November 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm #727127
I think Amy was way off base suggesting he wants her to lose weight just for looks, as if that is the only reason ever to want a spouse to lose weight. I sympathize with the LW because I want my husband to lose weight for the health aspect; I would rather never be a widow. (And I also happen to think my husband still looks great.)
Thoughts?November 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm #727129
Well… yeah, I think she may have jumped to conclusions there a bit, to assume it’s all about looks. However, she’s not wrong to advise him not to say anything. He said his wife is sensitive to criticism and would be hurt if he brought up her weight. If she’s overweight enough to be at risk for health problems, her doctor must talk to her about it. And yeah, she knows she’s overweight. She has to want to lose weight. He wouldn’t be telling her anything she doesn’t know, AND he’d hurt her feelings and confidence, which wouldn’t be great for their marriage.
Have you talked to your husband about his weight?November 17, 2017 at 4:57 pm #727130
Yup, I have, and our goal is to get healthier together since I could stand to lose a few pounds too (much less than he needs to)– but our goal is primarily better health and not better looks.November 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm #727131
I think Amy was off base as well. He even states in his letter that he thinks his wife is attractive and that his concerns are for her health. He made no mention of being able to love her as she is now, and nothing in his letter came across that way to me.
I don’t know the proper way to talk to a partner or spouse about weight because yeah, it IS a sensitive topic that would hurt just about anyone’s feelings — but I also don’t think it’s a topic married couples should to avoid. Concern over the health of a loved one who has serious weight issues is very real.
As far as the right way to broach the topic, I dunno. It’s a little different, but my sister struggles with her weight due to PCOS. She often feels like my only real family, and I want her to lose weight. I don’t bring it up because I don’t know how. I cook fairly healthy for myself more often than not and invite her over for dinner. I like to work out so I’ll invite her to gym classes. Ultimately, it’s on her to want to lose weight, but I do wonder if it’d make a difference if I told her, “Hey, I care about this, too, because I want you around and don’t want you to die at 50.”November 17, 2017 at 5:46 pm #727132
I *think* it’s easier to have that conversation with a man than a woman, but I’ve never done it either… never had a partner who was overweight. I guess if both people are too sedentary and eating too much, one could take the initiative and say, let’s both be healthier. It’s easier I think for the one who does the cooking (more often the woman) to initiate that.November 17, 2017 at 5:58 pm #727134
My dad struggles with self-acceptance, I think, and as a result has gone through periods of being in very good shape and periods of not giving a shit about himself and being VERY out of shape. My mom pretty much only cares about him as the father of her kids, but she once spurred a fairly long-lasting health and fitness kick by kindly/genuinely but bluntly telling him, “It makes me very sad that you’ve gotten to the point that you’re struggling to bend over and tie your shoes. I’d like you to take better care of yourself.” Or something along those lines. It was frank and honest, and due to their relationship I don’t think she tip-toed around it. Maybe it hurt his feelings. But it worked. The weight always ends up coming back because I guess he doesn’t care enough to make it a lifestyle (it’s hard, I get it), but I think he’ll have more and more health and mobility problems as he continues to age.
As an aside, being raised by someone who didn’t take care of himself made me prioritize it more in my own life. If I ever have a partner who gets to the point of weight-related health issues, I’d speak up, likely in a “let’s do this ‘health’ thing together!” kinda way. Oftentimes, even just losing like 10% of your body weight makes a huge difference.November 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm #727135
Also, re: overweight people knowing they’re overweight. I may be an outlier, but when I graduated from law school, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. If I wasn’t medically obese, I was close to it. (I just Googled it — I was 8 lbs from being medically obese.) I knew I didn’t look good. I knew I didn’t feel good or comfortable in my own skin. But I didn’t realize how bad it was, or how heavy I’d truly gotten, until I’d lost the weight.November 17, 2017 at 7:40 pm #727140
I knew a man who thought his wife was too skinny, so they went together to their family doctor. Turns out his BMI was in the obese range and hers was in the normal range. As society has grown bigger, our perceptions of normal have shifted to thinking overweight BMIs are normal. So I do think one cannot automatically assume that everyone is self-aware of their excess weight. They may just think they have a few extra pounds when they may actually be in the obese range. Some people just don’t go to their doctor or the doctor doesn’t always address it.November 17, 2017 at 8:47 pm #727150
Well, Amy doesn’t look overweight from her picture, so maybe her viewpoint is skewed as to whether an overweight person knows they’re overweight.November 20, 2017 at 10:38 am #727277
I mean, my initial reaction was that yes, people are of course aware when they are overweight. Then I thought harder about my own experiences. I knew I was no longer thin. I knew I’d gained weight. But I didn’t really see how big I’d gotten until I lost the weight. My doctor at the time didn’t press upon me to lose weight. (In hindsight, I think he should’ve.) I also think a lot of people don’t listen to doctors about that kind of thing unless/until they’re having actual weight-related problems.November 20, 2017 at 10:51 am #727278
I know people who had a sudden realization how much weight they’d gained when they saw a picture of themselves. And that actually motivated them to lose weight. But maybe they kind of have blinders on until they get an ah-ha visual like that.
For me, it would be if I went up a size (or more), but with the way vanity sizing is these days, it is probably easier for women to be like, well, I’m still only a size X, that’s not that bad. Or, “I wear a 14 now, I wore a 10 in college,” not acknowledging that clothes have gotten bigger since then.November 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm #727290
I also think part of it is that weight creeps up slowly. I gained about 30 pounds in law school and my brief unemployment stint after the bar exam, which is a lot for someone my height. It took three-and-a-half years for me to get to my heaviest weight, so appearance changes were gradual. I’m sure I noticed I was going up a size every now and again, but since women’s sizes tend to be so inconsistent between brands, I may not have put much emphasis on it.