Columns Jan 1, 2014 at 4:00 am

Let It Go


@48 sissoucat: Happy New Year and thanks so much!! And all the very happiest, healthiest, safest, and money-trouble-free best to you , Dan, everyone at The Stranger, and to all our fellow Savage lovin' bloggers, too!

All the best in 2014 everybody!
We do have a blessed community here, and you're all extended family to me.

XO ~:)
Re: @9 & @11: My apologies to BELLY for not reading your letter to Dan more thoroughly the first time. I admit to giving FAB's letter more scrutiny initially. BDSM punching is okay for two consenting adults, provided that nobody ends up in the ER or the morgue. But I agree with all commenters for you to ditch your boyfriend if he punches you or even tries while you're pregnant (!?!?)
if you are extremely overweight (=obese) then first of all you need to lose weight.

not to become attractive to possible partners, but because your life will probably be shorter and less pleasant if you don't.

to lose weight:
1. eat less
2. eat better
3. be more physically active

....4. stop finding excuses for yourself.

I find this comment thread so fucking difficult to read because of all the “helpful” people who want to tell the self-identified morbidly obese woman that she’s fat, and that she should do something about it, and analyze why.

That’s not what she asked. She didn’t write in asking if it was a good idea to be fat or for handy-dandy weight-loss tips. She wrote in asking about entering the dating pool with baggage.

FAB knows she’s fat. If she wants to know how to lose weight, there is no shortage of opinions just waiting to be foisted on her. So shut up already. The disrespect and aggression are painful to me and I don’t even have her history.
Dan's response to NOTFEM was bad. Telling a gay man that he is the woman in the relationship is equivalent to a man telling a woman in a heterosexual relationship that she has to do what he says because he is "the man", or that she needs to stay home barefoot and pregnant. Dan's response is that NOTFEM should get over it. In other words NOTFEM is feeling his boyfriend is emasculating him and Dan's response is that he should grow a pair. Yikes.
98 and others in that vein-- There's a problem with telling fat people to be repulsed by themselves besides its obvious mean spiritedness: It doesn't work.

The logic underlying these comments goes: If I and the society tell fat people how horrible they are long enough, they'll become motivated to push that secret button we all have that will allow them to become magically thin. They just need sufficient self-hatred to do it. Okay, it's not a magic button, but without self-hatred, they won't find the willpower to diet and exercise which is all they need to become size 8s.

Sometimes the societal message is more subtle. In that one, it goes more like: Oh goodness, no, I'm not telling you you should hate yourself for being fat. I'm telling you you should hate yourself because being fat leads to diabetes, heart disease, joint problems and early death. So get busy! Push that magic thinness button.

The empirical evidence is against its working that way.

Willpower and discipline seem to work pretty well for the person who has put on a bit of weight as they approach their 50s. It works for weight gain that comes with having children. At least, there are examples of people who were a tad overweight (in the 20-30 pound range), who got on a good reduced calorie program, and who kept the weight off.

That's not the case for people who have been obese their whole lives. Theory says it should work. Evidence shows it does not.

Here's what does work or at least stands a chance: The fat person loves herself. That's the starting point. Through self love, he gives himself encouragement. She eats enough to stay healthy, strong, and--most importantly-- not hungry. Through self love, he's motivated to do fun enjoyable activities like walking in beautiful surroundings and swimming. Through self love, she thinks of herself as sexy and worthy of satisfying sexual relationships.

Will this work to help him lose weight? Maybe, but who cares? That's not the point.
FAB: You should enjoy everything that life has to offer and you don't need anyone but you to tell you so. But as a person with a food addiction (my tagline is why drink when you can have french fries?) I think everyone can benefit from gaining an understanding of what drives them to the fridge or Dairy Queen. I'm now pre-diabetic and trying to control my eating but you don't understand addiction until you're lying on the couch crying because you're hungry and don't know what to eat.
BELLY here! Just wanted to come to my poor bf's defense - I sent that letter without showing him first, and when he saw it he said "you're silly! I would never ever punch you in the belly if you were pregnant!"

And in my defense, sometimes our belly play is pretty gentle. I would obviously not let him be rough if I were pregnant. It's a new activity for me and I was curious about the safety issues. Thanks to Dan and Dr. Torres for their advice!
@112 Hunter,

Did you know that for the poorest people in some areas of the US, fresh produce and "healthy" foods are too expensive/unavailable? Fatty, mass produced crap food is cheap, and is designed to taste as good as possible for the cost, and it's outlets are everywhere.

"The Obese" are not unlike drinkers in a bar: some are responsible, some are out of control, and some are addicts of varying degrees. Trying to "blanket-splain" a population is just labeling.

nocutename @83: I live in LA. Ophian lives in Austin. So, two very different types of fun. :)
Allison Cummins @107:

Thank you.
@lolorhone: Hmm . . . no convenient halfway point. LACMA and the Getty in LA--the music scene in Austin--which will it be?
@112 Hunter,

And, for the record, I spent last year going from obese to merely overweight, with a side of binge eating. I may not have been lying on the couch crying because I was hungry, but there were certainly times when I felt like crying because I had to eat when I wasn't.

@113, BELLY, thanks for writing in to explain. Have you found other sexy activities to share together, or is the belly punching your main thing?
@113 BELLY: Thanks for blogging in and clearing up some deep concerns many of us, myself included, had about you and your relationship with your boyfriend.
Have a happy, safe, healthy and prosperous 2014 and all the best,
Ah - a Jennings Award (or very nearly).
@121 Hunter,

RE 2): That's the general idea ;-)

Happy New Year Slog!
Belly - possible future problem - you can be pregnant without knowing it.
Re Notfem - I guess I look forward to a time when someone could write in asking "what does it mean, 'be the woman in the relationship?'"
107- Cummins-- Nicely put. I like your summation that FAB is asking how to enter the dating pool with baggage. Now look over the column and see what advice there is.

You told her to smile. Others told her that chubby chasers were okay. I gave advice on becoming confident in non-dating arenas in the hopes that it could spill over into a dating one. And that's it. None of us can think of anything else to offer her. Is that because there really isn't any other advice?

I can think of a few morbidly obese women I've known over the years who were married in what seemed to me to be healthy relationships. I didn't ask what worked for them. I suppose none of them are regulars here.
@113, thanks for writing back and letting us know that you and your boyfriend are being led by good instincts.

You addressed her question beautifully. My observation that I smile and that people like that was not meant as advice, though perhaps it should have been.

So much of the rest... just piling on the baggage.
On the BELLY front,

I had a very intense physical exam once where the MD was palpitating(?) my internal organs, and (not surprisingly) it freakin' hurt. Is there a form of deep massage for the abdomen? Might that (safely) punch BELLY's ticket?

Yeah, most mono is EBV, but some is CMV. I wonder if she meant that CMV mono has a larger risk of spleenic rupture.... I dunno,
Prosperity, as in our McDonalds and sweet super drinks, has taken a swipe at humanity by way of the obesity epidemic. Fat follows rich as we see watching developing nations.

The obese are already self-indulgent. Eating is a primitive method to control the world and satisfy ones self. It is not a productive method. It is a trap they fell into.

Elderly white dudes: saying embarrassingly ignorant shit with an air of authority since antiquity.
Cytomegalovirus isn't mono. That's a different bug, the Epstein-Barr virus.

CMV is not generally dangerous to people with functioning immune systems and people who are not fetuses.
@114 I remember shopping for groceries for the first time in Austin in the nineties, and being amazed at not finding the fruit/vegetable area in the supermarket (in my country every supermarket has a such an area, at least two rows wide).

The people who were hosting me explained that fruits and vegetable were expensive, and not easily found. For them, it was a real treat to have once a week a sitted dinner including fruits or vegetables that were not potatoes - while I had been raised with such sitted meals thrice a day.

Of course they'll be an epidemic of obesity if junk food is easier to buy and less expensive than healthy food !

By the way, is water in the US restaurants still more expensive than sodas ? In my country every restaurant, if asked, has to provide drinking water (tap water) free of charge.
To Married in MA and Crinoline, thank you. I'm one of those morbidly obese people in a good relationship of over 25 years, and have a handful of "suitors" who would like to be in a relationship with me. I was over weight when I met my significant other, and the weight fluctuated over time, usually up with a few down periods. At one point I lost 50lbs to join the military. I'm currently double my weight of when I was my thinnest, and I've only been in the "target" weight for my height (and at the high end of that) for five years of my life. I'm still socially active, sexually active (and get great reviews in that department), have a good job, and take no prescription medications (no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol). I'm very ambulatory, no "scooters" for me, although foot issues make it difficult to be as mobile as I'd like. Those issues started 20 years ago when I was much, much thinner.

Here's the thing. Society makes fat people think that they are scum of the earth for no other reason than being fat, and makes them think that all of their problems would disappear if only they could get thin. As a child and teenager I remember crying on the floor because I thought if I just had the will power to stop eating, everything would be better. That's such BS, because everyone has those problems, no matter what size they are. I'm the same person I was, with the same problems, as when I was half my weight. The only thing easier about being thinner is that it's easier to find decent clothes, and employers are more likely to hire thinner people. I've met people with heart disease that have been active, never smoked, and been in their target weight their entire lives. So, you can't blame all health issues on obesity.

People will find a way to discriminate for all sorts of reasons, be it weight, height, race, religion, color (even various shades of the same color), economic status, location, education, the brand of clothing you wear, you name it. It seems that people tend to look at more at how someone else looks, rather than what they can contribute. I'm college educated, I've served my country, I do volunteer work, and I currently make cancer treatments. Do you think those patients that get those treatments give a rat's a** how I look? There are people out there that would look at me and think I should just die because I don't fit into their idea of acceptable, yet would they want me to disappear when they find out what I contribute? They'd never even bother to find out what I've done or can do, just by looking at me.
@134: sissoucat, access to fresh fruit and vegetables depends on where you live, and is pretty closely correlated with income in general. That is to say that more affluent neighborhoods have far greater access to fresh produce, and more economically depressed neighborhoods have far less. I live in a neighborhood where I have at least 4 sources of fresh produce within easy walking distance (a mile and a half or under), and the behemoth fancy, expensive organic Shangri-La of grocery stores, Whole Foods, is coming to a location a few blocks away.

You'll also note that different socio-economic groups tend to have varying obesity rates, corresponding to their status. This may correlate with access to fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh meats, whole grains, etc. As a general rule, the upper and upper-middle classes have a lower obesity rate than lower-middle and lower class members. There is a strong connection.

There are also states that have more or less obese or fit inhabitants per capita. Colorado has the greatest number of thin or fit people in it, while Mississippi has the highest obesity rate per capita.

I don't know what you experienced in Austin regarding water vs. soda or whether you're talking about practices/prices in restaurants or markets, but tap water (not bottled, "still" water that flows from the faucet) in the USA is always served free at restaurants, and is usually poured without even being requested. Indeed, bottled, sparkling water may well be much more expensive than soda at a restaurant, and bottled water of any kind can be more expensive than soda (I think) when sold in the grocery store. There are some fancy, imported bottled waters--both sparkling (Perrier) and still (Fiji) that are very expensive.
@135: Thanks, CMS for your valuable contribution. I think you're right. You are also in a great position to give dating advice to FAB. I think in her case, the (understandable) bitterness she has is her main impediment to a more successful romantic/dating life, but it's hard to just "get over" bitterness that's been accumulated by a long time of rejection. You obviously have a great attitude. Have you always enjoyed romantic/dating success, regardless of your weight? Did you meet your partner of 25 years when you were on the thinner or heavier side?

I think Crinoline was onto something when she said that people's dislike of or discrimination against fat people was rooted in their sense of sexual disgust. Plus the fact that being overweight is associated with no self-control and low or no impulse control, laziness, and overall filthiness. Just take a look at some of the comments here on this thread. But while you're right that people discriminate for all kinds of reasons, and realistically we'll probably never be able to stop either the human impulse to exclude or discriminate against someone (so long as we don't explicitly say why we're discriminating against them in employment situations), I think fat-shaming and weight discrimination is still socially acceptable in ways that other kinds of blatant discrimination isn't.
@134, 136: I forgot to mention a few points:
Almost all grocery stores have a large produce aisle--any real, full sized grocery store has one. It's only "convenience store" markets--found in all neighborhoods, but mostly in low-income neighborhoods--that don't carry fresh fruit and vegetables. Many low-income neighborhoods have only convenient-store markets within walking distance or a reasonable bus ride (people in lower-income groups typically have more restricted access to cars).

Although fresh produce is widely available in middle-to-upper-class neighborhoods, it may be expensive, depending on a variety of factors. Organic is more expensive than produce grown conventionally. Fancy stores (like the Whole Foods I mentioned earlier, which I think of as "food porn") are often very expensive. Farmers' Markets would seem to be cheap, but depending on where they're located, can be the most expensive way to buy produce of all! However, there is almost always some store that sells affordable produce, so long as you live in an upper-middle class neighborhood or have a car to take you to one, There is a wonderful, very inexpensive produce market with a wide variety of wonderful and often exotic fruits and vegetables about a half mile from my house, and it's cheaper to shop there for produce than it is to shop at the large chain "lower priced" grocery store nearby, which offers considerably less variety in produce.


Also, it's not just whether there's a produce aisle but also the quality of the produce.

Speaking as a low-income person *waves* the grocery store up the street from me has really shitty produce to the point where I usually don't even bother getting produce from there. I make the ~20 minute walk to the slightly fancier grocery store where the produce is decent. Of course if I bought all of my groceries there I'd be spending way more money. So what do I do? Yes that's right folks, two separate trips, one for produce and one for everything else.

But I personally have a number of things working in my favour so I can do this:

- no kids in tow
- able-bodied/passably-fit
- free weekends (for the first time ever, yay!)
- safe city, comfortable walking at any hour

and that's just off the top of my head. These things are often not true for people in my income bracket, or people in general. And you know what? When I work a 13 hour shift and I'm exhausted I pick up fried chicken on the way home, I for sure don't add "make a nutritious meal" on top of my to-do list.

I'm so sick of people bullshitting like poverty doesn't make it exceedingly difficult to eat healthy.
Crinoline @125, I did offer some dating advice @88. I'll add that daters will have an easier time if they evaluate whether they're a 3, a 6 or a 9, and flirt with people who are similarly attractive. (Your numbers shift if you're open to someone who fetishizes your particular type, among other similar adjustments.)

Hunter @128, what difference does it make if you or I think BDSM shouldn't lead to serious injuries? I'm also not a big fan of motorcycling, or football, but adult participants in those sports can learn about the risks and make their own decisions.
@139 (mydriasis): Yeah, I forgot to mention quality, which varies from crappy at the biggest chain, reasonable prices grocery store, to fantastic but unaffordable at the food porn emporiums unavailable to people with lower incomes. I won't buy my produce at the local Safeway, and Trader Joe's plastic wraps all the veggies and fruits and you can't choose them individually, so both those lower-priced options are out. The fancy store charges more for everything, but you can get anything, and when I'm pressed for time, I will go there for the one-stop shopping, but it's galling to know I'm paying more (and I'm not even talking about Whole Paycheck . . .. um, I mean Whole Foods, which is obscenely expensive). The great produce market I mentioned @138 doesn't have anything but produce. So to get what I need/want and not pay a fortune, I have to go to the wonderful produce market, either Trader Joe's or the Grocery Outlet for the biggest savings on non-produce items, and the fancy-ish grocery store for little things that aren't carried at less tony places. This takes up a huge amount of time, something people with low incomes, often working punishing hours, don't always have a lot of.

Still, I was trying to correct sissoucat's impression of Americans as never having access to fresh vegetables and fruit (or, for that matter, to sitting down and eating a real, home-cooked meal as a family), which it sounds like was her experience as an exchange student in Texas.

Although my family doesn't eat breakfast as an everybody-sit-down-together meal, and we're all out of the house for lunch on weekdays, we eat dinner together at the table nightly. Every dinner is cooked from scratch (I avoid processed foods as much as possible, and stupidly don't even buy pre-chopped vegetables. I spend a lot of time slicing and chopping!) and is as balanced and nutritious as I can make it. I don't know that my home is all that unusual.

Oh I know what you mean, although I obviously can't personally speak to America.

I will say though, as far as I know it is pretty uncommon for families to eat dinner together these days. My family didn't do it much when I was growing up but there's many reasons for that.

"Contrary to conventional wisdoms and hours of TV commercials, most families currently eat dinner together most nights of the week, and more than a third (34 percent) eat together seven nights a week, on average."

The wording's kind of vague but you're saying you do 7 nights a week which puts you firmly in the minority: 34%.
@mydriasis: To clarify, before I divorced, our family ate dinner together 7 nights a week. I theoretically have my kids (really only one kid at home now, as the other is off at college most of the year) 60% of the time, as per the custody agreement, though in practice, it's closer to 70% of the time. On the nights I have a child at home, we eat dinner together, no matter what. Sometimes when I'm broke and there's not much in the house, the menu can get a little odd, and sometimes we're eating food brought in, but we always sit down together for the meal, though with my work schedule and her practices for her sport or rehearsals, it can mean we eat rather late (it was even more complicated before my older kid went away).

I'm aware that it's not ubiquitous but I think if you look at the statistic you provided, it says that more than a third of families do it, which isn't insubstantial. I'd like to know what percentage of families make up the "most" in that quote and how many nights qualify as "most." If the significant majority of North American families eat dinner together 5 nights a week, and a substantial number eat together 6 nights a week, I think that's pretty good.

@137: nocutename, I can't really put a finger on when or how things changed. I've always been heavy. Quality time with my dad was either a drive to Dairy Queen or a drive to the country to work on a property he wanted to develop. So, I ate, but I also did manual labor like mowing the grass, cutting brush, and once, digging fence post holes. But, I also spent more hours than not reading alone, because I didn't know how to relate to other people. Some times I think I could have easily ended up like a female Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, or a female version of "Captain Sweatpants" from the same show, if we want to be totally honest. In junior high I made ONE good friend that shared most of my interests, and that was probably the turning point. It wasn't until high school, and truly, college, that I found other people with similar interests. Thinning out some in high school helped, but I was still a size 14, and that inched to an 18 half way through college. I met my husband when I was thinner, but still over weight. Over the years, other men have made it clear that they would be willing to have a relationship, but I politely decline. These are generally men that don't have size issues, who realize a person is more than her appearance, and they are all sizes, but they all share similar interests as I do.
When asked, most of them said my smile attracted them, along with my passion for what I love.

So, my advice for FAB? Develop your interests, educate yourself, ignore what the a**holes say (it won't be easy), and live your life on your terms, even if there are constraints. Hold your head high. Be willing to laugh at yourself while finding the humor in almost any situation. Find groups of people who share the same interests; with the Internet, that can be pretty easy these days. You can do anything in your own style, even if in only small ways. Step outside your comfort zone. It doesn't have to be one giant leap, it can be a few small steps. Even if you fail, it's a learning experience. You can only learn by doing, but you can prepare by talking to other people, doing research, and formulating your own opinions and plans before the doing. Thomas Edison, who took 10,000 tries before making a functioning commercial electronic light bulb, said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I'll be honest, failing hurts, and can hurt horribly, but if Edison had stopped at 1,000 or 10,000 failures, there literally wouldn't be light at the end of the tunnel.
@141 nocute,

That's interesting, the TJ's near us have the plastic wrapped produce, and decent loose produce. Whole Foods is relatively close to the norm in price, and a Wegmans is opening soon. Despite being on the ass end of the food pipeline, we suffer no deprivations.

That being said, while the family was on vacation we went to a farmer's market (Tues & Sat mornings year round), and had a treat of the best stuff. Being a market for the locals and refugees from colder climes, the cost was very reasonable, and the quality superb. Good, fresh food doesn't have to cost dear, if it is available. (I may have mentioned that one of my "best things in the world" is an in season ripe tomato; my devotion to weight loss has increased my appreciation for all things edible raw.). But most of the urban centers have been neatly cut off from that possibility. If obesity is a manmade plague, it is debatable from whom it came.

@144 CMS,

I hope that FAB reads your comments, because your experience seems most relevant. As an aside, I do find my knees much less cranky, and my dangly bits more easily visible, now that I've lost the weight. Dare I say that, with my wife and family, losing weight has been enjoyable (my wife played a major role in putting weight upon us in the first place, seems only fair she had to help getting it off). As long as you're healthy and comfortable in your skin, life seems pretty good. And if you think you need help with food addiction, there are wonderful people all over the place that can help.

@146: If Fab wants to really lose weight, she must give up most of her eating, give up her self-reward system.

FAB didn't ask for advice about losing weight. She may not have any interest in losing weight.

Here's what she did ask for advice about:

[S]ince I never received any real sexual attention as a teen/twentysomething, I don't know how to deal with men in a sexual way or in a way that would develop into a relationship. I also think my (lack of) experience has caused me to become bitter toward men. How do I stop being bitter and learn how to develop a romantic relationship?

FAB is going to have to let go of bitterness, which may be harder to do than to lose weight. Perhaps we can offer her some helpful suggestions about how to "stop being bitter," about a lifetime of romantic rejection and invisibility and also how to "develop a romantic relationship."
140-- True. When I skimmed over the whole column, I missed some of the suggestions offered.

148-- The only thing that stands a chance in overcoming bitterness is to replace old bad experiences with new better ones. That's whether you're talking about a bad time with teachers or classroom bullies, or a bad boss, or romantic rejection. It leads to something of a vicious circle because you have to not be bitter in order in order to find that relationship that will make you forget your bitterness.

It's not that simple. How one processes their experiences has a lot to do with bitterness. A bitter person could have lots of good experiences but unless they interpret them in a way that challenges their mindset, they'll remain bitter. Even bad experiences can be interpreted in a way that challenges that mindset.

In other words: you don't need to find "that relationship" to get over bitterness. It's a lot of incredibly hard, challenging work - but it's not a catch 22.
@149 Crinoline,

I wonder how many of responses to the LWs should begin with the boilerplate: "it is important to remember that, as adults, we're no longer in high school". By that I mean that, sometimes, people lose the herd mentality of attack the loner/weak, pull their collective heads out of their asses, and develop senses of compassion/empathy when they grow up.

Re moving past bitterness. My own recommendation is to read David Burns's Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, and work through the exercises. It's cheap and easy cognitive therapy ($4 used on Amazon), and it helped me a ton.
@148: nocutename: I am still working on alleviating over 4 decades of sibling and relative related bitterness and bullshit. So far, so good: I'm managing on my own to chuck most of it into the trash with the realization that it has more to do with bizarre hangups of those who made me miserable (so they could feel better about themselves?) than with me, personally. It's getting better, though: on some days I catch myself mimicking my oldest sister (waay too easy to do, especially in front of my bathroom mirror!) and can actually start laughing.
By the way: re; @146: Ignore it---he's trolling.
@151 Married in MA: You're so right!
@152 EricaP: Thanks for the helpful book recommendation! I'll look for it.
41>42 by far.
Agreed that poverty affects our obesity rates, and people live in food deserts and so on. Assuming however that a person can only eat processed food, there are usually plenty of canned vegetables to work with AND even eating just at McDonalds, there is the magic option of... not eating too much. A nutritionist who wanted to drop weight did so on a mostly candy diet, because he knew he wasn't going to just eat arugula. The type of calories matter; calories themselves also matter.
@156: True.
What's your point?

I was trying (@136, 138, and 141) to correct an impression that sissoucat, a French woman, has of Americans as rarely having access to fresh produce (@134).

Or was this just more piling on FAB?
@152: Thanks, EricaP for the recommendation. I hope FAB is reading this far down in the comments.

auntie grizelda: Yup, it can take a long time to get past a lifetime of acquired bitterness (whether it was acquired "legitimately" or not). I commend you for trying to undo 4 decades worth of damage.

" A nutritionist who wanted to drop weight did so on a mostly candy diet, because he knew he wasn't going to just eat arugula."

Um.. exactly. A nutritionist.

A trained professional who specializes in understanding diet.

Education is another factor as well. Knowing how to eat healthy eludes most people (hence the popularity of fad diets) and it's even harder when you have additional constraints.

Not eating too much is a great idea - but it's easiest to do if you can eat smaller, more frequent meals/snacks. If you work a twelve hour shift with no breaks to eat, you try having willpower to apply portion control after that.

Yeah, canned vegetables exist but my understanding is that they're loaded with salt and don't taste all that fantastic. I don't really think canned vegetables are the deus ex machina for poverty-exacerbated obesity.

But that's just me.
Eating healthy is like walking. If you learn it early and naturally it's effortless. But if it's not automatic, it's actually really fucking complicated.
@160 mydriasis,

Amen sister!

Keep in mind that most motivated people can lose 10% of their body weight and keep it off. Let’s assume that FAB has already done that, shall we? That way we can focus on her question.

(Losing more than 10% has a high risk of leading to rebound weight gain. Nobody wants that.)
On feeling like a desirable romantic partner: treat yourself like you are one. At the most superficial level, dress up. I’m going to brainstorm a list of ideas, but don’t try them out with the thought that you’ll out on nail polish and bingo! someone will fall in love with you. These are more exercises to get yourself out of a rut.

Get a really good bra. Whether your breasts are small or large, wear them as high as you can.

Look for pictures of fabulous fat women. Get Barbara Deckert’s “Sewing for Plus Sizes” for an alternative take on clothes and dressing. You might even get an outfit made — it will probably cost more than ready-to-wear (but less than you think, and it will fit.)

Experiment with performing femininity. Wear bright colours. Play with makeup. Get a manicure. Wear dangly jewellery — bangles and earrings. Wear cool shoes. If your hair is thinning, get a weave.

Experiment with performing masculinity. Wear dark colours. Bowling shirts. Guayaberas. Heavy rings, a big watch. Wear cool shoes and socks. Wear your hair short and shave patterns into it or spike it with gel.

Wear perfume.

Be noticeable. You’re already noticeable: learn to work it! Start small if you have to. Send the message to yourself and others that This Woman Is Valued. When you smile at people they should feel complimented.

Find a therapist you like and see them sometimes.

Cultivate a taste for activities in which men are overrepresented and make friends.

Talk to someone new every day. If you can’t think of anything to say to a stranger or even someone you know, give them a compliment.

The hard part is that even when you get good at all of this to the point of having fun with it, you’ll still be rejected. That’s tough, especially when you’ve been workng hard at putting yourself out there.

You know who else is in that situation? Salespeople. They deal with a lot of rejection, every single day. They still have to get up and put themselves out there because if they don’t make their numbers they lose their jobs. So do what they do. Get motivational CDs and play them when you’re driving or doing housework. Buy motivational books. (It’s ok if they’re for salespeople and that’s not your professional niche.) Get massages. Work out, whatever way makes most sense for you. Join the Church of Scientology. (No, not really.) The point is that rejection is hard for everyone and people who have to face a lot of it get support.

Then take breaks when you need to. Salespeople burn out but you don’t have to.
I think the most important thing for FAB is to carefully consider and periodically update her success criteria.

Developing a romantic relationship is usually accomplished by failing to do just that, an awful lot, so FAB could be dooming herself to failure if everything short of that is "failure".

FAB wrote, "I've been on a couple of dates, and only when I asked the guy out", which I think is part of her issue. FAB should be celebrating that she's had moderate success asking guys out directly.

Not only is each attempt a personal win, but what you get in return, good or bad, is experience, which is what helps you do better in the future, and is something FAB severely lacks.

Have fun out there.
FAB, I was also a morbidly obese woman who had limited experiance(I had weight loss surgery a few months ago). Note the use of the word HAD. First Dan is correct, you must love you first before any man will love you. Second, the reason that most experts advise you to steer clear of BBW dating sites are plainly this, many of the men there are either preditory about sex or want you to support them finacially. I should know, I've encountered both. You also need to be careful about encounters with "feeders". These are men that get sexual satisfaction from watching you eat dangerous amounts of fatty/phallic shaped foods. I had one guy show up to a dinner date with a cake and a bucket of chicken to eat by myself. I was polite and ended the date early as I would never be able to meet his needs. I recommend finding BBW clubs and group meet ups so if someone is creeping you out you can leave. Also try your local ren faire community. The people there tend to see inner beauty before they look at the outside package. Good Luck! From a soon to be former fatty.
Also, what's "morbidly obese" mean? There's a medical definition, but I don't think that everyone is using it. different people have different personal definitions. And depending on bone structure and height, different weights look different on different people. FAB says she's morbidly obese and has never had anyone show romantic interest in her, which she's attributing to her weight (although there could be other reasons/factors as well). I assumed this meant she is at least 100 pounds overweight, according to my own personal definition and to the one offered by the University of Rochester, Highland Hospital Bariatric Surgery Center:

Morbid obesity is a serious health condition that can interfere with basic physical functions such as breathing or walking. Those who are morbidly obese are at greater risk for illnesses including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallstones, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and cancer.

Morbid obesity is diagnosed by determining Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is defined by the ratio of an individual’s height to his or her weight. Normal BMI ranges from 20-25. See BMI on back panel. An individual is considered morbidly obese if he or she is 100 pounds over his/her ideal body weight, has a BMI of 40 or more, or 35 or more and experiencing obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

bxtorr19 @165 describes herself as having been morbidly obese and says she underwent "weight loss surgery," so her self-description would seem to fit, while CMS describes herself as "morbidly obese @135, and then says that she lost 50 lbs at one point, which I take to mean she was about 50-60 pounds overweight. This doesn't fit the definition. @144, she mentions being a size 18 at her heaviest, although she may have been heavier or be heavier still. Depending on how you carry weight, someone at size 18 is about between 40-50 pounds overweight--a pretty far cry from the morbid obesity definition above. People who have 40 pounds to lose often don't take the extreme measure of having surgery to lose that weight.

My point isn't to start an argument about how much over the ideal weight one needs to be to be officially described as "morbidly obese." And, by the way, what is ideal weight. Weight Watchers sets a goal range of 20 pounds with a healthy BMI (…) So there isn't one "ideal" or healthy weight for each height--there is a range.

If "ideal" weight in in the eye of the beholder and the holder, so seems to be the definition of "morbid obesity," as it's used by the general population. But there is a huge difference (pun not intended) between being 50 pounds overweight and 120 pounds overweight, and the dating pool correspondingly shrinks or is comprised of people with specific agendas accordingly. For the severely overweight, bxtorr19 @165 has some very good advice.

Naturally thin people who think being overweight is the result of nothing but self-indulgence and lack of self-control are self-flattering ignoramuses. They're like people born rich who think the poor are poor entirely because they're lazy.

They're ignorant of genetic differences and psychological causes of overeating.

People are always quick to believe anything that makes them feel superior to others, and slow to consider any facts that threaten to take away that self-esteem boost.
@160 mydriasis & @161 Married in MA::I'll second that.
Although I'm a recovered ex-sugar junkie who has had to completely relearn about incorporating healthy daily nutrition, it's not really so difficult for me. Getting diagnosed with Type II a year ago was one helluva wake-up call!

Before I go any further, I am NOT blasting FAB or anyone else out there who is overweight to dangerously obese. I have been there myself, and have struggled nearly all my life with my weight, health, and appearance. I am only sharing my experience.

I agree that the over-abundance of "cheap", processed foods is shamefully unhealthy, and that better options need to be available everywhere.

I'll add my admittedly long-winded two cents' worth:
This may sound like the situation in reverse out of Supersize Me, but one thing I have discovered over this past year is that, although my costs of food and healthcare are going up, I'm not experiencing repeated nightmarish trips to the ER anymore (from an accumulated carbonated beverage-induced kidney stone attack back in 2012, and among the damage done: $7,000 out-of-pocket despite individual health insurance in medical bills and dealing with profit lusting doctors who only wanted to help their pharmaceutical pals get rich by putting me on dangerous narcotic painkillers, a.k.a. Percocet, THEN refusing to feed me when I passed out from the overwhelming effects of the prescribed medications, to be told "You're anemic!" upon being forcibly starved to death while kept on observation because the idiotic medical staff feared that if I actually ate anything, I'd barf up a lung; THEN stupidly asking if I had driven to the hospital, surprised to learn that I wisely came by cab, knowing it was unsafe and illegal as fuck to drive under such impaired conditions!). Some fun, huh?

Long and short, the moral of my story: I will happily shell out extra $$$ to stock up on decent, organic GF / SF foods, stay fit, and increase my overall well-being than end up having to pay thousands in hospital bills after living on GMO crap offered "cheap"!
Boycott McDonald's and Wal*Mart if you possibly can; I swear their CEOs are in cahoots with Big Med.
re @168: And no, my vast improvements in overall health and appearance over this past year do not necessarily make me any better than anyone else.
We're not all the same, and everyone's needs and situation are different.
Right spot on, Dan (and seconded by bxtorr19 @165) about needing to love yourself first!
The lifestyle changes I made for myself were necessary. If I don't take care of myself, who will?
How about the advice that FAB really needs to hear? She's morbidly obese, and in order to improve her life, in and out of the bedroom, she should lose weight. "But that's hard!" people will say. Yes, it is. Most worthwhile endeavors are. But getting on the road to health will do FAB a lot more good than wasting her time looking for chubby-chasers online.
@168 griz,

Whoa, I'm truly impressed you came out of that as sunny as you are. Hail and laud fair Grizelda!


Speaking as a naturally skinny person, I could not fucking agree more. I know my fast metabolism is the only thin between me and FAB. And I grew up around rich people so I know better than to think that it has anything to do with merit.

At the risk of opening up a whole new can of worms, I will mention that some cultures are more accepting of fat women than others are. Im a fat woman (5'5", 220 pounds) who has been happily married for fifteen years to a sweet, sexy, totally normal man who just happens to like big soft tits and ass. We met salsa dancing- yes he's Latino. i was a little smaller then - about 180. But i was active an healthy and coordinated enough to shake it all night long. And there was no shortage of men who liked the way it looked shaking all over the dance floor. i dont want to generalize, but in my rawther considerable experience, the latin men are less likely to have the kind of strong negative reaction you often get from american men. Just something to think about - lots of our preferences are culturally mediated.
FAB - read Lesley Kinzel.
I feared I'd left it too late to comment, but there are still others chiming in.

FAB, please ignore the trolls and those who are on a supposed health crusade. That's not why you wrote to Dan.

Being ignored has led you to become bitter toward men. That's not a good thing for two reasons beyond the fact that the bitterness may poison your future attempts. The first is physiological. When someone is experiencing strong negative emotions, the body releases cortisol which shuts down the fat-burning process. So, even if you were actively trying to lose weight, the going would be even more difficult.

The second is emotional. I'd hazard a guess that you're bitter not only toward men – but also toward your body ... as a distinct entity from your mind. You may feel that IT has betrayed you and sabotaged your hopes for romantic and sexual fulfillment. So this is where you're going to have to seize the reins and take control. If you can't get to love your body, then at least try to like it. And, yes, it's a lot easier to find outside validation first before you feel entitled to feel good about yourself. Still, you're going to have to find the inner toughness to try.

Though the mind may be the strongest sex organ, many people forget that the skin is the largest. Get in the habit of touching yourself. Sure, masturbation is valid, but I'm talking about other more prosaic parts. I've just stroked my cheek, then my forearm. My mind registered how soft my skin was and also how good it felt to be touched. Even if you're the only one doing the touching ATM, it's STILL valid. It counts. And it reinforces that you're responsive to touch. [It's also a handy check to see if you have rough, dry patches of skin.]

Speaking of touch, get a manicure and pedicure. Both rituals include a massage. And the big one, a real massage with a (male) masseur. Even though the setting is clinical and the behaviour coolly professional, it'll get you into the mindset of being touched by male hands.

Good grooming is a MUST, especially if you're a larger woman. And having pretty things to wear, including lingerie. It's not superficial to focus on the outside of your body. You're hoping to attract someone's attention, someone who will make the effort to get to know who you are on the inside.

The commenter above pointed out that not all cultures are uniformly dismissive of large women as worthy of desire. Find new places to hang out. If you have a unique talent, flaunt it. If you don't, then acquire one. If you're already set apart, make it work to your advantage.

If you can find a copy of it, watch "Sugarbaby", a fascinating German film by Percy Adlon. It's about a large, plain woman (with the additional bias against her because she works in a funeral home) who sets out to snag a cute, young man. The ultimate lesson there is that, even though it didn't last, she knew she was desirable and didn't let the setback stop her from trying again.
@171 Married in MA: Thanks! As a Leo, I try to stay sunny. Vitamin D come get us!!
Hey---at my age, if I can't laugh or learn anymore, it's time to hang it up.
FAB: I'm madly in love with a large woman. I don't know what she weighs and don't care. I was initially attracted to her many wonderful qualities and I guess I wasn't put off by the weight because she wasn't. She has told me that she spent a lot of time in cold climates where everyone jumped into saunas and hot tubs nude and drunk and she developed a "don't give a shit" attitude about her (and others') physical appearance. If you don't like it, don't look. To me her confidence was an aphrodesiac. If you do find yourself romantically involved at some point I would also recommend lingerie and doggy style.
@176: Thank you for sharing some helpful suggestions for FAB.
I fervently agree on the vital need to love oneself first (see @169).
One of my biggest challenges throughout my life has been to STOP
*!@#ing say "I'm sorry!"---when there was absolutely nothing to be
sorry for.
Calories in = calories out or fat cells. Quality doesn't factor into it. Actually pretty simple, not magic. Beans and rice are really cheap and healthy. Too boring for Americans though. Americans have more money than the rest of the world and overeat. Pretty simple really. You can mind fuck yourself all you want.

Be careful - That's what killed Houdini!
(Look it up!)

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