Q: I am in a USUALLY supportive relationship with my partner of 2 years. He is a big man of about 250 lbs. He has encouraged me through sacrificing for, praying for and relocating for my goals.
My weight loss goals however are a different story! He has terrible eating habits and he is defensive about them. Since we live, cook and grocery shop together, his habits truely affect me. His junk food is always available to me.
Outside of two dinner meals he cooks weekly, he eats take out, fast food, with a ton of soda every day. I am continuing to gain weight and am the only one who sees our shared eating habits as an issue.
Is there a previous post you have written about live-in partners or spouses who contribute to weight gain?
I’ve come close, but not all the way here.
It’s hard for me to really talk about relationships because, as I’ve admitted already, I’m currently abstinent, dating for fun and have been this way for a while, now. I feel like if I give answers that people don’t like, the response is gonna be “Well, she just wants everyone to be all sexless like her… don’t listen to her! She has no man!”
So… just be forewarned. I already know it’s coming. I really don’t care, though.
I think that, sometimes, we expect people to be as excited about us reaching our goals as we are. We really expect people to dive in head first toward us getting exactly where we want to be. We also expect them to change their lives to accommodate us. Just because we’ve had our individual “come-to-fitness” moments, we expect others to immediately follow suit. Doesn’t happen like that.
If they don’t share your same value system – the value system that allows you to make your health a priority – then no, that’s not going to happen. It’s one thing to support someone along their journey. It’s another thing entirely to change something extremely intimate – like your eating habits – to accommodate something you don’t even believe in.
Men aren’t compelled to “OMG LOSE WEIGHT” the way that women are. A lot of ’em are really ambivalent about it. If anything, society tells men to bulk up. I mean sure, they know who to talk to about that – a bodybuilder-looking-type dude – but they’ll ask me about slimming down. The two are completely different issues… and “slimming down” feels a little more like “girl talk.” That being said… they’re often kind of sheepish about admitting they need to lose. It’s just a product of our society.
A lot of us have significant others who are, quite frankly, just comfortable with how they are. There’s a double standard that allows for men to be overweight with impunity. Women, though? We dominate the fitness commercials. There are no “Shape-Ups” for men. There are no “shake weights” for men. (I know, I know. Sorry.) It’d be nice if we, as women, could experience that same level of satisfaction but then again, that kind of ambivalence is why your significant other thinks that his weight (and really crazy habits) are acceptable. I mean, they aren’t.. but since it’s “okay” for men to be “bigger,” I can see why he doesn’t feel compelled to change.
I also don’t think it’s fair to believe that just because you think he needs to lose weight, that he should just automatically change and accept whatever you’re telling him. If you were okay with where you are, and your significant other came at you trying to change you… how would you feel?
Now.. on to the realities of where he may stand. Does he have access to the same information that compelled you to lose weight? Does he know that it’s not all about eating rice cakes and tofu and bland food? Does he know that it’s not all about “no cookies?” Does he know that he doesn’t have to spend the rest of his life in the gym to experience results? A lot of people separate themselves from the possibility of living healthier, more fit lives because they think it requires so much work. They believe the crap that the fitness commercials tell them: “Crunches are hard.. buy our mid-air-swingy-contraption and get a six pack today!” No one wants to spend the money on the contraption, but now everyone believes crunches are hard.
It’s obvious that you both love one another, and maybe his perception of what “healthy” and “fit” entails is what’s getting in the way of him embracing it with you (especially since he’s been so willing to sacrifice for you in the past.) That being said, I will say this for the record – this kind of stuff, for me, is a deal breaker. You want to continue to purchase junk food? I’m going to throw it in the trash. Wild, ain’t it? I make no apologies for it, either. Not in my house, absolutely not. If I tell you that I need certain things out of the house, and you can’t oblige me? We cannot live in the same space. Plain and simple. There is no way around it. As hard as it was for me to reclaim my health, to let that be affected for the worst by an outside force? Unacceptable. (You’d think that this might affect my “options” of men, but as I’ve stated before… not only do I meet more men, but the men I meet are either open to changing – and look forward to it – or are already very fit.)
There’s a quote that I live for – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I live by it – as evidenced by this site – because you serve as living proof of the benefit of the knowledge you have. If you know how to live healthier, then be a living embodiment of that. Go for regular walks, and come back feeling invigorated. Spend some time relieving your stress by giving yourself ten minutes to stretch in the mornings, and come out feeling limber and happy. Let him watch you do your crunches – or whatever – and keep doing them regardless of how he frowns his face up at seeing you in action. Let him see you enjoying food that is absolutely delicious yet still clean and healthy. He will eventually see your dedication – which is what really matters, here – and your results – which maters even more, strangely enough – and he will feel compelled to talk to you about your changes… and how he can get on board.
Can you cook, even though he’s getting take-out? Really, are you able to cook before he orders takeout? Pick a few of the “sweeter” recipes from the recipe section of the site, prepare them the night before, and tell him that you want to try something different tomorrow. The recipe will still give him that “sweet” [that I suspect he might be addicted to] but will still be healthier than what he’s getting. Go for regular walks, and after your third day of consistent walking, invite him to join you. If he says no, leave him alone for a few days, then ask again. Tell him “I know you said you didn’t want to come before because it was so cold, buuuuuuuut it’s sooooo much fun. I promise I won’t hit you with a snowball if you come!” and see what he says. Don’t badger him about it, but every few days? Invite him. If you don’t stick to it, you certainly can’t convince him to stick to it. You’re kind of asking to carry him on your back because you know you both need to climb up this hill… and it’s literally as hard as the visual makes it seem – you are throwing him on your back and carrying him up a big hill. Be ready for that. You obviously love one another – I suspect that it’s worth it, to you.
What I’ve learned is that you can show a person – way better than you can ever tell them – how simple achieving fitness can be, how within reach it is and how the sacrifice has its trade offs in the long run. If you can see that, you can do anything.