So for years and years I’ve barely dated. I felt way too horrible about myself to even think about trying to make someone else happy. I tried dating around Thanksgiving time of 2015. I went on a few dates with a guy who totally didn’t have it together himself. He was constantly saying he was going to do something (like come take me on a date for example), and then he’d come up with excuse after excuse to not follow through. I put up with that garbage for about two months. I wondered–for two months–why I wasn’t good enough to make an effort for. Finally I came to my senses and realized enough was enough–I deserve better.
On Veteran’s Day of 2016 my cousin, Runner Girl, and I did a 10 mile hike on the Maah Daah Hey. That day and hike was a turning point for me. For the first time since I began this fitness journey, I felt like I was capable of pushing my body to the limit and coming out the winner. Something turned on in my mind. I realized that all the things I had been thinking were impossible, weren’t. I realized I was capable of more than I thought, and maybe even more importantly, that I had things to offer.
I changed that day in the middle of the North Dakota Badlands. And there is no going back for me.
Runner Girl planted the seeds in my brain that weekend that I should try dating again. The thought was mortifying to me. I mean, who was going to want to date a fat girl?
A few weekends later, after a major pity-party for myself and my single status, I decided I’d give online dating a try. What was the worst that could happen, right? So I created a little profile for myself and took some current selfies, and I was in business.
And I was shocked at how much interest I got. I’m still shocked, to be honest. Apparently a profile where you are brutally truthful about who you are and what you’re looking for is viewed as “confident,” “appealing,” and “refeshing.” Who knew?
Granted, there are still more guys who aren’t interested in a fat girl than are. There’s also a lot of creeps out there who are only looking for one thing. But there are also some seemingly genuine, interesting, interested, guys out there.
And it’s been a learning experience so far.
Here is the most surprising thing that I think I’ve learned: it’s not necessarily shallow to reject the fat girl.
Let me say that again: it’s not necessarily shallow.
Oh, for sure there are those douchebags out there who only care about how the person they are dating looks. I’m not talking about them, per se.
See, what I’m learning is that it takes a huge amount of effort to be healthy. It’s a comittment. It’s a lifestyle. People who are fit and have great physiques don’t get that way by waving a magic wand or snapping their fingers. Those people live a very specific lifestyle day in and day out. They are the people who wake up at 4:30 a.m. and drag themselves to the gym in the dark, when it’s 30 below zero. They are the ones who choose a salad at the restaurant instead of what they really want, a burger and beer. They pass up vacations and new clothes because they hire a personal trainer each week to keep them on track. These people practice discipline and self-control even at their lowest emotional moments. They sweat through blood, tears, and all kinds of pain, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that their goals are worth it.
For over two years now I’ve been developing the mind-set it is going to take to become one of those people. I have been learning first hand how difficult it is, how much effort it takes, and what a complete and total investment in myself I am making. I look back on the person I was in August 2014 when I started this journey, and I never want to go back. Never.
I have learned that change is hard. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life: to stick with this and not give up. There have been so many days where I have wanted to. But I have made the comittment to put myself, my health, and the only body I am ever going to have first. So for better or worse, I’m in this thing for life.
And I don’t want to date or marry someone who isn’t all in too.
I don’t need Superman. He doesn’t have to have the greatest body ever. He doesn’t need to eat clean 24/7 for the rest of his life. He doesn’t even need to work out as much as I do. But he needs to want to be better than he is. And he needs to be capable of pushing me to be better than I am.
I cannot, should not, and do not have the right to require someone to change for me. Any push to better himself needs to come from him, for him.
But it’s important to me that that push exists.
I’m never going back to that person I was before, that miserable, unhealthy, lifeless shell of myself. And I have a very real concern that if I date or marry someone who doesn’t have the same lifestyle goals as me, he could pull me down into those old habits again.
It’s like an alcoholic who is trying to get sober and then goes out and dates an alcoholic who wants to hang out at the bar. Are they both more likely to get sober or both more likely to end up at the bar?
We all know how that story ends. And I don’t want my story to end up back at McDonald’s.
So when I am considering dating someone who isn’t fit and could stand to lose a few pounds, I’m going to scrutinize him. I’m going to look at what kind of lifestyle he is leading. If he wants to better himself, is working out, eating healthier, and becoming mentally stronger, I have no problem with that. But if he isn’t, if he’s a junk food addict and a couch potato and isn’t trying to change that, this doesn’t work for me.
When I see a fit guy, I assume he is on the right track. When I see an overweight guy, I scrutinize and potentially reject him based on what I see. Why should it be any different for fit people? Why should they want to date someone who is fat, and ok with being fat, when they themselves are putting in an incredible amount of effort every day to maintain their health?
Isn’t it possible that when a fat person is rejected by a member of the opposite sex it isn’t necessarily just because of how he or she looks, but rather what those looks might say about his or her lifestyle?
And I’m sorry, but that’s not shallow. It is not shallow to protect yourself from getting sucked into bad habits. It’s not shallow to reject people who are going to impede your own goals and progress. And it’s not shallow to want a partner who enhances your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses.
I’m the only one in charge of my life. The decisions I’m making and the people I surround myself with can make or break me. So I better be smart about what I do, and who I do it with. And if that’s shallow, then so be it.