Q: Dear Jenny. I admit, I’m slightly overweight and it does affect my dating confidence. I’m attractive enough to still get dates and girlfriends, but it’s my insecurities during a relationship that usually cause problems. Women often tell me to stop being so vain or to stop acting like a girl because I’m constantly looking for reassurance and approval about my appearance. I’m not metrosexual, I’m a dude who is very masculine, but as much as I try to “just be” I end up turning women off about my body image issues. What advice can you offer? -Paul
A: Join the club, Paul. Although body image issues were once primarily a “girl’s issue”, men are now feeling the same pressures through media and marketing to look “a certain way”.
You say you are “slightly overweight”. Sometimes people that obsess with their bodies also suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, not being able to see their bodies how they truly are. Maybe you are just not fit, and getting in shape (stronger, more stamina) would help with this. I go to the gym more for mental confidence than anything else, keeping fit and shapely is an added bonus. The gym isn’t for everyone – you may enjoy recreational or team sports.
Don’t compare your body/looks to other men. Easier said than done, I know. But it’s a slippery slope when you do. Forget what your girlfriend’s last boyfriend looked like, she’s with you now. And avoid buying men’s magazines like GQ or Men’s Health… I stopped buying “girlie mags” years ago because all they did was reinforce my insecurities in my appearance. I also avoid spending too much time looking in the mirror, and I only get on a scale if I think there’s been a dramatic weight gain.
And FYI, most women go for personality over looks. There’s only a very small percentage of women who want the Adonis look. I dated a boxer years ago who had a six-pack. It was a turn off and sleeping against “a rock” wasn’t comfortable at all.
Instead of showing your insecurities with a woman by asking her “do I look fat” have a serious conversation about your feelings around your body. Believe me, you’ll have something in common, and talking about it together will bring you closer.
Men: do you have a healthy body image?
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