respectfully, you’re missing the crux of the matter. Honey defends herself by talking about all the thoughtful things she’s done for her boyfriend. That’s not the point. My point is that your approach to treating strangers on dates is toxic. Just imagine if someone treated you like this:

    “Once I met them in person, I usually decided whether there would be a second date within 30 minutes anyway… I mostly went for coffee or a beer someplace walking distance from my house so I could leave after half an hour if it wasn’t clicking or extend into dinner if it was. And I wasn’t above faking an emergency phone call from a friend and leaving sooner if it seemed to be clicking for the guy but not for me (which, sadly, seemed to be quite a bit of the time).”

    You think you’re doing him a favor by not wasting his time? Actually, you’re scarring him.

    Ask any woman who has had a man treat her similarly.

  3. 153
    Curly Girl

    I think I’m missing something. I thought you were supposed to do the coffee date thing first? And then drive it up a notch if you both agreed to pursue it.

    EMK, when you were doing all that dating you went out on full dates and paid all the time and did a considerate follow-up? Yikes, sounds exhausting. And expensive.

  4. 154

    I’ve never had a guy cut a date short because he wasn’t interested. What I have had is a guy who really isn’t interested in me for anything long term pretend that he is just so he can have sex. And you know what? I’d much rather a guy who isn’t interested tell me so right up front.

    To be fair, Evan, you invited Honey’s list of selfless acts for her boyfriend because you wrote “being a great date — OR PARTNER — is about being selfless.” The truth is being a great date or partner is about balance. You have to be both selfish AND selfless…the tricky part is figuring out when to give your needs/wants/desires priority vs when to give the other person’s needs/wants/desires priority. And, I think that balance is different for different people.

  5. 155

    My thoughts were along the same lines as Kenley’s. If you polled women I’d bet the majority would rather find out the guy wasn’t interested within 30 minutes of meeting her opposed to him inexplicably disappearing after a few weeks of dating with sexual involvment.

    Evan, you’ve written men decide within minutes whether they are attracted to a woman or not and that seldom changes. How long does it take them to decide if she is more than just “do-able”?

  6. 156

    What I have had is a guy who really isn’t interested in me for anything long term pretend that he is just so he can have sex.
    You do not enjoy sex?

  7. 157

    To clarify, I faked a phone call once (and that was a guy who I discovered had stalked me for 2 years across 3 dating websites) and I have never found it necessary to end a date early. What I said was that I would. If it were necessary. Most guys are nice, just not right for me – so ending the date without any specific promises and declining a second should they call was enough.

    Fortunately, I do not ever anticipate going on a first date again, so my actions when I was 25 or younger and my hypotheses about what I might do now are, as Joey from Friends would say, “moo.”

    Honey´s last blog post…How Much Do I Invest in Someone Else?

  8. 158
    Karl R

    Selena said: (#155)
    “If you polled women I’d bet the majority would rather find out the guy wasn’t interested within 30 minutes of meeting her opposed to him inexplicably disappearing after a few weeks of dating with sexual involvment.”

    You’re offering a false choice. I’m sure you would prefer that he be rude to you instead of using you for sex, but it’s possible to be polite and honest. I had one date where I decided in the first 5 minutes that it was our last date. I could have ended that before the waitress came around to get our drink order. I’m can imagine what that would have done for the lady’s body image. (Her profile described her as “a few pounds overweight”. I would have described her as morbidly obese.)

    Instead, we had dinner, chatted, and I politely said goodbye at the end and thanked her for an enjoyable evening. I didn’t tell her that I would call her, or say anything that would indicate that there would be a second date. She caught the hint, so nothing more needed to be said.

    If you bail early on a date, you’re sending a message that you can’t tolerate their presence even for a few hours. That’s a rather nasty comment to make. (And a fake emergency is a rather transparent excuse.)

    Sex didn’t enter the equation. I don’t string women along so I can have sex with them. If it’s just going to be sex, I’ll be clear about that up front.

    Selena said: (#155)
    “How long does it take [men] to decide if she is more than just ‘do-able’?”

    I’ve only made that decision once on a first date … and I’d known her for a few weeks before we went out. A couple weeks is probably more normal for me.

    Think about how much information you’re trying to learn:
    Do you enjoy being around this person?
    Do you have common interests?
    Do you share common values?
    Do you get each other’s sense of humor?
    What is this person passionate about?
    Can you tolerate each other’s differences and flaws?

    I can barely scratch the surface of that in the first hour.

  9. 159


    If a few of the women on here are saying that they would rather a guy who really isn’t interested cut the “date” short rather than pretend to be interested, why don’t you believe them?

    How do you know that your morbidly obese date “got the hint”? Perhaps she waited and hoped and prayed you would call because the evening was so pleasant. You didn’t. So she was may have been left wondering what went wrong.

    For women the line between being polite to them vs misleading them is very, very thin. The women I know like clarity and closure. So, if men decide in 5 minutes that they aren’t interested, we’d prefer to know that. Having a great first date with a guy who doesn’t want to go on date two just confuses us and drives us crazy.

  10. 160

    Karl I said nothing about being rude. Ofcourse it’s possible to be polite AND honest. I do think for *blind* dates a short first meeting is appropriate. Better if it can be structured to be expanded if you hit it off – as Honey did when she was dating. Thirty minutes may not be enough time to decide about some people, but more than enough for others. Not necessarily based on looks either; if a man uses “the N word” in my presence, I don’t need to know anything more about him – he has flatly turned me off completely.

    False choice? Just curious if men do decide on a first date whether a woman is relationship material, or just booty-call worthy. ‘Cause I’ll tell ya Karl, sometimes it’s difficult for women to tell which by their words and actions. Until later ofcourse when all is revealed.

  11. 161
    Karl R

    Kenley said: (#159)
    “How do you know that your morbidly obese date ‘got the hint’?”

    From the way her face fell when she realized I wouldn’t be asking her out again. She couldn’t compeletely hide her disappointment.

    “The women I know like clarity and closure.”

    Nobody can give you closure. Closure comes from within. Clarity comes from within as well.

    Three weeks ago I had an enjoyable first date. I e-mailed the lady the next day, but I never heard back from her. After three days I had all the clarity and closure I needed. And I’m no crazier now than I was before the date.

    No answer = “No.”
    That’s clear enough for me.

    Do you honestly believe that my obese date wanted me to tell her that I thought she was unattractive and (more importantly) not all that bright? I think she’s better off not knowing my opinion.

    “If a few of the women on here are saying that they would rather a guy who really isn’t interested cut the ‘date’ short rather than pretend to be interested, why don’t you believe them?”

    If I bail on a date in the first few minutes, that’s going to be humiliating to her. I don’t like being publicly humiliated. None of my friends (male or female) like being publicly humiliated. So I assume that my dates won’t appreciate being publicly humiliated either.

    To put it another way, I place more credibility on my own experiences than your words.

  12. 162

    holy off subject, batman!

    anyways, just wanted to say that I gave a lot of thought about everything everyone said and this weekend tried giving people a chance. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (until some a pleasant young man told me that I had a nice ass…how classy)! It’s sometimes hard to forget that i’m minus 60lbs, you know? But I had a good time just being myself and being able to socialize with guys. Cheers!

  13. 163

    @Sandra post #162

    Congratulations, it made me feel good to read that you are enjoying the opportunities you brought to yourself.

    Now get out of our way so we can get back to our vitriolic petty caterwauling :).

  14. 164

    I wasn’t suggesting that you should negate your experiences. I was simply sharing my experiences and the experiences of my friends. Although dating would be easier if everyone believed the same things and felt the same way — they don’t. So, I was simply pointing out that women can have different experiences than yours and different needs/desires. However, I do understand your point of view — you don’t want to humiliate your date. I think that approach is fine so wasn’t even suggesting that you should change your behavior. All I was pointing out is that some women might appreciate a different approach as well. There is more than one way to be successful as well as polite when dating.

  15. 165
    Karl R

    Selena said: (#160)
    “Just curious if men do decide on a first date whether a woman is relationship material, or just booty-call worthy.”

    Assuming an on-line dating type circumstance, I have never decided that a woman is relationship material on the first date. I have sometimes decided that she is not relationship material. Generally I’m not even thinking much about it until after the date. I’m a much better date if I stay present in the moment.

    After the date is over, I’ll start thinking about whether the lady is relationship material. Usually I’ll start leaning in one direction or the other, but I tend not to make any decisions until I get to know her better. I usually take a few dates to decide if someone is potential relationship material.

    In comparison, it takes less than five minutes to decide whether a date is sexually attractive. (Sometimes only a few seconds.)

    “Cause I’ll tell ya Karl, sometimes it’s difficult for women to tell which by their words and actions.”

    I can see why. I know whether I want to have sex with you at the beginning of the first date. But unless you’ve said or done something to prove that you’re not relationship material, I might not be sure whether you’re relationship material for a week or more.

    There’s no difference in the behavior … because it’s still one category, not two.

    And in my experience, sex clouds (and therefore prolongs) the decision-making process.

    “Until later ofcourse when all is revealed.”

    There’s your obvious solution. Don’t have sex with him until it’s obvious which category you fall into.

  16. 166

    Thanks Karl for answering the question. You explained it very well.
    “And in my experience, sex clouds (and therefore prolongs) the decision-making process.”

    Ain’t that the truth.

  17. 167

    Maybe, it is the truth. To add to it, woman’s mind is built to follow a man. Once she is attracted to him, there is little she can do. Women find this frustrating, so I am told.

  18. 168

    I’m confused about Ann.
    “I’m a dancer… Last year I had an injury, took a day gig where I sat at a desk all day.”

    “When not doing my creative life I make six figures as a consultant in a male-dominated world.”

    So you took a “day gig” a year ago and now make six figures? I’m confused.

  19. 169

    Well, she could do what I did, though in my case it was sort of accidental. I had a profile up on an online dating site for several months, and wasn’t getting many responses on it so I sort of just abandoned it. In the meantime I lost 40 lbs due to medical problems. When I got an email on the site from the man who is now my boyfriend, I realized that all those pics were of me at a much higher weight. I said something to him about it before we met just so he wouldn’t be shocked, but i have to admit that it’s nice knowing it wouldn’t have made a difference to him.

  20. 170

    Well you are right Evan, now that she have worked so hard why is she not allowing boys to talk to him and making them feel guilty that is not good at all

  21. 171

    I am going to assume that a really rich person would be able to identify another really rich person.  The same way a fat person can identify a fat person.  If it’s right out in the open then you can’t blame someone for noticing. 

  22. 172

    Having lost over 100 lbs (and keeping it off for years) I feel I have something to offer on the subject.  I had some of these same thoughts once I started thinking about dating again after my husband of nearly 28 years died. (widowed at 47.)  I realized that I was not attracted to men who were 50%+ above their healthy weight and so I could understand them not finding me or any obese woman attractive either. I know from personal experience what lies ahead for a person in a LTR with someone who becomes ill and obesity makes many types of illness far more likely.  The writer should enjoy her new weight, let attraction be her guide and look forward to finding that man that makes her heart go thump whenever she thinks of him.

    By the way, most of us become fat not because of emotional issues but because we all eat too many carbohydrates… There is nothing wrong with us..it’s just the food, which is easy to change.

  23. 173

    This is just my own experience – and while I don’t claim it is true for everyone, I’m also sure that I’m not alone in it.  I’m currently working on losing weight and making good progress.  I was never more than a few pounds heavier than ideal growing up, but an injury severely limited my activity level when I was 18 and I began gradually gaining weight.  Getting a desk job – when all of my previous jobs had been a lot more physically demanding – contributed to weight gain as well.  It crept up on me, a few barely noticeable pounds each year, over the course of many years, until one day I realized that I was fat. Not morbidly obese – but heavy enough that it was beginning to negatively effect my health and self confidence.  My marriage fell apart.  I know my husband found me less desirable physically.  But more than anything, I think it was my lack of confidence as a sexy woman, that was a turn off.  The more depressed over my appearance I became, the more I changed.  I wasn’t self confident, or energetic, or outgoing anymore.  I pretty much just wanted to hide and not have anyone who knew me before see me that way.  Now, I know this doesn’t apply to ALL overweight people.  Some people have no issues with their size at all, and more power to them.  But I think, in many cases, it is not the size of the person – but the accompanying changes in attitude, confidence, etc. that are the real turn offs.

  24. 174

    This is my first time commenting on the threads here.  I’m not in the dating pool but find Evan’s insights really helpful for all kinds of relationships (I have two sons who are often a mystery to me!).  I would like to make two points:
    1)  Ann #78’s analogy with Tom Selleck is, unfortunately, 100% correct.  I’m sorry.  You all may not want to hear it, but it’s exactly what many of you have been saying.
    2)  That aside, I agree with Evan and others of you who say that she needs to move beyond this.  I think the problem here is that Sandra did not pose the question she was really trying to get answered, and that is why so many are floundering here and getting off topic.  Instead of asking how she should get beyond her resentment, suppose she had asked the following:
    “How do I figure out whether any of these guys will stick with me if I lose my looks?  Suppose I have an accident or an illness?  Suppose I have triplets and gain those 60 lbs. back?  These guys who only seem to care about my looks, how do I know if they will stay?”
    I think most here would find this question much easier to answer.  There are plenty of men who stick with their wives through cancer, Parkinson’s, MS, car accidents, mental illness (Newt Gingrich and John Edwards aside).  They may not make the news, but there are many of them.  You see them every day.  Would these men *date* a woman with any of these issues?  I don’t know.  I don’t think anybody does.  But will a good man stay?  Yes, he will.
    Sandra, I would try and put aside your resentment if you can.  I don’t think it’s the real issue.  I would give Evan’s generally excellent advice a try and I think you will find a guy who will be with you no matter what.

  25. 175

    Dear Sandra,

    Congratulations for your achievement.  In terms of the emotions that you are experiencing they are real to you and you are entitled to what ever you feel.  No one knows exactly what you feel because no one is you.  Take as long as you need to work through your emotions, try not to beat yourself up for feeling the way you do because you are entitled.  What you could do to is give yourself a time frame and work to it.  Meet with a counsellor if you need to, repeat affirmations, and work on feeling happy and content with you, and accept any and all emotions and feelings you experience.  The next time a man comes up to you and hits on you say thanks!  If your upset thats ok.  But set yourself a goal and say the next time a man hits on me im respond in a certain way and im not going to get upset.  After a while of persistent effort you will probably start to respond in a different way.  All I can say is you go girl!!!     

  26. 176


    I went through the same thing as you at first.   Many years after my divorce and still dealing with low self esteem from it, I suddenly found out that I had a genetic disease that caused me to be overweight.  When I found out the cause and the cure, I lost over 70 lbs. in a fairly short time frame.  I have literally had people who have known me for years run into me in the grocery store and have a hard time recognizing me because I was so overweight for so long.  All I can say is that as time goes on, I am less suspicious of men being interested as I realized there are guys out there that like women that do not fit the “ideal”.  I am still not thin by any means and will always be considered curvy due to my build.  I believe voluptuous is the term which I know is not the ideal in our society.  However, that being said, what really counts is how you feel about yourself and to heck with every one else!  Not only that but I have ran into many guys that actually don’t like “twigs”.  I think I realized this when I had some  younger guys hit on me in front of my daughter and she informed me I was a cougar…of course I had to explain to here I wasn’t since they were just flirting.  I know better than anyone how much damage being overweight  can do to a person’s self esteem even long after the weight is lost.  If nothing else due to my special diet to stay healthy I have learned that if a man can’t accept me for who I am then I don’t need him. Granted it took a guy splitting on me (first boyfriend after years of being divorced… devastated me) and a few being interested despite my disease which I am upfront and unapologetic about (flattering) to make this really hit home.  Basically, any man who is worth it will accept you in all your phases and love you.  The current guy I am involved with recently saw my fat pictures and knows about my condition and even before he saw them was continually asking me question to try to understand what I deal with.  While this has limited the amount of dates when I was looking, it also weeded out the fluff.  

  27. 177

    I’ve always been a big girl and i’ve never had trouble turning guys heads. I will be marring the most amazing man in the world but it took me so long to let guys in because of my weight.I think that size doesn’t really matter but the way you carry yourself and worry about how others perceive you is why men won’t notice.But if you show confidence and that amazing personality shines through you will have men wanting to be with you.I decided to forget about my size and i landed the most amazing man and he thinks i’m gorgeous 🙂 If a man is really not willing to see past what society deems as acceptable than do you want that guy in your life to begin with? Now i want to lose all the weight for health reasons and so i have more time with my new family.Always seek those who love you for you no matter what, everyone is entitled to self love and love from others.
    Good luck in the future 🙂

  28. 178

    wow evan marc i have to say…. perfect answer! 
    you manage to put your opnion in such a lovely, comprehensible way… it’s unbelievable.
    great work & great website 🙂  

    1. 178.1

      He compared fat women to broken and busted up stores.
      What on earth does he feel about plus-sized girls or pregnant women?

  29. 179

    EMK – 151 – I totally agree with your comment that Honey is “scarring him”.  When men have treated me like that, I have longed to text them (but didn’t :o) saying each time a man hurts a woman, the next man gets hurt again and obviously this applies to both sexes.
    Karl – 157 – I like this approach.  It’s respectful.
    Also, I’m wondering – if the OP is saying now men find her PHYSICALLY attractive.  It takes time for a woman to accept herself and sometimes, women don’t, until they do.  Particularly if they didn’t notice her before she lost weight.
    Incidentally, I remember a colleague who was devastatingly attractive to men at first sight.  They spoke to her five minutes, and she was left.  And now I can see why.  She was totally self-absorbed, extremely vain and very very unpleasant.
    As the relative of two super models (yes, I am) and rather good looking I’m told, it used to scare me to death when people were also taking photos of me.  It made me very very self conscious.  (Still have to steel myself for when people get the cameras out).
    And yep, I used to hide under……..baggy clothes and practically non existent make-up, and……behind my hair (great stuff hair – for hiding behind).
    Did the men notice me? OH YES.  Believe it or not, the shyness was very attractive (geez!)
    It’s when you say, stuff it all, and make your mind up if you want a relationship or not, and choose to dress appropriately. 
    If you’re not sure he’s gonna be a jerk (on a first date), dress wisely – don’t let it all hang out so to speak.  T-shirt, jeans and blazer and boots, for example. 
    It isn’t because you’re slim that you’ll attract a man.  It might help.  But then again, I know women who are rather overweight and really really attractive to men.
    Having dated an overweight man or two, apart from health concerns, do I seriously care if he’s overweight???

  30. 180

    Being a tall lady that is overweight by 60lbs I  can understand what she is saying in a sense but on the other hand I know how men are too, but I also know how I am. We all have traits we are attracted to and it’s not to be shallow…for instance I’m in the process if losing weight for myself and for my son. I eat extremely healthy and I exercise more than the average  “athletic woman”. I do it because it makes me feel better as a person and it does make me feel sexier knowing I’m ” getting there”. I want to be able to do the things I wanna do is my reason for doing it. I haven’t dated in a long time. Because at my weight now there is honestly no way the type of guy I’m attracted to would be interested in me. I’m a big outdoors person and want someone that can actually keep up with me. Just like I’m 6ft tall…I’m attracted to  really tall men. You can judge a guy for being attracted to women that are smaller because in all reality….women are programmed the same exact way. We want the guy with the nice teeth, tall, active type. One that if we are independent they will be too. women maybe just don’t realize we do it as well. So don’t double standard on judging a guy basing approaching a woman for appearance catching the eye…ladies we do the same to me and if you say you don’t then you are just not being honest about it. It’s normal and natural…other animals do it too . Peacock females mate with the tails of then men they fine most attractive to them. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…as long and you are happy with where you are or where you are headed you will find your perfect match when the time comes. Have fun and enjoy life.

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