Dear Dr. Archer,
I am an overweight, 41 year old man. I feel like life is either passing me or has already passed me by. I have very low self esteem, especially when it comes to women, hence I've never married nor had children. I've had only two short relationships to speak of in my lifetime.
The only place where I feel good about myself is where I work, and in that setting, I excel. Other than that, I've let my weight problem ruin my social life. I cannot approach women, and if a woman approaches me, I instantly think "what's wrong with her? Why would she like ME?" I have pushed away most of my good friends, letting those relationships go, too.
Is it strange to feel most comfortable in strange surroundings where no one knows you? That is how I feel. Simply put, other than work friends and family, I'm pretty much a loner. I'm alone, and the future scares me, yet I don't see anything changing any time soon.
I know I have to lose about a hundred pounds, but I've done that before and the feeling of "I'm not good enough" didn't go away. I grew up overweight and it sucked.
I had a mental beat down every day when I was a kid. Now I feel that, even if I lose the weight and get to be where I want to be health wise, I will still feel like I'm not good enough for anyone, and will still be alone for the rest of my life.
I don't know what to do other than tough it out. You have any psychological advice to help me out? Thanks for listening.
Generally speaking, overweight children do not have lower self esteem than normal children. It seems that the overweight children who have self esteem problems are the ones that come from homes where their parents tease them about their weight.
Self esteem is formed from the earliest of ages and family life at that time is crucially important. We all know folks who are "fat and happy” so weight in itself is not significant in determining happiness.
You hold an image of yourself, Rob, but in reality, weight is not the characteristic most women use when judging a man. Women’s top two criteria for a mate are sensitivity and a sense of humor.
It doesn't mean something is wrong with them if they see something they like in you; they're attracted to what's real. Unfortunately, you don't give yourself the credit you deserve, except at work, which is a start.
You do need to lose weight, but do it for your health. Diabetes, heart and circulatory problems, high blood pressure and even colon and prostate cancer are all directly relate to being overweight.
Lose weight and your joints, especially your knees and ankles, will thank you. You'll automatically release pressure on your lower back. I could go on and on. You've done it before, Rob; you can do it again. Check out WebMD's Diet Mistakes: 6 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight to learn about habits to avoid.
When you're feeling better about yourself, if you would like to approach women via online dating sites, you'll meet women who hold similar interests as you, and you can talk and get to know them somewhat better so you'll be more comfortable when meeting.