Big Love


Weight is an emotional and challenging subject for many women who struggle to keep (or take) extra pounds off. While a lot of us fight to get our bodies “right” in order to stave off health issues, others feel that weight is a barrier for them when it comes to finding or sustaining a relationship. And for all the stories of happy and loved heavy women, our size most certainly can be a factor when it comes to meeting Mr. Right.

It isn’t that all so-called “decent” or “desirable” men are opposed to dating larger women; many wonderful men are either open to dating bigger sisters or outright prefer them to smaller ones. But a woman who has an issue with her weight (real or perceived) may be projecting certain things that can be a deterrent to potential suitors; confidence is sexy and if you walk around feeling like you’re a big, sloppy mess, it doesn’t matter if you weigh 150 pounds or 250 pounds…you just might be getting in your own way.

Stop the track: let it be known that I fully understand that 1) health is more important than anything else, 2) while many of us are agonizing over 10 pounds, there are ladies out there who could stand to lose 100 and are living their lives like they’re golden, regardless of what their romantic situations are ,and 3) a woman is not incomplete without a man. However, we do also know that many of us truly desire love, that having a loving relationship can have a positive impact on our physical, spiritual and emotional health, that there is absolutely no shame in wanting to love and be loved AND that many women have had negative encounters with men that had to do with their weight. Despite how much we want this sh*t to be simple, it isn’t always so. Ok? Ok.

So what about those girls who hit the gym and /or diet for no other reason but to be more appealing to men? And by those girls…I mean girls like me. I’m not even going to lie, I’m amongst that crowd. I hated my size starting around middle school (ironically, I wasn’t even overweight until a few years later), yet I let myself get bigger and bigger each year until I found myself weighing well over 200 pounds by the time I was twenty three. I had a big “this must change!” moment and I got it together. A few years later, I’m over sixty pounds lighter, with about 15 or so left to lose.

They way I looked in clothes (and what I perceived to be my limited dressing options) had great baring over my disdain for my size, but my desire to meet what I believed to be a better caliber of men had far more to do with my choice. I met a lot of guys even when I was much larger, but I felt that many of the guys I would have wanted to want me back weren’t interested in a chunky girl. Now that I’m on the other side, I actually think my line of thinking had a lot to do with my lack of confidence (see above). Either way, whether it was the increased confidence or the “improved” appearance, once I lost the weight I definitely met not only more men, but more men that I wanted to date.

However, there is something awfully unhealthy about your relationship to your appearance and your body being so deeply connected to your desire to be in a romantic relationship. What happens if you make the changes and you still don’t find someone? Or, if you find love only to find the pounds piling back on (this is the current challenge I’m facing, btw; I’m winning so far, but that comfort of a relationship has made saying ‘yes’ to dessert much easier than I would have hoped)? While I’m glad that I lost weight either way, I wish that I hadn’t waited until I felt romantically frustrated to realize that I needed to take control of my body. Ironically, not only has my current boyfriend dated chunkier women and isn’t nearly as interested as I am in seeing me get that elusive small dress size that I seek. Chubby Jamilah probably could have pulled the same dude, had I been walking around with my head held high.

It’s a difficult dance, because no matter how body confident we are (or aren’t), we will be judged by others when it comes to our appearance. For better or for worse. Ideally, we’d all find peace and comfort in what we have and what we may need to work on prior to, during and after relationships.

But that’s not the world we live in. For many of us, body confidence and health is not a destination, but a lifelong journey. If you feel that you need or want to shed some poundage, do understand that your life won’t change in an instant, that you must be committed to maintaining your health even if you find someone special and that you shouldn’t let love be the only thing that keeps you focused on your health.

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