helping to motivate a spouse w/o being an a-hole

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  • toe1226
    toe1226 Posts: 249 Member
    eek. not a fun thing to figure.

    +1 marriage counseling

    +1 maybe it is not the right marriage

    and adding: motivational interviewing. If she brings up losing weight again, I would just say "I love you sweetie, but I would prefer you not talk about losing weight anymore. You've talked about it for many years and it doesn't happen. It's not the not losing weight that bothers me, but its the saying you're going to do something and not doing it that bothers me. I'd rather you just be honest about who and what you are."

    ...not an easy thing to manage but that's my perspective
  • enterdanger
    enterdanger Posts: 2,446 Member
    I agree with the person who said you can only change your own behavior. It really sucks when you love someone and want the best for them and it's outside of your control to help. This is very much the situation with weight loss. I don't have any advice. I just wanted to say I feel for you.
  • ardenspark
    ardenspark Posts: 50 Member
    I didn't read the entire thing just because I don't want to be persuaded. Sorry you have a dependapotamus.

    The only thing you can really do is sound like an A-hole, or set a good example and hope she will come along for the adventure of fitness.

    If you have this many problems now. DO NOT bring a kid into the mix. really, it can only get worse. It will also be an excuse for her not to even try to lose weight.

    this made me guffaw

    OP, this is telling. You should never think of your wife in this way.
  • WeekendWarriorTX
    WeekendWarriorTX Posts: 1,844 Member
    ardenspark wrote: »
    I didn't read the entire thing just because I don't want to be persuaded. Sorry you have a dependapotamus.

    The only thing you can really do is sound like an A-hole, or set a good example and hope she will come along for the adventure of fitness.

    If you have this many problems now. DO NOT bring a kid into the mix. really, it can only get worse. It will also be an excuse for her not to even try to lose weight.

    this made me guffaw

    OP, this is telling. You should never think of your wife in this way.

    it was the word itself, not it's use or it's application to my wife
  • dbzdbz123
    dbzdbz123 Posts: 11 Member
    Actually, one more thing to add now that I re-read my response. I (a) expressed to my fiance that I was unhappy with my weight, and then (b) told him that he could help by building my confidence (and exactly what he could do to do that). Seems like your wife has done (a)...maybe ask her how you can help increase her happiness? *NOT* how you can help her lose weight, but simply what she needs, period (which could be for you to cook dinner, or could be for you to grab her butt!) and how you can help?
  • Of_Monsters_and_Meat
    Of_Monsters_and_Meat Posts: 1,022 Member
    ardenspark wrote: »
    I didn't read the entire thing just because I don't want to be persuaded. Sorry you have a dependapotamus.

    The only thing you can really do is sound like an A-hole, or set a good example and hope she will come along for the adventure of fitness.

    If you have this many problems now. DO NOT bring a kid into the mix. really, it can only get worse. It will also be an excuse for her not to even try to lose weight.

    this made me guffaw

    OP, this is telling. You should never think of your wife in this way.

    it was the word itself, not it's use or it's application to my wife

    I'm not even trying to be mean. I'm just really saying it how I see it. I truly feel sorry for your situation.
  • JustinAnimal
    JustinAnimal Posts: 1,335 Member
    I'm sorry, I didn't read your entire post, but I'll share my story. Nothing motivated me more than seeing my wife get all slim and hot while I stayed fat. It was very motivating. Just lose mega weight and maybe see how she reacts?
  • HutchA12
    HutchA12 Posts: 279 Member
    ardenspark wrote: »
    I didn't read the entire thing just because I don't want to be persuaded. Sorry you have a dependapotamus.

    The only thing you can really do is sound like an A-hole, or set a good example and hope she will come along for the adventure of fitness.

    If you have this many problems now. DO NOT bring a kid into the mix. really, it can only get worse. It will also be an excuse for her not to even try to lose weight.

    this made me guffaw

    OP, this is telling. You should never think of your wife in this way.

    Ehh. It's what I thought too and is a well known joke. I've been with my wife for 8 years. I'll make jokes at her expense and make fun of her for things. She does the same. Marriages shouldn't be covered in bubble wrap. The bigger issue here is communication and expectations.
  • WeekendWarriorTX
    WeekendWarriorTX Posts: 1,844 Member
    I'm sorry, I didn't read your entire post, but I'll share my story. Nothing motivated me more than seeing my wife get all slim and hot while I stayed fat. It was very motivating. Just lose mega weight and maybe see how she reacts?

    i've been healthy (weight has fluctuated some) our whole marriage. i don't have mega weight to lose. i eat healthy and work out 5-6x/week.
  • dbzdbz123
    dbzdbz123 Posts: 11 Member
    To the original poster: I might recommend reading some of the other forums, especially some of the "confession" threads or for people seeking motivation and support.

    For some people who struggle with their weight, it really is as simple as "I'm gonna lose weight now" and then, hey, it's not that hard to eat less and move more. I mean, simple instructions, right?

    For others, myself included, there are very deep fears, insecurities, and cycles of self-loathing. We know the instructions too.

    It's hard for the first group to look at the second group and not roll their eyes and say "just cut it out and do it, and stop complaining about your weight along the way." But for those of us in the second group...we understand that, on the surface, it seems like we're simply not trying that hard. It seems like we're deliberately ignoring "eat less, move more" because we're lazy, or not truly motivated, or unable to control ourselves. Weight loss advice from people in the first group sound like judgment. "Hey, does that fit in with your calorie goals today?" sounds like "jeez, fattie, you really gonna eat that?" and "let's hit the gym!" sounds like "maybe I'd like you more if you weren't such a fat slob." We know you don't *mean* it that way, but our heads are truly screwy after lifetimes of those fears, insecurities, and self-loathing.

    So I encourage you to read what's happening inside the heads of people in the second group. People who inexplicably eat entire pizzas, knowing it's counterproductive to their goals, and hate themselves afterwards but do it anyway. People who can't just laugh it off and burn it off at the gym because they deserve the punishment of being fat. If you're struggling to help your wife, maybe figure out what *she's* struggling with first? And if you're not in a good place to ask her, or if she's not in a good place to share, there are others on this site who can give you a sense of what could be happening in her head.
  • girlviernes
    girlviernes Posts: 2,402 Member
    A lot of good stuff in this thread. I would definitely say you need to work on not taking it personally that she isn't making the effort. It's really not about you, it's about her. Losing weight is tough and most people just don't do it. You really need to seek inside yourself if you are willing to live the next 30-50 years with her at a heavier weight, perhaps with the same sorts of comments and half-attempts to lose weight from her. If you let go of the idea that it means she doesn't care, is it more livable? Can you commit to helping to build her up just as she is now?

    She may at some point decide to change her weight, but I think the more you are trying to get her to change, the less likely it is going to be to happen. If she asks for specific support in weight loss endeavors, give it, but otherwise leave her be on this matter.

    Counseling seems like a wise choice. Marriage counseling can also help you to sort out your level of investment in this marriage.
  • k_nelson_24
    k_nelson_24 Posts: 251 Member
    jmgj27 wrote: »
    This is a tough one. I have put on a lot of weight since my husband and I met (partly through letting go, partly through laziness, partly through a twin pregnancy and partly through being diagnosed with a chronic illness that has necessitated long term steroid treatment) and have been unhappy since I got north of 195 (I wound up at 264 at the beginning of January). My husband has never made one comment about my weight in all that time but has continued to tell me he loves me and that I am beautiful. With his support I was ready to start my weight loss journey in January and am now 21.6lbs down already (he's also dropped 14lbs in the same time!).

    If he had ever commented (even as a form of constructive criticism) on either my ability, need or desire to lose weight at any point in the last 4 years I would have been crushed. I don't think I could continue to love and respect someone for whom my appearance was such an important thing.

    That being said, I do understand the frustration involved with someone repeatedly banging on abut something they want to do and then not following through. However, there's nothing you can do except back off. She will only lose weight properly and seriously when she is ready and nothing you say and do can make that day come any sooner in my experience.

    I would just advise you to continue to extend your invitations to come along to the gym etc but make no other comment about anything she eats/doesn't eat/any exercise she does/doesn't do. If she moans about her weight simply say 'if you're unhappy, I'm ready to support you on your weight loss journey whenever you're ready, just let me know' and move on before you get annoyed with her or drawn into a point-making contest.

    I hope that helps - I'm British and we don't do marriage counselling so much over here so I guess this is my version of what a marriage counsellor might say!

    ^I agree. It is really hard to be in a marriage when you are bettering yourself with healthy habits and your SO is not. I have lost 72 lbs. and my husband weighs over 400lbs. I have been on this journey for the better part of a year and he is just now starting to become SLIGHTLY aware of his food choices. Don't get me wrong, he is so proud of me, but his confidence in himself is lacking. The key word being SLIGHTLY. I had to come to the realization that pushing him to lose weight only put strain on our relationship and made me resent him. In order to keep our marriage a positive relationship, I had to accept the fact that he will make a change when he is ready. All I can do is keep leading by example.

    I genuinely wish you the best of luck! xoxo

  • puffbrat
    puffbrat Posts: 2,806 Member
    I agree with what many others have said or hinted at. I am much more willing to take care of myself and lose weight when I am happier and more self-confident. Most of that has to come from me, but it does really help a lot when my husband is being more complimentary of me rather than critical.
    Why not pack her lunch for her sometimes so she can "lolly gag" and still have a healthy lunch? While you're at it, leave a nice note inside telling her how beautiful she is!

    I strongly agree with this suggestion. Packing her lunch and an occasional sweet note could make a big difference in her feeling supported. The note should not be about weight loss or health but just little statements of love, or saying you find her sexy, just have a great day! I love it when my husband sends me a text in the morning telling me to have a fantastic day and he loves me. He only does it once every couple months but I treasure those texts and they make my whole day.

    Also, when I generally happier about myself, I am more likely to want to do things to make him happy. This could be losing weight, dressing up (or down ;) ) one night, or doing something active outside he enjoys.

    My only other suggestion besides the already mentioned counseling would be to ask her what motivates her. Maybe you two could come up with some challenge with mini goals that result in a treat she finds motivational (manicure, massage, weekend trip, special night out...) but let come from her, not you.

    I hope whatever happens, you find happiness.

  • vrokhfit
    vrokhfit Posts: 55 Member
    This thread is really interesting. And I say this as someone with terrible self esteem who as been struggling and trying and failing at obtaining/maintaining weight loss for (ever?) years before I met my DH and all throughout our relationship. I'm sure he really is tired of hearing about it. I'm sure he's really frustrated with my lack of follow through and I know he doesn't understand it. He has finally figured out at his "pushing" doesn't help me. And I think (knock on wood) that I'm finally making some good improvements within myself (kept 30 lbs over for a year!). But I will echo agreement with others who have brought up points about building her up. There's nothing more motivating for me than my husband telling me I'm sexy. It's so much easier to make positive changes when you have a positive outlook and so SO easy to get sucked into a vicious cycle of negativity. I have a long way to go still... I'm sure he's not confident in me that I'll make it all the way. But little by little I become more and more confident in myself and that's really the only thing that matters.
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    edited February 2016
    I didn't read every post so maybe everyone has already said everything you need to hear.
    Your wife has mental issues to work on before approaching weight loss. When she is ready she can do it. She is not ready to just diet and exercise. She is overwhelmed, in denial or is punishing herself. Tell you love her and get her to therapy. If she suffers from depression or severe anxiety she may also need to try medication along with therapy.

    I have been married 16 years and tried to lose weight for 15 years. I would lose and regain and lose and regain. I hated myself intensely at times to the point of wanting to physically harm myself. It was really dark sometimes and I didn't tell my dh I was feeling that way. My dh loved me but I had to work on liking myself. I started by mwking a list of 10 things I felt were good about me and that was difficult to do. It really helped to think about that and start looking for the positives in other people as well. I realized that I often focused on the negative even outside myself.
    The thing that really made me very serious about losing weight was not being able to keep up with my dh and dd when walking, being in pain all the time, being out of breath climbing stairs, crossing the line into obese instead of just overweight. I was really starting to see a vision of my mom -who died of cancer and had always been overweight- spending her last few years mostly in a chair. That is not how I wanted to live my remaining years. I was only 40 and I felt I deserved to live a healthy full life. Until that point I was in denial about how bad my weight was making me physically feel.
    Now, I came to MFP with very low expectations. It was easy compared to everything I had tried before to just log my food and stick to a calorie goal to lose 1 lb a week. In less than a year I was at my lowest weight in 5 years. I ate the same food just appropriate portion sizes. I did not start exercising like crazy but started with walking or doing 20-30 minute beginner workouts off of you tube. It was hard doing some workouts with my body condition so I'm sure I looked like I was half assing it to someone in better shape. I was moving more though.
    What my dh said was that he loved me no matter my weight, that he wanted me to be healthy and happy. He told me all the time that I was sexy to him. He did not tell me how to lose weight. He did not scrutinize my plate or judge my exercise habits or remind me of all my failures in the past. It was on me to change and I did when I was ready.
  • drevaquera
    drevaquera Posts: 16 Member
    plan your meals together, join something together with her that is a physical activity. Make it fun
  • JenniferIsLosingIt
    JenniferIsLosingIt Posts: 595 Member
    Im in the same position only I am the wife losing weight with the hubby who says he wants to, and then he never does anything about it. I canceled his gym membership because after a year he had went 12 times. I meal prep for him, but he finds ways to avoid eating that at times. Long story short, I didn't start losing weight until was damn good and ready, just like she will when she is ready. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. :)
  • blues4miles
    blues4miles Posts: 1,481 Member
    jgnatca wrote: »
    I don't want to make light of your situation, but I recall one of the poorer decisions my parents made was to have my dad teach my mom to drive. Of course every time she set out with dad in the passenger seat turned in to a coaching session; unpleasant for both of them. It was a constant source of strain in the relationship. You hold the secret to weight loss and she can't hear it from you. You cannot be her coach on this weight loss enterprise. She has never connected intention with action, and the repeated failures likely has left her depressed and defeated. I think she needs a therapist or a life coach specifically to deal with her self image, self worth, and how to direct intention in to action. And it can't be you.

    Just wanted to quote this. I noticed in the OP you stated you tried to get her to come to the gym to run with you. Running is very intimidating to someone overweight who never ran before. She might be more comfortable with just walking, or maybe workout DVDs, or maybe group classes, whatever her own personal interests are. But more importantly, you can't be her husband and her coach. If you are the one telling her 'don't eat that, it's unhealthy' or 'haven't you already eaten enough today' it's going to break your marriage. If you are already doing this, I can understand why she'd dig her heels in and not lose weight. She's not going to do it for you. She needs to do it for herself. Backing off might help.

    Then again, I know a lot of people who had minor issues when they were first married that were magnified as soon as kids got into the picture. And then divorce got a lot more complicated. So you need to figure out if this is really the weight, or a personality conflict. Even if you ARE an a-hole and are shallow and the one at fault here, that doesn't mean sticking out and having a kid with her is a good idea.
  • Owlfan88
    Owlfan88 Posts: 187 Member
    + 1 Marriage Counseling

    Then I got serious. And when he sees results, he gets serious for a few weeks too, and then not. He's just not there yet. I did hijack his diet though. I do the grocery shopping. I do the cooking. It's hard for him to eat a line of oreos like cereal if they aren't in the house! I don't agree to going out 3-5x a week any more, and he isn't gonna sit at a restaurant alone and eat. So, his diet has improved a little by proxy. She doesn't get up in the morning to pack her lunches? I would die if I had to get up to pack lunch. I pack both the night before, and I pack our breakfast lunch and 2 snacks. Take a financial swing at it. Show her how much she is spending eating out, and see if that gets a reaction.

    I got serious about losing weight when I got some a pre-diabetic diagnosis as well as borderline cholesterol at my annual physical. DH is more overweight than I was and has been on and off cholesterol meds, but hasn't gotten serious about losing weight. But, he has lost some since last summer while I've been losing, because I do the shopping and cooking. Seems a little unfair that it has been "easy" for him as he wasn't the one trying, but then again, he didn't lose as much as I did. He did ask me a while back to quit packing goodies in his lunch every day - he said he didn't need them and there are often treats at work as well.

    I pack his lunch every day. He could do it and would if I wasn't there to do it (he's a teacher so doesn't have time to go out and the cafeteria isn't convenient anymore. He did eat at the school cafeteria when our kids were little and we both had less time). He packed my lunch years ago, when he was in grad school and I was leaving earlier for work. Worked out well for time and cost savings.
  • Francl27
    Francl27 Posts: 26,373 Member
    Im in the same position only I am the wife losing weight with the hubby who says he wants to, and then he never does anything about it. I canceled his gym membership because after a year he had went 12 times. I meal prep for him, but he finds ways to avoid eating that at times. Long story short, I didn't start losing weight until was damn good and ready, just like she will when she is ready. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. :)

    This exactly. She has to be ready. Nothing you can do about it.

    And yeah, here I've lost the weight but my husband is the one yoyo'ing 10 pounds up and down because he can't stick to it.