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He’s fit, she’s fat

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010 in Happiness, Men, Relationships, Self image, Sex/sexuality, Women

Sara and I were savoring our lattes, taking a break from post-holiday returns and bargains, when we ran into a guy we knew from the gym. He was with a woman, a fat woman.

“Wonder who that is,” Sara said, gesturing in her direction.

“Maybe it’s his girlfriend. Wait, he once told us he’s married, right?”

Sure enough, it was his wife.

“She’s packing a little more than the holiday 5 pounds, isn’t she?” Sara snarked.

“They’re married; people gain weight when they’re in a relationship. And, who knows — maybe he’s into BBWs.”

“But he’s so fit!”

Yes, he is. And that always makes me wonder what’s going in a relationship when there clearly is a difference of opinion about such an essential thing as caring for your body.

Men often feel pimped when their women gain a lot of weight. That’s when they often lose an interest in sex, too. Nothing gets you out of the
mood for sex than hating your body.

Of course, maybe many women gain weight so they can get out of having sex in the first place.
I’m sure that doesn’t fly well with their hubbies, either!

Sure, I weighed more when I was married
— so did almost all my girlfriends, about 8 to 10 pounds more each. Not really fat, just “juicy.” I
think when you have young kids and you’re so exhausted at night that pounding a bag of chips and salsa on the couch in front of reruns sounds like fun, it’s easy to gain weight.

No way that I’d live like that anymore. And, I’m
not interested in being with a fat man, either, and no, that doesn’t make me shallow. But if my sweetie started to get heavy, I would say something — because I love him, and that’s what loving couples do. They talk honestly and lovingly about things that matter, and they hear that with love, too.

Now that we’re closing in on New Year’s and resolutions, many will vow to get in shape
this year — and many won’t.

Still, I wonder — why do so many women
pack on the pounds after they fall in love?

Is it a way to avoid intimacy?

Or is it just love and accept me the way I am?

Photo © Dan Race –

Bring on the comments

  1. Steve says:

    A lot of women have an attitude that men have no place in bringing up weight with them.

    They will mention how they have been traumatized with yo-yo dieting, how societal expectations have played with their heads and how women put weight on more easily than men.

    All of which is true. None of it is a legitimate reason for letting yourself go.

    I have sympathy. I grew up as a fat kid who was relentlessly mocked. My metabolism is so slow that I have female friends who maintain their weight by eating more than I do.

    I deal with it by working out, keeping a food diary and counting calories. It isn’t hard or uncomfortable.

    I think they can do it to.

  2. Chopper Papa
    Twitter: chopperpapa

    Their priorities change. Because the moment these women get divorced, the very first thing they do is hit the gym…why?!? Because they know plump women have less chances of finding someone new. This applies equally to men. HOnestly I call it ‘bait and switch’. Don’t be the girl who goes to the gym and takes care of herself only to get married and then go completely off the fitness reservation.

    It’s a major issue in many of the relationships (married) that I see and blaming it on the kids is a complete crock of you know what. If he/she wants to go to the gym they can make time.

  3. brian says:

    cuz the women have been watching too many soaps/so called reality shows which portray an idealized lifestyle to aspire to

    because once married and especially after having kids they feel entitled and protected by the law (the later is an illusion if the guy really wants to be an ahole)

    they married the nice guy that they really aren’t that crazy about to get the big house and babies and the right to cut back at work or even stop to raise the kids
    course no reduction in standard of living contemplated
    guy just needs to work harder, get a better job

    having travelled to many countries for pleasure i find this condition if not unique far more pervasive in the US

    so i’d look to American so called culture as a significant cause

  4. Steve says:

    Funny that this topic came up. Someone was telling me the other day that one of the signs of an affair is that the spouse suddenly begins working on their appearance.

    Given that it is around New Years Resolution time I wonder how many people will get stressed out over false red flags.

  5. jim
    Twitter: mobilene

    The sexiest woman I’ve been with outweighed me by 50 pounds, at least. She looked damn fine. And she had a way about her that charmed my pants off (literally).

    My ex was a little thing, 5’2″ and maybe 110 pounds, when we married. She never really lost her baby weight. Because she worked at putting herself together, she didn’t look terrible, but she looked much better thinner. No matter; I loved her, and wanted her anyway.

    I saw a woman briefly who didn’t take good care of herself. It wasn’t just the weight, but how she put herself together. She just didn’t seem to care. That’s why I saw her only briefly.

  6. T
    Twitter: tsquest

    Back when I had my affair, I was at least 40 – 50 lbs heavier than I am now. And my lover’s wife was in fit healthy shape. I was working out like a fiend so it wasn’t that I was “not taking care of myself”, I just wasn’t losing weight. He loved my “juicy-ness” and curves. I didn’t understand how he could see me as sexy but he did.

    Once I separated from my husband, I dropped weight on the emotional “divorce” diet. I didn’t have an appetite. Since then, I also don’t eat the same as I did when I lived with my gourmet chef of a husband. But I’ve always “taken care of myself”. I just not have looked like to to the onlooker.

  7. been_there_done_that says:

    Once the weight gain reaches the point of obesity, it is a death spiral for the marriage because as a fit man, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t mention anything. It is a no win situation because for all the talk about honesty in relationships, no one can navigate that discussion without appearing to be a shallow jerk (I tried, I even focused on health concerns). Self-loathing is not an aphrodisiac as mentioned in the article, and this contributes to the eventual demise of the marriage as intimacy declines or stops.

  8. Marisa says:

    Wow, I teared up when I read this. I just got divorced this past year after my husband left me. My husband was “fit” and I was “fat.” We had been together since high school, and I have an eating disorder. In the end, my excess weight was a deal breaker for him. My husband complained about my weight constantly, and I have to say, that as much as I heard him that he was unhappy, the only real result of that was me hating myself more and us being pushed further apart.

    As for your question about avoiding intimacy, I have to say, at least in my case, my weight had nothing at all to do with him and had everything to do with my childhood. I spent years in therapy and I still haven’t lost the weight yet, even after the separation and divorce.

    I just wanted to say, pause when you see couples like that. There may be more going on there than meets the eye. The “fat” one may not be lazy, but may instead be struggling with personal demons and the “fit” one may be trying to cope with that as best they can.

    I do agree that it is difficult to maintain a healthy, stable relationship when one person values health/fitness and the other is very overweight.

  9. Steve says:


    I grew up as a fat child. All the censuring in the world didn’t motivate me to change, it just pushed me in the opposite direction.

  10. Jenni
    Twitter: msjennixo

    I think it’s a combination of attraction, and how someone feels in their own body. Maybe he feels better about himself being fit, BUT is attracted to larger women? I mean think about the couples where the guys are a toothpick, and the women are.. LARGE.

    I was 35lbs smaller when I met my ex. After having two kids 14 months apart I obviously gained weight (which I’ve been working on finally losing). My ex was actually MORE attracted to me with the weight I gained. He’d tell me he loved every curve, stretch mark, and plushy part of my body. And he MEANT it.

    I think really, women gaining weight during a relationship has to do with them being content with who they are with. They feel that person loves them, therefore they shouldn’t need to try as hard. Whether or not they should feel this way, is all relative to who they are with.

    While I’m still on the curvier side at a size 12, I am MUCH happier with who I am now. I’ve lost weight, and I take better care of my appearance. I have nicer clothes, and I take the time to put myself together when it comes to hair and make-up. And I also know if I was in a relationship, I would still continue the path I’m on. I don’t think that would change, because of how much happier I am with myself. It’s a good feeling.

  11. alley` says:

    I think people are attracted to different things and it could be that the fit guy was attracted to the heavier woman.

    I also know that its hard to say what goes on in a relationship. What the outside world sees is rarely reflective of reality.

    I’m a heavy woman, and I have trouble dating, I understand that people are attracted to what they are attracted to. But I hate being called lazy. Don’t call someone who’s worked multiple jobs, who raises three kids alone, and who’s finished three degrees as a single mom lazy.

    I know my weight holds me back, but I also know that there is more to who I am than how I look. I’d rather be with a kind, honorable, fat man, than with the hottest asshole in the world.

  12. Amy says:

    Love your site, but was particularly pleased to read this: “I
    think when you have young kids and you’re so exhausted at night that pounding a bag of chips and salsa on the couch in front of reruns sounds like fun, it’s easy to gain weight.”
    I’m a single mom and luckily the pounds haven’t crept up on me, but I sure enjoy the relaxation that comes from reruns and a good snack after kids are in bed.
    Best wishes in the new year.

  13. Kat Wilder says:

    Steve — I think people could do it, too, but that has made a lot of people, well, angry. Not easy, etc., etc. But, why must something that’s important be “easy”?

    Chopper Papa — A new study just came out that said men post divorce tend to get fitter and women tend to get fatter. Can’t see that that happened among my friends, but maybe it’s true.

    Brian — Hmm, that’s a gross generalization I’d say. Maybe some women are like that but not all or even most.

    Jim — which seems to prove that if a woman has confidence … even if she’s a bit, uh, juicy … she’s still a hottie.

    Marissa — Thanks for writing and I always “pause” because you never know what’s going on in a relationship, period — fit, fat or not. I know because people thought my ex and I were a “perfect” couple. Well, not!!!

  14. Kat Wilder says:

    T — oh my, does the Divorce Diet work. I just don’t recommend it. And, I always find it interesting how men see us versus how women see ourselves; we’re much more critical of our bodies. They just want to see us naked!

    been there done that — It doesn’t have to be a death spiral but I do agree that it’s usually not a happy topic of discussion.

    Jenni — I think your comment raises the underlying essential thing for all relationships; each person must be happy with him/herself separate of his/her partner. I’m happy you’re happy!

    Alley — I agree, but those aren’t the only two choices in men, kind men vs. a-holes. I do think weight makes someone’s dating pool much smaller (so does age, having kids, etc., etc.) But no one should diss someone for being lazy, etc., which may not even be correct. We are a judgmental lot, though, even those who say they aren’t.

    Amy — thank you for your kind words! Snacks and reruns have their place in life, too. In moderation, like everything else. Have a great new year, too!

  15. Nicole says:

    Personally I lead a very healthy lifestyle and I love going to the gym.
    Even 9 months pregnant I would walk for hours and not just because I wanted to jump start my labour!
    It took me a month to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight after he was born and I stayed that way for two and a half years. Then my boyfriend and I moved in together. With him came “his food” and his very lax eating habits.
    Gaining weight came very gradually and it took a good six months for me to realize it was even happening.
    It ended up being a really tense issue between us.

    I think sometimes, even when you do all of the right things ( exercising so many times a week, eating most of the right foods) relationship weight is inevitable. You get comfortable and you start to slack.

    It took six months to gain that weight (a lot) and it’s taken me almost 9 to lose MOST of it. As in, there is still more to go.

    It’s frustrating.
    And in my case not a way of avoiding intimacy or any other specific underlying reasons (I think) it’s just a case of getting too comfortable and letting a man’s (who can eat anything and still maintain his wonderful wonderful body) eating habits conflict with my own.

    And when you hold yourself to such high standards, even though you’ve gained weight, it means that you generally expect people that you find attractive to hold themselves to a similar standard as well.

  16. Nicole says:

    Just wanted to add that it wasn’t a tense issue because of how HE felt about me gaining weight – it was because of how *I* felt about me gaining weight.