Optimizing for attractiveness

post by MrMind · 2013-05-31T09:14:18.737Z · score: 13 (30 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 223 comments

Contents

  Why
  Mind-killing
  Caveat(s)
  I would like
  My situation
  What I'm already doing/planning to do
  What I'm not sure about
  False beliefs
  Downvote
None
223 comments

I want to spend a substantial fraction of my time optimizing myself in the direction of being more attractive to females, and I'd really appreciate your suggestions on how to do so.

Why

It should be pretty self-explanatory, but in case you're wondering: relationships are a big part of personal happiness, and where I am now, I feel more inclined toward increasing the number and variability of short- or middle-term sexual relationships rather than just picking a girl who wants to be my wife and run with it. But at the moment women aren't exactly chasing me down the streets, so I want to offer them a more pleasant experience of my company than what it already is.

Mind-killing

I sincerely think this post should provoke none of the above. I'm not asking for ways to trick women into liking me, nor about gender differences about what males prefer over females, etc. Please try really hard to avoid mind-killing subjects into your comments. I'm 'just' asking for ways to change myself into being a more sexually attractive human being.

Caveat(s)

I'm aware of the dichotomy lying around: attraction can be created vs attraction can only be amplified. In both cases there should be at least something that can be done.
I'm also aware that some people strongly dislike posts full of personal details, so I will try to keep them at minimum, while at the same time trying to provide the necessary description of my situation.

I would like

Try to aim for advice on stable improvements, about aspects that are proven to be sexually attractive to straight females, in the age range of 20 to 40.
For example, I know that height or facial symmetry are proven to result universally attractive, but I cannot really change that, and sole-lifts or make-up are so short-term solutions to border on 'tricking women' (yes, I know that women use those tricks too, I simply would like to invest my time better).

My situation

This is the shortest possible description: I'm a straight male in my thirties, heavily overweight, living in Italy in a 20k people town, with a job paying me about $20k a year.
If you think you need more details ask for them in the comments or PM me.

What I'm already doing/planning to do

The first obvious choice is getting fit, although it's about two years I'm trying different diets with no results, so I'd really need pointers in that direction. I've also heard about training programs that tells you to concentrate on shoulders, because apparently shoulder-to-waist ratio of 1.5 or more is especially attractive.
I've also been told multiple times by multiple sources that women values confidence, competence and leadership. I understand the confidence part in being able to express without embarassment your interest (but still in a socially graceful manner), but I would really like pointers about what area of my life I could engage to become more competent or a leader. In what domains women like competence/leadership?
My only hobby at the moment are the game of Go and dabbing in math/logics/AI, which, as fascinating as they are, are seldom considered very attractive.

What I'm not sure about

Is fashion important? I understand that I need to dress well for my built, but I would like to know if a Versace button down shirt is more attractive than a plain brand one.

False beliefs

Do you think am I doing the right thing? Or am I wrong in my search for attractiveness? Should I concentrate on something totally unrelated? Dose the physical aspect matter or I should concentrate more on character? Am I completely off track?
If you think I'm grossly mistaken, in the name of Omega let me know!

Downvote

If you think this post doesn't belong in a community devoted rationality and self-improvement, feel free to downvote, but at least try to indicate a way to better phrase the problem or point me to another community I can ask the same question.

Thank you very much!

223 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by wanderingsoul · 2013-05-31T15:13:45.266Z · score: 23 (27 votes) · LW · GW

A couple others have mentioned warnings on doing something only to become attractive (e.g. You will tire of it or become resentful). Something like general fitness with multiple benefits likely isn't a problem, but there's also an alternate perspective that has worked really well for me. Instead of optimizing for attractiveness, consider optimizing for awesomeness. Being awesome will tend to make people attracted to you, but it has the added bonus of improving your self-confidence (which again increases attractiveness) and life-satisfaction.

As far as how to do this, I wouldn't mind tips myself, but the general gist of what I do is just keep that drive to be more awesome at the back of my mind when making decisions (in LW parlance, adopt awesomeness as an instrumental value). Anyone else have ideas?

comment by Eneasz · 2013-05-31T17:01:08.820Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Instead of optimizing for attractiveness, consider optimizing for awesomeness.

I wish I had said this. All other considerations are secondary. Indeed, it's likely that all other metrics (weight/physical shape, fashion/clothing, flirting/conversation) are merely indicators that people use to try to gauge your actual awesomeness. Optimizing for the source rather than the signals is a great move, I'd upvote your comment multiple times if I could.

comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2013-05-31T23:59:30.469Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I used to optimise for awesomeness. My guiding principle was that if handed an object, I should be able to impress someone with it.

comment by Prismattic · 2013-06-01T02:09:02.195Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

If your friends were also optimizing for awesomeness and your guiding principle was widely known, this ought to lead to the unanticipated appearance of some very interesting objects in the vicinity.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-01T09:02:08.780Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I used to optimise for awesomeness.

Why do you no longer do that?

comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2013-06-01T13:05:11.728Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

There is no limit to the amount of time you can throw at developing some arbitrary impressive talent. At the moment I'm optimising for linear algebra and statistics instead. Personally, I think this is a different kind of awesome, but fewer people want to hear about the pros and cons of a given econometric model.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-13T21:30:23.685Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Consider looking for people with different awe receptors, and hang out with them if you can find them. ;-)

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T09:57:26.239Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Instead of optimizing for attractiveness, consider optimizing for awesomeness.

Awesome for who? I've found that things that are awesome for me may be pretty irrelevant for others.

Being awesome will tend to make people attracted to you

I have strongly opposing beliefs. I tend to think that people who are attracted to you rationalize this also by believing that you're awesome. But I've not seen many examples of awesome and attractive (to women) guy who weren't from fiction.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-06-01T10:41:59.926Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A helpful tool to become awesome could be to know an awesome person (real or imaginary) and ask yourself what would that person do. I guess this helps to turn off your "identity" for a moment. (While thinking about what the other person would do, you remove the "but I don't typically act this way" filter, at least partially.)

The next step is optimizing your environment, to spend more time with awesome people. For example, for me it means two things: spending less time on websites with low quality discussion (almost all of them), visiting free lectures of awesome people (together with my girlfriend, and then we discuss it together).

Essentially it means manipulating availability bias to work in your favor. If you let television or newspapers filter your inputs, you will be surrounded by misfortune, anger, frustration. If you filter your inputs by spending more time with awesome people, you will be surrounded by awesomeness. After some time your brain will start accepting "being awesome" as a custom of your tribe.

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-06-01T00:44:22.885Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

First of all, as other people have said, if you are heavily overweight, then working out and becoming not-fat is easily the most important thing you can do.

Anyway, I am sort of trying to do the same thing you are and here's what I've found.

After physical appearance, the lowest hanging fruit seems to be in the confidence/status/how you carry yourself/body language/power/assertiveness area, a cluster that you might call "swag" for lack of a better term. I think women don't care about physical appearance quite as much as men do when it comes to attraction, and care about swag much more than men do.

The lowest hanging fruit in the broader category of swag seem to me to be the following:

  • Smiling
  • Making strong eye contact
  • Standing/sitting up straight

In particular, I'm trying to adopt the habits of a) looking women strongly in the eye and letting her be the one to break away most of the time, and b) briefly making eye contact with and smiling at all the girls I pass in the hallway or on the street or whatever. For the former, something that's helped me is practicing making eye contact while wearing sunglasses - this way you can make yourself comfortable with the feeling of staring into a person's eyes while appeasing the part of your brain that tells you "no, don't do that, they'll find out your secrets!" Then when you take the sunglasses off, the habit lingers and the fear is gone a little.

Learning body language is also a big one. GoBodyLanguage has a free online course that takes about an hour or two and yields large benefits. Adopting confident body language can make you both feel more confident and get other people to perceive you as such. The main confident gestures I remember to do are a) err on the side of taking up more space when I'm sitting down, b) keep my hands to my side and not as a barrier over my body, c) not stroke my arm, face, or neck when I feel nervous, and d) stick my thumbs out when I put my hands in my pockets.

An area that I need to work on is voice. I say "um," and "like" and stammer a lot, which I think displays lack of confidence. Speaking too quickly also displays lack of confidence. And apparently there are vocal exercises you can do to make your voice deeper and more masculine, which I have yet to look into.

Another big thing is "non-reaction seeking behavior". Essentially this is not giving off little signs that you care about how you are being perceived in a social interaction. Examples of reaction seeking behavior include looking around after you tell a joke to see if people laugh, or visibly fluctuating in your mood based on how you are being received in the social interaction. This is really hard and is something I need to work on.

Having good social skills in general seems to also be important. Having high status with your male friends is said to be a big turn-on for evolutionary reasons, and having close female friends is said to be a big turn-on because it shows that women trust you. So if having male friends is good and having female friends is good, this seems to generalize to "make friends". I don't know if this describes you, but if you go on something like r/foreveralone, you can find a lot of men with no friends and no romantic partners who are much more immediately concerned with the latter than the former (probably because their biology isn't constantly reminding them every day that they need to make friends). This seems like the wrong order to do things in, considering that having friends is at the very least as valuable to one's happiness as having a romantic partner. But if you already have a sufficient amount of friends then you can disregard this.

If you suffer from social anxiety, get a good cognitive behavioral therapy self-help book. This is what I plan on doing. It took me a really long time to realize that I have social anxiety because I always assumed that if you had it, it meant that you were one of those people who has panic attacks when you have to talk to the cashier at the grocery store. If you get irrationally nervous in social situations to the point where it causes you difficulty in your life, I think that you could benefit from self-help in this area. There are also specific forms of social anxiety that only revolve around romance and don't appear in non-sexual settings.

I feel like you should also have some idea of what you're going to say and do to attempt to attract a women before you actually go and talk to her. If women are an impenetrable mystery to you, then maybe try reading some PUA stuff, but make sure to take it with a grain of salt because some of it is weird and wrong. (I actually have written a long post meditating on this stuff that I'll be posting in a few days on LW Discussion, so look out for that. :P)

If you need resources, I recommend Post Masculine and The Dating Specialist.

Good luck! :)

comment by Prismattic · 2013-06-01T02:02:41.001Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Additional minor tips on the swag/body language in condensed form...

English has this incredibly stupid phrase "suck in your gut." This gives people the misleading impression that they need to draw up their diapraghm, and they end up effectively holding their breath. This is, obviously, kind of hard to maintain. What one actually needs to do is not "suck" but "pull" one's gut in. This relies on the rectus and tranversus abdominus muscles and should have no effect on one's ability to breath when done properly. This can be rather hard to master when one is not already in shape. My suggestion is to work on pulling your spinal column straight from both the back (erector spinae) and front (abdominus) muscles simultaneously. Imagine a force simultaneously pulling your tailbone straight down, and the top of your head straight up, and tense your middle to maintain that elongation.

Eye contact is hard. Fortunately, from more than a couple feet away, no one can tell that you're staring at their forehead or the bridge of their nose rather than into their eyes. Looking at the forehead has the additional advantage of forcing one's chin higher; women find men more attractive when looking at the male face from below. Even if you're not making eye contact, when just walking down the street, it's good to practice looking straight forward or even slightly upward, not at one's feet as most introverts are inclined to do. This is easier if one is already following the advice from the previous paragraph.

To get the taut, puffed-out chest effect requires using not the pectoral muscles but the back, by drawing the shoulder blades slightly together. This can be made more natural by practicing standing/walking with the palms of the hands facing forward.

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-06-01T02:56:51.393Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This all seems very useful advice, thank you!

Eye contact is hard. Fortunately, from more than a couple feet away, no one can tell that you're staring at their forehead or the bridge of their nose rather than into their eyes.

Of course this only solves the "making eye contact when you pass women" problem and not the "making eye contact when you talk to women" problem. Fortunately, fear of eye contact seems so dumb and irrational that I suspect that despite its clearly firmly ingrained evolutionary roots, it's relatively easy to completely eliminate after some initially painful practice period. So I suspect that the wisest thing to do is tackle the problem head on as soon as possible.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-01T22:18:30.621Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Imagine a force simultaneously pulling your tailbone straight down, and the top of your head straight up, and tense your middle to maintain that elongation.

Yes, don't try to straighten your back with voluntary muscular contractions, find something to visualize or focus on that straightens out your posture.

I've found that focusing on particular points on my body tends to straighten out my posture. The best point I've found is that little notch in the middle of your collar bone at the base of your neck. Tends to relax the sternomastoids, putting the head in proper alignment with the spine, and the spine entire in proper alignment.

Likely different points have different effectiveness for different people, given what's wrong with their posture in the first place.

Other points to try - ear holes, top of the head, sternum, sacrum. Try shifting from one to the other, and feel how your body adjusts.

comment by henryaj · 2013-08-15T10:14:08.509Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Great post! Those are both sources I really like. Some of Mark Manson (writer of PostMasculine)'s old material on Practical Pickup is good as well.

(I actually have written a long post meditating on this stuff that I'll be posting in a few days on LW Discussion, so look out for that. :P)

Did this ever get posted? I'd happily read through the draft and give you some feedback, if you like.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T10:19:53.935Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That was a good wealth of apparently sound advice!

I'll follow your suggestion and will give a look at the sites you mentioned.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-05-31T20:35:41.839Z · score: 16 (20 votes) · LW · GW

I want to spend a substantial fraction of my time optimizing myself in the direction of being more attractive to females,

One minor issue that would help social attractiveness- don't refer to women as "females". It can come across as either autistic or sexist.

comment by savageorange · 2013-06-02T04:22:32.823Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not sure whether to vote up, as I refer to women as females in order to avoid being sexist, but I can see this already has many upvotes (I wonder what proportion of those upvotes were by women, though). In my experience, most of the prejudiced sayings/memes are directed at 'women', not at 'females', which is why 'women' feels more sexist to me. (although any reference to sex or gender that is not obviously necessary also feels sexist, so I normally leave any such references out entirely whenever possible.)

Why do you think it is that it can come across as either autistic or sexist?

FWIW I live in South Australia, in case this turns out to be a cultural thing.

comment by syllogism · 2013-06-02T08:45:12.048Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

These things wash back and forth depending on associations. Hanging out on feminist parts of the internet, I see a lot of ladies rolling their eyes at the term "females" -- mostly based on the types of guys who seem to be using it.

Some say they find the term "othering", because it's a bit sterile and biological, but I think it's a mistake to say it's anything intrinsic in the word itself.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T10:01:53.729Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Don't worry, I used the term to neutrally specify that I'm a straight male and so I'm attracted to straight females.
In Italian the word "female" is never ever ever used to indicate women: it would be fantastically rude.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-01T14:38:35.380Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

being more attractive to females

I would like to direct your attention to Be Specific and the Attractiveness: Mean and Variance section of Rational Romantic Relationships. (unfortunately I can't link directly to that section of the article).

What I mean is this: which women do you really want to become attractive to? In addition to the term "females" seeming perhaps autistic, or sexist as JoshuaZ points out, it also seems animalistic. You're not a bird asking for advice on how to build a beautiful nest, grow a beautiful plume of feathers or sing the prettiest song... in order to be "more attractive to females". You're a human, and you have a complex personality and complex interests, and so the optimal strategy is not just to ask the biological question of what things will make you most attractive in general to all of the females of our species. I mean, those things do matter. But a much better question is to figure out what kind of women you want to attract, and then figure out the subtleties that will help you interest them and attract them. You also, of course, want the behaviour that results to be consistent with your own personal preferences, at least in some ways.

My story of this exact thing: most people would probably recommend optimizing for attracting women by being masculine. That's a good strategy if you want to be reasonably attractive to most women. Personally, I find that that most commonly attracts very feminine women, and I prefer women who are more androgynous. I also don't personally feel comfortable being macho. So I don't. Part of what I realized (around the same time I read lukeprog's article linked above) is that there are actually a substantial number of women who are really turned on by men who wear flamboyant clothing (some of which is in fact from the "ladies" section of the store). So I decided not to care about the majority of women who find that offputting, because I'd rather hang out with the minority who do, and since there's a shortage of guys wearing anything remotely like what I wear, this makes me in relatively high demand. But I wouldn't do this if I didn't want to wear that clothing for my own sake as well.

comment by sediment · 2013-06-02T00:40:09.779Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This is something I've come up against quite strongly. I note that typical advice for attracting women seems focused on a type of woman I am broadly uninterested in; I find myself a little bereft of ideas on what works for the kind of woman I do like. I'm often reminded of this passage from HughRistik, elsewhere on this site:

Gangestad et al. found that 90-95% of women fit into a gender-typical taxon based on their interests and traits, while 5-10% of women are a gender-atypical taxon (which also contains most of the queer women). 90-95% of women are wired one way; 5-10% are wired another way. As a result, there actually probably are many examples where it's reasonable to approach women with one set of heuristics by default unless you have special evidence that they are gender-atypical, which allows you to pull out some different heuristics.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T10:26:45.245Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But a much better question is to figure out what kind of women you want to attract, and then figure out the subtleties that will help you interest them and attract them. You also, of course, want the behaviour that results to be consistent with your own personal preferences, at least in some ways.

As far as I can tell, I'm attracted to girls normally referred to as 'bitch'. That is strong-willed, sexually promiscuous, out-of-the-box thinking, independent girls. Body type seems to be much less of an issue, I've found myself attracted to both very thin and quite chubby girls, from athletic to maternal/feminine, with any combination of hair style, eyes color, etc.
I would say that the primary factor is a very strong personality: any idea on how to attract those kind of girls?

comment by J_Taylor · 2013-06-05T01:49:27.625Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would say that the primary factor is a very strong personality: any idea on how to attract those kind of girls?

Please consider what sorts of guys the sorts of girls you are attracted to are attracted to.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-05T07:43:52.829Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I truly haven't the slightest idea. I could see them to be attracted both to strong or weak-willed, well-built and chubby, rich or poor men. How could I find out?

comment by J_Taylor · 2013-06-05T17:05:44.427Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Empirical observation.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-05T13:26:09.278Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Raise the topic at Metafilter?

I can imagine strong-willed women as being very definite about what they want, so there might not be a shared type except that they don't want men who try to override them, but this is just a guess.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-05T14:32:59.940Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's funny because I hadn't thought to simply ask the web :) I definitely will...

I'm also reminded of studies that showed how similarity is more attractive than the opposite, so while I get more data I can postulate that strong-willed girls like strong-willed men.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-04T11:47:20.553Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm definitely not the best person to ask, as I have so little interest in attracting them, but (unlike many of the women I mention as being of my taste) I suspect that general PUA tactics would be quite effective here.

comment by lemonfreshman · 2013-05-31T16:28:39.072Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

For the girls you're probably interested in, i.e. intellectual curious, nerdy, nice girls, you don't need to be super fit, just not overweight. Most of the attraction comes from conversation, in which you engage in a mutual storytelling process. Have an interesting hobby, show off your humor and creativity. That's what worked for me.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T13:49:03.264Z · score: 11 (17 votes) · LW · GW

The first obvious choice is getting fit, although it's about two years I'm trying different diets with no results.

To emphasize the rational in my reply: I challenge you by saying the above claim is not true. Dieting for a day or a week or a month with no results is possible (and frustrating). Dieting for two years "with no results" means either a rare medical condition (seek help from a professional) or, more likely, you are dieting incorrectly and refraining from rationally noting this fact and trying to be less wrong. A big hint for me is you ask what exercise you should do and you do not say what you've tried. You can eat optimally and be unhealthy if you do not excercise minimally. This is not esoteric information so again I challenge you that you are self-sabotaging.

I have been where you are. Now I am healthier and happier. Having many people say 'aw, it's okay, be yourself' didn't help. A few people who spoke bluntly (far more than I have done here to you) was the trick. Letting myself off easy didn't help. Changes helped. Stopping doing what didn't work helped. Work hard to better yourself, for yourself, and many good things will follow. You will do things you don't want to do along the way, and be glad for it later.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T09:50:01.244Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To emphasize the rational in my reply: I challenge you by saying the above claim is not true. Dieting for a day or a week or a month with no results is possible (and frustrating). Dieting for two years "with no results" means either a rare medical condition (seek help from a professional) or, more likely, you are dieting incorrectly and refraining from rationally noting this fact and trying to be less wrong.

Yes, I can specify better. I have tried several low-calories and low-carb diets, usually for a period rangin from one-month to three-months. The best result overall has been to lose 2 kgs (that would be 5 pounds), which were regained a couple of weeks later.
It's almost trivially true that I'm dieting incorrectly, but unfortunately the scale doesn't tell me what I'm doing wrong. It just tells me that I'm doing wrong. I lack the incremental feedback that would allow me to correct my course. So the only thing I could do was changing the diet altogether.

You can eat optimally and be unhealthy if you do not excercise minimally.

I was under the impression that studies have shown that exercise has almost no influence on losing fat, but I'm possibly mistaken.

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-06-01T00:26:37.488Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I'm female and I didn't date at all until I was 22 . People very rarely seemed to be attracted to be before that, but since then, I haven't found it at all hard to get dates! I think 3 of the most important changes I made are as applicable to men as to women:

  1. Learning to dress better. I figured out what clothes suited me and wore them.

  2. Becoming better at socialising. I had been terribly socially anxious before that, which made it hard for me to talk to new people.I went on antidepressants for generalised anxiety and depression, but an accidental side effect was that they made me massively less socially anxious. I made friends much more easily, and that meant I could meet and talk to people I was interested in dating.

  3. Not worrying too much about whether a particular guy liked me or not. Becoming too keen too quickly can be offputting, so remembering that there are lots of other men in the world was a good idea!

I'm still not great at relationships, but that's another story!

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T10:16:33.161Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Would you reccomend these steps also to guy who are interested in girls rather than the opposite?

Or you are interested in girls?

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-06-04T07:28:16.779Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes I would recommend these steps to guys interested in girls :). A lot of dating advice recommends them.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-05-31T10:13:45.878Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

living in Italy in a 20k people town, with a job paying me about $20k a year

Small pool of women, unattractive salary. Move to a bigger town (which is also the best way to facilitate change within yourself, changing your surroundings), fall in with the fitness crowd (peer pressure, "yo bro do you even lift?"), make your dabbling in "logic/math/AI" a "learning how to program" at least doubling your income. Don't come across as desperate, and the best way to achieve that isn't to hide it, but not to be desperate for validation anymore.

comment by Cthulhoo · 2013-05-31T13:27:00.424Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

make your dabbling in "logic/math/AI" a "learning how to program" at least doubling your income.

A minor point: this coul probably work in the US, but it doesn't in Italy. Average salary for a good programmer (not outstanding, but at least experienced) is around $25k. It should also be noted that the cost of living in Italy is slightly lower, so $20K per year, while not impressive, it's still a decent salary.

comment by jamesf · 2013-05-31T21:44:22.079Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Wow! Do you have any insight into why programmers there make so little on average? Programming interns in the US make the equivalent of $30k-$50k a year while working, often with benefits.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-05-31T22:49:59.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My guess is, they don't make so little:

First, many EU citizen tend to assume $1 is 1€ at first approximation, while currently it's more like $1.3 for 1€. Cthulhoo may have made this approximation. Second, lower salaries may be compensated by a stronger welfare system (public unemployment insurance, public health insurance, public retirement plan…). This one is pretty big: in France, these cost over 40% of what your employer has to pay. Third, major cost centres such as housing may be cheaper (I wouldn't count on that one, though).

To take an example, I live in France, and here, entry-level programmers with an engineering degree make about 23k€ in net salary (often with a few benefits, and possibly more in the capital). That's about 38k€ that your employer have to pay. Convert that in US$, and we're talking about $49k.

From that amount, cut US taxes that serve unemployment, health, and retirement. I know nothing about the US tax system, so I leave it to you. I just wanted to say that I expect the actual difference between European and US salaries to be much lower than what we expect from a cursory look at "gross salaries", which doesn't even mean the same thing across countries.

Now, for someone who isn't afraid of unemployment, and plans to postponed retirement through rejuvenation procedures that should be available a couple decades from now (reaching either the intelligence explosion or escape velocity), my analysis goes out the window.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2013-06-01T03:13:07.855Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Given that your name looks familiar from Hacker News and your website suggests you like programming for its own sake, you should consider coming to Silicon Valley after the US congress finishes loosening up immigration restrictions for foreign STEM workers (which seems like it will probably happen). In the San Francisco area, $100K + stock is typical for entry-level people and good programmers in general are famously difficult to hire. Also, lots of LW peeps live here. My housemates and I ought to have a couch you can crash on while you look for a job. In the worst case it'll just be a vacation for you to visit the US and hang out with the LW people that live around here. PM me if you want more info and stuff.

(This also goes for other people who are good programmers who don't live in Silicon Valley and don't have a good reason not to move here.)

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-06-01T10:21:40.397Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(Yep, I'm loup-vaillant on HN too)

Thank you, I'll think about it. Though for now, seriously considering moving to the US tends to trigger my Ugh shields. I'm quite scared.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2013-06-04T04:14:56.437Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Though for now, seriously considering moving to the US tends to trigger my Ugh shields. I'm quite scared.

Don't feel bad, according to my models, that's how most people would react (I've tried to train myself out of this sort reaction with some success mainly because I used to be really interested in starting companies, which requires this sort of audacious determination). You don't have to make a decision now. If I were you, I'd just let it be an option in the back of your mind for the time being until you get comfortable enough to think calmly about it.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-02T09:18:40.488Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Scared of?

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-06-02T10:17:23.646Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, leaving everything and everyone behind, and a general feeling of uncertainty: what live will be like? Will I find a job? Will I enjoy my job (super-important)? How will this affect my relationship with my SO? Less critically, should I bring my Cello, or should I buy another one? What about the rest of my stuff?

We're not talking moving a couple hundred miles here. I've done it for a year and, I could see my family every 3 week-ends, and my SO twice as much. Living in Toulouse, France, I could even push to England if I had a good opportunity. But to go to the US, I have to Cross the Ocean. If I leave this summer and find a job by September, I likely won't make a single trip back before the next summer.

Also, I don't think I value money all that much. I mainly care about the sense of security it provides. If I were guaranteed half of what I currently make to work at home on the computer science research that I want to do, I would take it.

So, If I were to move to the US, it couldn't be just about the money. The job matters. And I'd better get closer to the LW-MIRI-CFAR community. And even then, I'm still not sure. Indefinitely postponing such a big decision is so easy.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2013-06-04T04:11:23.379Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Relevant HN thread. Both the SF startups I've worked for have/had free meals, flexible work hours, on-premise fun like climbing walls, table tennis, foosball, etc., egalitarian laid-back work environments, and so on. In terms of technology you're working with, I'd guess that you're probably more likely to work with something relatively newer and sexier like Hadoop, Ruby on Rails, or node.js here in SF than something like Java. I don't know what you work with in France. In terms of whether the work is interesting... well, that depends on the startup.

How will this affect my relationship with my SO?

That's a tougher one... supposedly the dating scene is relatively bad for men in SF, but I only just moved here so I don't have much firsthand experience. I don't know what your SO's visa options would be. I assume she's not a programmer? If she is, maybe she could apply for a visa too? I don't know how you guys feel about gaming the US visa system by getting married?

Less critically, should I bring my Cello, or should I buy another one? What about the rest of my stuff?

Figure out how much it's worth to you and how long you'd have to work here in order to buy equivalents for all of it or things that made you equivalently happy with your extra salary?

Also, I don't think I value money all that much. I mainly care about the sense of security it provides. If I were guaranteed half of what I currently make to work at home on the computer science research that I want to do, I would take it.

Do you have any interest in effective altruism?

Indefinitely postponing such a big decision is so easy.

Well, you can certainly postpone it until we learn what kind of immigration reform, if any, passes. Even then, I think it would only start to take effect at the start of 2014 (but I really have no clue).

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-06-02T06:59:54.344Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I should learn to drive first, though, right?

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2013-06-04T03:38:18.538Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have a driver's license; currently taking BART to work. Our place has reasonably good BART access, and BART goes to SoMa where all the hot startups supposedly are (I'm not very plugged in to the startup scene here, so I won't be super helpful in finding a job; most of my salary info comes from Quora, GlassDoor.com, and limited personal experience + anecdotes). If lots of LW people respond to this thread, maybe I should start working as recruiter though? :P

In any case, my uninformed guess is that any immigration reform changes will start taking effect at the beginning of 2014, so there will probably be time for you to learn to drive.

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2013-05-31T23:49:16.367Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The rule of thumb in the US is that the cost to the employer is twice the nominal salary, exactly what you said for France. Instead of paying so much tax, they pay for health insurance, which is probably what JamesF meant by "with benefits." In some global sense health care is twice as expensive in the US as France.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-06-01T10:11:37.538Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah. I guess I stand corrected, then.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-06-01T10:51:33.754Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

lower salaries may be compensated by a stronger welfare system

This can be true on the level of society, but on the level of individual the lower salaries for professions like programming are compensated by a stronger welfare system for everyone.

comment by Cthulhoo · 2013-06-01T10:39:27.224Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

First, many EU citizen tend to assume $1 is 1€ at first approximation, while currently it's more like $1.3 for 1€. Cthulhoo may have made this approximation. Second, lower salaries may be compensated by a stronger welfare system (public unemployment insurance, public health insurance, public retirement plan…). This one is pretty big: in France, these cost over 40% of what your employer has to pay. Third, major cost centres such as housing may be cheaper (I wouldn't count on that one, though). To take an example, I live in France, and here, entry-level programmers with an engineering degree make about 23k€ in net salary (often with a few benefits, and possibly more in the capital). That's about 38k€ that your employer have to pay. Convert that in US$, and we're talking about $49k.

Just to clarify: I did adjust euros to dollars in my estimation. To be more precise, I work in what is mainly a software company (though I'm not myself a programmer), and the standard net salary here is 19K€ per year which makes roughly 25$ per year. Now, of course if you're really good you can climb the ladder, and there are possible bonus if you reach outstanding results, but this requires more then the "teach yourself programming" level. From what I know, this is pretty much the standard, and a quick google search gives some confirmation of my numbers on this page: http://www.worldsalaries.org/italy.shtml.

It should be noted, though, that all salaries are rescaled roughly in the same way, and the cost of living is lower, so you might need to adjust your usual perspective.

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-06-02T06:58:47.046Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Move somewhere else in the EU?

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-05-31T13:24:32.323Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Except for the programming advice, I disagree with all that. Small town people have more reason to look for you. Bigger town people will not peer pressure you into lifting, they'll peer pressure you into unhappiness. Lifting itself is one of the worst ways of getting women in terms of time expenditure. It looks like you (mr mind) are optimizing for long-terming women, see my other commentaries for linking on that.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-01T09:32:04.512Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Small pool of women

But each of those women has a small pool of men.

The sex ratio is a more important statistic than the absolute female population size, and it's close to 1 in most places. (OTOH, the absolute female population size does affect whether e.g. numbers' game is a feasible strategy.)

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-01T14:06:26.247Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Given that not all women will be appropriate partners, having there be more of them increases the number of appropriate partners, provided that there's a sufficiently effective filtering system to ensure that time isn't wasted on false positives.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-09T08:47:05.418Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And for each woman, not all men will be appropriate partners.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T09:02:59.813Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you everybody, that is a massive amount of advice!

I've tried to sum it up into a few bullet points.
First of all, many people have pointed out the importance of meta thinking about my goals:

  • beware of diminishing returns;

  • do something that improves your life, not only your attractiveness.

These are sensible and very important suggestions, which I've tried to keep in mind while compiling the list of things I should do.

  • The obvious winner is to lose weight (that is, lose fat), which is at one time the most important and most hard thing to do. Is there a name for things like that? It seems to share the same epistemic position of FAI: at one time mostly important and almost impossibly difficult. WTF universe?

  • The silver medal, to my surprise, goes to improving my fashion (thank again to everybody who suggested how to do that). This flies a bit in the face of optimizing for a better life in general, but I guess that if something is important, it is important. I'll dig into that.

  • The bronze medal, and my second surprise, goes to learn how to socialize.

  • The fourth place goes to exercise, and the fifth place goes to pick up a new hobby.

If I had to cluster those improvements, I would do it this way:

  • physical appearance: lose fat - dress better - exercising;

  • socialization: learn to socialize - start a social hobby, like drawing or dancing.

Other suggestion were in the cluster of increasing the availability of women: move to another city/country, online dating. Very few people had suggested to increase my salary.

That said, I'll concentrate on starting weightlifting, search for a sensible fashion education, research more about the science of dieting, and explore for an interesting hobby that at the same time helps me to expand my social group and gives me plenty of time to learn how to socialize (dancing seems to be very apt).
For the interest of measurable self-improvements, I will post in a month what changes have happened.

Thanks again to everyone who was willing to help and I've not had the occasion to reply.

comment by roystgnr · 2013-06-04T16:36:33.834Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

at one time mostly important and almost impossibly difficult. WTF universe?

Working on FAI is predicated on (and thus less important than) its subgoal of continuing to breathe. Yet (unless you're currently drowning, terminally ill, etc) breathing is trivially easy, so we don't even think of it as a goal. We'd expect all our important goals to be hard just due to that selection bias.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-05T07:41:15.083Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There are also goals that are moderately difficult instead of impossibly difficult, and they would not get glossed over by the selection bias.

comment by drethelin · 2013-05-31T17:25:58.838Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

So everyone in these comments seems to be concentrating on looking nice and being fit, which is all well and good for general purpose "attractiveness" but I've found that while it's helpful to look cool and be confident, my best and most reliable source of intimacy, female companionship, etc. is NOT based on that.

The best way in my experience is to find a way to hang out with women in a low pressure social environment that is not designed for seduction or anything like that. College dorms are the perfect example of this but obviously you can't just go hang out in them to pick up chicks. The key is to have an environment where both you and the people you might be interested in already want to be. Hanging out at a friends' house, going to meetups, or joining classes are all reasonable alternatives for this. It's ok to have dating as a background goal for your activities, but I've found that if you go to something for the sole purpose of meeting women you will most often be frustrated and not have fun, so I recommend finding activities that you're interested in trying but haven't before. Juggling, dancing, rock climbing (as mentioned in another post) all can be fun, and tend to be very welcoming to newcomers. Climbing especially has a lot of downtime for chatting with people, but has the downside of taking place in public or semi-public areas which is anti-conducive to having more personal conversations that are important to getting to know potential intimates.

Also: Okcupid (or the Italian equivalent) can be useful.

comment by syllogism · 2013-06-02T08:59:10.618Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Here's a piece of advice I haven't seen mentioned on this topic: people are typically irrational about sex, and you can make yourself an appealing partner to a minority of people who aren't being "well served" by the general population simply by being extra open-minded. In short, I'm going to advocate exploring kink spaces.

First, cultivate the aliefs that there is zero shame associated with consensual sexual activity of any kind, and that there is no space for sex-specific morality in your code of ethics. The slogan "everyone owns exactly one body" is a good start.

If you've got this in your head, hopefully you'll want to do just about anything your partner wants you to. The attitude to cultivate is to be "good, giving and game".

Once you've got the mind-set right and done back-ground reading, you can start looking for kink meet-ups and groups in your area. The really nice thing for you is that kinksters are basically sex nerds: everything is talked about explicitly, negotiated, scheduled, double-checked, etc. There's worlds of hand-holding at every step.

I could be just plain wrong about this, but my belief is that sexual tastes can be "acquired" in the way you can learn to like strong cheeses, silent films, whatever. So have a go at acquiring this taste --- because I think it'd prove useful.

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-06-02T20:25:17.421Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I also think that people who hang out in kink spaces are more likely to have non mainstream sexual tastes. You are, I would think, more likely to find women who are really keen on fat guys (these women do exist) in these spaces. It's been my experience that in kinky and similar communities (e.g. the poly community) people (both men and women) who are not conventionally attractive are more likely to be sexually successful than they would be outside these communities.

comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2013-05-31T10:41:01.871Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I would invest some time in figuring out which activities will give you large attractiveness gains and which will give marginal ones, then put your efforts into the former.

You probably don't want to hear this, but if you're heavily overweight, losing it will be a pretty huge gain, not just in terms of being attractive to women, but in terms of how seriously everyone will take you. I've been both 140kg and 90kg. There is massive prejudice against overweight people, and life is so much easier when you don't have to fight against it.

Other people will probably offer you plenty of detailed and conflicting advice on how to lose weight. Mine would be to walk a lot, and to be aware of the calorie content of your food. You can go a long way on that alone. Regardless of how you do it, working on your weight should absolutely be your priority.

In terms of fostering other "attractive" traits, I will first offer a word of warning: don't do anything solely because you believe it will make you more attractive to women. You will tire of it or become resentful. That doesn't mean you can't pick things you independently want to do, which also happen to be considered quite attractive, or which are oversubscribed by women.

Here are a few suggestions of hobbies or activities which you might want to consider:

  • Learning a musical instrument
  • Dancing (also good exercise)
  • Arts and crafts (life drawing, pottery, etc.)
  • Arts appreciation (poetry, literature, theatre, etc.)
  • Amateur dramatics / theatre

If any of these appeal to you, go ahead and try them, solely for the sake of doing them and enjoying it. Becoming more attractive is a nice side-effect.

My final piece of advice is to just talk to women without any romantic motive on your part. You could be a gorgeous renaissance man ripped to within an inch of his life, but if you can't carry out a normal human conversation, you're in serious trouble. Bonus tip: if you're not comfortable with flirting, practise this on older women, (as in age-inappropriate older women, I guess in their 50s and 60s in your case). It's a perfect training scenario, as you're engaging with experienced participants in a situation with limited consequences.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-05-31T13:47:38.370Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Being able to interact well with women is really important.

Body quality and economics have diminishing returns once you get into decent shape on them - not really unattractive and on track to be capable of doing most of supporting a family, say. This is not to say that you can't or shouldn't do better, but you don't need to rank high to do well.

If there's a limit on personality, it's too high to be concerned with.

How you smell is also really important, but I'm not sure how much I can say about that.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-05-31T13:46:41.349Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Arts and crafts (life drawing, pottery, etc.)

Why do you consider that to be a worthwhile tip?

comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2013-05-31T14:45:40.089Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

1) As hobbies, arts and crafts are oversubscribed by women. If you take a pottery class, for example, you will meet a lot of women in a non-competitive environment, and have at least one major thing to talk to them about.

2) Being able to create beautiful things is a personally desirable skill.

3) If you're a technical/maths type, having something "artsy" under your belt makes you seem like a more well-rounded person.

4) You have the ability to produce personalised tokens of affection.

Anecdotally, since I took up life drawing, I have been staggered by the number of women who've professed an interest in modelling for me. In some cases this is flirting and in others it's genuine platonic interest in being drawn; distinguishing the two is a minor hazard, but both are pretty welcome.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-05-31T22:36:35.188Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

2+3 = 5) Creating things gives a feeling of accomplishment, which increases your confidence, which is in turn attractive.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T13:37:57.393Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I think that losing weight + moving to a larger town + increasing income is all good advice, but I don't think those things are easy or will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

One very easy thing you can do to increase your attractiveness is to change your goal from "short to medium-term sexual relationships" to love and commitment. I know you don't really want to do that, but that is what most women are looking for. I know plenty of women who, as they get to their mid-thirties and are single or divorced, become more interested in commitment than any other feature, and end up with guys who do fairly poorly by many other measures of attractiveness.

The other thing that you need to do is to seek out women who are likely to be attracted to you, and be attracted to them. There are almost certainly plenty of women out there that would find you attractive (especially if you are willing to love them and commit to them). None of them are perfect. Probably none of them look like models. A lot of them might be divorced and/or already have children. A lot of them are overweight. I don't know how it works in Italy but in the USA the best place to find them is online.

You should realize that most women have zero interest in you. That's true for almost every man. Increasing your general attractiveness to anything below rock-star level probably won't move the needle much for most women. Targeting the women who are already likely to be attracted to you is by far the best and easiest way for any man to get more sex.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-01T09:14:01.035Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You should realize that most women have zero interest in you.

ADB(partly)OC. If you mean “most women” literally, i.e. the majority of women (including e.g. menopausal ones), that's undoubtedly true, but if you mean something like the near-totality of the single women likely to hang out in the same places as you ... then that's probably mostly only the case for men who haven't even reaped for the very lowest-hanging fruits in terms of attractiveness. (And even if that does apply to you, alieving that just makes it worse -- though deliberately keeping aliefs and beliefs separate is an Advanced Skill.)

OTOH, at least if polyamory isn't widespread where you are, “zero interest in you” isn't the threshold you care about, “less interest in you than in the other guys available” is.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T09:37:21.666Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

One very easy thing you can do to increase your attractiveness is to change your goal from "short to medium-term sexual relationships" to love and commitment.

Is this even possible? I mean, I've not chosen my current goal after careful planning, I just noticed that at the moment I'm attracted to short-term relationships, how would I go into changing that? I am searching for shor-term, highly sexual relationships, should I just tell the girl I'm not?

None of them are perfect. Probably none of them look like models. A lot of them might be divorced and/or already have children. A lot of them are overweight. I don't know how it works in Italy but in the USA the best place to find them is online.

Does this come from the 'date in your league' advice? Because I've been naturally attracted to somewhat overweight girls, I adore feminine curves, but I've never convinced them to date me. They too seemed to be more attracted to the fit or blue-eyes guy... perhaps they should realize to date in their league too.

When I tried online dating, about three-four years ago, there didn't seem to be many women, at least in my area. Maybe the situation has changed now.

You should realize that most women have zero interest in you. That's true for almost every man. Increasing your general attractiveness to anything below rock-star level probably won't move the needle much for most women.

I probably don't need rock-star level of available women. Indeed, that would have massive disutility. I just need say 2-3 girls who I can have fun with.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T19:16:39.189Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know how it works in Italy but in the USA the best place to find them is online.

BTW: OkCupid isn't very popular in Italy -- there are very few people signed up there except in major cities, and even they are in large part foreigners. Try Badoo instead.

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-05-31T14:07:15.436Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

good points... specially:

There are almost certainly plenty of women out there that would find you attractive (especially if you are willing to love them and commit to them). None of them are perfect.

comment by Liron · 2013-05-31T10:14:28.735Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

If you get a fashion consultant and spend one day and $700 plus fees going shopping, you will gain as much attractiveness as if you spent a full year of 2x/week intense exercise with a personal trainer.

I've personally done both and I've put a lot of thought into "efficient attractiveness". I have developed an eye for clothes and it totally changed your perspective in every social interaction, you can't un-see it.

comment by drethelin · 2013-05-31T16:47:19.130Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You can save a lot of money on this just by asking people you know who you are attracted to what clothes they like the most on guys.

comment by maia · 2013-05-31T18:48:58.340Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

But that method is much higher variability. It might make said people uncomfortable, and they may not be very helpful unless they have a strong desire to help you.

A guy who had asked me out and been turned down asked me this. It made me pretty uncomfortable. I would say things like, "You could wear this sort of thing, but there's an element of personal style, what do you prefer?" and he would say things like "What do you like most?" Being directly asked how to optimize his fashion for causing me to be attracted to him was... not an attractant, and made me feel really weird. I don't feel comfortable telling someone who I'm not currently dating how I would prefer them to dress.

You can go about this more tactfully, but there's still some weird subtext even so.

(We ended up dating later despite this.)

comment by drethelin · 2013-06-01T04:55:57.232Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Don't ask women for advice on dating women unless you're already dating them" seems like a really terrible loop of suck. I agree that you probably shouldn't respond to someone turning you down with "If I had been wearing THIS what would you have said?" but I think if you avoid things like that you're probably fine.

comment by Aharon · 2013-05-31T13:06:36.394Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

At a $20k income, $700 is a non-trivial expenditure. In Germany, online-services that aid in buying clothes exist (for example, www.outfittery.de). This might be a good compromise between best advice and cost-efficiency.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2013-06-01T00:42:41.157Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting, can you recommend a specific consultant?

comment by Liron · 2013-06-01T02:35:59.422Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

http://statusic.com is very good.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2013-06-01T03:08:57.616Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the pointer.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T19:10:30.403Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect that spending that much on clothes may even backfire in certain social circles in Italy.

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-05-31T23:37:41.393Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I have known several very overweight men who've managed to be very attractive to women. I'm not quite sure how they did it, but whatever they did worked. They have generally been pretty charismatic and charming.

Just want to add that AFAICT losing weight and not regaining it is very hard. I think only a very small number of dieters manage to keep weight off in the long run (though paleo etc might be more effective than most diets - I'm not sure). I'm not convinced that dieting is the "lowest hanging fruit," but I'm not sure how MrMind could develop the kind of charisma required to be attractive despite being very overweight.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T10:15:30.856Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have known several very overweight men who've managed to be very attractive to women. I'm not quite sure how they did it, but whatever they did worked. They have generally been pretty charismatic and charming.

If they are not dead, it might just be possible to ask them directly. Are they someone who I can contact?

comment by Emile · 2013-05-31T21:31:59.707Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I suggest moving to a place where you-as-you-are will be more attractive to females. More specifically, China - it has a combination of features that make expats quite successful with the local women (or at least stack the deck in your favor):

  • it's poor enough that by comparison you might wealthy (unlike Korea or Japan)
  • it's safe enough for you not to worry about being mugged (unlike many poor countries in Africa and South America)
  • the social norms do not strongly condemn foreigners having contact with local women (unlike large parts of the Middle East)
  • the economy is pretty active, which may provide some opportunities for a foreigner (unlike some countries who may fit rest of the above, like Mongolia)
  • the local guys are (on average) not considered to have high seduction skills (which some attribute to spending most of their youth studying until midnight because of pressure from their families, instead of socializing)
  • The "latin lover" stereotype plays in your favor (I heard Chinese girls fantasize about having an adventure with a cute Italian)

It seems that a disproportionate amount of married nerds I met in real life have asian wives, and there's probably some interesting explanation, though I don't know which one.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-02T20:15:54.828Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It seems that a disproportionate amount of married nerds I met in real life have asian wives, and there's probably some interesting explanation, though I don't know which one.

I've wondered how much of this could just be socio-economic status matching: whites and east Asians in the USA are probably the two wealthiest and best-educated groups at this point.

comment by Emile · 2013-06-03T08:01:03.489Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That doesn't fit my observations much: here in France, East Asians are a quite small slice of the wealthy-and-educated, first because there's not that many of them, and second because the older generation's ideal for their children is more "take over the family business" rather than "get a prestigious diploma" (this is changing though).

comment by roland · 2013-06-02T18:31:45.733Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've considered this too, but I'm turned off by the pollution. Do you know of any reasonably big city in China that is cleaner?

comment by Emile · 2013-06-03T06:25:26.086Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Dalian and Harbin are not very polluted. And they are in the North of China, so the food is normal.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-05-31T13:51:58.782Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

My only hobby at the moment are the game of Go and dabbing in math/logics/AI, which, as fascinating as they are, are seldom considered very attractive.

I personally used to play Go a lot (my playing strength was something like 1-2 kyu). I replaced that hobby completely with Salsa/Bachata dancing. The first few months were out of my comfortzone but afterwards I consider the experience to be more fun than playing Go and it produces more positive benefits than playing Go.

comment by hedges · 2013-05-31T10:17:09.742Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Losing weight and becoming more fit will make you healthier and more attractive. You can't effectively gain muscle and lose weight at the same time. In your case losing weight should be the priority. To do this, start tracking absolutely everything you eat using one of the many free trackers available out there, and eat below your TDEE. Invest $10 in a digital scale so you can track more accurately. If you don't know what you should eat, read this. Exercise is helpful to your general health, but losing weight is almost entirely about diet. Practically all specialized diets are scams, so beware.

To improve your strength and fitness (and attractiveness), barbell training is one of the most effective and safest forms of exercise you can pursue. You should read Rippetoe's books, his programs are quite likely the best option for beginners. You can pursue weight training even while you lose weight, but you won't make as much progress.

For fashion, reddit is probably your best bet. Spending money on expensive brands won't help.

If you want to target success with women in particular, PUA is a better option than the alternatives. Many people dislike it, but it is currently the closest thing to a science there is in the field. The basic idea is to simply make you try more often. That alone will tend to improve your social skills, and success.

Don't use success with women as a measure for your success. Attraction is based on irrational, primal emotions, and neither women or men, nor rationalists, care to even try and change this. The fact that women are not attracted to you conveys very little useful information. It is better to pursue your goals in order to improve your life in general. Losing weight and becoming fit will improve your quality of life far beyond attractiveness.

I have intentionally kept this short and skipped many details and arguments. Hopefully you can benefit from these as guidelines while improving your life.

comment by atorm · 2013-05-31T12:23:06.631Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Losing weight should not be your priority. Losing fat should. Exercise may lay down muscle that is denser and initially causes a weight gain, but don't let this discourage you.

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-05-31T13:26:47.649Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Weight is more trackable, Losing weight may be less effective, but sometimes, one needs to see the numbers.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-05-31T17:10:34.796Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Weight is more trackable, Losing weight may be less effective, but sometimes, one needs to see the numbers.

Another number is 'length of measuring tape wrapped around my stomach'. That's a better number to track. A measuring tape costs under $2 including postage on ebay so it seems to qualify as plenty trackable.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T19:29:41.751Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

IME breathing in or breathing out, changing posture, pulling the tape tighter or less tight, etc. can easily change the number by a few per cent, so if anything that's more noisy than the total body weight (provided you always weigh yourself right after out of bed in the morning). (Maybe I'm doing it wrong?)

(I was also under the impression that the very same pair of trousers that fit me tightly the day before yesterday fit me loosely yesterday. No idea what the hell was going on there.)

comment by Prismattic · 2013-05-31T23:54:23.798Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(I was also under the impression that the very same pair of trousers that fit me tightly the day before yesterday fit me loosely yesterday. No idea what the hell was going on there.)

Changes in what you eat from day to day will alter the amount of water your body is retaining. The water bloat can have surprisingly big day-to-day effects.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-01T13:25:39.776Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I know that the amount of water in my body varies from day to day, so... how comes I was surprised that that water actually occupies space, rather than being stored in the fifth dimension but somehow still detected by my bathroom scale? :-/

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-05-31T21:46:12.886Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(I was also under the impression that the very same pair of trousers that fit me tightly the day before yesterday fit me loosely yesterday. No idea what the hell was going on there.)

FWIW, I've also experienced the same thing.

comment by kalium · 2013-06-01T04:07:29.822Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Some cotton fabrics shrink in the wash and stretch when worn. I have a pair of jeans that is quite uncomfortably tight immediately after washing, somewhat tight the day after, and fits reasonably until the next wash. Your body may not be what is changing here.

comment by atorm · 2013-05-31T17:02:02.505Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think prioritizing losing weight to the point where you try to avoid muscle gain is A) healthy or B) effective.

comment by OrphanWilde · 2013-05-31T18:09:21.108Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Depends on your goals and what exercises you plan to take up. Jogging thin, regardless of -fitness-, is a -hell- of a lot easier than jogging fat. It's also less likely to cause you injury, speaking from personal experience.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T19:45:20.519Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you're severely overweight to begin from that's unlikely to be much of an issue. See Desrtopa.

(ISTR someone -- was it Beeminder's blog? The Hacker's Diet? [EDIT: here it is] -- recommending tracking body weight because it's so readily quantifiable until you're in the ballpark of your ideal weight, but to switch to something better if you want to keep on improving afterwards.)

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-05-31T13:26:02.496Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You can't effectively gain muscle and lose weight at the same time.

This is commonly repeated, but not actually true for people who're just starting out on exercise. It's only when you've already reached a substantial level of fitness that it becomes an either/or proposition.

If you're already heavily overweight though, you're probably better off focusing on losing fat faster rather than worrying about building up muscle at the same time. You may already have a fair amount of muscle under there just from moving around your own body weight.

comment by Barry_Cotter · 2013-05-31T11:05:51.287Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I endorse this comment.

Minor quibbles follow.

For complete beginners it is possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time and it is a good idea to begin exercising now because now is generally a good time to start. If you're really overweight weightlifting or swimming are good places to start with exercise, running while overweight is hell on your knees and other joints, and this is true of basically all aerobic exercise except swimming.

Malefashionadvice is indeed awesome. Lesson number 1. Wear clothes that fit. Everything else is detail.

PUA stuff works but is overfocused on the median woman or the median club going woman depending on the woman and some of the writers are incredibly misogynistic. And while there is a lot of interesting stuff in the literature making a poinbt of talking to way more people, men and women will work wonders all by itself.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more.

comment by sceaduwe · 2013-05-31T10:51:34.969Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

For more information on fitness, check out /r/Fitness. Especially their FAQ.

comment by BerryPick6 · 2013-05-31T10:44:00.231Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Seconding the Rippetoe program recommendation, it worked well for me.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T19:07:29.152Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In case you don't already do, I suggest paying attention to what guys around you look like (e.g. their clothes and how they fit them, their hairstyle, their facial hair or lack thereof, their jewellery or lack thereof, etc.) as often as reasonably possible, in different situations; after a while your System 1 may get better at telling whether a guy (e.g. yourself) is attractive as a result. (Except for stuff like height or facial symmetry that's not easily changed, what's considered attractive in a guy probably varies a lot from culture to culture, possibly even within Italy, so overly specific advice for such-and-such hairstyle or whatnot may not generalize well to your locale.)

comment by Omid · 2013-05-31T17:33:51.905Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'll repeat my suggesting to write fiction.. While this strategy can work for any gender/orientation it's especially effective for straight males given disproportionate female interest in fiction (especially romantic fiction.)

Bonus: Women who read romance novels have a higher sex drive. (pdf)

comment by Eneasz · 2013-05-31T14:04:24.927Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Buying fashionable clothes that fit well is very important. There are tips and guides online about how to do it. Actual name brands can make some difference, but aren't hugely important as long as the clothes are nice.

For weight-loss I can't recommend weight-lifting enough. Not only will you lose weight, and do so quicker and less painfully than with cardio, you'll also get a bump in testosterone production for several months. This boosts confidence by a large degree. Seriously, you'll feel great.

I don't know if you know how to talk to girls, but that's probably the most important thing of all. Flirting is a skill. Unfortunately I don't know where one can go to learn this. Anyone else have resources?

comment by jooyous · 2013-06-01T01:30:20.389Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also, when buying and wearing clothes, pay attention to how you feel! If you're wearing the spiffiest thing in the world but you feel uncomfortable in it for whatever reason, it'll show!

comment by bbleeker · 2013-05-31T12:27:08.962Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If you don't have good posture, an Alexander technique trainer can help with that. Good posture is very attractive, and it will make you look and feel more confident, and also reduce your risk of getting RSI - I haven't had shoulder pain since I learned to sit right.

comment by XFrequentist · 2013-05-31T18:55:23.078Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've been curious about this for a while. Could you describe your experience a bit?

comment by bbleeker · 2013-06-01T16:36:24.340Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

First, I have to admit it wasn't cheap; I paid like € 900 for my new posture. I consider it worth every penny, though! I was with my Alexander teacher for 2 months; in retrospect, I could probably have taken fewer lessons, but I didn't yet feel confident.

They say it is best to go as often as possible, in the beginning, so that's what I did. IIRC, I went 3x a week for the first few weeks, and then 1x a week.

The teacher looked at my posture, of course, and put me in the correct posture (while standing). It felt a bit strange, because I wasn't used to it. :-)

She had me lie down on a (slightly padded) table, and put some National Geographics under my head as a pillow. I'm not sure how she determined how many were necessary; I've read that it's better to have too high a 'pillow' than one that is too low. My hands rested on my belly, with my elbows at my side on the table; knees pulled up so my feet were flat on the table. In this position your shoulders should be flat on the table, and there should be just a small gap under the small of your back. I remember my shoulders coming up off the table all the time, in the beginning, because of all the unnecessary muscular tension I was used to. I had to do this exercise at home, too - I lay on the ground on a few fleece blankets with a book under my head.

Another exercise was just to stand in front of a chair, and she would correct my posture and movement while sitting down, standing up and moving from sitting to standing vv. (I'm not sure I'm doing that last correctly nowadays, it was difficult.) At work, I mostly sit at the computer, so we practiced that too. The corrections were verbal and with light touches.

One thing I learned, was that you don't need any back or arm rests. In fact, they're actually detrimental, IMO. You're constantly tempted to use them (things are like @#$% magnets!), but that makes you contort yourself one way or the other, and because of the support, you don't really notice it. I have removed the back and arm rests from my chair, and I still sometimes sag a little, but usually I notice it quickly and correct myself. I did feel my shoulders the first few days, but that was just because the muscles there were shortened, and they needed to stretch and relax.

We practiced walking around, as well, and walking up- and downstairs (that wasn't easy either, like moving from sitting to standing - I think I'm doing it right, but I'm not really sure; maybe I should get some follow-up lessons).

It doesn't sound too difficult, and maybe some people could learn it from a book, but I think it's actually not that easy. I was told any number of times to 'sit up straight' when I was young, but my parents didn't know how to tell me just how to do that, so when I tried, I wasn't relaxing, I was actually just tensing my muscles in another way. That also happened when I read a book about posture. I'm sure they explained it as well as they could, but it didn't 'get' it. And like I said, correct posture feels strange, in the beginning, because you're so used to the wrong posture. An Alexander teacher knows just what to say and do to actually get you to do the right thing. I can't tell you, because I don't remember and also because it's different for each person, depending on just what's wrong with their posture.

What was wrong with my posture was probably the most common thing: hunched shoulders, and because of that, head pulled back (because you still want to see ahead), which produced tension in my shoulders, neck and back. It's what comes from sitting in chairs with back and arm rests all the time, starting in school. If you want to see what good posture looks like, look at a preschooler. Very few adults stand like that.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-02T09:51:34.278Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've got a different angle on some of this. I've had a teacher training in Alexander Technique though I haven't practiced professionally.

As I understand it, Alexander Technique is not about posture. Not ever. Not even a little bit. The idea is that if you permit yourself to access your kinesthetic sense by releasing your neck, permitting your head to move forward and up, and your back to lengthen and widen, you will move more easily and naturally. This generally results in what looks like better posture, but the Alexander Technique is about movement and attention, not a static image.

AT is also about releasing upward before movements (like getting into and out of chairs, walking, and speaking) which tend to evoke the opposite, deleterious habit of pulling (the back of one's head) downwards. Some teachers also work with whatever activities the student is interested in improving.

I agree about the difficulty of learning this from books, though modern tools like videoing oneself might help-- Alexander was limited to three-way mirrors.

The idea is to use enough books when lying down to get your face to be horizontal.

The problem with posture is what Alexander saw as a pervasive problem-- he called it "neglecting the means whereby"-- not noticing what you're actually doing because you're only focused on a goal. For example, it's easy to reach for something, focusing only on what you're trying to get, and not notice that you're tightening the back of your neck in the process.

I hope I haven't come off as too sharp about this. I actually think it's kind of cool that bbleeker got a lot of practical good out of Alexander Technique without getting the theory. To a large extent, AT is about retraining system one, not system two.

If you want something cheaper that has similar good effects, try Feldenkrais Method-- it's got a explicit system of repeated gentle movements which awaken the kinesthetic sense, and which designed to be done without a teacher. It's also possible to work with a teacher.

I have no opinion about whether Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais Method is better. They're both very valuable.

comment by bbleeker · 2013-06-02T11:06:41.309Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You are totally right, Nancy! I was just trying to remember what actually happened during a session, but I didn't explain it very well at all. Thank you! :-) Maybe I should go back for a refresher...

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-05-31T11:38:48.396Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Symmetry isn't just about the skeleton-- it's also possible to be asymmetrical because of habitual muscle tension. I haven't heard of any research on how non-skeletal asymmetry affects attractiveness.

comment by Dahlen · 2013-06-01T18:58:00.655Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's generally not a matter of skull shape or of environmental / modifiable factors. Soft tissue is the cause of most facial asymmetry. You know, like one cheek being a little plumper than the other -- that's just asymmetrical fat distribution. Or another common one, eyebrow asymmetry -- the hair follicles are just not positioned in the same way on both sides of the face. Skeletal asymmetry, like jaw bones being positioned at different heights, is somehow rarer in my observations. It most definitely affects attractiveness, though people don't seem to be able to put a finger on exactly what is wrong with a slightly asymmetrical face -- and for that matter, neither can the people with asymmetrical faces themselves; it only hits you when you look at a horizontally flipped image of what you're used to see (for others, when they view one in a mirror for the first time, and for oneself, when one views oneself through two (or any even number of) mirror reflections). My guess is that the brain tends to symmetrize images of familiar faces.

(I haven't read any research either, but I tend to gawk a lot at people.)

comment by elharo · 2013-05-31T09:59:05.752Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If you haven't tried it seriously already, do Atkins. I.e. low-carb. Completely eliminate sugar, corn, wheat, bread, HFCS, potatoes, non-diet soda, milk (but not cream and butter), and so forth. Don't count calories or carbs. Just don't eat these foods or products that contain them. Avoid low-fat foods such as egg whites and skim milk. Avoid transfats.

Atkins doesn't work for everyone; but it works for more people than it doesn't; and most of the people it fails with, it fails because of a failure to maintain the diet. If you have tried Atkins before; but didn't really stick to it, or cheated a lot, try it again and this time use precommittment and buddy practices to increase the likelihood you'll stick with it.

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-05-31T13:28:28.285Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Atkins is very similar to Kurzweil's and Tim Ferriss's diets if you need validation before trying.

comment by elharo · 2013-05-31T13:45:49.517Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, it absolutely is similar to these. I think there's enough research and evidence to be confident that low-carb works for most people, and is certainly the first weight-loss approach you should try. However there's not enough evidence to distinguish among the different low-carb options. E.g. paleo == Atkins - dairy or Ferris == Atkins + beans + cheat days. I usually just say "Atkins" because it's the low carb plan that's most likely to be recognized and understood by more people.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-01T14:14:51.059Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ferriss' slow carb diet has the advantage of being easier to stick to due to the cheat days. Like, psychologically you have less of a sense of missing out.

comment by CasioTheSane · 2013-06-05T08:31:19.996Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think the high carb "cheat" meals just help psychologically, but help avoid many of the long term biological consequences of low carb diets which can inhibit weight loss: low thyroid function, low leptin levels, and chronically low liver glycogen levels.

A single high carb meal raises leptin levels for up to a week, which increases your metabolism, AND powerfully suppresses hunger. There's been a few studies looking at how carb cycling works that show major hormonal changes. Personally, I notice my body temperature and energy levels are higher, and I hardly have any appetite for about 24 hours after a heavy carb feed.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-05T23:14:54.593Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, his book and other sources support the value of glycemic cycling. I was thinking about the cheat days as a generally awesome part of a diet, which is not the relevant point here as we were already talking low carb.

comment by CasioTheSane · 2013-06-06T03:26:14.162Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The terminology "cheat meal/day" bothers me, as it implies that it's not a critical part of the diet or even some sort of "planned moral transgression"- and leads many people to think they might get better results if they avoid it, do it less often. In reality it's a critical part of the method.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-07T22:08:34.907Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Likewise, somewhat. Well, call it a binge day then. Or a gluttony day. Or an indulgence day.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-15T11:54:27.274Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Same problem. For accuracy, just call it carb or cycle day.

comment by drethelin · 2013-06-01T22:00:58.017Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've had the mots success with using a cheat day but not eating carbs the rest of the itme

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-02T20:38:23.578Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's basically the slow carb diet.

comment by drethelin · 2013-06-02T21:16:31.039Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

well, except for the fact that you actually eat a ton of carbs on the slow carb diet. Beans, yams, what have you.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-01T22:25:07.909Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Anyone here know anything about training your speaking voice? That seems a rarely explored but powerful aspect of attractiveness.

comment by jsalvatier · 2013-06-03T03:01:37.124Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The subreddit r/malefashionadvice is quite good for advice on dressing well. I went from dressing 1 sd below average to 2 sd above average using it (with prompting from CFAR camp). The guides on the sidebar are the highest value. Most of the other posts are not useful. I have also give a presentation on the topic a couple times (slides, video)

comment by mwengler · 2013-05-31T18:01:15.205Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

but I cannot really change that, and sole-lifts or make-up are so short-term solutions to border on 'tricking women'

On reflection, I think the kind of 'trick' involved here is one you want to exploit.

Attraction seems to be pre-rational. We can introspect rationally about it, but in such an evolutionarily fraught topic we can expect all sorts of biases.

Women, girls, seem to decorate themselves instinctively. I know my 4 year old was not trying to attract a mate when she would spend an hour in front of the mirror working on her hair, or hours playing "dress up" complete with make-up with her sister. And yet, it is the decorated women men react to most viscerally. Is it a trick? Can you say "I only THOUGHT I was sexually attracted to her but it turned out I didn't realize she was wearing makeup?" I think if you are attracted you are attracted and it doesn't much matter how you got that way.

In my own recent experience, as a 56 year old separated man, I am looking at ourtime.com. I noticed with one particular woman that I liked her picture so much that I would like her more no matter how old that picture was, just for having seen that picture. I have noticed that I am still attracted to women I was attracted to 40 years ago, even though to others they look like more or less typical 56 year old women. I wish I could implant a 40 year old memory of every woman my age I might be interested in. The trick isn't to find an attractive 56 year old woman, the trick I think is to be attracted to a person you could really get along with.

And so anything that helps the all-important pre-rational or non-rational attractiveness stuff work is a plus.

I am also pretty heavy (BMI=40). I look at Chris Christie (governor of New Jersey) and I think I could take some lessons from him. I couldn't tell you versace vs other brand, but I can tell you suit rather than ripped blue jeans, well fitting as appropriate for your shape vs tent-like with elastic, and so on. I'm guessing that rationalist males who are very overweight are probably quite alienated from their physical attractiveness, I know I am. I am using my rational mind to fill in the gaps where my pre-rational mind seems to have dropped the ball.

Another interesting hint: no matter how fat you are, 5 pounds less is better. You might think you can't see the difference so it isn't worth it, but I am always shocked when I lose weight at the subtle improvements that happen right up front, from the 3XL shirt hanging on me sligtly more nicely looking, the better shape to my face as my neck slightly recedes. And my physical mobility increases, subtly: I get up from chairs faster even at 5 pounds less. I think what I say is true, but it is also motivational, if you THINK these things during the day, you are more likely to be active and, on the margin, improve your eating.

Also, go sideways in your own market. Are there women who would have you but you don't find them attractive? If they are rationally what you would want, see if you can figure out how to "trick" yourself in to being attracted to them. This tight filter evolution has placed on our finding others attractive may serve Darwin but it doesn't serve the individual trying to maximize his enjoyment. Striving and self-criticism serve Darwin! So fnork Darwin and learn how to be attracted to a fattie.

Good luck!

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-05-31T18:07:59.092Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

In most of history, high status men and women seem to dress up about equally-- I suspect that interest in clothes is trained out of most boys very early in our culture.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T20:36:04.259Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. I'd put it more as “is no longer trained into” than “is trained out of”, though.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-05-31T21:19:19.059Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The trained into/not trained out of distinction is an interesting one, and I think it would take a lot of close observation to figure out which of those is dominant.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T21:27:13.129Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's just a matter of where to draw the baseline on the map, rather than a question about the territory -- after all feral children don't show that much interest in clothes, do they? so children mostly “learn” whether or not to be interested in clothes from their environment -- but OTOH it's still an empirical question how much of the teaching is deliberate.

comment by sediment · 2013-05-31T11:59:55.587Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect that your lowest-hanging fruit right now is probably losing weight, although I appreciate that that's easier said than done. I don't have any experience with that, so I won't try and offer any advice regarding it, but I can weigh in with a few words of advice on dressing well:

I don't think 'fashion' in the sense of buying and wearing expensive brands is particularly important, but having some taste and competence in telling a good outfit from a bad one goes a long way. I would say that things to consider are fit, quality, and patterning/colour/other embellishments, roughly in that order. 'Quality' comes down in part to what fibres the garment is made from. Natural fibres like cotton and wool are preferable to artificial fibres like polyester, as they signal (and, in fact, are) nicer quality. You can also consider things like the stitching, but I'm not going to pretend to be expert enough to be able to convey what you're looking for there. As for patterns, colours, and other embellishments, my general feeling is the subtler and fewer, the better. I think in general, it's best to dress simply - not in terms of wearing fewer garments, but having those garments not be too embellished. A plain shirt, or one with subtle patterning, is, I think, generally more attractive than one with a gaudy or loud pattern, or a too-prominent logo of any kind. Ditto neutral vs. bright colours, although there might be more lee-way there for negotiation.

Also worth considering is matching the clothes that make up an outfit with regard to colour and so on - I don't think I have any verbalizable tips on this front, although I'd note again that it's easier if your clothes are relatively neutral and plain. Other aspects of grooming and appearance, such as haircut, are also worth considering.

I hope none of that came over as too patronizing - I don't know where you're starting from, so I tried to offer advice that was as general as possible and didn't assume anything. Good luck!

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T09:49:07.065Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

heavily overweight

Start working on losing weight. I see that you are already taking steps, and it is commendable! Have you tried a gluten-free diet? Have you been avoiding fried/roasted food? Have you been calorie-counting?

It is not easy -- in fact, it is insanely hard work! -- and it takes a long time to see results. But, as you probably already know, exercising will improve your mood, and the release of testosterone as a result of intense working out will change the way you interact with people (not just women) in general -- you exude more confidence and assertiveness, which will make you more attractive. Demonstrating that you are actively doing something to improve your health (and physical attractiveness) is also a very appealing quality. How often do you exercise? Do you have a gym membership?

I apologise if this comes across as harsh, but personally I would never consider dating someone who is overweight -- not for the short term, and much less the long term. It signals to me a high probability of being unable to keep up sexually (so no point in short-term dating), and a can't-be-bothered attitude towards health issues (deal-breaker in long-term dating). But it is really nice to know that you are putting in effort -- keep up the good work!

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T09:19:04.587Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for your reply, a peek into the inner workings of a woman's mind is always welcome!

I apologise if this comes across as harsh, but personally I would never consider dating someone who is overweight

It's not harsh at all, if there's no diamond in the box I want to know that. If it's the truth, it's the truth, there's no use complaining.

It signals to me a high probability of being unable to keep up sexually (so no point in short-term dating)

Yeah, this was true for me in the past, so I spent a lot of time improving that. Now I have an above average sexual stamina, but of course I cannot just tell girls that.

a can't-be-bothered attitude towards health issues (deal-breaker in long-term dating)

The ironic thing here is that I'm obsessed about my health, it's just that I can't seem to lose weight :)

I fully understand though that my body type signals the opposite of this, so I need to adjust.

comment by CasioTheSane · 2013-06-05T07:49:39.122Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you want to be more physically attractive you don't want to just "lose weight" but look fit and healthy. How to do this isn't obvious, as mainstream health advice doesn't achieve this for most people. You should expect to spend considerable time researching and learning about fitness and nutrition. Look to emulate methods that work, not ones well understood by science- it is a myth that nutritional science has advanced to the point where we can design effective diet and fitness programs entirely from basic biological knowledge.

This is a good article on physical traits women find attractive, and how to cultivate them:

Male Physical Attractiveness Part I or: You Shallow, Shallow Ladies

The website contains good information, but it's also clearly trying to sell a particular fitness program (The Hollywood Physique for Men). I did this program myself and it worked exactly as advertised, but it was very challenging and time consuming to follow. I ate 11 eggs/day for 6 months, went to the gym 8 times a week, and was totally socially isolated- and very fatigued at times.

Still, afterwards it was very surprising how differently people treat me in social situations. I am a serious health/biochemistry nerd and like to go on and on about these things… people used to roll their eyes but now that I look different they want to hear what I have to say.

comment by HungryHobo · 2013-06-03T10:57:04.868Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A minor one I'd add.

It's important to share cultural context with people, to make yourself part of their ingroup in various ways.

A simple way to do that is to pick some reasonably popular bands/groups who's music you like and spend a modest amount of time becoming familiar with them. the band, their members and the music well enough that you can sing along with it.

it's an investment of a few days plus listening to some music in the background.

Then when someone says "what music are you in to" you can answer with something reasonable. Even if it's a band they don't like themselves it's better than "I'm not really into music"

comment by James_Miller · 2013-05-31T13:01:37.130Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

To lose weight you could try a low carb Paleo diet with intermittent fasting.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-06-21T11:36:29.365Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

ds

comment by pianoforte611 · 2013-12-30T19:29:45.915Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I thought I saw a book recommendation on fashion here on LessWrong. But I can't seem to find it. Does anyone have a recommendation?

comment by zedzed · 2014-01-06T07:50:47.625Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, Luke linked a few (for both guys and gals) here.

comment by pianoforte611 · 2014-01-09T03:23:12.473Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks!

comment by AndrewH · 2013-06-01T22:37:28.654Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Being happy is a higher order goal than becoming attractive correct? How about picking up meditation instead? You shouldn't need to rely on anyone but yourself to be a happy person.

Here's some simple instructions to get you started. If interested, google "Progressive Stages of Meditation in Plain English" for more detailed instructions.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-05-31T23:35:09.385Z · score: 0 (18 votes) · LW · GW

If you've already tried things like low-carb diets and Shangri La, losing weight is probably impossible for you short of Adipotide or liposuction, so ignore all the well-meaning advice from the metabolically privileged about how easy this would be if you just ate less and exercised.

comment by huh · 2013-06-01T02:46:59.479Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I find this claim surprising. It is not obvious what evidence or line of reasoning would lead to this conclusion.

On the population level, it is my understanding that people today (in industrialized western nations) have much higher likelihood of being overweight or obese at a given age than their very recent ancestors from 2-3 generations ago. Given the short time frame, this is likely due to changes in diet or activity level rather than inescapable genetic destiny.

Individual metabolisms will certainly differ. However, I believe that having a body composition at least as good as one's great-grandparents should be possible for most people. Is there evidence against this?

comment by Prismattic · 2013-06-01T03:35:32.531Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Given the short time frame, this is likely due to changes in diet or activity level rather than inescapable genetic destiny.

Those are not the only possibilities. For example, it's been hypothesized that obesity might be linked to some now-ubiquitous chemical exposure that messes with human hormone balances. If it's a novel environmental factor, some people might be especially genetically susceptible or resistant to the effect.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-06-01T11:04:18.142Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

The most known ubiquitous chemical that messes with human metabolism is sugar.

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-06-01T09:24:21.585Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Losing weight and keeping it off is really difficult. It's pretty rare for people to maintain a weight loss over a number of years. I can't find reliable stats right now, but I believe the numbers are 10% regain within 1 year, and after 5 years only a very small number remain at a lower weight. I'm not , however, sure if metabolism is the reason or not.

This article is interesting.

comment by huh · 2013-06-01T15:14:22.245Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Lots of people have system 1 processes governing calorie intake and expenditure that are maladaptive within their current environment. It's possible to overrule these maladaptive impulses with system 2, but that imposes lots of cognitive load so most people are only able to sustain such efforts for a short time before reverting.

The article describes the common experience of people who temporarily go on medically supervised diets. Once they are left to their own devices, bereft of the external support and close supervision, they rely entirely on ongoing effort from system 2 to regulate their intake and expenditure. This eventually fails when limited system 2 resources get allocated to other tasks leaving system 1 to prevail.

Wealthy people can reliably obtain good long-term outcomes by hiring a nutritionally savvy chef and a good personal trainer, thereby creating an durable external regulatory system that doesn't require ongoing conscious supervisory effort from their system 2.

Of course it is unfair that some people's system 1 drives are wildly maladaptive, while others' require only minor correction. File a support ticket to the Blind Idiot God. If you choose not to wait for the bug to be patched, however, then you must spend your system 2 effort wisely. Spend it upfront to impose prudent structure and routine around diet and exercise with the goal of minimizing the day-to-day, minute-to-minute supervisory effort required.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-02T10:47:40.056Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've been into fat acceptance for quite some years, and more than a little irritated at the idea that emotional problems are a major cause of people being fat.

I knew I ate somewhat more than I was hungry for, but it wasn't a lot and didn't seem like it was worth the trouble to fight.

I read some Eric Franklin-- probably in his Relax Your Neck, Liberate Your Shoulders: The Ultimate Exercise Program for Tension Relief, but possibly his Dynamic Alignment through Imagery-- about how the ribs connect to the breastbone, and I realized that I was holding my shoulders up all the time. I was able to lower my shoulders and found an immediate drop in my anxiety level. I was also doing heartbeat meditation (focus on heartbeat as well as breath) which was probably also helping with anxiety.

In any case, I found to my surprise that my previous usual "I'm fed, but food is still interesting" had changed to "if I'm comfortably fed (in some cases, if I'm mildly hungry), food isn't interesting". I've lost seven pounds with very little effort, and I'm expecting that I'll be able to lose more weight stably.

None of this is relevant to Eliezer's situation with losing weight, but might be of general interest.

comment by Prismattic · 2013-06-01T00:02:29.426Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Exercise can still be beneficial even if an individual isn't metabolically lucky (I wouldn't say privileged -- if we still lived in a world of scarcity rather than abundance it wouldn't be much of a privilege). Some heavy people carry their weight well, because they've exercised, practiced good posture, etc.

comment by jsalvatier · 2013-06-03T02:55:24.723Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Especially given that High Intensity Interval Training (30 second intervals of intense work a few times a week) seems to produce similar results to traditional exercise (video is very interesting).

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-03T14:28:28.229Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That video is actually a great big deal if it's sound, and I hope some other LWers will take a look at it.

It's an examination of the actual health effects of exercise, and as might be expected in this complicated world, "exercise is good for people's health" is excessive simplification. Different kinds of exercise have different effects on various problems, and there's a lot of evidence that exercise is deleterious or useless for a good many people.

Also, while people who say they exercise also say they feel better, this is not the same thing as a proof that exercise will be good for people who aren't exercising.

Exercise at levels which are too low to show up in a lot of surveys (like one minute per day of running for the bus) might actually get a lot of the good effects for people who are benefited by exercise.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T10:06:17.321Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer, I'm trying to lose fat to increase my attractiveness, but I've read on this site that you already have four girlfriends in a polyamorous relationship. Is that true? If it is, how did you achieve that without losing weight? I'm assuming of course that you are overweight given your interest in diets, I've not seen a picture of you.

If I already had 4 girlfriends, to hell with fat. I would just concentrate on staying healthy.

Anyway, if after careful and extended research it would come out that liposuction is the only way to lose fat, and losing fat is a prerequisite for attracting girls, then I would do that, if there were no unreasonable risks.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-03T18:39:31.331Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

High status, enough fame to broadcast across many possibilities, and sufficiently good Harry Potter fanfiction to convey a sense of my personality. (If you like HJPEV's personality you will probably like mine, though we are not the same person.) Currently down to 2 local and 1 East Coast girlfriend, btw. This pathway is not tremendously duplicable, but it was easier for me than learning to dress well or studying light-side pickup because I needed to do the work for other reasons anyway.

Fat is a problem for me because of how it affects things like sleep, and energy during daily work - having your fat cells suck out all the glucose you need is not helpful. If you can lose weight, you should obviously do so. If you haven't yet tried low-carb and Shangri-La, both seem relatively obvious things to attempt; the first seems to have a high success rate and the second is very easy. It's the people telling you to buckle down and use willpower who should be ignored - I know of exactly one case of that working, all other cases of weight loss in my personal experience did not involve what I would consider to be significant willpower.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-06-04T17:56:34.637Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Some years back, I believe you said that working on FAI was too important to leave time for a girlfriend. How has that worked out? Have you found that romantic entanglements detract from your work, or enhance it?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-04T18:06:36.799Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"I ran out of ability to not have a girlfriend" would be the real answer. Some labor complementarity, some time costs, doesn't matter much from my perspective because I ran out of ability not to have a girlfriend. I don't regret the dedicated labor I put in up until that point, back when being alone didn't seem like much of a problem.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-04T18:42:18.371Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No time for hedonism except exactly enough to maintain the meat.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-06-04T14:26:41.932Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Currently down to 2 local and 1 East Coast girlfriend, btw.

Oh no! Eliezer no longer has one girlfriend for each of the Harry Potter houses. I wonder which one he is missing.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-04T08:38:03.483Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

High status, enough fame to broadcast across many possibilities, and sufficiently good Harry Potter fanfiction to convey a sense of my personality.

Huh, I see. May I ask you if those girls just proposed them to you, or did you actively searched and seduced them? I understand that's a fairly personal question, I'm just trying to understand if I can copy a portion of your behaviour.

Currently down to 2 local and 1 East Coast girlfriend, btw.

Poor Eliezer :p

This pathway is not tremendously duplicable, but it was easier for me than learning to dress well or studying light-side pickup because I needed to do the work for other reasons anyway.

Yes, I've read HPMOR up to chapter eighty-something and I really liked it, maybe one day you should tell other people who want to start writing how to do it correctly.

f you can lose weight, you should obviously do so. If you haven't yet tried low-carb and Shangri-La, both seem relatively obvious things to attempt

I will certainly try, with even more focus. But I doubt Shangri-la can work for people who have been overweight for a long time, their leptin loop is far too off-track to be changed by such weak stimuli. I don't remember where but I've read that hypothalamus can develop leptin resistance.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-04T08:46:49.864Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I brute-forced the other side of the problem (status/fame/impression) hard enough that I never learned to search and seduce. Sometimes contemplating this makes me feel very lazy, but heck, brute-forcing the other side of that took a lot of work. It was not the minimum-effort pathway if that had actually been the primary goal.

I was overweight for a long time before I lost 20 pounds on Shangri-la, after which it never worked again, but they were a nice 20 pounds to lose.

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-06-03T10:22:22.647Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've read on this site that you already have four girlfriend in a polyamorous relationship. Is that true? If it is, how did you achieve that without losing weight?

Some women prefer overweight men, and some don't mind dating overweight men. If I'm honest I'm more likely to be attracted to slimmer men (certainly most of the men I've dated are slimmer), however I have been attracted to fat guys in the past, if they have other attractive qualities (being smart, amusing, relaxed about sex, for instance).

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T10:33:23.773Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You are one of the few commenters who indeed didn't suggest to lose weight. Based on your experience, what would you suggest a fat guy should concentrate on if he wanted to result attractive?

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-06-04T07:40:20.576Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think concentrating on improving social skills and learning to dress better are important. Regarding social skills, if you suffer from social anxiety, CBT, mindfulness and antidepressants work well. Apart from that, I don't really know, as my social skills improved without a great deal of effort, but good self help advice is probably the way to go. I also don't know a great deal about men's fashion, but googling "how to dress for overweight men" brings up lots of results. A word of caution though - after getting internet fashion advice check how things look with a friend!

I think losing weight is also good idea, but you may not be able to lose it sustainably, so doing other things as well is important. Recently, I've wanted to look better. I am going to try to lose weight (I don't have a great deal to lose, but I'd look better if I dropped a few kilos), but the first thing I did was buy some new clothes and get a new haircut.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-04T08:44:23.311Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

At the moment I cannot really assess my social skills, but I don't think I'm terribly anxious. If my plans come to fruition, I'll have a good environment where to practice socializing. Although I suspect that amiably chatting with girls won't bring me the results I'm searching for :)

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-06-03T14:39:37.769Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a really great guy! Didn't I tell ya baby? I am Zaphod Beeblebrox Eliezer Yudkowsky!

comment by wedrifid · 2013-06-01T20:20:04.616Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

... losing weight is probably impossible for you short of Adipotide

Is Adipotide something you are considering using yourself? I recall you mentioning it previously and from what I can tell the research so far is promising, albeit scant.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-06-01T20:37:14.824Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's currently in a Phase 1 trial, see here. Prohibitin Targeting Peptide 1 = Adipotide.

Phase 1 trial means that "researchers test an experimental drug or treatment in a small group of people (20-80) for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects", so it's designed for establishing safety only (although secondary data may be gathered).

Here's the press release from the substance's owner, Arrowhead. Excerpt:

Multiple independent [animal!] studies with Adipotide have demonstrated that obese rodents lose up to 30% of their body weight after only 28 days of treatment while lean animals show no weight loss. Studies have also shown that obese animals undergo rapid improvement in pro-diabetic metabolic markers, including significantly improved insulin sensitivity, improved glucose tolerance, and a reduction in serum triglycerides after only 2-3 days of treatment. Adipotide has been further studied in non-human primates, and it has been reported that after 28 days of treatment obese rhesus monkeys lost an average of 11% of their body weight, experienced a reduction in body mass index and abdominal circumference, and showed marked improvements in insulin resistance, a marker for type II diabetes. These data were published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine in November 2011 (Sci Trans Med 3, 108-112 (2011) DOI: 10.1126/scitraslmed.3002621).

However, that phase 1 trial is the only study using the substance with humans. Just that study will run until May 2016, and it's using prostate cancer patients. It'll be a while ...

Edit: An excerpt from a critical comment about the cited paper, published by the same journal:

The authors of the study conclude that their findings in primates establish adipotide as a prototype for a new class of candidate drugs that may be useful for treating obesity in humans. The data presented in their paper (Fig. 5C and fig. S3), however, could instead reflect a reduction in food intake induced directly by adipotide that resulted in body weight reduction. (...) This strong reduction in food intake in the absence of an increase in energy expenditure is more than sufficient to explain the reduction in white adipose tissue and body weight reported in this study. The fact that the reduction in food intake lasted at least 1 week after cessation of adipotide treatment suggests that there may be a toxic effect of adipotide.

... and the response by the authors of the original paper:

(...) an independent report that carefully assessed the effects of adipotide on obese rodents unequivocally concluded that the observed decrease in food intake was not the result of nonspecific visceral illness. (...) The primary event appears to be ligand-directed vascular targeting with subsequent peripheral remodeling of white adipose tissue and an increase in peripheral metabolism. Another potential mechanism, a hypothalamic feedback loop, has been (...) empirically demonstrated, but the central molecular signal remains to be identified. Several recent reports indicate that mechanisms of satiety and satiation are influenced by many factors. Some of these factors could be initiated by the targeted destruction of white adipose tissue followed by a consequent increase in peripheral metabolism and a decrease in food intake. Most recently, a study has established that adipotide improves glucose tolerance independent of body weight and food consumption in obese mice, further supporting our proposed mechanism for the observed effects of adipotide.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-06-02T08:19:36.294Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

However, that phase 1 trial is the only study using the substance with humans. Just that study will run until May 2016, and it's using prostate cancer patients. It'll be a while ...

It'll be a while before it is first prescribed by a doctor. Acquiring and consuming it is a whole different question. In fact, promising outcomes from the human trial could lead to the substance itself becoming more difficult to acquire and consume. Or at least less legal. Thankyou FDA (and equivalents). That said, current methods of acquiring the substance make cost a significant factor, as well as lacking the benefits of regulatory oversight.

Past comments by Eliezer lead me to model him as someone who would be averse to taking this kind of risk. He (not unjustifiably) considers his current state to be highly valuable and so has a lot to lose relative to the potential gain. Someone with less to lose but using the same decision algorithm may be more likely to take such risks.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-06-02T19:41:54.989Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Acquiring the substance may be simpler than I thought. This thread contains an interesting discussion with an apparent chemist about how to have the polypeptide custom-made, in some countries (e.g. Norway) it's not even patented (yet?). Apparently you can order at some of the same places the researchers order their stuff from, complete with mass spec data as verification, at comparatively low prices -- certainly lower than what the official drug will sell for.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-06-03T04:14:21.984Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

at comparatively low prices -- certainly lower than what the official drug will sell for.

Lower? Really? That's surprising. All the previous discussions of custom synthesis sources I had encountered had prohibitive pricing due to lack of economics of scale. ie $6,000 for a cycle.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-06-03T05:20:05.668Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'd be very surprised if the patent holder sold a full cycle for $6k or less. Antibodies (think cancer drugs) aren't on the order of magnitude as expensive to produce as they're sold for, either. Patients will pay whatever they can if the non-human primate results transfer to humans.

comment by DavidAgain · 2013-06-02T08:06:26.191Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Trouble with this is that, while there may be people who genuinely 'can't lose weight' there are definitely loads of people who would describe themselves as having tried all sorts of diets, haven't lost weight, but do lose weight when they take up the right diet/exercise. Which often means ACTUALLY FOLLOWING pretty much any diet/exercise regime.

Unless you have solid reasons to believe that most people who claim to be 'unable to lose weight' or that 'diets don't work' actually have this particular metabolic issues, telling them that they should go to medical approaches or give up entirely is pretty terrible advice: you're encouraging people to give up on something that could improve their quality of life.

If you think it's a common problem, the advice should be to have a period of very focused and well-observed efforts (drawing on all the productivity/motivation hacks on this site amongst others) to at least see whether there's something that works for you: if there is, it's good to know!

On a sidenote: while it might work in specific scientifically/evidentially led communities who already respect you, I suspect very strongly that a random very overweight person going around telling everyone thinner they are 'metabolically privileged' would not increase their attractiveness...

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-02T19:27:23.610Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

In my experience, any diet or exercise comes with an unlimited number of excuses from various different people for how you might not be doing it exactly right. Oddly enough, when the diet (temporarily) works on somebody, they don't bother to check whether every tiny thing was done according to their own playbook. Thus the hypothesis "this diet doesn't actually work for everyone" is prohbited.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-03T01:33:23.183Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I realize it would be insufficient compensation, but has bumping up against the religion of weight loss led you to find out anything new about biases, or was it all covered by trying to convince people of the dangers of UFAI?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-03T03:08:42.009Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The latter.

comment by DavidAgain · 2013-06-03T04:33:25.155Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not arguing that every (or any) particular diet is perfect for everyone. I'm objecting to your claim that 'if you've tried a couple of diets and failed then you probably can't lose weight'. That's a hell of a strong factual claim, and if it's wrong then it's incredibly unhelpful. So what's the evidence? From what I can make out the case is 1) you believe there's strong evidence that it's nigh-impossible for a few people (mostly yourself?) 2) lots of people try fail 3) lots of different methods are put forward and lots of crap is talked about it.

I imagine that the same points are true for plenty of things that lots of people set out to do but which are difficult: learning a language, becoming a good cook, proficiency at an instrument, stopping procrastinating, getting a well-paying job... The last place I'd expect to see a counsel of despair would be here, tbh.

If there is stronger evidence that I'm missing, I'd be massively interested... and obviously you can ignore all the above!

comment by CasioTheSane · 2013-06-05T08:11:21.650Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Here's four other "weight loss hacks" that are at least as worth trying as low carb or shangri-la.

Low food reward diets: Seduced by Food: Obesity and the Human Brain by Stephan J. Guyenet

carb back-loading + high intensity lifting: Extreme Diet Hacking With Tech: How Cheesecake Made Me Leaner And Stronger With Carb Backloading

Intermittent fasting + high intensity lifting: The Leangains Guide

higher carb paleo: The Perfect Health Diet

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-06-04T11:23:56.149Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

googles Shangri La Man,I'll definitely try that before I try intermittent fasting. The only low carb diet I've looked at is Atkins, and it just sounds really unpleasant, but I'll look at paleo.

comment by hedges · 2013-06-01T19:12:31.080Z · score: 0 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Weight loss is not easy. It's ridiculously hard for many people, and that's awful. I know this from personal experience too, but I'm sure anyone would agree. However, it is impossible to not lose weight if a person eats below his total daily energy expenditure. Not losing weight in this scenario is comparable to taking your car on a drive and finding out it doesn't consume fuel.

Coming to the conclusion that weight loss is impossible requires extraordinary proof. Attempted scientifically dubious diets are weak evidence. Two months of eating below one's TDEE while tracking everything with a digital scale is a minimum.

Do you mean "impossible" in the psychological sense? In that case medical interventions to remove fat directly are inadvisable as the fat will simply be regained, psychological treatment is required instead.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-01T19:26:06.554Z · score: 8 (14 votes) · LW · GW

There is no thermodynamic law stating that fat cells must release fat just because your body needs it. If you're built so that weight loss is impossible and you try eating less, your metabolism slows down - possibly in much the same way it would as if you tried eating less and you had no fat cells whatsoever. I can't cite studies but wouldn't be particularly surprised to see that muscle gets cannibalized instead of fat being lost, if you try to eat less than the most slowed metabolism needs. And if most metabolically disprivileged people stop trying to eat below their minimal metabolic rate before doing significant damage to themselves, that's just the survival instinct kicking in. I would seriously not be surprised to find that fat people have starved to death without their fat cells releasing fat, and blinded by preconceptions, nobody managed to notice or note down when this occurred. But I would expect that to be rare - most people, if their body tells them they're starving to death, will eat. This gets cited as weakness of will.

Metabolically privileged people assume that if you eat less, your fat cells will release fat. (Bitter laughter.) No. We don't have energy storage units like you do, we have energy retention units. Calories go in, they don't come out. Or if they do, it's on special occasions we don't understand how to predict or trigger, and which don't have any obvious relation to attempts to eat less or exercise more. The laws of thermodynamics do not require that a physical fat cell physically release stored lipids when you eat less or exercise more - and if your fat cells are malfunctioning, they just won't.

In that case medical interventions to remove fat directly are inadvisable as the fat will simply be regained, psychological treatment is required instead.

This is simply wrong. If you start out metabolically disprivileged, medical interventions to directly remove fat result in reduced appetite as your fat cells no longer suck glucose and fatty acids out of your bloodstream.

comment by huh · 2013-06-02T03:50:46.399Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I would seriously not be surprised to find that fat people have starved to death without their fat cells releasing fat, and blinded by preconceptions, nobody managed to notice or note down when this occurred. But I would expect that to be rare - most people, if their body tells them they're starving to death, will eat. This gets cited as weakness of will.

What outcomes would this metabolic hypothesis predict for obese people who undergo gastric bypass surgeries which render them physically incapable of eating much? What percentage of these patients would be expected to die of malnutrition? What effect on their body composition would be expected?

After working out the predictions of this hypothesis, are they consistent with what actually happens?

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-02T11:02:30.195Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

One of my friends who'd had weight loss surgery found that her treatment for pneumonia didn't work until they figured out that she wasn't absorbing as much of her oral antibiotics as people without the surgery would. I expect that sort of error is fairly common.

I've heard that there's a 30% risk of alcoholism after WLS, and this is backed up by what I've heard anecdotally.

The usual theory is "trading one addiction for another", but it isn't proven that people who are get WLS are that likely to be addicted to food. I've heard that the surgery makes alcohol hit faster, and that makes it a more interesting drug. I've wondered whether alcohol is simply a very compact way of getting calories. Some people find they have less appetite after WLS, but some don't.

comment by jklsemicolon · 2013-06-02T03:12:55.467Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I would seriously not be surprised to find that fat people have starved to death without their fat cells releasing fat, and blinded by preconceptions, nobody managed to notice or note down when this occurred.

Out of curiosity, I googled, and indeed it turns out that some of the heaviest people on record died of starvation.

comment by JQuinton · 2013-06-04T20:03:56.740Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A lot of diets only focus on what you eat, and not your general lifestyle when your general lifestyle is the determining factor. If you eat healthy and exercise correctly, but only get 4-5 hours of sleep every night, you will not lose weight. And without the exercise part, you will probably gain weight even if you are eating "healthy". There's also the risk of sleeping too much also being linked to weight gain. Burning the midnight oil every now and then is ok, but making a habit of it definitely is not.

I used to stay up late coding all the time, because laying in bed about to go to sleep for some reason makes my brain think of solutions, and then I would only get about 4 hours of sleep pretty consistently. That scumbag brain meme comes to mind.

IIRC there are some other lifestyle choices that are linked to being overweight, like having a long commute. A long commute is probably putting yourself under a lot of stress hormones like cortisol for extended periods of time, and cortisol levels are linked to unhealthy weight gain.

comment by hedges · 2013-06-01T20:29:45.202Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That does sound very sensible. I stand corrected.

Can anyone recommend any further reading on the subject?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-01T20:36:29.380Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It'd be nice to have a standard collection of reading. What came to mind offhand on the specific topic of metabolism slowdown / fat cell energy vampirism is this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?pagewanted=all

Although when I actually talk to others who are trying to lose weight, a very common comment is, "I'm eating much less on but my weight isn't going down at all!" Which is worse than what this article reports on - everyone who stayed in the study lost weight on 550 calories/day, but "Some people dropped out of the study" which you would kinda expect if those were the obese people whose fat cells weren't releasing fat at all.

comment by coffeespoons · 2013-06-17T17:05:41.235Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've posted some exerpts from another possibly relevant article here:

http://lesswrong.com/lw/hpz/open_thread_june_1630_2013/96na

comment by Lumifer · 2013-06-04T20:42:08.269Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Any links to data and/or evidence of not burning any fat when in energy deficit? Normally humans burn both fat and muscle when energy from food is insufficient (the ratio depends on a bunch of factors) -- I would be very surprised to see people not lose (some) fat when in prolonged caloric deficit.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-02T10:04:57.367Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What you're calling "metabolically privileged" is, for the most part, the ability to lose weight unsustainably.

comment by Zaine · 2013-06-01T22:07:11.894Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If you undergo ketosis your humoural triglycerides will be lysed.

Other people have written much on undergoing ketosis for weight loss, if you're interested; beware though that much of their weight loss comes from loss of glycogen and water stores. Keeping yourself hydrated mitigates the latter, but liver glycogen stores will be depleted. Absent readily available glycogen, your body will break down humoural trigylcerides as it is your only remaining source of energy; glycogen stored in your muscles is left untouched lest you exercise extreme physical exertion. I now speculate, but at this point your body has become accustomed to using fats as its main energy source. If you enter into any sort of fasted state, be it through a caloric deficit, intermittent fasting, sleeping, etcetera, your body will lipolyse adipose cells for energy; this must happen or you will die - whatever prevented this previously will have been circumvented. Actually, if verily your body is so stubborn it won't touch your adipose tissue, first you'd lose your skeletal muscle - then you'd die.

These are the physiological properties - if they don't apply to you, then whatever genetic mutation causes your body's nonconformity is unknown and I'd venture to guess has other effects as well.

If anyone tries this, pay attention to how fruity your urine/breath smells. If it becomes an overpowering scent, your blood pH may be too high. Either stop or take measures to rebalance your pH.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-01T22:48:21.805Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

A zero-carb diet for a couple of weeks did not produce any ketosis as measured by a ketosis stick. Also lipolysis != dead fat cells.

comment by jimrandomh · 2013-06-04T20:28:27.655Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A zero-carb diet for a couple of weeks did not produce any ketosis as measured by a ketosis stick.

The most likely explanation is that you were eating a large amount of excess protein, most of which turns into glucose before it turns into ATP, and this was supplying (or nearly supplying) your nerve cells' energy needs and inhibiting ketosis.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-02T10:02:51.369Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Lack of ketosis supplies at least part of an explanation of what's going on with your metabolism. A fast google doesn't supply any information about why ketosis might not happen, but it seems like a topic worth researching.

comment by Zaine · 2013-06-02T04:05:01.076Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

[L]ipolysis != dead fat cells.

Of course.

If you have too many amino acids in your blood your body doesn't need to undergo ketosis. The generally recommended ratio is 65% fat or higher, %30 protein or less, and %5 carbohydrates or less.


Of course.

Sorry, I just realized we had a point of confusion due to a lack of clarity in my expression. I hope my edits are clearer.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-06-02T07:57:40.245Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you undergo ketosis your fat cells will be lysed. Anecdotal reports aside, physiologically that must happen unless you are incapable of it (a genetic mutation which would - speculatively - have far-ranging effects).

Why must that happen? Ketosis means that lipolysis is occuring. Lipolysis does not inherently require that fat cells must be lysed as a physiological inevitability. ie. The fat that is to be broken down can itself come from diet instead of the lysing of fat cells.

comment by Zaine · 2013-06-02T17:21:08.525Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You're right - I wasn't expressing myself thoroughly. I had the latent assumption of a caloric deficit, which as Eliezer has stated might not be enough to trigger breakdown of fat cells in some people. If the default fasted state of those people does not effect adequate catabolisation of their fat stores, then perhaps altering their body's typical means of energy production would trigger lipolysis not just of humoural triglycerides but adipose cells as well when in a fasted state - exempli gratia through a caloric deficit, intermittent fasting, etcetera.

comment by jimrandomh · 2013-06-04T20:45:23.582Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would seriously not be surprised to find that fat people have starved to death without their fat cells releasing fat, and blinded by preconceptions, nobody managed to notice or note down when this occurred.

This happens all the time. We give it a different name depending which cell type starts dying first. Usually it's heart muscle, in which case we call it heart disease, but sometimes it's nerve cells (alzheimers) or the immune system (cancer). General death of a cell type can have many different causes, so it's easy to avoid acknowledging this one in particular.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-06-01T20:13:09.006Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

However, it is impossible to not lose weight if a person eats below his total daily energy expenditure.

This is true if you either:

  • Define "losing weight" such that it includes weight loss due to the decay or cremation of your corpse after death by starvation. Or,
  • Observe that if if a body dies rather than burn fat to live then "technically it hasn't expended more energy than was eaten has it? Therefore it doesn't qualify as a counter-example!"

Without such stretching of interpretation, however, it is false, misleading and all too common advice.

comment by Cthulhoo · 2013-05-31T13:37:57.132Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've also been told multiple times by multiple sources that women values confidence, competence and leadership. I understand the confidence part in being able to express without embarassment your interest (but still in a socially graceful manner), but I would really like pointers about what area of my life I could engage to become more competent or a leader. In what domains women like competence/leadership?

It would be useful to know what's your job. I've gained a lot of confidence with people in general since I left the Unversity (used to be a physicist) and went to work to a private firm where I have to take responsibility with the customers all the time. In general: practice makes better, find a way to practice interaction with people and you will become better at it. In addition, being good at your job is usually a self-esteem boost, that reflects in your everiday behavior.

My only hobby at the moment are the game of Go and dabbing in math/logics/AI, which, as fascinating as they are, are seldom considered very attractive.

This seems realy limiting, I'm sure there's gonna be more. It doesn't need to be a proper hobby, just something you're interested in. Do you read books? Watch movies? Follow the news? Have some funny story to share? It should be enough to break ice at least. Other than that, sometimes topics are as interesting as you make them be. I've entertained girls talking about particle physics, economics models, Dunbar number and yes, even AI related stuff.

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-05-31T14:10:47.872Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

AI and economics models got my attention... where those girls rationalists? Lovers of academic content?

If the answer is no for both, I really would like to know how you did it....

comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2013-05-31T15:02:31.135Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have had surprisingly positive reactions from talking passionately about utilitarian population ethics and the Repugnant Conclusion.

(As a side note, "Utilitarian Population Ethics and the Repugnant Conclusion" would be a pretty badass band name.)

comment by Alsadius · 2013-05-31T16:10:13.931Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'd go with just "The Repugnant Conclusion" for a band name.

comment by Cthulhoo · 2013-06-01T10:49:48.239Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

passionately

Answering to diegocaleiro, I think this is the key. Be passionate about the topics that spark your interest, try to transmit how awesome they are. Often people are more lazy and scared by unknown and possibily complicated topics, but if you manage to make things accessible to them, they will be genuinely interested. Then it's also up to your ars oratoria, of course. I have a weird sense of humor and tend to interject the more serious discussion with jokingly remarks, this helps releasing the pressure if the topic gets too complicated.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-31T20:28:35.964Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It may depend on which side of the Atlantic you're on.

comment by cousin_it · 2013-05-31T13:02:54.521Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Are you Italian? Girls in Russia love Italian guys. Just saying :-)

For gaining confidence, I recommend any full contact sport. But do some Starting Strength first. That should help with weight loss too.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-05-31T13:30:29.800Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect that people who compete in full contact sports tend to have more confidence than people who don't, but I think a lot of that is selection effect, not just a matter of who thinks it sounds fun in the first place, but who's willing to put up with it over an extended period of time. I think the set of people participating in full contact sports may become more confident over time partly by adaptation, but partly by attrition. They're not for everyone.

comment by Prismattic · 2013-05-31T22:43:30.519Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't presume to speak for others, but I definitely became more confident after taking up judo. I'm not sure if that generalizes to other sports, but developing the ability to do things that look sort of impossible before you are taught them can do wonders.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T09:25:44.947Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Are you Italian? Girls in Russia love Italian guys. Just saying :-)

Ahah, thanks for the tip. Yes, I'm Italian, but I have a bit of prejudice against Russian girls, they seem to search more the money and relocation possibility offered by gullible Italians. I might just suggest them to go for German guys, they just live in a better economy, plus it's still Europe ;)

For gaining confidence, I recommend any full contact sport.

I've always been fascinated by them, but with my fitness level at the moment I can only hope for Kung fu Panda style fighting.

comment by hyporational · 2013-06-01T06:22:47.854Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I say optimize for health and longevity, but I'm biased in that regard. Physical health is instrumentally useful for almost anything else you do. You will be more confident, you will be smarter, you will build desirable traits of self control, you will look better, and you will be more attractive.

There's a lot of strong opinions about dieting and exercise floating around here. I'd say be a good "bayesian" and really try the status quo advice first, don't rationalize yourself around it, and see for yourself. It's a relatively small amount of suffering, compared to the possible benefits, about one month at a time to see what works and what doesn't. You don't have to go on for months with something that doesn't work, but you can't possibly know what works unless you really give your best.

Obligatory disclaimer: consult a doctor/nutritionist before you try any of the following. Optimized for brevity, not completeness, novelty or politeness:

Common, relevant conditions that could hinder your plans: diabetes, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, low hemoglobin, joint and back problems.

You need a plan written down, and you need to stick to it. It needs to be long term, realistic: calories in, calories out. Healthy weight loss is about max 0,5 kg of fat a week, roughly (see below) 3500 kcal. You'll need to adjust and estimate your current stable state calorie consumption and you need a scale for this, keep track of what you eat. When you lose weight, your energy consumption decreases. The slower you go, the easier it is.

It's useful to be accountable to someone else, not necessarily in person. If you need to reduce fat consumption, orlistat helps you to be accountable to your bowel. A journal and a weight/food log help you to be accountable to your future self. If you have diabetes, some of the drugs can help you lose weight. Learn about the psychology of habits, healthy living is all about them.

Many stimulants are well known hunger suppressants: caffeine, nicotine, modafinil are examples. Problem is, these could hinder your sleep. If you have trouble sleeping because of hunger, weigh the calories towards the evening.

Very low calorie diets expose you to deficiencies, you will be very hungry and tired, and there is a high chance of relapse. There are ready-made preparations for VLCD and there are supplements to complete your own regimen. If you want to torture yourself, this is the way to go.

Try low impact activities 3-5 hours a week with low-moderate intensity to increase energy consumption, cardiovascular health and strength while protecting your joints: swimming, rowing, cycling, calisthenics, most weight lifting, etc. Even if you don't lose any weight at all, low impact exercise is beneficial.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-01T09:17:38.753Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You need a plan written down, and you need to stick to it. It needs to be long term, realistic: calories in, calories out. Healthy weight loss is about max 0,5 kg of fat a week, very insanely roughly (plain wrong?) 3500 kcal.

3500 kcal/week i.e. 500 kcal/day is the figure I've usually seen about that and IME it's generally roughly correct. What's “insane” about that?

comment by hyporational · 2013-06-01T16:35:39.782Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The hyperbole is a bit of out of place, not sure why I needed to use it. I guess I tried to say that using that 3500 kcal figure to predict 0,5 kg weight loss per week on constant basis will probably be inaccurate unless constant adjustment is used. The weight loss will be nonlinear and smaller than expected.

See this and search for "3500". The article also includes a neat weight loss predictor, that uses a pretty complicated model. If you play around with it, you'll see what I mean.

What do you think?

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-09T08:38:59.088Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, in the long run there are second-order effects.

But if you're going to predict your weight one year from now to within a couple pounds, you'd have to take into account your amount of fidgeting, your consumption of caffeine, the temperature, and the phase of the moon. Hence the Hacker's Diet advice to keep track of your weight regularly, so that if you're losing weight too fast or too slowly for whatever reasons you can adjust your diet to compensate.

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-05-31T13:54:13.305Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I wrote a text a few weeks ago about how to use evolution for that

I do think I know a lot about this, so I'll try the style: be harsh, say what is priority and what ain't, leave, hope for the best.

1) Don't wait until you are thin to start optimizing your conversation, but indeed, loose weight as soon as possible. 2) Don't move into a city where to get a girl you depend on a car if you don't have a car. Everyone underestimates practical issues. 3) If getting strong by lifting weights is "pain" for you, do only shoulder sides and neck sides, all the rest of the exercise should be aerobic. 4) Make no mistake, getting thin is unbelievably hard for most people. Just to avoid going fat I go on the scale every single day at least once (Which works well for many, like learning every single day I eat pasta or chocolate or cookies, I wake up about 800 grams heavier...)

But here is the real advice:

For Long-terming Men: Stop freaking out about financial status. Find a place where you are among the great ones in something, specially kindness, dependability, physical constitution, and symmetry which guys think of less frequently than Successful startups or Tennis worldchampions. If you are hot, use short-term, women are particularly more prone to switching from short to long-term. Get a dog, show you are able and willing to take care of something unspeakably cute and adorable. Be ambitious in your projects, show passion. While ambitious and passionate, also make sure she realizes (truly) that you notice things about her no one else does, find out her values, talk about shared ones, and be non aggressively curious about all of them. Show her kindness in small gestures that need not cost a lot, such as time consuming hand-made presents. Test OkCupid and see if it works for you. Memorize details about her personality, assure her you can be loving specifically to her. Postpone sex a little bit. May sound hard, but is a reliable indicator that you won't change her for the next that quickly. Rationally override any emotion you may have regarding her sexual behavior, show you are not agressive and jealous, thus making her "(be) (a)lieve unconsciously" that you will not kill her in an assault of hatred when she sleeps with hypothetical another man whose child will never exist and get some years of schooling from you. If you think you can tell the wheat from the chaff, separate the PUA stuff that works for long-term, if not, read softer confidence/influence/seduction material. Use oxytocin inducing media (TV series and romantic movies). Rest assured, there are more women looking for long-term men than the opposite, aid the odds by going places. Show sympathy, kindness (to others as well) and dependability whenever you can.

Which comes from using evolution for that Just in case you need validation for this too, I read more evo psych then I do anything else, and despite a tendency to be heavy weighted (which is contained) I have had systematic success with going from about a 4 to an 8.5-9.0 attractive for ladies (for guys I used to be about 7, not sure where I stand currently because I'm near 98% straight these days, unfortunately). Say I'm 70% confident, from memory, that in an environment which is not where people care about wearing gucci, prada, versace, abercrombie, iron hair sticker, I can, over time, attract the most attractive women 90% of the time.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-03T09:52:19.884Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But here is the real advice:

For Long-terming Men:

I have specifically said I'm searching for short-term relatioships. Advice on long term ones wouldn't help, would they?

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-06-03T22:41:58.773Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You say you are overweight and your hobbies indicate you are not the most gregarious person in town. I'd use long-terming behavior because short-terming behavior will not suit you that well (too large a behavioral distance) . But in any case, use the PUA stuff. Even if you can't tell wheat from chaff, will still be good for you.

comment by MrMind · 2013-06-04T08:21:00.560Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd use long-terming behavior because short-terming behavior will not suit you that well (too large a behavioral distance)

I'm very willing to change my behaviour. I don't think it's impossible, and it may be even easier than lose fat...

But in any case, use the PUA stuff. Even if you can't tell wheat from chaff, will still be good for you.

So any product will do? In any case, I'll leave that for last, let's see first what a better fitness level and a more sociable environment will bring.

comment by Will_Newsome · 2013-05-31T12:51:39.153Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This comment used to be full of what I thought was lucid and useful advice, but it was immediately downvoted and so I have replaced the comment with this message. I hope whoever downvoted the original comment was justified in doing so; I urge them to consider that they may be doing harm to the community, for whatever that's worth.

comment by OrphanWilde · 2013-05-31T18:19:54.878Z · score: -4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Personal experience, the best diet I've encountered is this: ~500 calories a day.

That's it. Your goal is to be as full as possible on those 500 calories, however; prioritize protein. 3.1 ounces of very lean meat (96/4 beef, chicken, turkey, etc.), good spices, and some vegetables can get you in (and fill you up!) at ~250 a meal. Drink a glass of water before each meal if you're still unsatiated. (Multivitamins on this diet are -essential-, however.) Allow yourself to eat a little more as necessary.

Start walking. Jog intermittently; increase the amount of jogging as you lose weight. Don't push it, when you're heavier, it's -really- easy to hurt yourself, personal experience speaking here.

Your goal in this period is to lose around a kilogram of weight per week. You'll lose muscle, too, but not as much. After about a month, personally, I was so thrilled with the success of the weight loss I didn't -want- to go off the diet. Food was less tempting than the weight loss.

Once you're thinner, I recommend taking up jogging. (I personally wouldn't, until you're in better shape, just because of the high risk of shin splints, which make what is otherwise a pleasant exercise miserable.)

comment by randallsquared · 2013-05-31T20:43:37.101Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

3.1 ounces of very lean meat

That's a very specific number. Why not just "about 3 ounces (85g)"?

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-06-01T01:55:35.058Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Warning: Extreme low calorie diets tend to be highly willpower sapping. They work for some but crash and burn pretty badly for most.