I'm thrilled to announce a new partnership with the folks at Divine Caroline! Once a week I will be the fifth voice of their 4-Way feature, which offers four different perspectives (a gay man, a gay woman, a straight man, and a straight woman) on the same question. I hope you all enjoy this new angle on getting advice as much as I'm enjoying bring it to you!
I’ve been dating a great guy for about 10 months. Right about the time we started dating, I got a new, even more demanding job, which has prevented me from working out as much as I’d like. On top of that, my job also requires me to take clients to lunches and dinners, so I’ve gained about 18 pounds. My boyfriend used to joke around about what a hot girlfriend he had—he doesn’t do that anymore. In fact, recently he told me he was worried about my health because I’d gained so much weight. He said he’d also noticed that my self-esteem had taken a bit of a nosedive. (He’s right.) Then he told me that he wasn’t as physically attracted to me anymore. I can understand where he’s coming from, but my heart is broken. I thought the rest of his “intervention” was caring, but that part killed me. I know I need to lose weight, but now I’m wondering if I should stay with a guy that puts physical beauty so high on his list. Realistically, I know can’t maintain a hot body forever. What do you guys think? — EM, Atlanta, GA
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Yes, your boyfriend is placing a lot of emphasis on your physical beauty, but in all fairness, looks do matter, and 18 pounds is a lot of weight to gain in less than a year. While I don't mean to sound harsh like your boyfriend was, if your self-esteem and inner fire has plummeted, it's time to make some changes. As someone who eats out for most meals as well, I have some tips for you that will definitely help keep your weight under control:
- Say no to alcohol. Skipping out on the booze alone will make a huge difference, as alcohol is just empty calories.
- Make healthy decisions when ordering your meal. Opt for a grilled chicken salad with light dressing instead of a chicken panini with cheese and mayo for lunch. At dinnertime, order grilled fish with vegetables instead of eating red meat and potatoes, and sorry to say it, but say no to dessert too! Also, try to avoid sauces and heavy dressings.
- Restaurants often overfeed you, so don't feel like you have to lick your plate clean!
- Avoid going to any meal starving. Snack on a piece of fruit or some nuts so you don't binge at meal time.
- No matter how demanding your job may be, you must find at least 20-30 minutes a day to work out. Join a gym close to work or talk a brisk walk before or after your work events. Getting your heart pumping will not only help burn calories, but it'll do wonders for your spirit too.
I don't doubt that part of your boyfriend's intervention was painful to hear, but I think it says a lot about the way he feels about you — he loves you enough to be brutally honest, even if it does hurt your feelings. So think positively, EM, and use his harsh words as a way to motivate you. Of course you won't be able to take the 18 pounds off overnight, so take baby steps and do the best you can. Once you start to get your self confidence back, everything else will just fall right into place. Good luck.
To see everyone else's opinion, click here and for the record, I'm with you Rebecca Brown! You summed it up perfectly when saying "I’d focus more on rebuilding your confidence than whether your boyfriend thinks you’re fat. Because the only opinion that truly counts is yours."