Losing weight is often touted as one of the best ways to boost your attractiveness. The logic is simple – shedding excess pounds will make you look better, feel more confident, and attract more potential partners. But is this really true? Does weight loss actually make you more attractive?
Does losing weight change your physical appearance?
There is no doubt that losing weight changes your outward physical appearance. Losing even a modest amount of weight will make your face look slimmer as the fat pads in your cheeks shrink. Your jawline may become more defined and facial features more angular. If you lose enough weight, changes can be dramatic.
Losing weight also transforms your body shape. As you lose fat all over, your waist gets smaller while your curves become more defined. Clothes fit better and you may drop several sizes. With more weight loss, your body shape can change substantially.
The way weight loss changes your looks depends on your starting weight. People who lose 10-15 lbs may only see subtle changes, while major weight loss of 50+ lbs can completely transform your appearance.
Do these changes make you more attractive?
Research has shown that having an average, healthy body mass index (BMI) of 18.5-24.9 makes women most attractive to men. Being overweight or underweight is viewed as less desirable. So for those with excess body fat, losing weight to reach a healthy BMI should – in theory – increase attractiveness.
Facial attractiveness also improves with lower BMI up to a point. Chubby cheeks and double chins aren’t viewed as appealing. And a slimmer waist with wider hips is considered the feminine “ideal.”
Losing weight highlights natural facial features, while slimming curves are more universally found attractive. So the physical changes from losing extra pounds do align with conventional beauty standards.
Is there a weight loss sweet spot?
However, attractiveness doesn’t improve indefinitely with more and more weight loss. Extreme thinness is not attractive either.
|Effect on Attractiveness
|Underweight (below 18.5)
|Obese (over 30)
So there seems to be a “sweet spot” for optimal attractiveness around a normal BMI. Losing enough weight to reach this healthy range can certainly make you more attractive.
Does losing weight make you more confident and happier?
Aside from physical appearance, losing weight can boost your self-confidence and happiness. Escaping the social stigma of obesity and feeling proud of your achievement may enhance your self-esteem.
In one study of overweight adults, participants who lost an average of 22 lbs reported improvements in mood, self-confidence, body satisfaction, self-esteem, and other aspects of well-being. Feeling better about your body can give you an inner glow.
You may also find it easier to be active, energetic, and outgoing when you feel lighter and less encumbered by excess weight. This self-assurance probably enhances your social presence and approachability.
The downsides of weight loss
However, the emotional impacts of weight loss aren’t all positive. Some people struggle with loose hanging skin after major weight loss. The rapid changes to your looks can also be difficult to adapt to.
Losing weight through severe calorie restriction can leave you feeling fatigued, stressed, and moody as well. So the confidence and happiness gains aren’t guaranteed.
Do others view weight loss as more attractive?
To determine if weight loss really makes you more attractive, we have to look at how others perceive changed appearances from losing weight.
In one study, young adult participants viewed digitally altered photos of the same people at different weights. Both men and women were viewed as more attractive at a normal BMI versus being overweight.
Men rated underweight women as equally attractive to normal weight women. But being underweight did not increase attractiveness ratings for men. So moderate weight loss for overweight individuals seems to have the biggest positive impact on attractiveness.
Personality matters too
Of course, physical appearance is not the only factor that makes someone attractive. Personality, intelligence, sense of humor, shared interests, and values also influence attractiveness.
After weight loss, some people may find a new sense of confidence and enthusiasm for life. This personal growth and self-acceptance can shine through, making you more appealing as a whole.
But if weight loss leaves you stressed, insecure about loose skin, or obsessively calorie counting, the impact on your personality could make you less attractive. Maintaining a healthy self-image matters just as much as the number on the scale.
Moderate weight loss that brings you to a healthy BMI can increase physical attractiveness by highlighting your natural facial features and most attractive body shape.
If weight loss also builds self-confidence and an inner glow, while allowing your positive personality to shine through, it can certainly make you more attractive overall.
But losing too much weight or having a dysfunctional relationship with food and your body could undermine the benefits. The sweet spot for attractiveness seems to be within the normal BMI range of 18.5-24.9.
While your physical appearance matters, a beautiful personality and self-acceptance have even more power to attract others. So focus on building these qualities too as part of your health journey.