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How to talk to spouse about weight

Discussion in 'Married Couples' started by Dylan J. James, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Dylan J. James

    Dylan J. James New Member

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    Hello. We've been together for 28 years and are in our mid/late forties. I've watched my wife struggle (kind of) with her weight the whole time. 5'1" and about 150 when we met and now about 260. I've been very supportive. I do most of the cooking, shopping, child running around, etc. Support her taking time to exercise. But I've never been pushy or critical about her weight.

    When she hit 225 she angrily said I should have told her she was gaining weight. To be truthful, I never said "I think you are gaining' weight". I did say "let's eat better", "we need to make some better eating choices", " how bout I cook X for dinner". A few times I brought up the topic of caloric deficit and they resulted in knock down drag outs. So, I stopped.

    Now she has trouble walking, back pain, high cholesterol, snoring, swollen joints and everything else that goes with long term obesity. ANd the future looks as bleak.

    Problem is - she thinks she has the problem under control, but all the metrics say otherwise. her weight is still going up (albeit more slowly) and the health issues are getting worse.

    My question is this - What do you say? What do you say when her clothes look 3 sizes too small but they are already 3x so telling her she need a larger size will brign on a breakdown? Or when you cook a garlic roasted chicken with veggies for dinner but she goes in the fridge and pulls out a 16 oz rib eye and eats the whole thing - then has the chicken an hour later? or when you say that feeling hungry an hour after eating a 500 -1000 calories is either (a) not really hunger or (b) some metabolic imbalance but are roundly put down.

    What isthe christian, loving response here?
     
  2. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    +2,218
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    About 4 years ago, my daughter told me that I need to lose a bit of weight, so she told me that she had made an appointment with Jenny Craig, and I am going!!

    So I signed up and over around two years, I lost 40kg. I had to remain at that weight for another year to get the discount they were offering as a reward for keeping the weight off. That was a good three years ago now, and I have largely kept the weight off.

    It was a good thing that my wife was working as well because we would not have been able to afford their food otherwise, but I think it was money well spent. I had to trust the programme, especially when I plateaued. But I was rejoicing when I got to my goal weight.

    Then my daughter told me I needed to go to the gym. She came home from her gym and said that she had made an appointment for me at the local crossfit gym and I am going! I had three good years at that gym before it closed, and did two powerlifting competitions.

    I am now at another gym doing powerlifting training to improve myself further. That's not to bad for a guy who is turning 70 in October!

    By the way, my daughter is a qualified gym trainer, and I love training with her.

    So, honesty is the best policy, but you have to offer a viable way to deal with the weight, and not just empty criticism.
     
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  3. actionsub

    actionsub Mike, he's just this guy, you know?

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    It seems you've tried the Christian, loving response of "speaking the truth in love" and it resulted in fights as you've pointed out. I'm surprised her physician hasn't given her the "come to Jesus" talk by now. Metrics was pretty much all it took to get me on a diet, while nearly getting in a diabetic coma wasn't quite as effective for my wife. Sometimes all you can do is stick by her, because her body will give her a "wake up" call sometime in the form of a heart attack or diabetes.

    Let me suggest, though, that you DO NOT try this...
    Her: Does this dress make me look fat?
    You: No, your big gut does that on its own!

    It won't end well, trust me!
     
  4. Winken

    Winken Jonah !!! Supporter

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    Have a doctor tell her that her weight could result in heart attack, stroke, diabetes, severe gastic disturbances, for starters. You don't tell her, the doctor does. You just chat with him before the appointment, if possible.
     
  5. actionsub

    actionsub Mike, he's just this guy, you know?

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    What he said.
     
  6. *LILAC

    *LILAC Well-Known Member

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    Just tell her the truth and I agree, let a doctor do it. Somehow messages sink through better when someone besides the "loving spouse" says it.
     
  7. Paidiske

    Paidiske Bodily member Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

    +6,345
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    She knows the reality. It's her body; of course she knows.

    Something is driving what's happening. Could be physical (thyroid out of whack, for example), could be psychological (comfort eating to mask anxiety, for example), could be more complicated. But whatever it is, you can't fix it, and she might not be prepared to face it.

    I agree with others; GP is the best first stop for her to have a proper thorough check up and discuss options in as emotionally neutral a space as possible.
     
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  8. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    I have removed my post. I was not thinking right.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  9. snoochface

    snoochface Meet the new boss -- same as the old boss.

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    Yeah, don't do this. If you think she doesn't already know what she looks like and what she's doing to herself, you're delusional.

    Her anger (misdirected) toward the OP when he has brought it up before is a clear indication that she is already well aware of the problem. She is struggling. She doesn't like herself this way. That's why she is highly sensitive to the subject being brought up.

    Humiliating her in this way would not help to inspire or motivate her. I would just bring her resentment toward her husband for being the one actively humiliating her.
     
  10. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

    +3,501
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    Yea, ok, I agree
     
  11. NothingIsImpossible

    NothingIsImpossible Well-Known Member

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    Kind of weird shes blaming you for not telling her about her weight. I mean true, we can't see our own bodies (aside from a mirror of course) but it should be obvious when your gaining weight. If you have a scale then she should notice that too.

    That aside my wife is 4'9 and gone from 100 to 130 since she came here 4 years ago. She says she feels and looks "fat". I am honest and tell her she is bigger but I love her none the less because shes still beautiful. However, I do lovingly tell her "If you get to big I am going to get frustrated because you have no idea what being obese entails! If you think you feel bad now, wait until later. And it will be harder to get that weight off as a woman. Try to eat healthy and cut back on your salt and sitting around the house all day watch dramas!"

    I'd tell your wife the honest but painful truth "Honey, I know you think you're doing better but your weight is still going up slowly. You really have to eat smaller portions. Do it for me, do it for you, do it because in the end gaining so much weight can lead to things like heart attacks and even death! I vowed to be your husband for life. I want to grow old together with you, not become a widow at a younger age because of the weight issues causing you to pass away!". Granted this all depends on what you feel you should say. My wife doesn't like when I talk about death at all.

    Maybe sign up for a gym membership or but some used gym equipment. We have a used older treadmill we use. We also own two bikes. We go out for walks. Not all the time mind you. And if its not to awkward to mention....sex. It burns ALOT of calories. But depends on the frequency and uh "interaction" involved.

    Now if you want to be biblical, the bible says we are to take care of our temples. We only get one shot with these. You could bring up gluttony, but obviously thats a double edged sword to bring up. Also I'd ask do you think theres a reason she eats alot/more? Maybe some depression or stress? When I am super stressed out I eat alot more. In the last 3 weeks my weights gone from 220 to 230. Been eating whole pizzas, candy....etc.

    Finally no matter what you say or do remind her you love her and will always be there with her and to support her. Oh and pray of course!
     
  12. ValleyGal

    ValleyGal Well-Known Member

    +1,416
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    Married
    All behaviour has meaning. You may not be the one to assign meaning to why she is gaining weight. A doctor or counsellor might be able to help her figure it out, but I would really caution you to stay out of that conversation. Ask yourself what you do and do not have control over as it pertains to her weight. You have no control over any part of her, and all you can do is control the influence you have as she allows you to. Iow, the only thing you can control here is your relationship with her. If there is something in your relationship that is not right, then you have some power (and obligation) to make it right. Otherwise, there is nothing you can do except support her in making healthier choices.

    You made a comment about how you prepared a nice chicken dinner, but she chose to make a huge steak instead. This says to me that there might be something wrong in your relationship. She rejected your concern about her weight, she rejected the food you prepared. What other ways does she reject you? I know that these seemingly small rejections are likely painful for you, but you might need to ask why she is rejecting (then blaming) the way she is.

    If you want to try to get to the bottom of it, you can have a talk about your relationship with her. That is all you have control over. Make sure that she feels intensely loved by you and significant to you. If your relationship is in good stead, then show her some empathy about her weight...she already knows she's heavy, so don't bother reminding her unless you're looking for an argument. When the subject comes up, show empathy "I don't know what's making you reach for a 16-oz steak, but whatever it is, must be awfully painful for you. Would you like to talk about it?" Personally, I would hesitate to do that... but if you want to get to the bottom of it, it's probably the path that will take you there.

    How is your weight? Do you have a few lbs to lose? Maybe if you do, you could suggest the two of you think about visiting a bariatric clinic for some dietary counselling, and then start on a food plan together. And to strengthen your relationship, you could take walks together, maybe half an hour after dinner every day or divvy it up during the day - 15 before work and 15 after supper just to be able to connect and talk.

    We have a saying where I work - Connect before you direct. Think about this principle when it comes to discussing her weight - she will only accept your directional influence when the two of you have a good connection.
     
  13. Dylan J. James

    Dylan J. James New Member

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    This is a great piece of advice. She has had a few doctors tell her some joint issues she has are weight related, or that her blood numbers may be high because of her weight, but none have had that come To Jesus talk and said "this will eventually kill you". If I can convince one to be a little more passionate I think it would come Across.
     
  14. Dylan J. James

    Dylan J. James New Member

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    I'll get to the driving issue in a later response, but one issue is that her doctors keep saying "you are healthy except for X where is either cholesterol or back/joint pain. Since she hasn't had a stroke and doesn't have diabetes yet, they give her a conditional pass. She routinely touts this as evidence that she has it under control. But the issue is the looming problems which they don't adresss. But talking with the doc first and getting them to emphasize that could help.
     
  15. Dylan J. James

    Dylan J. James New Member

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    No.
     
  16. Dylan J. James

    Dylan J. James New Member

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    Your initial quote of a possible talk is something I'll probably turn into a little script to memorize. Thanks so much for laying it out. I had considered it, but I can feel the backlash already. I guess I was looking for some Christ centered folks to give it the ok (even though I know it will [bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse] her off initially) to know its the right thing.
     
  17. Dylan J. James

    Dylan J. James New Member

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    I know why she reaches for the steak. I've asked: "She just wants it", " she feels she needs the protein", and "'a cheat meal" are the most common answers. I know she has some comfort issues with food. She knows it too. She feels That avoiding fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy as a daily meal plan is eating well. Too much else is still in the table (really sorry for that pun).

    I also don't feel feel offended. If I had made the steak she would have eaten that. I just happened to have cooked up a standard meal of hours on a day she was feeling something else.

    My weight: then 6'2'', 160lb, 5% bf, very athletic. Now, 210, 15%bf, still in shape. Looking back it is quite odd that I gained about 25 pounds of muscle (followed after our first kid by 25 pounds of fat) going to the gym when she was the lead on us going to the gym. It was her idea, but given im a little scientific, I researched how to put on muscle mass. She just burned time on the elliptical. When it wasn't working for her, I researched how to lose weight for women and tried to discuss what I was finding (gotta get your heart rate to a certain level). But this was met with polite indifference.

    Someone mentioned getting exercise equipment. After the kid She said she wanted a home gym so I built one in our basement. Took an empty finished room, put in a sound system, wi if connected video monitor, her favorite exceeise machines and gear, wall words of her favorite inspirational quotes, etc. The whole nine. She doesn't use it regularly. I free up Time for her by routinely taking on more home Stuff, but maybe that's not what is needed. To be honest I don't use the room either - hmm. She can't walk enough to get exercise benefit from regular walking , but We could do something regularly down there. Good idea- thank you.

    Bariatric: She panicked after one drs appt and started researching stomach stapling. 1-2% mortality rate (at the time) ends those discussion. Oddly (maybe not so oddly) she was equally concerned that some patients lose their sense of taste. I do think she has a food addiction, but there is another 3rd rail. I actually wrote a sermon adressing this one (pitching your tent toward sodom negates the other good you are attempting) but it felt a little too holier than though / heavy handed. Any thoughts?

    Don't get me started on food plans!!! She has about 4- 2" three ring binders of 20 years worth of food plans, recipes, snack ideas, healthy meals, cheat meals. You name it. But if you refuse to talk caloric deficit there is no point.

    I'll end the marathon rely with ....

    "Connect before you direct" - I think I will start trying to live this one. She says from time to time that I don't go through this with her. Being a guy, I see doing all of the shopping , cooking, and most all house chores as going through it- but I do believe I am missing something. Having survived a dysfunctional family, I am highly agentic - you don't feel or talk about problems, you just work them down and get them out of the way. I've been working on listening more the past 5-8 years or so, but probably could do better.
     
  18. ValleyGal

    ValleyGal Well-Known Member

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    There is a very good success rate with other bariatric options. For example, she could launch a weight loss regime with having a bariatric balloon, which only lasts a short time. Or a lap band. I've never heard of anyone losing their sense of taste after bariatric surgery. In fact, when she starts eating whole foods, her sense of taste will heighten to the point sweet and salty things will be too much for her. When she brings up the 1% who don't do well, remind her of the 99% who do well. The thing is, no matter what she does, eat the way she eats. She could even try Weight Watchers - there is accountability and no real deprivation, but the do teach portion sizes. After all, a 16 oz steak is 4 times a normal portion of protein. It sounds to me like she needs some education around portion sizes, and nutritional needs. I lost a ton of weight when I cut out white flour, yeast, refined sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. I ate 6 or 7 meals a day, one serving of protein at each meal (red meat no more than three times a week), and 150-200 calories each meal, making sure I had variety, as well as packing as many nutrients into each meal. Having protein at each meal provided the sense of fullness right till the next meal - only 2 - 3 hours later.

    Yeah, I wouldn't give her a sermon on pitching her tent toward Sodom. Getting preachy is about the last thing she needs. However, if you do chat with her about all this, make sure your motives are not self-serving (a more beautiful wife) and make sure it is out of love for her.

    It's good you want to work on connecting. I really think making the extra effort to meet her relational, social, and love needs will help. I understand how it is to just buckle down and work on problems without talking them out, but talking with her will help her feel like she's not going through this alone. That is very meaningful for those who have addictions of any kind. Also important is to consider any trauma she may have had in her life that led to using food as a coping mechanism. If you are correct about it being an addiction, chances are she has had trauma that she's trying to cope with.

    All the best to you.
     
  19. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    This was a very compassionate and beautiful way to frame your approach. I really loved the "connect before your direct" principal outlined at the end.

    There is a genetic defect that is far more common than realized called MTHFR. Due to a malforming protein, the body cannot absorb B at all. B vitamins are essential to regulate appetite and metabolism.

    I take a timed release multi-B vitamin and a timed release C vitamin every day (nearly maximum recommended doses) and it really adds up to some help on appetite control (it doesn't work if the vitamins are not timed release). When I'm faithful, I notice it's easier to maintain or even nibble away on a pound or two occasionally. When I'm not, I notice the scale going up and a difference in my appetite.

    I shared this tip with my sister and it did nothing for her. When a DNA test came back later showing she had MTHFR, she started taking methylated B vitamins and she realized her appetite was noticeably diminished. Awareness of this is genetic defect is extremely limited in the medical community but it is more widely known among homeopathic doctors.

    All this to say, don't rule out homeopathic solutions to her health.

    One of my aunts was about to die from the consequences of MTHFR and the medical establishment could not diagnose or help her. She even went through the full panel of tests by Mayo Clinic and they could find nothing. A homeopathic doctor who was informed of MTHFR knew how to treat her, saved her life and restored her health.
     
  20. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    Here is some great advice on the connecting before you direct.

    The idea is that before you were married, when you were falling in love, you spent a certain amount of undivided time together in order to fall in love. Once married, it seems most couples abandon the habits that caused them to fall in love with each other and assume that they will just stay in love anyway!

    The Policy of Unidivided Attention

    Try this diligently for at least three months and see if your emotional connection with your wife deepens. Make sure to spend the best hours of your week together - whatever you do recreationally, do it together.
     
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