We are all so critical of ourselves, aren’t we? We look at our bodies in the mirror and see the tiniest of flaws. We fret, go through a million different outfits, and swear we’ll never leave the house again if nothing in our closet fits. We look at our laugh lines and frown lines and wonder where the time is going. And with that, our body image begins to influence the way we think and feel about ourselves. Ann is one of hundreds of women who’ve written to me with this very common concern.
I’m worried that my weight is holding me back and creating a lack of confidence. I’m a bit unusual—I can run a half-marathon, but I have the worst time trying to lose weight. I’m probably 20-30 pounds overweight, but I’m told I don’t look overweight. I’m over 40, and a busy executive. I’d like to find a life partner, but I feel old, overweight, and invisible. I look at photos from four years ago and can see the difference. I don’t know what happened to the old me. Any tips besides watching what I eat and exercising more? Thanks for the inspiration, Ann.
Hi, Ann. I’m not a nutritionist, so I’m going to answer your question from a different angle. What you’re dealing with right now is a skewed perspective. It’s not just the weight that’s concerning you, it’s also your age, as you mention, and a busy career. Your age and weight do not make you invisible. We can still see you; I can assure you!
Before I go any further, I want you to know one important thing:
Love is for everyone. Not just the young and the thin. Love is for all of us.
That feeling of being old and invisible you’re experiencing comes from a deeper place inside of ourselves — one that is telling the world not to look at us. My brother, when going through a difficult breakup, used to say to me, “April, I think I have my invisible suit on. Women just don’t look at me anymore.”
My gorgeous brother was certainly not Casper the Ghost. He’s tall, handsome, and blonde, with big blue eyes and a smile that lights up a room. What my brother was doing was hiding, apologizing for his presence, and allowing his lack of confidence to knock him to the ground. During that phase, he imagined his invisible suit.
So, let’s talk about your weight. You’re strong. You’re athletic. (And by the way, more so than me; I’ve never run a marathon of any length. Though I do run to the mailbox occasionally.) Your weight can change with time and care.
But guess what can change at this very moment? Your outlook.
What Men See When They Look at You
Men love all kinds of women. In fact, I have an attractive new client who prefers women who aren’t skinny. The size of a woman’s dress doesn’t matter one bit to him. He simply doesn’t find thinner women attractive. Instead, he finds women with curves to be sexier, more alluring, and more beautiful.
And I must admit, I’m looking at women in a whole new way now. I love being at the helm of his search. It’s a challenging one, because while I’m seeking a woman of a certain body type and size, I also need to find a woman who is happy with who she is, who is active, and has a positive outlook on life.
To him, it’s a woman’s behavior that is attractive.
And this is how it is with most men I know. A positive attitude and healthy confidence are the most desired traits my male clients ask me to find for them. That is what men want to see when they look at us. They see our smile first and everything else second.
Is it possible to be overweight, over 40, and still be magnetic, confident and absolutely visible? Of course! Remember the wonderful poem by Maya Angelou about being a phenomenal woman? Your age, your weight — those are simply statistics.
It Matters Where you Derive Your Confidence From
We all have bad days from time to time; days where our confidence wains. That’s normal and perfectly healthy. However, we do need a baseline. An overall core confidence that carries us through our lives.
In order to achieve this, you must base your confidence on what is true and constant. It cannot be based on anything that can be taken away from you. Your money, your job, your house, a boyfriend, a husband (yes, even that), or your age or ideal weight. You could lose your job. Your weight will change. Every year you will get older.
So, ask yourself, “if I don’t get any thinner, and I’m not getting any younger, what are my choices? How can I stay positive and happy, so that I’m alive, visible and truly seen everywhere I go?”
Your choice is to fall in love with loving yourself. To focus on what is fantastic about you. Go to the mirror and look at yourself. What do you love about your physical appearance? Your hair, eyes, smile? It’s important that you know what your strengths are. Highlight those, and use what God gave you! Even more importantly:
Focus on Your Gifts
Confidence can come from many things in life. Write down what you like about yourself, your personality, your achievements, and what makes you unique. Are you a valued friend or daughter? Emotionally intelligent? Loving? An intuitive and kind neighbor? Creative? Contemplative? Generous? Outgoing?
Start there. Don’t overlook the basics, because they’re your foundation for everything in life.
It’s vital that you focus on loving these unique elements of who you are — beyond career and hobbies, and not just put these in a drawer as if they aren’t important to a man finding you attractive. Give men a bit more credit than that. Their wish lists are typically quite simple, and yet profound. They want to love and be loved, just as you do. It’s how you make a man feel that is most important and that you can do at any age or any weight.
Cultivate your awareness and love of who your truly are, and let that make you a beacon. By simply being happy with yourself, you will draw others to you and you won’t be feeling as invisible as you have been.
Ann, I hope today you are feeling a bit brighter and happier. Your attitude and outlook are absolutely in your control. So lay the groundwork for feeling confident and attractive.
I’d love to read your thoughts and comments below. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to hear what my articles mean to you or how they might be changing your life for the better.
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