When Someone You Love Needs to Lose Weight

Baby Blocker
Baby Blocker

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.

FamilyAs 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:



  1. Be a cheerleader, not a coach.  Praise the good behaviors only.
  2. Show that you care about them as a person, not the diet.  Let them know you love them at any weight.
  3. Learn about their program.  If they are eating chicken, green beans and quinoa try some too.
  4. 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.
  5. Encourage through participation.  Telling them to walk is not nearly as effective as walking alongside them.


  1. Don’t tempt them with “just a bite” of something
  2. Don’t be the food police
  3. 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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14 thoughts on “When Someone You Love Needs to Lose Weight

  1. Great post. This will help a lot of people. It is hard to find a sensitive approach when encouraging someone to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, they will see how much you have accomplished and this will motivate them to make a change.

  2. Lots of great advice here. It’s hard for me to remember how I should encourage some of my family members, and I really like “be a cheerleader, not a coach.” That is such a good way to look at it. Thanks!

  3. This is a post I can totally relate too. I am overweight, but I am living a very healthy lifestyle now, I eat a healthy calorie controlled diet (hate that word!) I work out regularly and I have just quit smoking! My Husband is obese, eats junk most of the time and does no exercise and smokes still. I of course love him and encourage him but I just want him to be healthy! Our son takes after his Dad and really doesn’t like fruit and veg and I’m scared he’ll end up overweight! He’s nearly 4. He does love to run around though and even came running/walking with me! I just don’t know what to do anymore!

  4. YES! This is great advice. I have friends that come to me for health advice, they don’t follow it, and then whine about being overweight while eating (I kid you not) a family sized bag of chips. It is all I can do not to be like STOP EATING CRAP and maybe you’ll lose some poundage. Or decide you are content with your lifestyle and quit griping to me about it! Maybe I’ll try the “hey let’s go for a walk” approach 🙂

  5. It’s really great that you 1) quit smoking, 2) eat a healthy diet and 3) exercise. Congratulations! Those changes are hard to make and you’ve done it. You son watches both you and your husband so you are both impacting him. Catch your son doing something good and praise him – like, “I’m so proud you just tried that apple,” or “I think it’s great you love to run.” Good luck!

  6. I can relate,my entire life I have felt like people are watching what I am putting in my mouth, especially my mother. Being asked “Are you sure you want to eat that”, just makes me want to eat it to p!ss them off, which in the end, only affects my life 🙁

  7. I totally relate to what you’re talking about. When I was younger and overweight, it was an extremely sensitive topic to me and it would really hurt whenever someone close commented. I just wanted to be loved regardless of my size. But around 7 years ago, I finally found the determination to put the food down, exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle and I dropped half my size. I was so proud of my results and it totally changed my self esteem and I became a much happier person. Since then I have my ups and downs when it comes to weight and chocolate is still my biggest weakness, but even when I do put on a little extra weight, I am never even close to how it was before and I never allow myself to go back that way. And when I see someone I care about going through that, I feel that I wanna give them a push because I know how great it feels after you get the needed results and how much it can change your life to the positive. I wanna tell them that if I did it, they can too. But I also know how sensitive this topic can be and I know how much words can hurt, so I also don’t want to be that annoying person to them!

    1. Congratulations to you!!! What a success. Chocolate is my big pitfall too.
      Regarding pushing loved ones – It’s such a fine line! The new catchphrase in our house is “cheerleader not coach.”

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