In the United States, there were an estimated 252,000 weight loss surgeries performed in 2018, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeries. Significant weight loss either by surgical means or other methods brings a lot of changes for people and their partners when it comes to sex, intimacy, body image, and dating. Yet, people rarely talk about these areas of change. Most professionals only talk about routine nutrition and exercise and avoid anything close the areas of sex and emotions.
As we all know, this culture generally gives more positive (sometimes felt as negative) attention to those who are thinner. After weight loss, you may experience more attention from others. Notice how this attention feels in your body (not just in your mind).
Many of us unconsciously (or consciously) put on extra weight for protection after we have received negative attention from others objectifying our body. This attention may have come in the form of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, assault, or discomfort. When weight serves as a protection, it can make weight loss more complicated. You may notice your body retaliating (not able to lose the weight or keep it off) or you may experience more fear or anxiety. It is important to recognize the emotional or psychological reason(s) for the initial weight gain because the same things may come up for you after losing the weight.
Were you sexually, physically or emotionally abused as a child? Do you have sexual trauma history at any point in your life? Was your weight a protection against being noticed?
These are all rather cliché, I know, but these clichés exist for a reason — they’re often universal truths. Additionally, some people may have a genetic predisposition or may have had a poor diet in childhood and only needed to learn more about nutrition.