Your hubby is packing on the pounds. His belly now hangs over his belt and he spends all his spare time on the sofa watching sports.
You’ve tried everything you can think of — dropping hints, suggesting he go on a diet, leaving articles about weight loss around the house, even buying him a membership to the gym. But your efforts only make him surly. He reminds you that you don’t look so hot, either. Meanwhile, his waistline creeps steadily larger.
People get heavy for a variety of reasons. Pregnancy pounds can linger years after a baby’s birth. Work and family commitments delegate exercise to the backseat. Stress and emotional issues increase cravings for carbohydrates and starches. Aging and injuries limit movement. Genetics predispose certain body types to add more upholstery.
Social trends aren’t in our favor. The CDC reports that one-third of all adults in the U.S. are obese. That’s 78.6 million people if you’re doing the math. The vast majority of Americans will be married to someone who is an XXL.
It’s natural to be worried when our loved ones gain excess weight. We’re concerned about their health. They become less physically attractive. It’s impossible for them to participate in activities you once enjoyed together.
Unfortunately, the more closely we try to micromanage their calories, the more likely they are to push back. Our well-meaning efforts are viewed as criticism. Husbands and wives already know they’re heavy. Feeling unloved only makes matters worse and adds marital conflict to the mix.
Wise partners understand this. They stop trying to control their spouses’ dress size. Instead, they opt to be loving and supportive. The emphasis shifts from the scale to the relationship. That’s what matters most.
WHEN A SPOUSE GAINS WEIGHT
Understand the cause of the weight gain. Encourage a complete physical exam to rule out any underlying physical or metabolic problem. Meanwhile, address any emotional issues, such as overscheduling, depression or lack of support that interfere with functioning.
Zip your lips. Never make negative comments about your partner’s weight or appearance.
Choose healthy food. Be a good role model by eating fresh, nutrient-dense meals. Your behavior is bound to rub off.
Limit alcohol. Five ounces of wine has about 120 calories. Too much liquor can decrease inhibitions and lead to overeating. Allow yourself one glass. Then drink water the rest of the meal.
Be active together. Make fitness a family affair. Go for walks on the beach in Pismo. Ride bikes to your favorite coffee shop on Saturday morning.
Be patient. Sometimes weight gain has an obvious trigger — the death of a parent or the loss of a job. Do your best to be supportive until the crisis has passed.
Be positive. Compliment your partner often. Focus on his or her strengths. Your kind words say “I’m with you every step of the way.”