I didn't have my first real relationship until I was 23 years old, and now that I’m marrying that same man I've been thinking a lot about relationships, love and how I overcame my insecurities regarding weight and dating.
For years, I allowed myself to believe that no one would fall for a bigger girl. It held me back from opening up and letting others in.
Now that I'm happily engaged and confident about my body and myself, I wanted to reflect back on my four most detrimental thought patterns — and how I changed my attitude. You may find you relate to my struggles, no matter what you weigh.
MYTH 1. No one will want to date me if I look this way.
It's totally understandable to feel like weight is a huge factor to men finding you attractive. After all, when you look around, what passes for sex appeal in today's culture is rarely a plus-sized girl.
I used to repeat the same prayer before bed every night: "God, when I wake up tomorrow please let me be thin so I get asked out." And that middle-school prayer lasted all throughout college!
I desperately wanted to look differently so that guys would look my way. I failed to see the evidence stacked in my body-image favor: that we are surrounded by plus-size women are in loving, devoted and caring relationships.
I chose not to see that because, in my mind, something was fundamentally wrong with how I looked. And if I thought that if I looked wrong, others must think so too.
MYTH 2. When I lose weight, I’ll be ready to date.
Like many overweight women, dieting and weight loss are reasonable courses of action to fix what we believe to be broken.
In college I lost 50 pounds in seven months. I looked amazing, and men started to treat me differently. They noticed. They asked me out. They got touchy. But I got scared.
I got scared because I realized that my weight actually wasn’t the issue: I was terrified they might really like me and I would mess it up.
Despite losing all that weight, I still felt alone in my own skin — like a foreigner in a strange land.
Wasn't I supposed to be "cured" now? Wasn't losing 50 pounds enough to make me happier and feel more attractive?
It was such a painful pill to swallow the moment I realized losing weight hadn't fixed my insecurities — it exaggerated them.
And when I began to gain the weight back, I knew something deeper would finally need to come to the surface. It was time to put to rest the idea that I was incapable of loving at all.
MYTH 3. Love just isn't for me.
I worked through this issue very slowly because it was so deeply rooted in my persona as a feeling of inadequacy around the ability to love and be loved.
My first step toward healing was to understand what true love meant. It wasn't sex, beauty or attractiveness.
I devoted a year to reading all things love from various disciplines across the world and ages, and soon my heart changed. I felt lighter inside, more open and free.
My interactions with people changed. I trusted myself more and didn't fear rejection as much because I experienced something powerful inside — an unconditional self-love.
During this awakening, I met my fiancé and it's been a marvelous experience to not only deepen my self- ove, but to also expand that love with another person. I put in the time and effort required to change my outdated way of thinking; my devotion to self love makes all other love possible.
MYTH 4. When I fall in love, I’ll be whole.
I realized that self love isn’t the same as love for objects or even other people.
Self love is an all-encompassing knowledge that your life has meaning and you unconditionally hold your own worth in high regard, treasuring it and appreciating how it illuminates everything.
Some might call that same feeling God, spirituality or a higher-power — I call it "undercurrent," and it's been the most miraculous discovery yet in my life.
I finally realized that I was already whole, regardless of my weight, relationship status or any other factor.
Weight absolutely is an issue when it comes to love and dating, but not in the way we assume it to be.
1. I Don't Want The Dieting Industry Making Money Off Of Me In 2012, the U.S. weight loss market forecast for 2013 was expected to reach $66 billion dollars. While that would be all well and good if places like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig were being legit in their cause, but sadly, for us, it's just about them making money by setting up systems that the dieter can only get so far in, before they fail. I’d rather spend my money on other, far more important things like… pizza and shoes.
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