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4-Way: The Weighting Game

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!
Dear 4-Way,

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

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear EM,

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."

Join The Conversation
Colleeninator Colleeninator 9 years
I don't like how people are jumping all over the guy here. Yes, he was harsh, but he said he wasn't AS attracted to her, and I'm thinking it probably has a lot more to do with her self-confidence than it does with her weight gain. Even if she can find the time to work out a LITTLE bit, maybe not even enough to lose weight quickly at all, she'll probably start feeling better about herself, and all sorts of men (and women) will tell you that a pudgy confident woman is sexier than a self-conscious, decently fit woman. Do what it takes to regain your confidence. If it's working out, so be it. If it's something else, do that. After all, being confident in yourself makes you feel better about hitting the gym, too.
stacyv81 stacyv81 9 years
I know how you feel. I was just told by my boyfriend of 7 years (who by the way I have had 3 children with, the last one just 4 months ago) that he wasnt attracted to me anymore, and I shouldnt be mad at him, because it isnt his fault that I let myself go. I have a 3 year old, 21 month old and a 4 months old. It hurts, deeply, so I know where you are coming from. It is a difficult situation. I could say to you, love yourself more, but I know it is hard to do!
eshellmoyer eshellmoyer 9 years
In high school I had a boyfriend who I became less attracted to every time he got his hair cut too short. Unless you're three feet tall 18 pounds really seems like the equivalent of a bad haircut, and trust me, if you lose attraction for someone that easily, it's not very deep love. I totally understand the loss of confidence that comes with weight gain. Maybe part of the bf's loss of attraction stems from your lack of confidence. I think in this situation it would be best to make the life changes that you need for yourself, not for the boyfriend. I know when I start working out harder I get a huge surge of confidence and energy that makes me feel better before I see any measurable physical changes. I wouldn't be surprised if you saw these things too. If the bf notices your confidence and the positive changes you are making, and compliments you on them, he is a keeper. If he still dwells on the extra pounds you're still trying to lose, he is not. In that case you can go use your reclaimed self confidence to go find a better guy.
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
I do NOT agree with dearsugar on this one in any way. I think you should get rid of this superficial asshole and find someone who loves you no matter what. I am healthy and plus sized and my fiance loves me and is still sexually attracted to me regardless of whether I gain or lose weight. I am sorry, but true love is about accepting someone regardless of superficial things like weight. When you truly love someone, you fall in love with their spirit, their sense of humour, their intelligence, the way they make you feel about yourself, their soul, the way they treat you. While I think he was being honest with you, he is showing you his true colours: he will not be sexually attracted to you anymore if you gain a few more pounds. If he has this attitude now, imagine how you would feel getting pregnant with his child and gaining 40+ pounds. What if you had trouble taking the weight off afterwards, and he stopped having sex with you!!! WHY would you want to be with someone who is so superficial?! If a man truly loves you, he will be devoted to you regardless. There are many men out there who would accept you regardless of gaining a few pounds. I think he used the 'health' thing because he wanted you to think it was concern when he is actually just wants you to lose weight because he cares about how you look. That is terrible that he told you that he is not as physically attracted to you anymore!!! Talk about kicking a person when they are down. What a dick. Yeah, honest, but it really tells you what kind of person he truly is. You can do better than this jackass! Love yourself regardless of weight, because the media will try to convince you that are not attractive unless you lose weight. Women have so many outside forces trying to make us unhappy with our appearance. Why would you want the one person you love most in life to also do this? True beauty comes from health, a loving attitude towards those around you, and a zest for life.
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
I say that if your boyfriend wants you to lose weight, you go at it together. If you have to eat healthy and exercise, so should he! Of course, you should still do these things even if he doesn't, but if he's not willing to care for himself physically (even if he's thin, because there's a difference between thin and healthy) he can't criticize you because he's too lazy himself.
plasticine1 plasticine1 9 years
Eighteen pounds is a lot to add to any frame i dont think this is true. ive gained 30 pounds in a matter of 2 months or so and only gained about a size in jeans. actually, i dont see what the big deal is about 18 freaking pounds. i gained this weight after recovering from an eating disorder, which was probably a lot worse than a boy telling me i look fat, and i didn't let it affect me, i was focused on recovering and i knew the weight gain was just transient. a little off-topic i know, but it all relates to body image. it seems like if you were ok with the weight and it didnt bother you, it shouldnt bother him either. but as i like to say, either lose weight, or be fat and happy!!
amybdk amybdk 9 years
Another confused reader here who is unsure of how this 4-way works! Love the idea... but
geebers geebers 9 years
1. popgoestheworld had a good question -how does this work again?? I dont see your reply dear? 2. I dont think the gay guy was harsh at all. I loved his advice and it was exactly what I was thinking.
lovelie lovelie 9 years
I think this is a great topic to explore. I think that your boyfriend probably has the best intentions in mind, he probably just wasn't sure how to address his concerns to you properly, and as a result, it may have come off as kind of inflammatory. It would certainly hurt my feelings too, however, I would not hold it against him or let it ruin your relationship. I would give him a gentle reminder that in the future, advice will be solicited and that you appreciate his concerns none the less. Now for your own sake, I would decide if losing some weight and getting back to a healthy body weight is what will correct any feelings of insecurity for you...not for him. I know that whenever I am feeling insecure, it affects the way I feel about myself, and in turn, my attitude towards others. If I am feeling bad about myself, then I probably am not going to be the most pleasant to be around. A good tip which I have utilized, is eating a small salad before going out to dinner to take the edge off of hunger. Another thing that I do at least when I'm at work, is I always try to pack a lunch the night before and include some snacks so I am not tempted to order out and loose track of extra calories. Good luck and feel better about yourself!!
syako syako 9 years
good luck indigo! That's awesome that you guys are doing it together. I'm sure it's very encouraging and adds a bit of competition to it too! ;)
Indigo4320 Indigo4320 9 years
I'm going through some similar stuff now. I gained 22 lb's in a year and a half...and my boyfriend has gained 60!!!! He's a big muscular 6'3" it looks more like 20 on him but yeah. Needless to say we've both put on some "comfort weight". I personally realized I was putting on some lbs. when my super expensive... worked really hard to get into jeans no longer fit. They are still ironed and hanging up from the last time I was able to wear them 6 months ago = ( We approached the issue at basically the same time...we decided to eat healthy together (his is a body builder diet b/c that's what he's used to using to slim down and get cut) (mine is a lean meat all veggie diet). I joined a softball team and he works out every day at the gym. Our goal is to lose 2-3 lbs. a week until we get down to our pre-relationship weight. It's exciting to see the changes in our bodies and it's easier to stick to when you have support.
Meike Meike 9 years
Ugh, spare me the 'I can't keep it up forever' excuse. I see most people in Europe and Asia (no, not those countries plagued with poverty) keep up a healthy figure forever because they eat right and lead at least a semi-active lifestyle. I realize beauty fades because of age and we get wrinkles and whatnot but weight is an entirely separate issue and it seems to be a prevalent issue in America. Sorry, but I absolutely do not find overweight or obese people attractive the same way I don't find stick-thin or anorexic people attractive. And, in all honesty, I find his statement, as hurtful as you may have found it, earnest and fair. Would you rather he lie to you and be unhappy watching your increasing weight gain until you get to a point where returning to healthy becomes a war with dieting and exercising? People enter relationships with expectations and some men and women alike expect their partner to keep up the healthy attitude and body. I, for one, expect my husband and I to maintain our good health and fitness into our old age unless we're rendered completely disabled by an accident or disease. Then, obviously, we have no choice. Having a demanding job and taking clients out to lunch or dinner is no excuse for weight gain. If you don't have time to work out as usual, then you need to make adjustments to your diet because you can't very well eat the same way you did when you were working out. Those extra calories have no escape. If I can maintain my intellect through continuous education, I will. If I can maintain my emotional connection to people by simply hearing their good advices/stories and recycling it, I will. If I can maintain my beauty and my youth by natural means, I will. It's so easy to let go of any of these when life throws you a few hurdles but it shouldn't be that way because many people have walked in your shoes, handled a demanding job, and come out strong. Deal with the comment and use it as a positive reinforcement rather than a negative one while sulking in front of your computer.
MissChita MissChita 9 years
I mean for dude to just flat out say he's not attracted to you because you gained 18 pounds IS a bit harsh. I dont think she is upset because he noticed, but more that he claims he is no longer physically attracted to her. If some weight gain is all it takes, then I hope nothing else happens to her. What if she gets a new hairstyle? Its a certain way you come at someone with something that is on your mind. Its not bad that he mentioned the weight gain. She is probably not too happy with the weight gain just as much as he isnt. And physical attractiveness is a big issue, but its not the most important. He could have told her that although she is beautiful, he misses her at her prior weight and they can talk about how she can get back to that weight. The would have been a little easier on her feelings. But no, dont leave him. But let him know how you felt when he made that comment, and take it from there. Best of luck to you.
happiness80 happiness80 9 years
I dont understand why women get too upset when a guy doesnt like weight gain? Attraction is a primal thing - it is not logical. How you look does matter. It is defeatist, lazy and self-pitying to lie down and cry when we gain weight - and viola our SO notices and doesnt like it. If the guy I am currently dating gained 18 pounds on me I would be disappointed. Hit the gym and lose weight, it is YOUR own body.
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 9 years
I thought the straight man had the best advice and wasn't too harsh (but still told it like it was).
fleurfairy fleurfairy 9 years
I wouldn't dump him, but I would address your thoughts with him. Don't make excuses for yourself though. Plenty of people have high stress jobs with alot of meals out but still maintain a fit body. So tell him yes, you have gained weight, your self-esteem is suffering, but you want to change and lose the weight. Ask him to help you. Whether it's going to the gym together after work or just talking long walks or going to the grovery store together and buying healthy foods. Tell him the comment about not being attracted to you anymore was hurtful. He probably didn't mean to sound harsh. But let's be realistic, if he got a beer gut or was balding would you be AS attracted to him as your were initially? No.
Smile5 Smile5 9 years
i wouldn't kick him to the curb! 18 pounds is a lot and you gained it in a short amount of time. let's be perfectly honest here: wouldn't you be a little turned off if your boyfriend suddenly came up to you with 18 extra pounds of blubber? Just cause he said that, doesn't mean he doesn't love you anymore. I can perfectly understand that the way he said probably upset you though.
missyd missyd 9 years
I dont like the whole "I know I can't maintain a hot bod forever" attitude either.... I'm sorry but I have a friend who is 52 and looks better than most of my 26 year old friends. And yes, she's had 2 kids who are now both in thier early to mid twenties. So there.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
If all it took was for you to gain 18lbs for your man to NOT be attracted to you anymore then he needs to be kicked to the curb! What about how loving, caring, trustworthy, honest, and beautiful you are as a person? Sure he's being "honest" with his superficial expectations but how can you continue with a man who loses sight of all your other great qualities and is only sticking around to see if you get back to how "hot" you were? What happens when you get older and put on a few pounds or just can't shake the baby weight? Does this now excuse him to not be attractive to you anymore also? And if your relationship did go that far and he leaves you after you gain weight from having his children does that mean you deserve it because hey he told you you weren't attractive when you gained those 18 pounds way back when! I say find yourself someone who isn't so superficial and just wants a "hot" chick on his arm!
ckeller825 ckeller825 9 years
I know what he said sounds bad and without a doubt hurts (b/c I would be crushed myself), but 18 lbs of weight gain is pretty bad too. I'm not going to lie though, the fact that he said he's not physically attracted to you anymore is just wrong. He should have approached you in a different way. But I don't think it's really a means for breaking up with somebody. This whole issue is something that could easily be fixed. What you do need to think about is that it's unhealthy to be gaining that much weight. I think a 5 lb weight fluctuation is normal, but like Dear Sugar said, you should incorporate working out into your schedule. Maybe your boyfriend wouldn't mind going with you...and maybe it will bring you two closer together because 1) you'll be spending quality time with each other, and 2) you'll be on your way to a healthier new you. You should also try and incorporate physical activity every day as well. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk up an escalator. Take a walk during some lunch break. Lastly, I know eating out with clients kind of puts a damper on trying to maintain healthy eating habits, but you should try to find healthy alternatives on the menu when you do go out to eat and box up half of what you ordered. At the end of the day, it IS all about do what makes you happy.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
Being Physically attracted to the person your in a relationship is important. I dont think it was harsh of him to let her know how he feels. He wanted to let her know that hes noticed the weight gain, worried about it and dont like it. Its really normal. Im sure he still loves her but hes just not phyically attracted to her with the weight. Everyone has a type and its really not his flaut if he doesnt like what hes seeing anymore. Keeping up your appreance for your partner IS important! Sounds shallow but its life and true. Find a way to get back in shape, not only for him but your yourself FIRST. You can be healthy without going to the gym. Make the right choice when eating out. Good Luck!
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
okay, i understand where he might be coming from, but saying he's not physically attracted to you? that's freaking harsh. i'm sure there are things about him, that aren't that great, but not like you'd point it out to him.
syako syako 9 years
why was my comment flagged?
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
This 4-way article was posted on the Divine Caroline in January... and Dear, I don't see your opinion on the site at all. How is this working? They invite you to comment on their old articles? I'm confused as it doesn't seem like the original poster of the questions will ever even see your input, let alone ours. Am I missing something?
leafonthewind leafonthewind 9 years
While I think that Dear's advice about eating out and exercising is helpful, I don't think this column really addressed your question. For me, any man who makes derisive comments about my (healthy, normal) weight will always get the same response: kick him to the curb. But if this isn't something you want to do, at least you might let him know that, caring as his concern may seem, commenting that he isn't attracted to you with a few extra pounds is *not* okay. You're already stressed out enough with your new job, so he's not helping matters by making you feel even more self-conscious over a bit of temporary weight gain. If you ever plan to have children with this man, he's going to see your body at its worst, so he should have the capacity to love you as you are. Be clear with him about this. If he can't man up and get past his shallow ideas about beauty, or at least be more sensitive, then your self esteem will probably continue to be low. But you know what, news flash: boys can be kind of dumb. Maybe he wanted to be nice about it and didn't want to hurt your self esteem, but he didn't know how. Did he offer to help you out by cooking healthy meals and working out together, like a perceptive boyfriend might? No. But maybe it just didn't occur to him.
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