Thick and tired of it
In the two years I've been with my boyfriend, I've gained 40 pounds. I was unemployed, got lazy, blah, blah, blah. I've been trying to slim down without success, probably because I feel so bad about myself now. But, is it normal for a man to withdraw all affection when his partner gains weight? My boyfriend hasn't kissed me or had sex with me in over a year. He won't even put his arm around me. He'll hug me if I ask him, but that's all. Aren't you supposed to love your partner for who they are, even if they gain weight or get cancer and have chemo and lose their hair? I'm certain he isn't cheating, and he says he doesn't want to break up. But, say I lose weight, and he regains interest. Can I ever forgive him for what he's put me through? — Fatty With A Dream
In two years, you've put on the equivalent of a 5-year-old child about to outgrow his car seat. That isn't going up a dress size; it's going up a tent size.
Love might be blind, but male lust usually has a weight limit. There are those guys who are fatty fanciers, but a guy who got together with you 40 pounds ago probably isn't one of them. Male sexuality is highly visual. Women tend to feel superior for not caring as much about looks, but we're all just acting on marching orders from our genes. While most women are picky about men's height, women across cultures prioritize finding a partner with money and mojo. In other words, a big compromise for you probably isn't having sex with a fat guy, but sticking with a guy who quits his high-powered job to become a Hare Krishna and sell flowers at the airport.
Yeah, sure, "real women have curves," but these days, far too many real women's curves also have folds. The sad thing is, if you're like so many Fatty Pattys desperately trying to lose weight, you've probably been approaching it all wrong — thanks to the advice of your doctor, Dr. Oz, much of the medical establishment, and numerous supposed scientists at prestigious universities. It's actually obscene how many "authorities" lazily and intransigently promote hearsay-based dietary medicine; for example, claiming saturated fat consumption causes heart disease when the evidence for that simply doesn't exist.
For actual evidence-based science on losing weight, sans hunger and suffering, turn to Dr. Michael Eades' blog at proteinpower.com and to investigative science journalist Gary Taubes' exhaustively researched book Good Calories, Bad Calories. Taubes shows that it's carbohydrates — sugar, flour and easily digested starches like potatoes — that drive the excess insulin secretion that puts on fat. Per Taubes' title, it seems a calorie is not a calorie, and the fewer carbs you eat, the slinkier you will be. If this sounds like the Atkins Diet, that's because it basically is. As Taubes told me, "Doctors have been saying Atkins is a quack for so long, they never bothered to check whether he actually got the science right. Unfortunately, he did and they didn't."
I'll let your friends go on about how your boyfriend's a horrible person, and how love should transcend all. The reality is, it often doesn't. Besides, you didn't get cancer; you got a trough of Haagen-Dazs, stuck your snout in and didn't look up for two years straight. Now, maybe your boyfriend's affection strike is utterly unconnected to your weight, but chances are, he's angry and resentful that he's got a girlfriend whose panties are beginning to resemble a parasail. So, why isn't he putting his arms through the leg slots and sailing off a tall building to safety? Maybe he still loves you; maybe he's too lazy to leave. Or, maybe he's trying to drive you away because he feels bad about breaking up over your looks — or even suggesting you step down as International Hausfrau of Pancakes: "Hey, Buffet Queen, either lose your 40 pounds or wave goodbye to my 175."
Since gaining 40 pounds isn't "Got a little absent-minded while holding a bag of Doritos," it seems it wasn't an empty stomach you were trying to fill. Clearly, you not only need to lose weight but to deal with why you packed it on. Whether your boyfriend will come around and whether you'll forgive him is anyone's guess. Whether you're willing to put up with a boyfriend who won't put out — not even a hug, without being asked — is the looming question at present.
Whatever you decide, it helps to accept that, as a woman, you need to do the very best you can with what you have. Sure, inner beauty counts for a lot, but it isn't slimming. And while the average guy doesn't want Kate Moss, he isn't into Kate Moose, either.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners into Impolite Society.