When Someone You Love Needs to Lose Weight
My husband and I used to fight a lot about my weight. He met me at the thinnest point in my life. I was 107 lbs and literally a starving actress. My refrigerator held half an onion and a bottle of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray. I was 25 years old and too proud to ask anyone for help, so I was just very, very hungry.
Soon after we began dating in earnest I gave up my career path to pursue more attainable things like a steady paycheck and food. This lead to weight gain. Since Henri never knew me as overweight he was confused and frustrated with my yo-yo diets, occasional binge eating, diet pills and inconsistent and uninformed attempts to get healthy. After having kids I really put on the weight.
Sometimes he said mean things to me. I hated eating around him; I always felt judged. I hated how he would lecture me on healthy living but ate horrible foods himself and never exercised and never gained weight (he is blessed with an insanely fantastic metabolism.) Our fights were awful.
Then something changed. I took my husband out of my diet and exercise equation and hired a personal trainer. The ironic part was both my husband and my trainer said the same things – eat well balanced foods, exercise consistently, hold yourself accountable. But there were a few differences. For one, my trainer lived the lifestyle. It’s easier to listen to someone who practices what they preach. For another, a trainer is an independent third party. If he called me out on something it might have been embarrassing but I could take it as constructive criticism used to help me stick to my goals. When my husband called me out it hurt like a slap in the face because I never wanted him to be the umpire of my life, I just wanted him to love me unconditionally; as I loved him.
As I got healthier my husband’s reaction to me changed as well. He backed off. When he saw that I was committed to my own health, getting proper nutrition and making better choices he stopped judging me and started encouraging me. He told me he was proud of me. He said he loved how much this was impacting our kids – that now they want to run in the backyard and comment that ‘junk food is a whoa food’. He said he loves how confident I am now.
And in an interesting twist, now I am in the role of frustrated bystander, not to my husband, but members of my family. One is obese and another is borderline diabetic and about to start high blood pressure medication. They see how healthy I’ve become. They came to my bodybuilding shows and know I’m studying for my personal trainer certification. I’ve offered to help create meal plans and to give them specific exercises. They’re not interested. Yet they are not happy with their weight either. And it’s so frustrating!!
My friend emailed me this fantastic article from WebMD by Colette Bouchez – 10 Ways to Help a Loved One Lose Weight. I wish I had read it years ago – it would have spared me quite a few marital spats. I’m trying to incorporate it with my family.
Here are some highlights:
- Be a cheerleader, not a coach. Praise the good behaviors only.
- Show that you care about them as a person, not the diet. Let them know you love them at any weight.
- Learn about their program. If they are eating chicken, green beans and quinoa try some too.
- When they’ve had a bad day listen but don’t judge. Speaking to you is a way of dealing with the issue through talking rather than food.
- Encourage through participation. Telling them to walk is not nearly as effective as walking alongside them.
- Don’t tempt them with “just a bite” of something
- Don’t be the food police
- Don’t be mean. Think of a challenge you are working through. Would you want someone in your face about it all the time?Hope this helps!
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