Lots of couples, especially cohabitating or married partners who are very comfortable with one another, have one person who needs to address the weight issues of another. It isn’t merely superficial, although your lover is a reflection of you. It isn’t generally meant to be mean or inconsiderate. It’s because being overweight is bad for your health and they care about their partner. That said, these people often go about it in the wrong manner. So instead of changing their partner’s behavior, perhaps the partner consumes more or takes part in even more unhealthful behavior, like smoking or drinking more due to relationship related stress.
You don’t need some master deception, you don’t need to start writing them checks or doing them favors, and pleading or giving ultimatums are all unlikely to change your partner’s eating habits, exercise regimen and overall health consciousness. Here are some likely scenarios to avoid when addressing weight loss and better ways to do it instead. First, don’t flat out say that they look heavier or have been gaining weight. Instead, start to think about or notice what the cause might be for sudden weight gain. Do they have a thyroid issue? Or is it due to emotional eating, like eating to relieve stress for instance?
Instead of shutting them down with “You’ve gained a lot of weight” ask “Are you okay? Is there something you want to talk about?” Studies have shown that open communication about a problem has curbed emotional eating. When you approach a partner like this it becomes okay to talk about and the problem may in fact be solved. Don’t tell your partner what not to eat. If you see them reaching for the chips instead of a piece of fruit, your statement will feel as though you are judging them. They’ll feel bad about it and it will cause resentment in the relationship. Couples have been known to stop being intimate, stop talking to one another and even split up or get divorced simply due to one person’s monitoring of the other’s diet. Instead of making this kind of statement, why not introduce your lover to healthful alternatives? Salsa and hummus for instance are much healthier than cheese dip or spinach dip. Fruit and vegetables can be made ready to eat in the house. Put out a fruit bowl. Wash and prepare healthy snacks and put them in the fridge. If you introduce your significant other to a healthy alternative, they will likely go for that instead.
In the end, it’s important to love and be there for your partner. Don’t be there parent or cop, be there by their side. Offer them support, caring, nurturing and encouragement. Offer solutions, requests and alternatives instead of demands and you’ll see a whole new partner, trim and healthy, and ready to thank you. For more relationship advice read, Reboot Your Relationship: Restoring Love through Real Communication in a Disconnected World by Joe Whitcomb and Savannah Ellis.