#Relationships: My Boyfriend Asked Me To Lose Weight. So I Shed 78 Kgs Of Him. He’s An Ex Now
So recently, I got a notification on my phone and it was from Reddit. A woman had posted on one of the groups I follow about her boyfriend who has been asking her to lose weight. She mentioned that she had already lost a lot of weight and anything more feels unhealthy to her. I lost the thread but it stayed in my head. Today, again I stumbled upon a woman’s account of her boyfriend asking her to lose weight and I just couldn’t help but be reminded of my own experience.
Initially, I felt embarrassed that I allowed someone to affect me and I actually changed for that person. But then I remembered that it happens to the best of us and I shouldn’t beat myself up for it. I dated someone, who wasn’t really good for my self-worth. He kept magnifying my imperfections and I never felt beautiful with him. He never missed a chance to point out that my cheeks are chubby, that there are extra inches on my tummy, and how in general I should diet. He said I should go for a walk and workout and all that. Imagine, looking pretty in your favourite dress and your boyfriend saying you look nice but slim down a little.
For the longest time, I swallowed his unsolicited criticism with a glass of denial. I wanted to believe that he is saying all this because he wants to motivate me. Maybe he really cares about me being fit. So I took all the blows to my self-worth and gradually when I looked into the mirror, I only saw flaws. I hesitated to get clicked and when I looked at my pictures I could only see problems. Eventually, I began to get insecure as well and felt that my boyfriend doesn’t find me attractive.
Is it right for your boyfriend to ask you to lose weight?
There are two reasons why a partner can be concerned about your weight – health and appearance. “The first is based on compassion and empathy for your mate,” Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D. and psychotherapist told Men’s Health. “You want them to have a better life experience. The second is based on a narcissistic need to feel better about yourself. You care less about their feelings and challenges, and are motived by a desire to have them make you look good,” he added.
I believe it is okay if for health reasons you want to motivate your partner to lose weight. That is if weight is causing them or could cause them health problems. “Wanting your partner to change their lifestyle is very legitimate if it’s based on a concern for your partner’s physical and emotional well being,” Hokemeyer explains. “No one wants to watch the person they love self destruct or fall into self-defeating patterns. Not only is it damaging to your mate, it’s also damaging to the relationship and your own emotional and physical well being,” he added.
But then again, I wasn’t obese or even overweight. My BMI was within the healthy range prescribed for my height and age. Yes, I had more fat in my body than a model but I was okay with it until a guy decided to constantly criticise me for it. I had no weight-related health problems, so this couldn’t have been care.
Men who just want trophy wives
This guy said he loved me, and yes he was attracted to me the way I was. But he wanted to make me his trophy wife I guess and he’d rather have it shine even more. He wanted a woman custom-made according to our society’s beauty standards. “Men who demand their mates lose weight are typically fighting off profound insecurities about their own imperfections and inadequacies,” Paul Hokemeyer, explained. “These guys suffer from narcissistic personalities and need constant external validation to prove to the world they’re special,” he added. And no kidding, eventually, I figured he does have these issues. He was a narcissist and I learnt the hard way.
I understand physical attraction is important but if you’re bothered by just a few extra inches on your partner, then you’re reducing her to just a body. I want someone to be attracted to me with everything that’s not considered beautiful in our society. I want someone who’d not be grossed out with hair on my legs, a scar on my hand or whatever. Pizza over boys, it’s always pizza over boys!
How did I deal with it?
Honestly, I got so fried, I told him if he keeps advising me to lose weight because he is so “concerned” maybe he should do things that would actually help. I told him since its so important to him, he might as well buy me a gym membership with all that advice he is giving. Then I asked him to actually come for morning runs with me since he just wanted to “support” and “help” me. Btw, he lived 10 mins away from me so it wouldn’t be so difficult. Obviously, his concern was limited to criticising me and none of these real solutions ever happened.
Yet, I feel bad because like so many women, I changed myself for a man. Drowning in self-doubt, I hired a nutritionist, got myself a flat stomach just so he can flaunt me. From tresses that reached my hips to a long bob, I cut them short because he liked it that way. I traded my comfortable flats for stilettos and my flowy dresses for bodycons because no points for guessing. I won’t deny it, I did like my new look but between my self-worth and a model-like figure, I’d really want the former. Not having the waist of my dreams was okay by me and none of it was affecting my health.
Your body, your rules
When I had gone to my nutritionist, she didn’t see any health reasons so she asked me, “why do you want to lose weight?” of course, I didn’t tell her because my boyfriend wants to make me look like a model, so he can flaunt me for my body. She told me if you want to get leaner, make sure it’s because you want it and not for the world, or someone else. With a diet, I got an eye-opening line and after that, when I lost weight, I resented him for becoming the reason behind it. After that, I never let anyone tell me what to do with my body. Yes, I still gain weight and I lose weight – depending on where I am emotionally but as long as it doesn’t affect my health and I feel pretty, I am cool. The best thing, today I am more concerned about my wellbeing – mental, physical, and emotional and not the size of jeans I wear.