A reader of the blog wrote to point out that I’m probably placing way too much emphasis on having lost a bunch of weight and starting to care for my appearance a few years back. In his experience, he actually had poorer social outcomes back when he looked his physical best. His attitude (“hostile and intolerant”) kept people away. He believes that “Going off your blog I am thinking that your ability to socialise, opinion of yourself, and feelings towards the general population all improved. The physical fitness is just one aspect of what you have improved, and by itself, at least in my experience, it will not make you any friends or influence anyone.”
These are interesting points. 3.5ish years ago was a rather major turning point in my life in a lot of ways. Not only did I start working out, but I also had UPPP surgery to treat sleep apnea and consequentially got much better sleep. I reduced the time I spent on video games, greatly reduced my drinking (I’d been at alcoholic levels for a few years), forced myself to begin to socialize and say “yes” to any requests, and began work on the HPMoR Podcast (having a major life-goal to direct oneself to is really handy).
I think I focus on the physical attractiveness because I never expected to be in good physical shape in my life. I’d come to accept my body, and I still sometimes feel weird in this new one. And I had been seeing research all my life about how beautiful people have all sorts of advantages in life. Losing the weight coincided with better treatment from others, and I immediately paired up the two.
But it was just one factor among many, and it’s entirely possible that I’m placing way too much emphasis on that one, and neglecting the rest. Which would be a big relief. It means once I get old and trollish everyone won’t abandon me immediately, if it’s true.
It really does seem to help at least a little though, especially in first impressions.