How To Tell Your Woman To Lose Weight
Right now, the number three most emailed article from the New York Times is a piece entitled “Why Black Women Are Fat” (stay classy, New York Times), written by a woman named Alice Randall who is a writer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University.
That last tidbit of information shocked me if only because I know people who went to Vanderbilt, and a lot of them are smart; it’s reputation is why some people have called it the “Ivy League of the South.” And yet, Randall’s article is one of the flimsiest pieces I have read about the obesity issue amongst black women and the way it relates to men.
As recently as last week, I discussed this issue. WPIX Morning News brought me on their show to talk about it, and I wrote a post to support my appearance and flesh out my thoughts on dating women with curves. My goal was to somewhat dispel of the myth that because I like black women I like big women or, to flip it, because I like thick women, I like black women. It’s true I prefer my women tall, and have a deep appreciation for tall women with curves. I have gone crazy over a size 12 and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
But as I said in last week’s post, no matter what size a woman is, what matters most is the way she carries her size.
Every woman I have dated has been somewhat obsessed with their figure and their weight. One of my exes was on Weight Watchers when we started seeing each other. I always told her there was no reason she needed to be, but I had a change of heart when I noticed the results not in her body but her mood.
As with any weight-loss program, Weight Watchers takes an amazing amount of self-discipline. The more successful she was at sticking to the program, the better she felt about herself and as any man will tell you, a woman happy with herself is a pleasant woman to be around. This is why I kept on eating all those disgusting 100-Cal snack packs for our entire relationship.
As for the physical effects of her Weight Watchers regimen, I honestly didn’t notice a change, nor was I looking for one. She looked great all the time, from the night I met her all the way up until the day we broke up, and I always told her that.
Since I have always dated women who were self conscious about their size and their weight, I’ve always played somewhat of a role in their progress. Whether it was telling them they looked great when they thought they didn’t or asking them if they went to the gym like they said they would, I knew it was my job to motivate them when they couldn’t do it themselves. I also knew it was my job to make them forget about the things on their body they fretted about, like love handles or the extra flesh they were accumulating in certain pockets of their body.
Before I started taking care of my body by exercising and changing up the way I eat, I wasn’t really comfortable with this role. As far as I was concerned, I wasn’t watching what I ate and I definitely wasn’t going to the gym, so what credibility did I have to tell my woman she needed to stick to her diets or stay true to her gym regimen? Matter of fact, since I cared not one bit about doing any of those things for myself, I actually appreciated when my woman would not give a damn along with me. I didn’t want her staying in shape when I wasn’t staying in shape. I even once wrote a post asking how many women prefer a man who is out of shape and doesn’t care about hitting a gym.
But all of that changed when I started feeling the affects of not staying in shape and eating anything I wanted. Women still accepted me, in spite of the fact that my V below my abs turned into a U, but I found myself getting sick more often. If I was talking on the phone when I went up the stairs to my apartment, the person on the other end would always ask, “Why are you breathing hard?” I became uncomfortable in my own skin, and with no input from women whatsoever, I decided to do something about my weight.
In Randall’s article, she describes a couple of men who have attitudes similar to the one I used to have about women who worked out.
How many middle-aged white women fear their husbands will find them less attractive if their weight drops to less than 200 pounds? I have yet to meet one.
But I know many black women whose sane, handsome, successful husbands worry when their women start losing weight. My lawyer husband is one.
Another friend, a woman of color who is a tenured professor, told me that her husband, also a tenured professor and of color, begged her not to lose “the sugar down below” when she embarked on a weight-loss program.
I have no basis on which to question if Randall’s husband and the husband of her friend are genuine when they say they don’t want their woman to start losing weight. But I do know it’s something of a default statement all men make whenever their woman is trying to “get it tight, get it right.” I also know the reason many men don’t want their woman to get it together is for the same reasons I cited above, because we’re not getting it together.
Another reason: A lot of men are genuinely accepting of their woman’s size and literally don’t see what the problem is. Like the pimple on our face we swear everyone can see but no one noticed until we called attention to it, a man didn’t notice the extra roll accumulating on his woman’s stomach when she bent over until she started saying, “Look, honey! You don’t see that?”
We don’t and even if we did, why say something? To say something about it is to ask for a very uncomfortable conversation. The extra roll is not cute, and we agree something should be done about it, but if we tell a woman to stop grabbing at it in front of our eyes and how it’s turning us off, we’re wrong.
The only reason a man should ever say anything about that extra roll we see is because we care about something that’s more than skin deep.
No woman’s journey through weight loss should be about a man, it should be about her, but should a man decide to get involved, he needs to make sure it’s for her as well. Weight fluctuation may not be as noticeable to our eye, but a decline in health is not only visible, it’s audible too.
To Randall’s point, there are plenty of men out there who dub themselves “chubby chasers,” guys who like their women obese, and find a woman who weighs under 200 lbs less attractive than a woman who weighs 200+ but that doesn’t mean those men are doing their women any favors. Telling a woman not to lose weight because she would be less attractive is no less of a jerk thing to say than telling a woman if she did lose weight she would be more attractive.
If my woman weighed 200 lbs, I would have an issue with her if only because she probably isn’t healthy at 200 lbs and as her man, that concerns me.
We think we’re helping our woman out when we tell her she looks fine the way she is, that she doesn’t need to lose any weight, when the fact is, some of our women can stand to lose weight. But they shouldn’t do it for men and men should make that clear. We should encourage them to get in shape not because they will look better but because they will feel better.