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My Wife Is Overweight


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So, I am almost ashamed to be writing here, but I will see how it goes. I love my wife and we have a great marriage. We have four beautiful kids. Even after all the children my wife kept her weight down. She is about 35-40 lbs overweight now. Not because of kids and pregnancy, but because of treats and eating too much. I know she has self esteem issues from it and her blood tests show her at high risk for diabetes and heart disease. I am still attracted to her though not as much as when she was slimmer. We are talking even 5 years ago. She tells me to stay out of it, even when I see her making super poor eating decisions. Interestingly she does exercise a fair amount. Even though she exercises her eating is still out of control. Something snapped when she told me to stay out of her weight issues a few weeks ago. I tried to encourage healthy eating and putting treats aside. I don't see any end to her behavior and I have to stop caring about her as much to stay silent. I have to pass on most of the treats and exercise more to keep my weight down. It seems like my wife is asking me to just accept her and put my feelings aside about her health and how she looks. I am trying to accept her, but I find myself feeling like part of our marriage is slipping away. I pray and try to find guidance, but I don't find my feelings changing yet. Any advice?

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There is a difference between accepting her and loving her and worrying about her health. Love would lead you to do what you can to help her with her health.

It has to be her plan and ideas though.

Suggestion: Sit down with her or write her a letter and tell her your love is strong enough that you want her to be there and fully involved in your life, your kids and your grandchildren and to enjoy it fully for a long, long time.

And then ask her to think about what would be helpful for her and what you can do to support her choices...and then you better follow through and not find other things that are more important for yourself unless you find some who can replace you in an emergency. Living the same diet as she is even when you have the choice not to (at work where she wouldn't know) would help her feel less resentment that you are getting off easier. Keep all treats out of the house (with her agreement). Plan a date each week where she can have a treat meal of something really special rather than low quality stuff. If necessary, start with two or three times of planned treats and then cut down as more control is gained. Maybe it may help to offer to do the shopping. Go out on dates where you do a lot of walking and make sure you both have good shoes so you don't damage them and maybe even do it daily.

Sign up for emails from the mayo clinic to get ideas for recipes and help with dieting and exercise choices.

The hardest part I find in dieting is when the family sees it as a you thing and they see no reason to change their habits so they just keep buying the stuff that I need to avoid or getting it themselves outside the home so I feel deprived.

Heavier weight leads to pain, sleep issues, depression, etc. all things that can make the rest of her life slowly degrade into misery...and some damage can't be undone and it gets harder as one gets older. I found that 50 lbs overweight was when it really started interfering with the quality of life. That may be my level due to my disorder and my feet and knees I have always had problems with.

There are a lot of good treats out there that are healthy. Why does she want food treats instead of putting the money towards something more long lasting? Maybe she is bored or worried.

Edited by calmoriah
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I wish I had good advice, but can relate to how you feel because of wanting different things for my kids when I see how they're living their lives. One of them pretty much is sick of my being concerned or trying to help. Therefore, and it's my daughter, doesn't like to be around me.

So maybe pray about it and think of treating her just as you did when she was skinnier. She knows she has a weight problem, and she will more than likely do something about it. Unless there is something in her past that she hasn't been helped with and treats/food is her fix, or something in the present. She may be in a vicious cycle, where she gets down about her weight, yet treats it with the sweets, etc.

Maybe you could even take her out on fun dates, show her off in public, compliment her. Treat her how you would want her to feel about herself, treat her like that girl you once courted (old fashioned word but works).

Wish I had better advice, just didn't want you to push her away, or like Dgal said, don't let her believe your love is conditional.

Edited by Tacenda
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Hello rtm...

My first reaction to your OP was WHOA!!  This fellow is walking into a mine field...

 

First of all, overeating and not caring is IMO a symptom... there's something going on here rtm, under the surface... I know whereof I speak.  After my husband died, I lost heart in many things, including myself.  I used food for comfort, and thus, packed on some extra pounds... I rocked along like that until I finally came to terms with my being a widow and decided to get back in shape.  As I age it is even more difficult to stay in shape...  

I agree with Calmoriah... the two of you need to sit down and have a serious talk... you will probably have to initiate it.  Take her by the hands... look into her eyes... express your love and concern and ask what you can do to help her... she may resist at first, even tell you she doesn't want to talk about it...  

The question I have  for you is why is your wife out of control?  What is it that is driving this... until she knows and acknowledges what is going on, chances are she will struggle...

I do know that it is not helpful if you turn away from her... If  you have children, are you doing your part to help her with the household, etc?  Does she have free time to herself... at least an hour each day to rejuvenate her spirit... All women need some amount of time each day to be silent inwardly, to "fill the cup" so to speak...

Someone mentioned date nights... and every now and then dress up and take her somewhere special...

By the way, what's YOUR appearance like... how is your personal hygiene... do you smell good, have fresh breath... got a pouch around your middle? 

Do you do little things to surprise her, like flowers or a small gift/book/etc... do you still "court" her?  Do you tell her you love her?  Do you thank her for a meal and say how good it was?  Express appreciation?  Etc Etc Etc... you understand what I'm saying...

 

No, rtm, there's something going on... You really need to work together... and communicate...

 

Good luck... GG

Edited by Garden Girl
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She talked with you just a few weeks ago about it? I would not say a thing about it at this point even if you only talk about the health aspect. It will only come across as disingenuous at this point, especially since your feelings are not only about health.

Just 2 days ago I came out to my husband that I believe I am a food addict and need help, but it is only because I felt safe with him and he has never once made me feel like he loves me less or is less attracted to me because of my weight. I told him that I didn't want to be told, "you can't have that", but I need him not to be bringing home less nutritional food and support me when I say no to the kids making treats etc.

Food is a tough one because you can't go cold turkey and individual foods work differently on different people. Besides, I firmly believe that one of the reasons I am in this position is that 37 years ago medical professionals said I should go cold turkey on sugar when I became a type 1 diabetic instead of moderation that is taught now.

What do you do? Pray. Serve her to increase your love for her. Help her feel loved. Since she already has self esteem issues with this she needs to feel your love first and foremost to be able to trust you.

After awhile when the Spirit whispers to you that she can trust you again then do things to help YOU be healthier. If she does the shopping and doesn't buy healthy snacks then pick some up after work.

One of my problems is those healthy snacks. I enjoy veggies cut up with a little ranch, but I don't enjoy cutting them up. Sometimes I buy them and they sit in my fridge till they go bad. If I cut them as soon as I bring them home and put them on a platter or serving container then all I have to do is pull them out and just sitting on the counter between meal times we all eat better. If my husband saw them in the fridge and cut them up for me and then started munching I would love it. Little things like this would help me a lot.

That stuff will help, but it won't fix everything. She has just got to feel your live for her or she won't trust you. When she is ready to trust you then don't jump on it. Support her healthy choices if you notice changes in her, but says nothing to you about it. ASK what she would like of you if she says something, don't just start giving her advice. If she says, "nothing" then she may want you to stay out of it or may be testing you to see if she can trust you more.

Edited by Rain
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Exercise helps less with weight then is commonly believed. You can't exercise your way out of a bad diet unless you exercise a lot...like athlete level. Building muscle is also better at helping with weight then cardio as it increases your base metabolism. Exercise does have a psychological benefit in that you are likely to eat healthier if you are exercising because exercising after eating a plate of fried chicken is not pleasant.

America has a serious weight stigma. It is almost impossible to talk about the problem without offense. This is a bad state of affairs and is part of the reason so many of us are ballooning in size. In many Asian countries being fat is still seen as bad but telling someone they are looking fatter is not a mortal insult. Even Europe is doing better then we are on this score.

Guess this does not help much. I guess it just kind of sucks. :(

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Exercise helps less with weight then is commonly believed. You can't exercise your way out of a bad diet unless you exercise a lot...like athlete level. Building muscle is also better at helping with weight then cardio as it increases your base metabolism. Exercise does have a psychological benefit in that you are likely to eat healthier if you are exercising because exercising after eating a plate of fried chicken is not pleasant.

 

 

This is very true. The building muscle part really doesn't even apply to women, however The amount of muscle the average women can build without drugs is pretty small. 

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This is very true. The building muscle part really doesn't even apply to women, however The amount of muscle the average women can build without drugs is pretty small.

While it is true that the amount women can't grow is smaller then men by quite a bit unless drugs or odd body chemistry is involved the increased burn for women is measureable and worth trying to achieve.

The change is different. Male weightlifting teams look built. Female weightlifting teams look like track stars (barring those who use steroids and other questionable supplements to increase testosterone.

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I agree with so much said already! My husband goes to the gym nearly everyday and gets after me constantly to go and alludes to me being out of shape or saying things that don't help, but he is being a good example, that is totally making me aware that I need to do better. Which is working far better than his comments here and there. Which seem a little shallow, to me he cares more about looks than my health. Which is my sickness in not trusting him or believing him when he says it's for my health or to prevent dementia. I think Rain nailed it, along with others, it needs to be for her happiness, not just making her husband feel good about a skinny wife. And Readstoomuch, I'm pretty sure that's not you. Just walk the walk and not talk the talk. :)

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I guarantee you that if you keep this up (and she now knows that you are watching her) she will eat more. You have some damage to undo here.

 

I would apologize and make sure that you take her out to dinner and order her a dessert. Tell her she deserves it. Then you be the one to change your eating habits...without saying a word as a silent example. You be the one to never touch sweets or snacks. She will notice. Do you make the meals? One of the worst things is to have to be around food all the time.

 

Her body is telling her she needs to eat. If her blood sugar is going up, that is a symptom. And 40 lbs overweight isn't the end of the world. She is going to have to be the one to make the decisions...she is the one who is feeling hungry (think about it...would you pick up a big piece of cake if your stomach was telling you it was satiated? I'm not talking about occasional holiday overeating kind of things.) Something is off with her body signals.

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America has a serious weight stigma. It is almost impossible to talk about the problem without offense. (

That's because it is most often talked about with judgement and often ignorance, instead of cause and effect. It will take time to get past that history even if we can stop talking about it this way. Edited by Rain
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While it is true that the amount women can't grow is smaller then men by quite a bit unless drugs or odd body chemistry is involved the increased burn for women is measureable and worth trying to achieve.

The change is different. Male weightlifting teams look built. Female weightlifting teams look like track stars (barring those who use steroids and other questionable supplements to increase testosterone.

 

I didn't mean to imply that women shouldn't lift weights, I'm a big fan of of women lifting heavy.  I just think they need to go in with realistic expectations. The psychological benefits of weight lifting alone are worth it.  Now if I could just put all of my own advice to good use! 

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I needed to lose weight. My wife, to support me, did the same diet. I lost 90 pounds (I weigh what I weighed as a misisonary 30 years ago) and she lost 50 pounds.

It worked :)

Awesome countryboy! What you say brings up a couple of important things. One is working together really helps each other in support.

Another is the difference in men and women. It may be that your wife lost all she needed to when she lost half of what you did, but often I find that women have to work harder to lose the same weight. When DH and I have worked together on it I found I had to work twice as hard. It was discouraging to get on the scales and find he had lost twice as much as I did. It was so helpful to me that he recognized my work and cheered me on and found other changes in my body that I didn't see.

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Awesome countryboy! What you say brings up a couple of important things. One is working together really helps each other in support.

Another is the difference in men and women. It may be that your wife lost all she needed to when she lost half of what you did, but often I find that women have to work harder to lose the same weight. When DH and I have worked together on it I found I had to work twice as hard. It was discouraging to get on the scales and find he had lost twice as much as I did. It was so helpful to me that he recognized my work and cheered me on and found other changes in my body that I didn't see.

 

Biologically, women are predisposed to hanging on to extra weight.  It's better for the species when the one who has the babies and typically is in charge of getting them to adulthood survives so us women get to deal with that evolutionary 'blessing'.  :D

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That's because it is most often talked about with judgement and often ignorance, instead of cause and effect. It will take time to get past that history even if we can stop talking about it this way.

That is the thing. There is a sense of mild judgement in other cultures. Being fat is objectively bad for you in just about every way and they know that. We are just far more thin-skinned here in the States. Not sure why we go to pieces when criticized that way. I think it is almost culturally conditioned. We tend to go self-destructive when criticized because that is what we are taught is the proper reaction.

While we make a big deal about excessive body shaming I am in the camp that in a proactive sense it can be good. When I was in my mid-20s and letting myself go I stepped on a scale for the first time in a long time and saw that I was over 215 (I should be around 160-170 depending on muscle mass). I looked at it for a minute, said "screw that", and took steps to change it over the next year.

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So, I am almost ashamed to be writing here, but I will see how it goes. I love my wife and we have a great marriage. We have four beautiful kids. Even after all the children my wife kept her weight down. She is about 35-40 lbs overweight now. Not because of kids and pregnancy, but because of treats and eating too much. I know she has self esteem issues from it and her blood tests show her at high risk for diabetes and heart disease. I am still attracted to her though not as much as when she was slimmer. We are talking even 5 years ago. She tells me to stay out of it, even when I see her making super poor eating decisions. Interestingly she does exercise a fair amount. Even though she exercises her eating is still out of control. Something snapped when she told me to stay out of her weight issues a few weeks ago. I tried to encourage healthy eating and putting treats aside. I don't see any end to her behavior and I have to stop caring about her as much to stay silent. I have to pass on most of the treats and exercise more to keep my weight down. It seems like my wife is asking me to just accept her and put my feelings aside about her health and how she looks. I am trying to accept her, but I find myself feeling like part of our marriage is slipping away. I pray and try to find guidance, but I don't find my feelings changing yet. Any advice?

 

A question aimed mostly at the board's women: If a guy in readstoomuch's situation were to embark on a lifelong program of super healthy eating and rigorous exercise, and if by this new lifestyle he was able to succeed in getting into extremely buff physical condition, if the gentleman never again breathed a word to his wife about her overweight condition and continued to treat her only with kindness, what might the husband's new lifestyle and athletic physique have on his wife's attitude and state of mind? 

Edited by teddyaware
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It would depend a lot imo on whether or not his actions allowed for her to do the same or interfered…was he off at the gym leaving her to deal with the kids and housestuff more, cutting into her time to be able to exercise or do other stuff that she was interested in.

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I feel you, brother. My wife is very overweight, and easily offended. So when people offer benign ideas they maybe she hasn't explored, she automatically feels judged and gets angry. I try to point out that they love her and are just offering up suggestions- then I get the brunt of her anger. And I can't just tell her "Honey, you really haven't tried everything." because that would spin us into a multi-day anger fest. It's hard to love someone so much and want them so much to be healthy and have them get upset at any mention of changing any dietary habits.
 

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I feel you, brother. My wife is very overweight, and easily offended. So when people offer benign ideas they maybe she hasn't explored, she automatically feels judged and gets angry. I try to point out that they love her and are just offering up suggestions- then I get the brunt of her anger. And I can't just tell her "Honey, you really haven't tried everything." because that would spin us into a multi-day anger fest. It's hard to love someone so much and want them so much to be healthy and have them get upset at any mention of changing any dietary habits.

The first time I am subjected to this kind of emotional blackmail I break off the relationship. Do likewise and you can be as successful as me and......oh........oh :(

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