When you’re overweight or obese, you may have myriad health and fitness obstacles including lower stamina, muscle weakness, and circulation problems, as well as conditions such as high cholesterol or diabetes. All of these factors can seriously limit your libido.
Losing weight, exercising, and making positive health changes such as eating a low-fat diet can improve your health and boost not only your sex drive but your performance, too.
As you lose weight, your body will start to look and feel different. Love handles may melt away, leg muscles may strengthen, your belly will become more toned. “The change in body shape and size can sometimes be accompanied by a more comfortable sense of one’s body and that can translate into more comfort with sex, more willingness to take your clothes off, and less self-consciousness in bed,” says Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist, professor of psychology, and author of You Are Why You Eat.
“Getting a jumpstart on weight loss can help [you] get a jumpstart in bed,” says registered dietitian Rene Ficek, the Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, who explains that by taking better care of yourself, you can experience “a substantial increase in interest in sex.”
Whether you’re doing push-ups or sprinting, chances are your body is getting stronger. That strength is a definite bonus in the bedroom, too. “Stronger muscles also mean better mobility and balance, and thus a lower risk of falling and injuring yourself,” says Reed.
Your body benefits from weight loss, but so do your emotions. “When we feel great about our body, we feel empowered to be sexy, and this can come at any size,” says Conason, who says self-conscious people are often distracted during sex by their perceived flaws. Instead of worrying about how your partner views your body, accept your body as it is, so you can “be present in the sexual experience and enjoy all of the pleasures that it offers.”
Losing a little or a lot of weight can help you appreciate your body. “Pound shedding, if done in a healthy manner, can often connect people back to their bodies — they are more mindful of what they put in them, are more active, and more aware of themselves physically,” says Durvasula. Be proud of your shapely legs and flex those muscular arms — you earned them!
Exercise can help your body tone up and increase circulation, too. That means it’s time to start working out your major muscle groups. “Any activity that increases blood flow to the large muscle groups in the thighs, buttocks, and pelvis, such as yoga, brisk walking, or cycling for 20 minutes three times a week, is also going to help the genitals with better circulation, ultimately returning sexual desire,” says Ficek.
Want to get your blood pumping? Try foods like ginger, which is said to increase blood flow.
You know how a sexy outfit or a good hair day makes you feel unstoppable? Those are the same good vibrations you’ll get from a renewed sense of confidence thanks to your weight loss. “When you have confidence and pride about how you feel and look, you will have more confidence in the bedroom,” says Reed, who explains, “Nothing is sexier than subtle confidence.”
Taking care of your health is a big turn-on. “Treating underlying medical conditions and trying to live a healthy lifestyle, regardless of whether or not that results in weight loss, can have positive effects on your sex life,” says Conason, noting that conditions like heart disease and diabetes can impact sexual functioning, especially if left untreated. Try avoiding unhealthy foods like licorice, which can lower libido due to a natural ingredient in the candy called glycyrrhizin that reduces testosterone levels in men.
Eating healthy and exercising can be sexy, too! Some of the foods that boost your libido happen to be foods that can help you drop a few pounds here and there. Snacking on fruits, such as watermelon or berries, not only helps you to shed weight, it’s also a great way to increase blood flow to erectile tissue, which helps increase arousal. Also, healthy foods like broccoli can increase blood circulation (due to the high amounts of vitamin C), which is a surefire way to heighten the libido.