I'm not shallow, but... I need advice.

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    Jun 26, 2008 2:03 PM GMT
    All right, some of you are going to think I'm this shallow, horrible person - I'm not, but think what you will.

    I need some help. My partner of 8 years has slowly, over time, gained weight around the mid section. When I first met him - gorgeous, built, muscular, hot. And he still is of course; however, he has gone from a 34 to a 38 waist size.

    Now, I'm not going to dump him because of his weight but I know he's unhappy with it. I know the weight bothers him and he's not pleased with the way he looks as I hear it all the time; "I'm fat, I'm chubby, I need to lose weight"... blah, blah, blah. But yet, he doesn't do anything to make changes. He does all the grocery shopping and buys all organic, healthy foods - but eating healthy alone isn't working.

    I tried getting him to go to the gym with me and sometimes he does but then he usually just lifts and doesn't do any cardio. Every once in a while I can get him into a Spin class but not often.

    I've tried the self pity party saying I'm fat in hopes it would rub off - nothing. I've tried buying 34 pants in hopes he'd have a desire to get into new clothes - nope, they are still in the closet with tags on them. I hired the hottest PT in the gym to try the jealous factor - didn't care.

    My last thought was to bring it up in counseling (we see a therapist once a month for routine maintenance) but I don't want to hurt his feelings. I can't say, "You're fat, get in the damn gym," so what do I do? Since he's one of those guys where it has to be "his" idea, how can I motivate him to lose the weight?
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    Jun 26, 2008 2:52 PM GMT
    I suggest immediately changing your eating and fitness habits. Forget the health food, the gym memberships, and embrace ice cream, fast food, and cookies. Lotsa cookies. Write letters to Nabisco complaining that the Double Stuff cookie isn't big enough, and suggesting at least a Quadruple Stuff. Insist on breakfast in bed every day so you don't have to get up, and routinely interrupt sex to go in search of cheeseburgers. And when your waistline has ballooned another four, five, ten inches and the partner notices and says something about it, shriek "A-HA!!!! NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS, BIIIIIITCH!"



    Or, if that seems a tad over the top, don't stress about it. If the bulk has accumulated over time, it might take time for him to realize it's affecting his life - if indeed it is affecting his life. Do the two of you do a lot of outdoor activities? Hiking? Biking? Maybe you could suggest the two of you take up something new - spelunking, for instance, or rock climbing...something that you both find you enjoy enough to keep working at but that is physically taxing for both of you. Let the desire to enjoy doing the things you enjoy doing be the motivation, and work out together for the sake of enjoying your hobbies and passions.

    Oops. I just realized how often I said 'enjoy' there.
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    Jun 26, 2008 3:28 PM GMT
    Fat isnt just a cosmetic problem. It is a seriousl health problem. Your partner is setting himself up for potential serious health problems and shortened life span.

    I recommend you get a copy of

    youonadiet.jpg ..... This book explains the biology of getting fat (and getting slimmer), not just telling you about how to eat.

    Either get your partner to read it to see what all the fat in his body is and what it is doing. Or read it yourself and get a few new arguments for why he should slim down.

    The book is easy and fast reading. You will zip right thru it.

    You might also want to check out ...

    You_Staying_Young.jpg .... another good book by these authors explaining the major factors in life that age you and break your body down...and what you can do about them now...and to roll back the clock
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jun 26, 2008 3:37 PM GMT
    Well I agree with the above... and I can relate to what you are saying. I happen to have a bf that matches some of this criteria. It can have an impact that isn't helpful. I've received some comments I'd never expect like "they probably wonder what your doing with me" when I introduced my bf to several acquaintances. He's only a 35 waist (6'3" and about 215, but he thinks he's fat) Think about what it can do to a relationship!

    Your lucky, you've at least been able to get your bf to go to the gym, but it apparently isn't his thing. My suggestion is to make changes (and make suggestions based on "your" perceived needs not his to start). I'd suggest walking (dogs if you have them), yard work (something productive in addition to exercise). You said he doesn't do cardio.. suggest you do cardio together at home (if not at the gym).

    I know your into sports (maybe we can convince you to be a KU fan yet!), do you still play baseball? Maybe you can get him to do a bit of that.

    Keep us informed with your progress!
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jun 26, 2008 3:47 PM GMT
    Try this:

    "Honey, I love you and I will support you the best I can with whatever you want to do. If you want to lose weight, I'm here for you. But you really need to shut the fuck up and stop whining about it and do something, because I'm tired of hearing you bitch and moan about it. "
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    Jun 26, 2008 3:50 PM GMT
    Hey jaydub - I can relate! My partner says "I'm fat" all the time even though he has a trainer and works-out at the gym several times a week - although it doesn't make-up for the Taco Bell lunches and before dinner potato chip snacking. Sounds like your partner is going through the dreaded 40's weight-gain - we all do it! Our bodies and metabolisms are changing and weight gain is just one of the effects (that and buying a new sports car, hair in unexpected areas and etc...).

    He probably has a low self-esteem right now due to his weight and I would guess part of his frustration is that he really doesn't know how to deal emotionally with the weight gain and get rid of it. Be supportive - but also be honest. When he says "I'm fat" you could respond by saying - "yes - you could loose some weight and I'm here to help you". Let him determine what type of weight loss program and excercise works best for him and then support him in his program. With my partner I've come to realize that he has up and down times - usually more weight gain (and snacking) during stress. I just remind him (without nagging) that "those potato chips aren't on your diet" and hand him an apple... with a smile! icon_smile.gif

    Good luck and be patient!
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:04 PM GMT
    swpdxguy said

    He probably has a low self-esteem right now due to his weight and I would guess part of his frustration is that he really doesn't know how to deal emotionally with the weight gain and get rid of it. Be supportive - but also be honest. When he says "I'm fat" you could respond by saying - "yes - you could loose some weight and I'm here to help you". Let him determine what type of weight loss program and excercise works best for him and then support him in his program. With my partner I've come to realize that he has up and down times - usually more weight gain (and snacking) during stress. I just remind him (without nagging) that "those potato chips aren't on your diet" and hand him an apple... with a smile! icon_smile.gif

    Good luck and be patient!


    I can tell you from experience if your partner is having low self esteem issues related to weight, saying "yes you could lose some weight" when he says "i am fat" is NOT the way to handle it. You need to find out what the underlying causes of his desire to not do cardio or exercise more are. Take the opportunity to engage him in other activities that require cardio vascular activity. If he is competative challenge him to contest that would cause him to get cardiovascularly challenged.

    Do NOT under any circumstances tell your partner that he is fat, even just by agreeing with him. This will just create an issue that has nothing to do with his gaining weight and then the weight gain will not be the issue anymore, the issue will be that YOU think he is fat.
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:08 PM GMT
    I second Calson's recommendation. Frame your concerns as health issues - not looks issues.

    And reading those Dr Oz books will get almost anyone who cares about himself to change!

    Oh and I always recommend:
    517AJGQ4CDL._SS500_.jpg

    I read this book a couple of years after I took up running and yoga, which at the time I still viewed as something I had to do vs something I wanted to do. This book helped change my thinking about exercise and the fitness life.
  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Jun 26, 2008 4:15 PM GMT
    Good post with lots of good advice. I agree that you should not do anything emotional. Instead, be analytical. The next time he complains about being fat, you should neither ignore it nor ridicule him. What you should do is talk to him about what he intends to do to change the situation. (A reasonable analogy would be a partner complaining that they hate their job.)

    One important point: weight management is 80% diet. As important as physical activity is, one must first learn healthy eating habits. I bet he just eats too much food, even if it is organic. Too much of any food--even organic--still isn't healthy.

    He obviously does not want to join a gym, but he might be willing to toss out the dinner plates in favor of salad plates.

    Good luck!
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:18 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidTry this:

    "Honey, I love you and I will support you the best I can with whatever you want to do. If you want to lose weight, I'm here for you. But you really need to shut the fuck up and stop whining about it and do something, because I'm tired of hearing you bitch and moan about it. "


    AMEN!
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:22 PM GMT
    I was in that boat too, but I ignored that I was getting fat too. My partner liked me a little chubby. There are a few things you can do to inspire him, but in the end the motivation has to come from him.

    - cook healthier foods. Don;t give him the option to eat poorly when you are around
    - drink less. my ex and I could tear up some wine.
    - spend more time at the gym. Perhaps he will get to missing you.
    - embark on a fitness plan together. Maybe to a boot camp or something as a couple.

    Fitness and exercise is as much a result of habits as it is hard work. Getting into the habit of working out is rough, but once you start making it a part of your routine, it is second nature. He will not commit to change until he gets into that habit and until he starts seeing results. I promise you after he loses that first 5 pounds and people start asking him if he lost wieght, his dedication will kick in.
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:27 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidTry this:

    "Honey, I love you and I will support you the best I can with whatever you want to do. If you want to lose weight, I'm here for you. But you really need to shut the fuck up and stop whining about it and do something, because I'm tired of hearing you bitch and moan about it. "


    Basically, YES!! Keep in mind though it's a "him" thing and NOT a "you" thing. And no matter how much help/assistance/guidance you offer him, unless he's ready to SERIOUSLY do something about as opposed to looking for sympathy/pity party nothing is going to happen. Yet I will suggest that you offer him ideas on different ways to work-out; boxing, rock climbing, etc. Could be that he got bored with the gym, I know I did and stopped working out for almost a month. I know incorporate Bikram's Yoga and will add Boxing back to my routine.
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:44 PM GMT
    DJBens77 saidI was in that boat too, but I ignored that I was getting fat too. My partner liked me a little chubby.


    Why were you catering to what your partner wanted?

    One of my friend's girlfriends didn't want him working out, losing weight, ect. I figured it was her being scared of losing him or fighting over him with others. He wouldn't change for fear of her leaving him. terrible catch-22.

    If someone can't love me for who I am and who I want to be, then they can move on. I'm not about to put my health in second place for someone elses desires.
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:49 PM GMT
    something else i forgot to post, i know this works over time as i have used it and seen results.

    Cut white foods out of your household diet. No white rice, no white bread ect. Also Keep soda's of any kind out of your house. Diet soda is jsut as bad as regular sodas. It might not show immediate results, but it does help to start cutting empty caloric intake.
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:54 PM GMT
    Sometimes men need to be smacked and told what to do.....for their own good.
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:56 PM GMT
    Just eating healthy doesn't cut it, you have to exercise.

    Have you thought about getting a home gym and creating a workout routine together? Doesn't have to be a $1000 Bowflex, either.

    If the main problem is cardio, have you thought of getting bikes and going for rides together or some other activity that you can frame as simply doing something together?

    He might not like the gym for other reasons than the exercise.
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    Jun 26, 2008 4:59 PM GMT
    If you are already in couples counseling (what is "maintenance"? A monthly oil change?) it sounds like there may be other issues already present in the relationship, even if they are not at the forefront at this time.

    I don't think you are superficial for being bothered by a partner who has lost the gumption to keep in shape. There are several very legitimate reasons for being upset by it.

    But I do raise an eyebrow that, rather than risk hurting his feelings (and perhaps having a few arguments), you're beating around the bush over things. Certainly, after eight years, you know him well enough to find a way to be direct without making him feel harpooned. Why would you even need to bring this up in front of a therapist? If you need a mediator present in order to do so, what kind of communication do you and your partner have? How would he feel if he knew you posted concerns about his weight to an Internet forum?

    I hope this doesn't come across as insensitive, but I think I see why you retain a therapist. If you can't express the extent of your discomfort over this issue to your partner of eight years, there is a bigger problem than a few pounds around his midsection.
  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Jun 26, 2008 5:09 PM GMT
    Italmusclebkn is right on. There are most likely deeper issues here, and perhaps his weight gain is a manifestation of some internal or relationship issue.

    I do have to comment on Buckwheet's response though. That is simply incorrect. While you might need regular exercise to maintain cardiovascular fitness and to build muscle, it is not necessary to acheive a healthy weight. It really is dietary, folks.
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    Jun 26, 2008 5:48 PM GMT
    italmusclebkn saidIf you are already in couples counseling (what is "maintenance"? A monthly oil change?) it sounds like there may be other issues already present in the relationship, even if they are not at the forefront at this time.

    I don't think you are superficial for being bothered by a partner who has lost the gumption to keep in shape. There are several very legitimate reasons for being upset by it.

    But I do raise an eyebrow that, rather than risk hurting his feelings (and perhaps having a few arguments), you're beating around the bush over things. Certainly, after eight years, you know him well enough to find a way to be direct without making him feel harpooned.


    I agree - my relationship with my partner relys on honesty and after 7 years there really aren't any subjects that are taboo. We don't denegrade each other regarding sensitive subjects (such as weight, sex and etc.), but when asked want an honest, supportive opinion, even if it might hurt a bit. In the end - I know he will always be there for me and that is the best support that I can ask for.
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    Jun 26, 2008 5:49 PM GMT
    I wonder how much we can change and influence people to eat healthier and exercise if it is not their own idea? I am not sure there is much you can do. One of my pet peeves is listening sympathetically to co-workers who bore the hell out of me over long periods of time telling me how they are going to look like me in no time. They give lots of lip service to their trainer, their new diet, yada yada yada. I've spent a lot of time over the years being sympathetic, using all the right encouraging words, cheering them on - only to see them stay fat and out of shape. I feel like saying, "Either get off your ass and do something - or stay fat, but until you do, all we have is mere conversation!"
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    Jun 26, 2008 5:49 PM GMT
    A lot of advice, some already taken, some I will try. Definitely will look into getting the reading material Caslon suggests.

    As for our monthly therapeutic routine, it is just for that reason - communication. We had, about 3 years ago, a communication break down and sought help to save our relationship. It worked so well, we kept attending. No other explanation then to say, it works for us. But weight is an entirely different sensitive issue.

    I do like the idea of getting him out of the house and doing other activities that don't involve a gym - hiking, cycling, etc.

    And Kansas, I hear it too, it's usually, "I don't why you're still with me."

    FitnFun, you're exactly right. We have nothing but healthy foods and snacks around the house - never buy white, enriched, processed, anything. But he is constantly eating.
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    Jun 26, 2008 6:12 PM GMT
    Jay, the words "I don't know why you're still with me," is a warning sign.

    I've heard this before, when a partner was passively trying to tell me that they wanted out. Passive-aggressively.

    I've always thought the best way to start a break-up without looking like the bad guy was to get the other to suggest it. Could this be what he's doing?

    Four things usually come from this:
    1. You withdraw from him, it makes him miss you and he reconciles.
    2. You withdraw from him, it makes him happier and the two of you break up.
    3. You draw closer to him, he feels suffocated and pushes you to number 2.
    4. You draw closer to him, he feels happy and reconciles.

    I'd get the truth out of him, if I were you. If he's not ready yet, he may lie convincingly and defensively. You'll know the truth if his aggressiveness rises. If he admits his true feelings he'll probably start to cry.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jun 26, 2008 6:14 PM GMT
    swpdxguy saidHey jaydub - I can relate! My partner says "I'm fat" all the time




    Come on Jeff, your not fat! You look great
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    Jun 26, 2008 6:18 PM GMT
    Mickey, I don't know - but now I'm really confused.

    Just this morning, there was a greeting card on my steering wheel in my car and the CD was set to a love song (he had done it all this morning while I was in the shower.) If he wants to break it off, would he do those things?

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    Jun 26, 2008 6:20 PM GMT
    jaydub saidMickey, I don't know - but now I'm really confused.

    Just this morning, there was a greeting card on my steering wheel in my car and the CD was set to a love song (he had done it all this morning while I was in the shower.) If he wants to break it off, would he do those things?



    Oh no. icon_sad.gif