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April 19, 2012 at 4:08 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Do It For You

By Jeany Miller More Blogs by This Author

Loved ones – friends and family alike – are supposed to support and uplift us, especially during moments of trouble. Sometimes they’re even entitled to tell us unpleasant truths - when our behavior is embarrassing for instance, or we have food stuck in our teeth. But how is an overweight woman supposed to react when her husband or boyfriend tells her she needs to lose a few pounds? Is this an insult, or is it constructive criticism?

The answer is important, because I think many of us have been in this situation at one time or another.

Less Than Helpful

One of my close friends, for instance, is currently in a relationship with a man who said she could stand to lose some weight. What I don’t understand is this: if he doesn’t like her exterior appearance, why did he get involved with her in the first place? Because now she’s emotionally vested, and I know she’s considering a diet just to please him. But how is that helpful?

It turns out it’s not.

According to experts, weight loss attempts done solely to please someone else usually fail. What may start with the best of intentions is likely to end in misery, with women starting diets and then breaking them.

The Yo-Yo Diet

Ever heard of "yo-yo dieting?"

It's the term for on-again and off-again attempts at weight loss. Experts suggest yo-yo dieting is the result of trying to find a quick fix for something amiss in life, rather than committing to permanent lifestyle changes that  actually lead to healthier weight management.

Moreover, this sort of cycle can damage your emotional health, leading to symptoms of depression that include a sense of purposelessness, lethargy and disinterest in activities you once enjoyed. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, yo-yo dieting can even reduce your metabolism and make you more susceptible to weight gain!

Emotional Toll

From an emotional perspective, trying to lose weight just to please a partner can damage your self-esteem and distort your body image. It can also make you question your worth, specifically whether or not you’re good enough to be loved. The toll this can take on your emotional health is immeasurable. People that approach weight-loss for these reasons often have problems maintaining healthy relationships, struggling with eating disorders and lacking a positive outlook to life in general.

Losing weight is not the issue here.

Just make sure you're deciding on a weight loss plan for YOURSELF, not as a means to impress someone else. Having said all of this, I still can’t help but think of my friend, whose boyfriend broached this subject with a total lack of sensitivity. He made it clear his concern was not for her health, but rather for the way her appearance reflected upon him. In my mind, this isn’t love.

During my marriage, when my husband’s glance often fell upon other women, I always felt like his message range true and clear: “My wife isn’t attractive enough to keep my eyes from roaming, so I will freely appreciate the offerings of this planet by ogling other women - even when my spouse is at my side.”

His actions, coupled with my thoughts, devastated my confidence until I believed nobody would ever look twice at me. In many ways, he robbed me of the joy of being married.

A lack of confidence is, I believe, shared by many overweight women. I’m not saying we’re all emotionally distraught, but certainly some of us have issues with self esteem. My only words of advice are these:

Stay true to yourself, and find comfort in the skin you’ve been given. Remember: we can only love others after we’ve learned to love ourselves.

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