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On losing weight

New year’s resolutions are generally a bit crap, but as it’s timely I’m going to tell you about a resolution I’ve been working on for the last month or so, which I’ll carry through into the new year because time is linear like that.

I need to lose some weight.

It’s not urgent, but I’ve decided that my happiness depends on shaving off a few pounds so I can jiggle around the house to showtunes without feeling my tummy wobbling out of sync to the rest of me.

There are three things I hate about this, and believe it or not none of them have anything to do with diet or exercise. Sure, I prefer cider to soup, and running my arse round the block is about as tempting as queuing for One Direction tickets, but these are just things you have to do to lose weight, so I bear no grudges against biology. But there are some things about dieting that bother me.

The detox bandwagon

The first and most obvious thing is the patronising, sexist market that surrounds female weight loss. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an irritating market surrounding male health too (Get ripped in 8 weeks, lads, with this one weird old trick). But given that I am a woman, the female stuff leaps out from the shelves and smacks me in the face more forcefully.

Magazines trumpet ‘detox time’, as if it’s a long-established calendar event: that all women, for the month of January, will eschew booze and munch salads. Because if we don’t do this there’s a very real danger that we’ll just disappear into a fatty swamp of chemicals.

It’s bullshit, mostly. There’s really no such thing as ‘detoxing’, and if we didn’t consume any chemicals we’d die. But since the first marketeer sat down and said “hey I’ve got this great new product it’s like water but better because it costs two quid a bottle” we’ve been dragged into thinking that ‘detoxing’ is not only a real thing but something that all women should do throughout the month of January. Unfortunately, the more of us do it, the more it reinforces the idea that we should all be doing it.

So now I am in a position where I feel guilty for dieting in January, because I am propping up a ridiculous ad-driven concept of the New Year detox, but similarly guilty if I don’t, because I am a woman and therefore should be thinking about calories every single minute that I am not either buying shoes or tearing hair from my pudenda. It’s a pickle.

The ‘oh but you’re not’s

Why is it that, when I mention the fact that I’m a bit chubby, people feel compelled to tell me I’m wrong? Seriously, why?

I’m wrong about a million and one things. Once I argued that the battery life on an iPhone was shorter than the time it’d take me to commute to and from work, and the other day I spent a good twenty minutes insisting that Brad Pitt couldn’t be a day over forty. Wrong on both counts, of course, but not everyone feels compelled to point that out: often they just roll their eyes and let me continue down the path to future embarrassment.

But when it comes to weight, people are keen to insist I’m wrong even when I’m plainly and clearly right. When I say I’m trying to lose a bit of weight (usually in response to someone trying to guilt-slip yet another mince pie down my throat), people leap insistently out of their seats crying “OH NO YOU’RE JUST BEAUTIFUL AS YOU ARE”, as if the world will stop spinning if they let me believe I am anything other than perfect.

Why do we do this? It is, of course, mean to walk up to a friend and announce “you could stand to lose a few pounds, mate.” But I’ve got a mirror – I can see what I look like. And what I look like is an averagely attractive person who could do with losing a bit of weight. You’re neither evil nor a bully if you let me get on with it.

To add insult to injury, although gentlemen friends are allowed to make self-deprecating jokes about their weight, as a woman any mention of weight gain is treated as blasphemy. The poor gents who actually do want reassurance are left out in the cold, listening to the lilting sounds of “who ate all the pies”, while girls hiss “blasphemy!” at each other if one raises the possibility of dieting. This situation sucks for all of us.

Will you still love me when I’m thin?

“I love you no matter what.”

It’s a lovely sentiment, designed to elicit the same warm fuzzy feeling people imagine they’re conjuring if they tell you that you don’t need to lose weight. And yet it’s rarely evoked the other way around. Someone who goes on a diet is rarely reassured “I’ll still love you even when there’s slightly less of you filling those knickers.”

Loving someone when they’re fat is seen as a noble and beautiful thing, as opposed to just something that happens when someone you love piles on a few pounds (or, indeed, if you fall in love with someone who doesn’t have the proportions of a runway model – i.e. almost everyone). If we really meant it then there’d be no question whatsoever about whether we’d stay with a partner who weighed more than average: therefore no need for any reassurance that our deep and true love transcends weight.

Moreover, as I’m confident the sun will rise tomorrow, I know that if I woke tomorrow lighter and tighter your love would not wane. It’s not my weight that’ll put you off, but the things I have to do to stay like that – the act of losing weight itself. You’ll love me when I’m fat, sure, but I think loving me when I’m calorie-counting might be more of a challenge. Will you still love me when I ask you to eat salad to keep me company? When I swap my legendarily awesome macaroni cheese for quinoa? When I neglect your blow jobs to go to the gym?

We’ll see.


  • Henry Davidson says:

    Women are wonderful in all shapes and sizes, but women are at their best at sex when they are feeling comfortable with their bodies. So, good luck with whatever you do to make you feel that your body is right for you, and thank you for reinforcing the fact that the idea of “detox” is pure bullshit.

    • Girl on the net says:

      I agree – and I think the same is true for men as well. Although interestingly when my boy read this post, he said “it’s not that being thin makes you sexier – it’s that giving a shit about yourself is somehow very attractive. You’re sexier when you give a shit because you seem to like yourself more.” Or words to that effect.

  • Tom Striker says:

    I am commenting before I read this. Maybe edit after.
    Dear GirlOnTheNet, my GirlOnTheNet, do not change a damn thing on your body! You are beautiful, or pretty, or gorgeous, or plain, or flat (I personally hope) or hippy or have a strong nose or smell a little. THAT’S ALL FINE. Because it’s not important.
    Your sex, what you do with it, how you view it and, yes, how you cherish it, is what’s important.
    And, that’s in your mind. In mine, too. Your mind does not need to lose a few pounds. So, neither does your body.
    You (plural to all women) are fine the way you are!

  • Tom Strike says:

    Edit, post reading, having a snack:
    I’ll love you when you’re counting calories, love you when you go to the gym. But, come on — there can’t be THAT many calories in a blow job!

    • Girl on the net says:

      Haha – not many, no. And thanks for being nice. But I don’t usually lose weight because I feel I have to, or because I feel there’s something ‘wrong’ with my body: it’s mainly because I feel more comfortable when I’m a bit slimmer. Also I don’t want to have to buy new clothes and stuff, because I am tight =)

  • Chaz says:

    I’m morbidly obese and have been for most of my life. This hasn’t got in the way of my sex life (I’m amazed by the variety of men who are attracted to someone of my size) and, as Henry said, women are sexiest when they’re confident in themselves. However, I do recall one boyfriend’s total horror when I suggested losing weight and his assertion that he’d probably find me less attractive. He later went on to say how attracted he was to Natasha Beddingfield (go figure).

    Sometimes people like you the way you are and they think if you change your body you’ll change who you are in the process. This might be true for some, but I think if you’re already strong and confident, that’s not going to change. More likely, you’re going to ruin whatever fantasy they’ve built around you. Being a ‘BBW’, I do attract a lot of fetishists, who are often disappointed that I’m an ordinary woman, not a sex toy. If a partner objects to your desire to lose weight, it could be a warning flag of deeper control issues.

    As far as losing weight is concerned, might I suggest as a free weight loss resource? The site has lots of nutritional advice and exercise videos for you to follow, plus a recipe site, food & exercise diary, message boards, etc. Or there’s MyFitnessPal, which I haven’t tried, but several Twitter chums use.

    I would advise finding an exercise you enjoy, be it walking, going to the gym, Zumba, kick boxing, swimming or dancing around your livingroom. You’re more like to stick with it if it’s fun.

    Good luck with the weight loss. I hope to achieve your goal.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you! I have actually downloaded MyFitnessPal – I’m a big fan. It makes things feel a bit more like a game, and thus is less boring than other diets etc I’ve done. Also it tells you if you haven’t eaten enough calories, and encourages balance and things, which is useful.

      Good point on confidence – I think the main thing that makes someone attractive is whether they’re comfortable and confident in their own body. That’s mainly why I want to lose a bit – I don’t feel massively confident or comfortable at the moment, and I know I’d be happier if I could shift a few pounds. Oh, and I am so uncool I had to google Natasha Beddingfield =)

  • Fiddy says:

    Good luck with your diet. I was readying a pro-feminist “you’re pretty the way you are.” (Which is true) but I decided against it after reading through the whole post.

    This particular post made me chuckle, because it just so happens that I’m trying to do the opposite with my wife. It’s quite surprising to people when they hear I’m trying to make my wife put on a few pounds. It seems to be taboo. But my wife blows away in the wind with her current body. That, and she’s always complaining about her lack of breasts even though she had them at a hundred and sixty pounds, less so at half that weight.

    • Azkyroth says:


      Um, sorry if this is insensitive, but my (strikingly slender) 9 year old daughter weights about “half of 160 lbs.” Unless your wife is like 4’8″ this sounds like a medically serious situation.

      • Fiddy says:

        She’s 5’2″. It’s mostly because I’m worried about her health that I’m pushing for her to eat more.

        • Azkyroth says:

          I understand that – I’m just….kinda feeling like this would be more of an “INTERVENTION”/doctor’s involvement kinda situation vs. gentle nudge. x.x

  • Honey Badger says:

    I’m really not sure how to approach this with my special lady. She’s a size 20.

    On one hand, she says that she doesn’t want to lose weight because it feels like she’d be forced to even though I don’t really care because I think she’s lovely as she is. On the other, she’s clearly insecure about it and it gets in the way of our relationship.

    I honestly do think it would be good for her to do so – not cause I want her to be skinny, but because exercising does good things for my self esteem and I think itd do the same for hers.

    Help me?

    • Girl on the net says:

      OK, I’m by no means an expert on *anything*, and I think this is a really difficult question, so please bear in mind that I might be saying completely the wrong thing. Would be good to hear what other people think! But here goes…

      Don’t say anything. No, really, just don’t. It sounds like you’ve already discussed it with her and she’s told you she doesn’t want to lose weight. It also sounds like you don’t care that she’s overweight. If both of these things are true, then you shouldn’t need to say anything. I’ve been in that position before (where partners have tried to nudge me towards losing weight) and it’s *horrible*. No matter how wonderful their intentions, and how nice they are, it’s a horrible depressing feeling. If she’s insecure about her weight, giving her this extra load of worry may well make it worse.

      That said, there’s nothing to stop you from doing more active stuff together – if you enjoy doing it and think she might too, let her know that you’d love to do it together. But only if it’s something you genuinely *would* enjoy doing together, rather than a way to cajole her into losing weight.

      I might be wrong, but that’s what I think. Incidentally, I’ve been in your position too – mainly concerned about the health of a partner because of his eating habits. I definitely didn’t handle it well, and instead tried to get him munching lentils and going for walks with me. I think I really upset him because I was so clumsy with it. I only add this to show that I am not an expert, and frequently try to do things I think might be good then fail and end up being a dick.

  • Grumpywumpus says:

    So, 12 months later – how’d it go?

    • Girl on the net says:

      Not bad thanks! Felt a bit better throughout the year, stayed in clothes without having to buy new ones, then put on a winter layer again just in time to keep me warm for Christmas. I’d give me a 7 out of 10.

  • Me says:

    Glad to here you’ve kept it up over the year. This year I’m losing weight and getting fit. I’m sure my husband would love me at any size but I’d rather not end up wheezing after a run or diabetic before I’m 40.

    Being sexy is in your head and it turns out coming home from a class in super tight lycra, glowing and smiling from ear to ear is a massive turn on for my husband. Exercise has many many benefits.

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