Q. I've been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. Over the last 6 months I've gained weight, enough to make me spill over my jeans and feel really uncomfortable with the light on. (Actually, I feel uncomfortable even with the light off too).
Anyway, my boyfriend still wants to have sex with me, and tells me I'm still attractive in his eyes. But with the way I feel, I really can't bring myself to want sex, but I still do it with him every once in a while to keep him somewhat satisfied.
I don't know what to do. I know I should diet to get the weight off, but whatever is going on in my head is blocking me.
A. Your weight and body shape will ebb and flow throughout your entire life, and it's important to keep this fact in perspective. In certain circumstances, weight gain is foreseeable, and almost unavoidable, such as:
- having a baby;
- experiencing side effects from medication;
- working overtime at a job or school;
- adjusting to responsibilities that cut in to your exercise schedule; or
- a general 'thickening' that comes with a slowing metabolism.
The trick to dealing with any of these issues is to assume a balanced, healthy life style as soon as you are able. It helps when you make it a priority, and recruit loved ones to support your endeavors.
For many women, maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise, together with sound food habits, naturally makes them feel good about their bodies - and it corresponds highly with a desire to have sex. However, there are also times when people inadvertently hold on to undesired weight as a way to suppress their sexual desire.
Certain authorities who have studied the relationship between weight and sexuality assert that gaining weight/overeating can serve a number of purposes:
- to cope with a boring sex life;
- to deal with sexual rejection; or
- as a way to create distance from any form of sexual activity - due to trauma, depression, etc.
If it's a matter of getting a temporary weight fluctuation under control, psychological changes need to be made before you can ever be successful in weight loss. For example, are there any stresses in your life that you cope with by overeating? Can you come up with a list of ways to deal with your emotions other than with food? Approaching weight loss from this stance will make the process easier and more empowering.
If your weight gain stems from sexual issues, you also need to need to find productive ways to deal with it. This will require a diligent, daily effort on your part, and you may need the services of a trained professional who can help you repair your self-esteem and your sexuality.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore it; these type of problems don’t go away on their own!