I have always been overweight and recently at 46, I lost over 100 lbs. I have only been on one date in my entire life because I feared the men I liked would not be attracted to or date someone fat. Now that I’ve lost the weight, I signed up for an online dating site and I really want to find someone to love, but I am so afraid that men might still see me as fat. Even though I lost the weight, I still see myself as the overweight girl of my past. How can I change that?
First of all, congratulations on losing the weight and kudos to you for making the first step towards finding love. Both are huge accomplishments! Understand that it is normal for painful scars (from living with an unwanted body image) to linger long after the weight is off. Consequently, the inner dialog you have with yourself is more important than ever. Speaking positively to yourself will boost self-esteem and help you project confidence, even when you don’t feel confident. Here is a great exercise you can do: write down four words to describe yourself, then ask a good friend to use four words to describe you and see if his/her description is aligned with what you have said. If your words are fat, not good enough, not datable, etc., and your friend’s words are beautiful, slender, lovable, etc., then you need to change your inner dialog. This requires self-awareness and constant practice, but just like anything with time it will shift. Surprise yourself with what is possible. Stop buying into the public narrative that tells you all men like thin women, or that you have to look a certain way to find love. What I’ve learned in all my years of matchmaking is men love confident women. You did the outer work, now it’s time to do the inner work. What are you saying about yourself? How are you describing yourself? Are your thoughts positive or negative? If you let them, your positive thoughts will alter your persona and you can change your inner story with it. A positive mindset will allow you to push beyond what you think is possible. Close the old chapter in your life when you put yourself down and didn’t pursue relationships out of fear. Write a new chapter with new words and a new narrative. Repeat in the mirror daily, “I’m healthy, I am beautiful, and I am worthy of love.”
Jennifer J. Hayes