ADVICE: My girlfriend is too fat!

I get email [paraphrased]:

I have recently began to date a fantastic girl. I’m very confused, because I like her for who she is, like, I love this girl, and I want to stay with her forever. It’s just…I wish she was thinner. I know, I know, that sounds like such a douche bag thing to want, and I feel horrible about it. She’s not even obese, just a little rounded, which isn’t wrong by any means. Just, as far as sexuality goes, I wish she was a little thinner, just as a turn on type thing and stuff…Thanks for any help you can give.

First off, thanks for acknowledging that not accepting your partner’s natural form is not fair. You are way ahead of the game. However, if it makes you feel any better, it’s probably not entirely your fault for holding her to such standards. While you have fortunately acknowledged it, many others often fail to recognize that this “unnatural beauty bombardment” is not only detrimental to women, it hurts relationships and women’s partners too.

To me, the reality is, you cannot ask your girlfriend to lose weight. In particular, because you just started dating AND she’s healthy. To many, it will come off as douchebaggy and uncalled for. Not only that, but such a request has the power to destroy a person’s self confidence, and sometimes, their trust in you. It’s normal for women to have curves and a little bit more body fat than men. People with a little extra weight tend to live longer and healthy sized women (note, the spectrum of healthy is much broader than we perceive) have healthier babies. I would like to add, in response to some legitimately concerned comments, that dealing with an unhealthy partner is a different story that I’m not going to get into in this post.

That said, the fact remains that you still feel an impediment in your attraction to her. As much as I’d like to believe love is blind, I don’t. In my experience, there needs to be SOME kind of physical attraction for any physical relationship to work. The rest of your email indicates that you obviously find her attractive, she’s just not your “perfect 10″ because of the weight issue. Perhaps it might be helpful for you to:

1) Start at the root of the problem: begin questioning your own perceptions of weight and beauty to understand why you feel the way you do. What are you comparing her to? Is it pornography? Is it reality TV? Surround yourself with more positive/realistic images and continue questioning yourself. You have clearly already started that, which I think is awesome! Many props to you. But it takes time, skepticism, and persistence before you will really start to see beauty in more forms than just being thin–so don’t beat yourself up over it.

2) Take theory out into the real world: focus on what you do like when you’re getting off with her. Enjoy the rest of her body and allow yourself to embrace the “soul connection” you have with her when you have sex.

While working out with a partner is always a fun activity, I think that asking her to work out with you for the sake of her losing weight is a bit extreme in this case; again, mostly because you just started dating, but also because she’s not unhealthy/self esteem stuff. So, other than being sensitive, opening your mind to other kinds of beauty, and continuing to focus on the positive you see in her, I personally don’t know of much more that could really help you. It’s not a black and white issue, but you sound like you’re on the right path. In short, it is my opinion that if you want to stay with her, you’ll have to look past it, and these are some of the means that might help you do so. Best of luck!

The comment section is open to readers who have their own input. Should anyone else like to give advice, please remember that this is a sex and body positive space. :)

73 thoughts on “ADVICE: My girlfriend is too fat!

  1. I don’t like the expression “sticks and bones”… This down-talking of the media-promoted beauty standard is the reason I have a problem with most body image campaigns. People who (like me) are naturally very skinny end up being even further alienated because now they fit in neither beauty standard. Why do heavier women get to be called “curvy” or “healthy-sized”, but thin people are “sticks and bones”? I’m sure there are expressions with less negative connotations…

    Any yes, I know that isn’t the point of this post, I just wanted to let it out. And I really like the message of the post; this wording is the only thing that irritated me.

    To the email author: Yes, please don’t tell your girlfriend that you would like her to be skinnier. Unless she’s been trying to lose weight and asks for support while dieting, that simply isn’t your place – it’s her body. Just try to get over it somehow, as you have apparently been trying already. :)

    • Miss Chip,

      Perhaps I can offer a different lens. What else should we call women who are bigger than the “standard”? Fat? Thick? Heavy? These have tons of negative connotations (I have changed “stick and bones” because I acknowledge it is also offensive). Curvy and healthy are more realistic, apply to more people (even thin ones), and have a positive connotation. Overcompensating is a problem in any battle, though :)

      • I’ve thought about the language issue regarding thin people a number of times, because i have a pretty slight natural frame. Men are “supposed” to have more meat than me some say.

        I think addressing language can be tricky because, you’re right, overcompensation is an issue. It’s better than never trying though.

        I refer to people’s bodies as voluptuous and curvy, or stout and strong, vs slender and lithe, or spry and tone, when they’re healthy.

        I refer to people as overweight and obese, or malnourished and underweight, when they’re unhealthy.

        I’m sure there’s no perfect lexicon of words for these things, but those are the ones I’ve been using.

        • My only concern, James, in the comment you made about “healthy” vs “unhealthy”—as we have been discussing, you can’t make an assumption on people’s health just by looking at their body. Just something to consider. Maybe we all need to look past physical appearance when referring to people. I’m not “that fat chick”, I am the one in my brother’s Navy Seal t-shirt and sweats coming from a yoga class. You know? Namaste! :)

    • You basically wrote everything I wanted to write from the advice for the boyfriend to the body image campaign. Now, I don’t have anything against the body image campaign, but I also don’t think it should advocate for replacing one standard of beauty with another when genetics play a large role of the body type people are born with. While I do think some people are born more attractive than others, and a mass majority of people like watching pretty people do things a good percentage of the time, I think the media should focus more on the person’s talent/skills and in some cases like in journalism personality and intelligence. This would likely lead to more types of people being represented. And when they do hire someone for or partly for their looks they should realize there are multiple standards of beauty. Some like Megan Fox, some like Christina Hendricks, and some like both.

      That said, I liked Laci’s response. I didn’t have time to comment when I read this article an hour or two ago, but I was sure the word “Douche Baggy” was used a couple of times. Laci, if you edited it out, you should put it back in. Though I like that you used stats, which I feel will be helpful to your readers, I don’t think it’s going to change the mind of people who think like the writer and who’ll have to get over this by expanding their sexual preferences.

  2. I think the blog, while true, is a bit harsh.

    While there is no doubt our minds have been influenced by the outside world. It is clear the mailer already realizes this from his wording, yet i am kinda getting the “kick him while he’s down vibe” from this blog. Someone opens up trough an email and you go on a, totally valid but i.m.o. misplaced, rant about how our minds have been corrupted by porn/advertising/other while only spending 2 lines on a possible solution.

    I do feel it is a common “problem”, my ex gf wasn’t fat by any standard, just curvy, but i sure had my moments where i thought “I would like it if she lost some weight”. Most of the times it was for practical reasons: Wanting to lift her up with her legs around me while we are having sex, carrying her from the couch to the bed or when wanting to try out a new position.
    I was definitely physically attracted to her and it wasn’t so much a turn on type of thing, just that i felt her losing weight could enhance our sex life. For the record, i never told her this, she wasn’t the most self-confident person when i met her and during our time together that improved a lot and there was no need to undermine that.

    So what else can we do to reprogram ourselves?

    • Meh, in this case, I think you’re nitpicking. I personally advocate going into the ROOT of the problem with these things (if you haven’t noticed yet), not offering bandaids without ever really helping people understand what’s actually going on. The writer clearly sees this, as I acknowledged, but this blog is read by thousands, not by just him. I offered social causes and practical solutions. You don’t have to like it, but he asked for MY take–thus, my offering.

      As to reprogramming, the only “reprogramming” I’ve seen actually WORK is using the means I offered in the post. There are others, I’m sure, but I don’t know of them and I don’t know how to offer them to a broad audience. Reprogramming means questioning yourself and changing your way of thinking/viewing the world. It’s active thought and skepticism, and thus my encouragement.

    • If your girl is a few pounds too heavy for you to throw around you could ask her to lose some weight, or increase your ability to lift heavier weights. The second would probably happen faster.

      When a woman cuts her body fat down, shit starts to go wrong after 13%. You stop ovulating, your hair tends to fall out, also most of you look fucking anorexic, if not just severely under eating. Women should pack 7 – 10 % more body fat than a male. It’s good for their breasts, it helps your body maintain healthy activities, it’s also good for breasts.

      Know your body fat percentage, not your weight, it’s more important. Healthy for women is usually what media claims is “curvy”. 20 – 26% is average for a female. For males it’s 14 – 19%.

      Truth Teller – Trolling is a art. 0/10

      Rebecca- If your metabolism is slow and you want to lose weight, lift weights. It’ll become average quickly. Also, your metabolism stays higher than average for three days after your weight training periods.

  3. If the dude exercises, then he should start exercising at times where he knows the girl would ask him to do stuff with her. Then, through her own will, she would be motivated to exercise which also leads to better health, and may help her lose weight.

    I’d have to quantify the girl’s body composition to know for sure, but if she’s in a healthy range then the guy needs to shut up and re-evaluate his thinking. If her body weight has the potential for elevated CVD risk, then there’s no harm in lying:

    “Babe, I love the way you look but I really think we should adopt healthier lifestyles. What if we started jogging together?”

    If the man does not currently exercise and is also slightly overweight (some fat men actually complain of their fat girlfriends, HA!) then this would seem more genuine. Although if he is also relatively sedentary, it could come off as genuine too.

    Although there’s a high risk she’d see right through it, but at least she’d know that he wants her to lose weight but he will be proactive about it and exercise with her.

    • I think most people would see through it, but that might be just me.

      I should note, the reader never asked about her health. She is healthy already, so this solution, IMO, is not practical in this particular case. Not only that, but it’s intrusive and body negative without appearing so on the surface. Especially since they just met :/

      My 2 cents.

      • Just my 2 cents….Laci, I think you were very kind in your responses concerning the “heavy” girlfriend. Having been a model in my early 20′s and struggling with weight issues/eating disorders/ and distorted body image which has been a burden, I think he’d do the girlfriend a big fat favor if he looked for a new girlfriend. Her weight, if she is healthy is not the issue and if he’s not attracted to her then find someone who attracts you.
        Even if he never says anything out load, its a really strong woman to not be impacted by your love telling you he’s not attracted to you because you’re not…(fill in the blank). Thanks for your forum. Love you, as usual!

        • OTOH if he dumps her she might be seriously affected by having been dumped for being “too fat”. Either way it’s a delicate subject. Best thing he could do is try & see around the body image & appreciate her for the person she is. If he sets a good example by exercising but doesn’t harp on about her being flabby or whatever, she *might* decide to join him. If he hassles her about it it’ll just become a bone of contention.

  4. You didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt. Just because the model on the cover of Vouge is underweight doesn’t mean that this guy’s girlfriend isn’t overweight. Most guys with two brain cells to rub together know that fashion models are deliberately selected to be walking clothes hangers. Armed with the knowledge that Hollywood women are a bad example, where does he get his examples of healthy women? Women on the street? That won’t work either. The average woman on the street is overweight.

    Comparing women’s bodies to an unrealistically low weight is obviously problematic, but nearly 70% of adults in this country ARE an unhealthy weight (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm). There is a very real possibility this guy’s girlfriend is one of them. Yes, Hollywood beauty imagery may be warping perceptions of appropriate body shapes, but that is not the only influence on people’s perceptions, or even necessarily the strongest. He may be so accustomed to seeing overweight women in his community that his perception of what “real women” are supposed to be shaped like is skewed in the direction of too large. A third of Americans are obese; we have grown accustomed to seeing that third as the “fat” ones, but half of the remaining adults are overweight, too.

    I am all for media presenting a greater variety of healthy body shapes in their portrayal of feminine beauty, but lets not pretend that weight loss shouldn’t be pursued by this guy’s girlfriend just because the cast of “America’s Next Top Model” are impossibly skinny. Shaming and stigmatizing overweight people is not appropriate, but telling them they are just perfect the way they are is not appropriate either.

    I really don’t think you can give this guy accurate advice without knowing his girlfriend’s body fat percentage. Maybe she does need to drop a few pounds. Perhaps the two of them could make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle together. Who says he is a healthy weight? Even if he is, there is nothing wrong working out to get stronger. Something like that could bring them closer together and then they would live happily ever after.

    And longer.

    • I agree. It’s really hard to strike a balance and find healthy imagery. Being obese is not healthy, but having body fat isn’t unhealthy. As I highlighted, in the proper proportion, it’s beneficial. Back to the post, when somebody says, “she’s not obese, she’s just a little rounded” — I think, “OK–she’s not obese“. Thus, I have responded to such an inquiry.

      However, even if she WAS obese, encouraging a healthy lifestyle is good, but telling her to lose weight ISN’T the answer. In my experience, people have to love themselves BEFORE they will love their body enough to keep it healthy. And you know what? Telling somebody you just started dating to lose weight is a dick move whether they are healthy or not.

      • Sure, it is not considered nice to tell someone to loose weigh as a condition of dating you, but if she is overweight (and “not obese” only eliminates half of overweight Americans) and he isn’t attracted to her because of it, you didn’t give him any advice at all. You ignored the possibility. What would you have told him if he said his new girlfriend is 5’4″ and 170 lbs.

        • I ignored the possibility because that’s not what his concern was. I did not post the whole email, this was paraphrased. Perhaps I should note that.

        • Hey Izzy:

          If he’s not attracted to her it isn’t her problem, its his. And its not his job to tell her how to become more….”anything”. Its her responsibility to keep healthy.
          If he’s not attracted to her unless she loses weight he needs to move right on and hope some gal down the line doesn’t dislike his poochy belly or nose hair.

    • Now while I agree with a lot of what you said in this post, there’s parts that I don’t think are truthful. There’s a big problem in this country (America) with the concept and usage of the word “weight”. In reality a person’s body weight, i.e. the number of pounds they weigh, has very little to do with that person’s health. For too long the medical community, and world at large have used things like BMI (comparing height against weight on a scale) to determine health. According to this scale you have a “target weight” for your height and anything above or under that puts you as unhealthy. BMI has absolutely no way of measuring a person’s body fat which is the number that really matters. Here’s some examples of how BMI is a useless tool: according to the BMI scale a man who is 6ft tall has a target weight of about 175-190lbs, however we look at a football player that height who weighs 260lbs and we can make the assertion that he is a very healthy person even though he, according to BMI and those statistics you were quoting, is obese. On a personal note I have for years battled my ‘weight’ on both sides of the scale. When I was younger I was really into ballet and had a very unhealthy body image and battled multiple eating disorders as a result. Now, at my skinniest you could see all of my ribs and bones stuck out everywhere, I had so little body fat that I stopped menstruating. You can probably agree that I was not healthy in the least. I weighed 125lbs at 5ft 4 inches. I was perfectly within target weight even though I was obviously not healthy. A while later I quit ballet and started gaining weight. I started eating more and swimming. Now I’m on the opposite side. I now weigh almost 200lbs at 5’4. BMI says that I am obese, however I have 24% body fat (within the normal range for a woman) and most of that is in my boobs. I have lots of muscles and am very strong and have none of the issues commonly associated with obesity. That is because I am not obese, I weigh a lot on the scale but I am in reality a perfectly healthy person. Weight is a misleading number and investigations into those obesity statistics reveal that in reality it is probably about 13% true obesity and about 20-30% of adult americans actually have more body fat than is ideal. While these numbers still aren’t good ones they are better and a lot more fair than the one’s currently in circulation. Just please remember that you can’t judge a person’s health by their weight or their shape for that matter. :)

  5. I hate that the media does this to us. Sets up standards that are unrealistic. I understand it, but not a lot of people do…which is so sad and frustrating :(

  6. curvy, skinny, super-skinny, whateva.
    I say that a couple should be able to exercise together in confidence, but only for themselves. We have to be proactive about our health one way or another.

  7. Very well thought out response, Laci. It’s good to acknowledge that the media has some influence on what we view as attractive, while at the same time as you said it’s no one’s place to tell someone that they’re not what you’d consider attractive if they’re healthy.

    I totally agree about the self esteem issue too, my sister is perfectly healthy (and perhaps underweight) but she always complains about overeating/feeling fat, I try to reassure her but it only does so much good. I won’t even kid around because she would take it to heart.

    Good advice too, this fits with a lot of situations.

  8. Laci,

    A great, and very well written, response. I much enjoyed the questioning of perceptions, something that I believe should be done by everyone on a regular, if not daily, basis. No matter how open-minded and well-educated you consider yourself.

  9. Fantastic post Laci. I would actually go one step further and say that even if your other half is unhealthy, you have no right to push them into anything. Don’t get with them in the first place if they’re unhealthy and unwilling to do something about it (yet you want them to). No one should assume control over someone’s life just because they’re in a relationship with them. People could take advantage of this if we say it’s okay for it to happen with weight.. I.E ‘Stop smoking cigarettes/stop smoking weed (use a bong instead :P)/stop drinking completely’. People need to choose their own lives, and if they want to put their health at risk.. so be it. Just don’t be in a relationship with that person if you cannot handle it.

    Of course, on the other hand, you might want to help that partner simply because you CARE about their health and want them to live well.. In that case, a partner who cares about you and who trusts you should listen to any concerns and accept your support. If they don’t, again, they can’t be pushed. It’s their life. We should always try our best to make our loved ones want to be healthy, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. Unless their actions are hurting others directly or have an illness making them think irrationally (anorexia, extreme binge eating behaviour, alcoholism, addictions etc), people are masters of their own bodies. It’s the only thing that is TRUELY their own and, as bad as it might feel, we have to respect that.

    I’m unhealthily overweight. I WANT to be a healthy weight. I have a fantastic partner – he says that he thinks I’m beautiful at any size, and that if I didn’t lose weight I’d still be his dream girl, he still ‘gets turned on’ by me and he wouldn’t leave. He got with me at this weight. Yet he wants me to be healthy (he’s very healthy himself) and offers his active support to help me reach my goals. I think that’s the way it should be. Working together, understanding and trust. I’ll definitely reach my goals with a guy as great as this around, he motivates me on top of how I motivate myself.

    As for people wanting to change their healthy partners just to fit their own ideal.. Just a big NOPE and Laci covered that perfectly.

  10. I think that this is a really delicate issue and I find the problem is that a lot of people, girls more than guys (or girls show it more than guys), seem to have a strong issue with their body. This can be despite them being the prettiest person in someone’s eyes or in everyone’s eyes. Telling somebody that actually you don’t find them as attractive as you want to is a horrific kick.
    When you flip the situation over though and think that there can be people in the world who you aren’t physically attracted to despite that they could be the greatest person in existence. The decision really goes down to every personal situation. If you honestly like someone that much though then they could look like a boiled goose and it wouldn’t matter. If you really don’t mind hurting someone’s feelings, you may be a dick, but you can then do what you want. I am very much for sex positive thinking but if the person who e-mailed starts becoming seriously unhappy in the relationship because of this then maybe he will have to look at dick options.

    Thats what I think anyway.

  11. I think your advice was well-stated and informed as you always are. There is a lot of negativity surrounding this guy’s honest response both directed towards him and towards the idea of what healthy means. I fear though, that even you are overlooking a generalization that this topic brings up. Health vs. weight vs. obese.

    The number of obese or overweight people in the United States and other Western countries is startling. However, there is a very negative side to this new “war on the obesity epidemic”. Not every single human being who is overweight is so because they live off of McDonald’s while living on the couch. Just as every woman who has a naturally thin or slender figure is NOT anorexic, we must understand that there is a significant but certainly not majority group of individuals who have a wide variety of factors contributing to their body type, such as thyroid issues, genetics, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, hypoglycemia, etc. The research behind BMI is a very unfair and inaccurate way of labeling who is healthy and who is not. Many athletes are considered obese based on their body mass. Good luck trying to tell an Olympic softball player she’s unhealthy or unfit.

    I am a woman, age 25, raised by the same parents, with the same diet and plenty of exercise. Grew up on fresh veggies, lean protein, no soda, no ice cream, no candy. Played basketball, softball, danced ballet/modern for 14 years. I also go to the gym regularly, hike in Marin, rock climb and do road races. I also love to eat organic, try to include a large variety of raw & vegetarian recipes in my diet and do not have an eating disorder.

    I am also a size 16. My sister is a size 4.

    The reality is that stressing healthy eating, holding the FDA & USDA accountable, advocating for honest and available nutritional info, moving and exercising regularly, avoiding packaged/processed food…these are all good, necessary and ESSENTIAL things that we must all embrace as a society. This does not mean we must assume the worst about every single person we see who isn’t our correct idea of healthy. I know girls who look rockin’ in a bikini that can’t jog a half of a mile. When we marginalize and generalize overweight or even chubby people, lumping them in with the 1000 pound man who lives in a bed we do a great injustice. Shows like the biggest loser are inspiring but they are also highly manipulative and unrealistic. T

    • Great response, Rebecca. :)

      You struck a personal chord with some of what you said because not only does being overweight despite healthy eating run in my family, I have hypoglycemia, and it makes it really hard to try to lose weight, or even just maintain your current healthy weight, when you are short on time. When I was getting enough exercise in high school, I was at a great weight, and in shape. I lost my extra pounds without going out of my way, because I already like to eat well (lots of veggies, not much red meat, and only the occasional sweet treat). But when I got to college, several things happened: I got too busy to exercise as often, I got an injury that made it harder, and my hypoglycemia flared up from academic stress. I actually fainted once from low-blood sugar, which I’d never come close to doing before. This makes it so scary to try to moderate your caloric intake, and so scary to be hungry, when the consequence for putting off eating/not eating enough is fainting. I’m not just talking about trying to eat the right amount at lunch; I’m talking about trying not to eat chips in between classes all the time because I can’t go from lunch to dinner without eating, but all there are are stupid vending machines and I don’t have time to go back to my room for something healthier. I feel people judging me when I slip out of 4 hour long labs to eat, even if it’s something healthy, when it’s that or snapping at them every few seconds until I burst into tears. I’m certainly not obese, and I’m only a little overweight (judging by BMI and such), but I don’t feel as healthy as I used to. It’s really starting to get to me, and the longer it continues, the harder it is to keep up what healthy habits I do still have, because I can see that it’s not enough.

      One thing I have going for me is a fantastic boyfriend. If he doesn’t think I’m attractive just the way I am, then he should look into acting as a career because he’s got me convinced. He’s also pretty fit. These two things are actually much stronger motivators to keep working on my habits than any criticism would be because trust me, I get enough of that from myself and society, as do most women. It becomes debilitating rather than motivating. He sets a good example with his habits without trying to push them on me, and his satisfaction in my appearance make me want to make him even happier about me.

      To all you people who keep suggesting hints like offering to work out with her, go stuff yourselves. We aren’t stupid, and it doesn’t help. If it is a serious health concern, be direct but gentle, then offer your support. I also do think it’s valid issue if your long-time partner gains (or loses, sometimes) 75 pounds or something and it is affecting your attraction. You don’t have a right to demand she change back, but you do have a right to talk about it (but please don’t be a dick about it).

  12. I was in a relationship for six and a half years. This boyfriend, “Wayne,” was fine at first. Two years in he told me I needed to lose weight. After six months he told me that if I didn’t lose the weight he wouldn’t have sex with me. I went YEARS without having any intimacy due to his “punishment” for me not loosing the weight. I broke up with him December of 2009. Looking back, I should have broken up with him after he told me I needed to lose weight. I’m healthy and I’m not obese, but I lost a lot of self-esteem due to those comments for that long and, after counseling, I have regained my confidence and happiness within myself and, just last week, got engaged to a man who loves me… thin OR thick.

    • Love your story…and its just not that uncommon. For me, the bottom line is that you are attracted to me, (meaning the whole package) or not. If part way into the relationship someone wants to start changing someone then you’ve moved into a “project” and not a relationship.
      Your ex sounds like his issue had a lot to do with control (in a very unkind way). Thankfully you supported yourself and moved on to a beautiful and healthy relationship. Congrats!!!

    • I think same could be said about men. But would not it be better if we just helped them to reach weight in which they feel good? Instead of discouraging help

  13. I, personally, got a little terrified by the idea of an otherwise loving boyfriend secretley wishing you to lose weight. *is self-conscious*

  14. It took me a long time to learn this, probably because it took a long time for me to truly know what love is. When you truly love someone, their physical appearance doesn’t matter. You love that person’s spirit, character, values and morals. I would say, if you are turned off by someone’s physical attributes, you don’t truly love that person.

  15. personally, if i wasn’t physically attracted to a woman i wouldn’t start dating her in the first place. if a woman changes while we’re dating so much so that i don’t find her physically attractive anymore i would dump her. all that said, my tastes in women are pretty broad. i usually don’t go for ultra skinny runway models, and i don’t equate gaining weight with an inverse loss in attractiveness. in fact, i often wish women would gain some weight. as for this guy and his problems – there’s always a better woman around the corner. always. regardless of what better means for you. if you need to force yourself to find this woman attractive, then you aren’t being fair to yourself, and you aren’t being fair to her. she should be free to find a man who appreciates her inside and out.

  16. An all too often story about heterosexual relationships in America:
    Men want to change the image of a woman.
    Women want to change the personality and habits of a man.
    These relationships fails when one realizes it’s probably not going to happen.

  17. This response will probably get lost in all the hundreds of other responses, but the guy who e-mailed in can change several things to his advantage. I’m imparting advice oppostive to what I’ve seen “works” for creating 2 fat people in a relationship (started out thin…gradually changing)

    First tip I have is: When you take her out to restaurants/cook food for her (I assume you do this!), make the healthy *TASTY* alternatives. After a while she’ll develop a taste and craving for these.

    Secondly, find an activity that’s semi-romantic or “date-night”-ish to do together that doesn’t involve you parking your ass on a chair staring at a big white canvas and eating popcorn or sweets. Go to the ice-rink or something similar. Low-impact cardio activity you can do weekly together than doesn’t scream “we are doing this so you can lose weight!” The activity can differ from week to week, but if you do it with a romantic flair (like, picnic basket and an hour hike in the mountains, eat, hour hike back), she won’t mind at all. Start off slowly and gradually increase the type of activities. Claim you love the outdoors or these type of activities and never had a gf who liked them too (only if asked!). But don’t force anything if she doesn’t want too either. The trick is to find something you “both” like to do in a low-impact cardio / romantic date scenario and also not grow static as a couple

    It may take a bit longer to see any kind of changes. But I’m pretty sure 10-12 months into the relationship she would’ve lost enough weight for you to be happy in your superficial douchebaggery (jk) ways AND she’ll be happy thinking you must be the best thing that has ever happened to her because she’s lost so much weight while she’s dated you.

    AND FOR THE LOVE OF [insert your deity here]. DO NOT BLAB ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I don’t care how big a fight you guys are having or how wrong she is or whatever. Like Lacy said, it will destroy any self confidence and trust she has in you.

    • your advice sounds pretty disingenuous. to me, that just spells death for any relationship. and it still doesn’t fix the problem that either she has to change her appearance for you, or you have to change your standards/preferences/beliefs to fit her appearance.

      • You are completely in control of your fate. It’s up to you as a person to improve or stagnate the situation. If the problem is SO huge then he should really just dump her now instead of leading her on.

        But coupled with Lacy’s advice and my practical tips; I don’t see why he can’t have the best of both worlds.

        Why won’t you turn your partner into something you adore? Women try to do it to men all the time. They see “potential” and think “if I change xyz he’d be perfect”.

        There is nothing disingenuous about my advice if you consider that he has true feelings for this girl. And be honest. Why not be healthier in the long run? Why drag each other down to “take out/movie” syndrome and why push each other to get obese/unhealthy just because you’re in a relationship?

        Again, women do it to men ALL the time. Why not nudge the fat bitch into the right direction? She obviously has the personality, and the potential for a great body… and with american’s being so damn superficial, why not?

        • “fat bitch”???

          at the end of the day, you’re trying to change someone into something they’re not. i wouldn’t be against it for the most part IF you were upfront about it.

        • Clearly gave yourself away with the “fat bitch” comment as someone who neither respects himself or women, in general.

          If what you want in a relationship is a home improvement project then that’s what you get. I think that the partner deserves the right to know that up front.

          • You’re right. I think all women are whores. Between the ages of 14 and 30 they want to fuck anything that walks regardless if they’re in a committed relationship or not.

            If they get pregnant during that time (which most do because they’re stupid as much as the whore they are), they usually tend to regress in the “woa-is-me” phase of their early single-lonely-thirties and usually finds some poor slob who’s cock-heavy enough (read, blinded by the sex he’s getting not questioning where she learnt her tricks, pun intended) and marries him.

            If she doesn’t get pregnant or a disease of some sorts she gets bored by the “fulfillment” the cock is giving her. Her hormones switches up a notch (into baby-making mode I call it) and then she’s looking for ANY guy with means.

            Usually settles for rich *anything* but if he’s “nice” (read: pushover) it’s win-win. She makes the babies with him and they live happily ever after (till he finds out what a whore she’s been and she gets bored in her late 40′s and starts fucking the pool-boy)

            There are books written on the subject of turning your boyfriend/girlfriend into something you want. Women do that to men all the time anyway, you’d have to be blind deaf dumb and stupid to not see that happening (I guess you’re a woman?)

            So yes. I don’t respect women at all. Respect is earned. So is trust. I give it once, you waste that opportunity I kick your ass to the curb.

            • I’m actually curious if this is a completely different person using the same name. The first post under this name was reasonable and had some decent ideas, and this is either insanity or trolling…

  18. My basic advice is if you want this to be a long term thing you should both be head over heels for each other, sexually and emotionally, then work out issues as they come later down the road. If you’re just starting out in a relationship and you’re not attracted to this person sexually why go any further with it?, maybe you’re better off as just friends. Telling someone to rationalize an attraction for someone they aren’t attracted to is bad advice that isn’t going to work out for either party long term.

  19. I guess its the Barbi complex, guys thought that the Barbi their sister played with was the ideal women. After having it subconciously reinforced in the media no wonder guys have an identity problem. Myself, I appreciate a real women, someone secure with who they are and not trying to chase afte some model or ideal.

    • You might partially be right, George. Somewhere along the line some have bought the “story” that you have to look a certain way to be beautiful.

      I think the original guy should do his girlfriend a favor and seek out a partner he doesn’t want to change.

  20. In the end, I think it comes down to the ‘apparent’ lack of physical attraction. If it’s not there in the beginning, then does the relationship really have a future?
    That said, our views of attraction although unique to everyone are warped and skewed throughout our lives by the media etc…
    So you have to ask, what is ‘attractive’ to me? Perhaps what we are conditioned to look for, is unattainable.

  21. I work really hard to stay fit and active. However, I think when I ask a girl out, I should be happy with the way she looks at the time being. Otherwise, Im dating her for personality instead of just for physical attraction. The media does set unrealistic standards, I model. They photoshop my face, abs, you name it, so not even the MODELS look like they do. There is no law saying people in advertisements have to look “natural” or “healthy.” Its just marketing. I just don’t compare myself to other people, because everyone comes in different shapes and sizes :D. Being healthy and confident are turn ons for me :D

  22. I agree and disagree with this comment.

    People in a relationship have a right to ask for things they desire, and the other person has a right to reject it. If he can’t look past it, then maybe its time to look for someone else.

    But saying that you should be ‘more careful’ in what you say to women makes women look weak. And its downright hypocritical because women sure as hell aren’t shy about degrading a man about his body when they can.

    Stop coddling, stop sugar coating shit, just say it. Granted don’t be an asshole, but just say it.

    There are plenty of fish in the sea, no need to make it seem like this girl is the only one for you.

    Granted, some people really need to take a look at what they like and not what society wants them to like.

    But Laci, when a person has a preference for something, especially in sexuality, its kind of hard to… change that. If a woman doesn’t like a woman, well… yeah. If a man doesn’t like thicker women, well… eh. *shrugs*

  23. I wanted to give my two cents on the whole physical attraction and dating subject with my own experiences.

    I wasn’t physically attracted to my current partner at all until we made efforts to see each other often.

    Real life stuff got in the way (he lived 400km away in the country, we were both studying, difficult to get money and time to visit, I left the country for a month etc.)
    We spent most of our time together online, so our common interests and opinions, and our conversation were more important.

    But now, with more than a year together, we are both comfortable and happy with our relationship and I love my partner, body and mind. And he also has moved to the city to study, so we can see each other 4 days a week.

    For me, physical attraction was not first, most likely because our relationship started mainly online.
    But I understand that for other people’s relationships the circumstances may be completely different.

  24. I am attracted by women who are feminine. Being small/thin is a feminine characteristic.

    I know I’m shallow but that’s how it works for me, and most other men.

    • “Being small/thin is a feminine characteristic.”
      Since when was this true in the real world?
      I know tv/movies/media/porn/urban outfitters only promote women that fit this image, so most people, often unconsciously, accept the idea that “(tv/movies/media/porn/urban outfitters x promotion) + women = feminine.”
      When in reality to be feminine only means to posses characteristics of a women, and women come in all shapes and sizes.

  25. Having been in relationships with men who have put me down for my size and have loved it, I find that acceptance of your OWN female form is essential for a successful relationship. I am not overweight, I am not slim. I fall into the “curvy hourglass” category. When I have been told by a boyfriend that I look “fat”, the relationship doesn’t last. He clearly doesn’t appreciate my physical appearance or my health.
    My current partner has found me attractive at my usual weight, a little heavy, and very thin (I have a health condition that majority impacts my weight, as well as the medications that go along with it). In my personal situation, the most important thing is that he cares that I am healthy and well and feel good about myself.

    Still, I don’t think we can ask a partner to change their physical appearance to fit their standards. If physical attraction is not accepted as is, then the relationship will not manifest in a health manner.

  26. When I was in 5th grade I decided I was fat and would only eat one waffle all day until I came home and ate a small dinner. I wanted to look like the girls in Teen Vogue. When I looked at the nutrition labels on food I only looked a the fat content. I weighted myself 3 times a day. In 6th grade I played club volleyball and would purposefully not eat anything all day, go to practice and work out as hard as I could, then come home and eat a small dinner. Variations of these habits continued up until my sophomore year of high school, when I passed out during “hell week” at the beginning of the volleyball season. I always knew my habits were unhealthy but this was what sort of snapped me out of it, and made me realize that I was fucking myself up. My friends and family were concerned. It was time to re-evaluate the way I viewed myself and the concept of beauty.

    I am 21 now and I just want to say that what saved me the most from the downward spiral of anorexia was feminism. It made my realize “why should I give a shit about what the dominant culture thinks? And if some guy doesn’t like me because my butt isn’t as flat as an urban outfitters model’s is, then screw him. Why would I want to be with someone that shallow?” If i’m healthy, exercise, and eat well, then I have nothing to change.

    (Thank you Emma Goldman, Kathleen Hanna, and my intelligent/loving/inspiring/feminist boyfriend.)

  27. Well, I feel myself horrible. I know that I’m not that ugly, but little things that people say or do, makes me feel like that. The girl in question is the only one from whom we don’t have a valid opinion, or any opinion. I would like to know how she feels about herself.
    I’m not overweight, on the contrary, I’m almost 40 and I buy my clothes in teenager’s stores, their trousers fits me better than those from old lady’s stores. But, my mother was a very beautiful adolescent, when she realised that I’d never be as pretty as she was, she just tossed me to a corner and only talked to me to preach about something. I believe that is the motive of the image I have about myself… be very careful about other people image… it can hurts much more than you can even imagine.

  28. “It’s normal for women to have curves and a little bit more body fat than men. People with a little extra weight tend to live longer”

    - True, but it’s not normal for a woman to have curves that are wider than a minivan, which is how most of the “curvy” girls actually are. Slim curves are the way to go! As for the body fat thing, yes that is true, but having a bit more natural body fat doesn’t MAKE you FAT. Skinny girls have a bit more fat than boys too but they’re still skinny. “We naturally have more body fat” is NO excuse! Since that doesn’t make you fat/large. If you’re a girl and someone says you’re fat, it’s not because of your natural fat, it’s because you’re FAT.

    As for the last bit, that isn’t true. Men generally weigh quite a but more than women do and they don’t live longer. Usually people who weigh less live longer and are healthier. Not the other way around.

    A ‘healthy-sized’ woman is generally more on the skinnier side than the fat one. But since the west is filled with obese elephant women, you would never know that.

    • I wasn’t even going to respond to your post, just roll my eyes and move on, but you HAD to make that stupid comment: “As for the last bit, that isn’t true. Men generally weigh quite a but more than women do and they don’t live longer. Usually people who weigh less live longer and are healthier. Not the other way around.”

      UGH, there are so many things wrong with your comment. READ HER LINK, for starters! She linked to an article about a scientific study that showed that people who were considered “overweight” rather than obese or normal, lived longer. It also specifically says it may not mean healthier or better quality lives, just longer. Secondly, body fat is usually what people mean, and men do have less. Third, men are TALLER so of course they weigh more — people mean weight-to-height type things (e.g. BMI) when talking about “being fat”. Finally, we already know that men have shorter lifespans; as such scientific studies will account for gender already — as this article SPECIFICALLY says this study did.

      /rant

  29. Laci, I think your response to this was a good one. I just read all these comments and I kinda can’t help but think that this is none of these people’s business. Except for the one asking not to use the term “sticks and bones” the rest were just ranting about your ‘rant’. I know they are all just trying to help but wouldn’t it just be best for this guy to talk to his girlfriend about his concerns? Sure it could make her self-conscious but isn’t that better than this brewing up and possibly exploding into something more?

    Personal experience- I’ve never been ok with my body.Part because of all the models, part because of my mother always nitpicking at me and mostly because of one hurtful comment that has just stuck with me since middle school. When my boyfriend had told me that I could lose a few pounds I actually liked it because he wasn’t giving me a bunch of lying bs. A lie can hurt more than the truth, even if the truth sucks.

  30. The longest lived men are icelandic the longest lived women are from japan. Neither are particularly noted for their obese citizens.

    Where it goes; what kind of food you eat, how tall you are. Also as noted muscle weight vs fat weight, in the US, don’t know about canada’s situation, most are overweight/obese, perhaps most underweight and even normal weight people are like that due to something wrong and being sick or some such thing.

    Take healthy curvy women, its pretty specific about where the weight is and how much it can be, like their waist can’t exceed 32 inches kind of thing.

    Nor the “spectrum of weight” exactly at what poundage did the deaths start piling up; late end of overweight or purely obese? Perhaps the mid-low end over weight were simply going out less and getting hit by cars less or due to generally comparable weight; not straining their bodies as much and getting a random heart attack compared to those on the high end of the normal range.

    Maybe normal weight people have more active social lives, go out more and have a higher tendency to get murdered?

    Not trying to go on a rant here but its a much more complex subject than most give it to be.

    As for the original subject; not sure what to add to that beyond what Laci Greene already did.

    If he can’t get past it and its causing him this much guilt; it might be for the best to break up with her and get another significant other.

  31. I believe that if your in a relationship your with that person because of the physical attraction and because their personality or whatever else you find that you love or enjoy about them . I , myself , am ‘big boned’ and no I will never ever be a ‘model type’ nor to many men the ‘perfect 10′ but I struggled massively with the self image because of these things . Recently I have learned to live with the fact that the media is just bullshit and many woman are not ever going to look like the ladies in the fashion magazines . I really appreciated Laci’s video that directed me here because the issues she worried about are the exact same ones I still am paranoid about . Though I am coping with the fact that all i can do is exercise and except myself for who I am , I do have a loving boyfriend who accepts me for exactly who I am and encourages me to feel better about myself . I couldn’t have gone this far without him . Though its extremely difficult when you have people who support you and love you and choose not to judge you for your appearance , in the long run this makes life alot easier for everyone :)
    Thanks again Laci !

  32. Fantastic article ! You have made some very astute statements and I appreciate the the effort you have put into your writing. It’s clear that you know what you are writing about. I am excited to read more of your sites content.

  33. Alright, so here’s the deal. You respect your girlfriend enough to be sensitive to her feelings on this topic. That is good; and it’s an important first step. However, while I agree with the belief that we all need to be more body positive and supportive of differences between us, I also don’t think it’s really fair to label your desire as “wrong”. That said, how you HANDLE that desire is very important, and can easily make or break your relationship.

    You BASICALLY have three options here.

    1. Suppress this line of thinking

    If you don’t want to risk ever bringing it up, and thereby painting yourself as a douchebag, it may be simplest for you to simply say to yourself, “Yes, this is something I want. No, I am not going to ask for it. Yes, I am going to put it aside, and accept my girlfriend fully exactly as she is.” Allow me to begin by saying that there is NOTHING wrong with this approach. It is, however, harder for some of us men than others, and if you are going to do it, you have to MEAN it… so think before you repress and deny your feelings on the topic.

    2. Cooperative Persuasion

    If you still really want your girlfriend to lose a little weight, there are ways to approach the topic that aren’t degrading or psychologically/emotionally abusive to her. Your best bet here is to tell her something like this: “Hey, hun, I really want to start working out at the gym, but I have kind of a hard time hitting my peak when I am going it alone. Any chance I could talk you into joining me?”

    Immediately, this changes the way she will perceive your desire from “he thinks I’m fat” to “this is something he would like us to do together”. It goes from being about some “flaw” in her, to being about her supporting her man. The odds are better than even that, if you approach it like this, she will jump on it in a heartbeat.

    From there, it’s simple. Everybody wins. You have a new activity to share together, you both get some solid health benefits, and as she tones up even more, the added appreciation you have for her is going to make her feel even better about herself. However, I should note that this is, technically a (benign) form of manipulation, so you’ve a moral quandary to consider when taking this route.

    3. Anything Else

    I really don’t recommend it, because no matter WHAT you do, you are likely to accidentally say something that is either offensive, hurtful, or both, whether you mean/want to or not, and then EVERYONE loses.

    Anyhow, that’s my two cents. Good luck resolving this issue for yourself, one way or another.

  34. Look if its a turn off then try to go to the gym together but if she is not into it then too bad.. you have to decide if this is working for you or not…

  35. Why is it paraphrased? There’s no way for us to know if you made him sound better than he actually sounded.

    At any rate, if he doesn’t appreciate her for who she is then he should let someone else have her who will.

  36. I know I’m late to the conversation but I feel compelled to tell you that two of your main arguments are wrong, thus undercutting your entire article. Specifically, your statement that “People with a little extra weight tend to live longer and healthy sized women (note, the spectrum of healthy is much broader than we perceive) have healthier babies” is plaint wrong.

    First, all things being equal (exercise and diet) people who are slightly UNDERWEIGHT tend to live longest. There are a ton of studies (Google it) confirming this, and the Author’s link to sciencedaily.com is one to an outlier.

    Second, the spectrum of healthy is actually much narrower than our society precipices. The gradual thickening of our society has warped the perception of healthy. This is reflected in vanity sizing for women, and many of the same studies regarding longevity. Furthermore, weight of the mother during pregnancy is directly related to the offspring’s eventual weight (i.e., fat moms make fat kids).

    Finally, while I cannot disagree that personality should be the cornerstone of attraction, looks must play some role too. This is especially true when one partner “lets themselves go.” It is simply not fair to say that because you fell in love with me on day 1, regardless of what I’m like on day 1000, you have to stick it out. If looks shouldn’t matter at all, neither should personality.

  37. I had the same problem with my wife. The thing is some people don’t spend energy as much as others. I love my wife, but it got to the point where she was too big to feel turned on. She ate as much as I did and she didn’t lead a very active life. So I tricked her in to eating healthier by cooking all our food and only providing healthy, less fattening foods. And then I bribed her in to doing the insanity workout with video games. I’m not saying my approach is the right approach, but women are totally sensitive about all kinds of stuff. So manipulation is an alternative to just coming out and saying,”lady you are too fat for me to get it up.” Also, women aren’t stupid by any stretch of the imagination. My wife probably knew she was fat, but she has horrible self confidence and had led a pretty depressing life before we got together all those years ago. Under those circumstances its easy for anyone to let themselves go too far. A really important thing to understand is the issue inside that keeps her from changing for the better. Most women, whether they want to admit it or not, want to look like super models. Also, whether they want to admit it or not, everytime they see a more attractive woman they feel depressed, embarrassed, uneasy, resentful, ashamed, etc.,etc.,etc. those heavy emotions can weigh someone down and stand in the way of progress. She can build up all kinds of emotional barriers and hair trigger defenses that will thwart a direct approach before you can shove a twix in your mouth to buy you some time. It is my opinion that everyone deserves to be completely happy with their partner. Every relationship requires a little tweaking here and there but if it turns in to a huge project it might be time to quit while you’re ahead. You can’t force happiness. There are billions of women and billions of men. If you can’t either help her make a positive change or learn to love that belly full of jelly, you should find someone with whom you can be satisfied. Otherwise, it’s not fair to her because she needs someone who will love her and want her always.

  38. I understand this completely, i love my girlfriend very much and have been with her just over a year now and i love her quirks and that shes got a lil’ bit of curve to her. Shes healthy and does look amazing but when it comes to the physical side of things that extra weight does make a difference. And i hate to say that but when your girlfriend weighs a stone more then you do, it is the kind of thing thats in the back of your mind… eating away at the door you locked it behind.
    You admire your girlfriend and then when you notice the beginnings of stretch marks and just that lil extra puppy weight kind of knocks the intimacy of certain moments. And when you get turned off during those moments because of such things it hits your own self esteem and so on.
    ……
    Any advice for my situation cus id love some right now..

  39. I’d like to add my two cents, especially since I’m in the same situation as the original writer.

    When I met my girl, I didn’t think of her as a model, but I felt it could work. I enjoyed her company and she appears to love to be with me. When we had sex the first time and I saw her naked, I realized how big she really is. I know it won’t work out for me if she doesn’t lose some weight. I know I would hurt her by asking her to lose weight. I don’t want to hurt her. The advise everyone seems to be giving is to hurt her by walking away and not telling her the true reason why.

    I guess I was wrong for not figuring out how big she was sooner!

  40. What if a girl you are dating ASKS you if her weight is an issue? I just met a woman that is fantastic and I wish she was a bit thinner. My plan was to do as suggested (look past it, focus on positives) because there is definitely also a strong attraction. She is athletic, so her efforts will not require a lot of change for her.
    I want to be as honest as I can with her, but I don’t know if that is best in this situation. I haven’t been able to come up with a way of speaking my truth without crushing her at least a little bit.
    She hasn’t asked me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she does.

  41. Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. You can usually lose weight through dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes. In some cases, prescription medications or weight-loss surgery may be options. *..*,

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  42. Why are men being told that being attracted to a certain body type is wrong? Why is society trying to reprogram us not to care about the physical at all and just accept which ever woman decides she wants us? Women care just as much about looks as men. The ones that aren’t being materialistic anyway. Men are, the way we are, love us or leave us. Stop trying to change us into something else or constantly tell us that being what we are naturally, is wrong.

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