Life coach and dating expert Quani Boyd has always been a big reader, but she never felt like she could see herself in the stories she read. She decided it was time for plus-size women to become the heroines of their own stories, so she set to writing The Dating Chronicles of a Fat Bougie Chick, a novel she hopes to finish up by March.

We caught up with Quani during a recent photo shoot to see if there was anything she could teach us about dating from her in-the-field research and years of “singleness” coaching. Here’s what she had to say.

1. Be true to yourself

It seems easy enough, but for a lot of women, they feel like they have to play a role in order to be desirable. I think it’s important to not allow that to influence you in dating. Be proud of who you are. If you’re confident, be confident. Eat the way you eat, dress the way you dress, speak the way you speak—just ensure that you’re being true to yourself.

2. Understand your own worth

What I find as a plus-size woman is that a lot of men approach me with the expectation that I have lower standards. That it’s easier. If you don’t set standards and honor yourself, nobody is going to do it for you just because that’s what you deserve. Be very clear about what you want.

3. Set goals before you start

A lot of women feel like they just have to go with the flow, go wherever the other person is leading. So I tell women in general, but specifically plus-size women, that you need to set goals. If the intention is to date, don’t accept anything other than that. If they want to see you, it should be on a date. It’s very important to date with intention, and not just go wherever the tide leads you.

4. Date for the fun of it

Go to a place you enjoy going and where you feel the safest—where you feel like you can most be yourself. I go on dates to arcades all the time because there’s no set time that we have to be there. When I talk to women who are frustrated, I’m like, that’s because you’re putting too many expectations on it. I fully expect when I check my inbox to have 50 messages that are trash. But there’s a good chance that I’m gonna get five or six serious men—and that’s not a bad number. So, I don’t have any expectations going into dating. I date to date. You get to know how to interact in these situations and become a better dater. It’s going to heighten the chance of you meeting the person you want to meet.

Have any great dating tips? Share this post with your advice!