Dear Dr. Gay Nerd
Lately I’ve been going out a lot more, meeting gay people, etc. Sometimes I go to college parties and people are just looking for someone to make out, which I’m totally fine with. What I’m not fine with is my body. I don’t suppose one would consider me fat and several people already told me I don’t even look overweight but for some reason I just don’t believe them. It’s not like I throw up or anything (and even though I feel bad I eat like a normal person). I don’t know if that’s a healthy feeling, I tried going to the gym but there’s always something, sometimes the guys there make me feel bad, sometimes it’s raining, and going alone is always dificult. A few months ago I was working and had lunch near my workplace, I started eating a lot more salad and having balanced meals throughout the day and I lost like 6kg in one month (and I was really happy), then I left my job and went back to eating my mother’s food and gained like 4kg back. Anyway, my question is, is it wrong that I want to change? Or am I changing just because I want a false acceptance from people? And if so, is it bad to want that? I’m suposed to feel good if I manage to change my body ain’t I? And if I feel good, that’s a good thing right?
It sounds to me like you want to make some lifestyle changes. As long as you go about doing that in a healthy way, there’s absolutely nothing to be worried about. Eating better and exercising are two things that most of us could probably stand to do a little more of. From the sound of things, you want to go down this path. I encourage you to do it. It really only becomes an issue when you want to change your image for the wrong reasons.
Suppose there was a particular person that you wanted to date but they weren’t into you because of your body image. Changing what you look like to please that particular person is a mistake. Although physical attraction is an important component to any relationship, you shouldn’t be changing such a key part of who you are just to make one person happy. Not only will you be making a significant personal change for someone who’s basing their connection with you on one of the more shallow components of a lasting relationship, you will be setting a precedent that shows this person that you are willing to go through ridiculous lengths and sacrifices to make them happy. That’s only opening the door to being taken advantage of.
Taking control and changing your body image for yourself is an entirely different matter, however. If you’re unhappy with some aspect of your life, you’re the only one who has the power to change that. As long as you enforce these changes in a physically and mentally healthy manner, you have no reason to be questioning your motives. The way I see it, you are unhappy with your body and you want to take it to what you feel is a more attractive state. Others have told you that you look fine the way you are (and the fact that people want to make out with you at parties reinforces that) but yet you still feel the need to improve yourself. You’re not doing this for others, you really are doing it for yourself.
It’s not going to be easy. You’ll have to put in some hard work, between always making smart eating choices and forcing yourself to go to the gym (even when it’s raining or when other people there intimidate you.) Stick with it long enough, though, and you’ll see some tangible results and that’s going to boost your drive even more. As you start to see yourself change in the ways that you want, your confidence will grow and you’ll know that you were worth all of the hard work that you put into this endeavor and that you can accomplish anything you want!
Best of luck
-Dr. Gay Nerd
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