Ask Lynn-Overweight And Won’t Date

One woman doesn’t want to go out till after she’s lost the pounds. Is that a good idea?

By Lynn Harris

ear Lynn,
I need to lose weight, at least 90 lbs... and I need to do so now. I have trouble accepting my weight and I get the feeling when I meet up with men from the Internet, it’s a big issue. How do I let a prospective guy I’ve been talking to for a few weeks
I understand that many people cannot see past excess weight.
know I don't want to meet him now? What can I say that saves face and isn’t entirely untruthful? Any suggestions? And do you agree I just shouldn’t date till I’ve lost the weight?

Dear Lisa,
Nope! I don’t agree. Date on, Lisa, date on. Why? Because here are two things that are dangerous:
  1. Setting up goals that follow this pattern: “I will X when I’m Y.” Or “I cannot X until I Y.” As in: “I will date when I’m thin.” Or: “I cannot follow my dreams until I am rich.” Et cetera. These are not goals; they are shady deals with the universe that actually are secretly designed to keep you from reaching your goals.
  2. Trying to lose 90 pounds “now.”
Believe me, I understand that size-ism is a problem. I understand that many people cannot see past excess weight. I understand that there may be some health concerns associated with being overweight. But to set any sort of crazy crash deadline — especially one with an “X, then Y” plan that unnecessarily delays other potential sources of happiness — is just looking for all sorts of trouble.

I don’t have the space to go into elaborate diet advice here, but the key is to think “fit” rather than “not fat.” And about eating healthily, not virtuously. Specifically, you want to focus on smaller portions, frequent meals that do not include processed chemical junk, and an exercise program that you can actually maintain. I know this may involve the kind of seismic upheaval often referred to as a “lifestyle change,” but the upside is that there’s payoff in even the smallest of shifts. As in: “Hey, I park half a mile away from work and walk now!” or “Hey, I eat half my yummy veggie burrito at noon and the rest two hours later, which keeps me happily sated and away from constant mid-afternoon
What’s more, I have several overweight friends who are blissfully married.
munching.” This way, you have the opportunity to feel good about steps taken regardless of (or at least before) the pounds are lost. And you can feel good that your health is something you’ve got some say in.

Because Lisa, really, if you put off dating for the reasons you state, what you’re really putting off is accepting yourself. It’s one thing to wish your body was different—and quite another to think that until you’re skinny Minnie, you’ve got nothing to offer the world.

And as corny as it sounds, what appeals to many men is not necessarily someone skinny, but someone comfortable in her skin. That can’t come overnight, I know. But neither can a loss of 90 pounds.

What’s more, I have several overweight friends who are blissfully married. A couple of whom met their excellent husbands, of various sizes, online. Why not try that? Be forthright about your size in your profile, start tinkering with some “lifestyle changes,” and you will, gradually, start to see that there’s more to you than the fact that you want to lose the weight.

And by the way: Do meet that guy you’ve been talking to. Say, “Listen, I don’t know if you care about this in the first place, but some people do, so here goes: I’m not thin. Still up for drinks?” If he doesn’t come through, someone else will—someone who’ll like you now, not just 90 pounds later.

Lynn Harris ( is co-creator, with Chris Kalb (, of the award-winning website — you can visit BG's blog to discuss this letter! A longtime journalist, Lynn has written about dating, gender, and culture high and low for Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Times,,, and many others. She is currently the communications strategist for Breakthrough, a transnational organization that creates pop culture to promote human rights. Submit your own dating questions for Ask Lynn via Your question may be answered in a future column.
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