Theodora Blanchfield, 31, a social media manager from Manhattan is proud of the fact that five years ago, she lost 50 pounds. In fact, it’s a journey she’s publically shared in her blog Losing Weight in the City. Yet there are certain people she refuses to spill to: her romantic dates.
“It goes against everything I believe in, but the fact that I used to be heavy makes me feel vulnerable and even embarrassed,” says Blanchfield. “I worry they’ll think I’m going to gain it back. Or that I’m always dieting and won’t be any fun—as if all I do is eat salads and work out.” (Enjoy dates, happy hours, and more with these Weight Loss Tips for Every Weekend Activity.) Unfortunately, that fear was confirmed for Blanchfield on a recent first date. A female acquaintance shouted across the bar, “I love your blog!” prompting her date to ask Blanchfield what the blog was about. She told him—and never heard from him again.
Blanchfield will never know why her date disappeared, but experts agree that it’s wise to wait until you’re several dates in before sharing personal information like weight loss. “If one of your date’s first impressions is the knowledge that you’ve just shed a substantial amount of weight, he or she will see this as one of your main defining features,” explains Mimi Tanner, author of The Reverse Ultimatum: Get A Commitment Without Conflict. So how exactly do you tell about your past?
Frame It in a Message of Empowerment—Not Shame
“Instead of saying ‘I used to be fat,’ try saying, ‘I started training for a marathon a year ago, and I lost a lot of weight. It was great,’” adds Sara Eckel, author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. “Most people want to learn how you did it. You took control over something in your life.” Work the topic into conversation nonchalantly rather than dropping a bombshell. (After all, you’re just sharing that you used to be a different size—not that you robbed your neighbor’s house.) Blanchfield—who recently changed the name of her blog to The Preppy Runner—has adopted this new approach. “I purposefully minimize the weight loss and emphasize the fitness,” she says.
By Sarah E. Richards