Love your advice and hope you have some to share with me. I’ve been married for 16 years. I have spent well over 3/4 of that time morbidly obese. When my husband Todd and I got married, I was what could be considered, “pleasantly plump”. After three kids, four moves, unemployment and health problems I ended up with a very serious health problem caused by carrying too much weight.
About two years ago, I decided I wanted to be here for my family and I got serious. I joined Weight Watchers and have lost over 100 pounds! I feel better, I can do more with my family, heck, I even get a catcall or two!
So what’s the problem? In a word: Todd. He says he supports me, but he’s always bringing home cookies or candy or other things that he knows I have a weakness for. When I ask him to stop he gets mad and sulks. By the way, Todd has gained about 30 pounds in the last couple of years.
Will, I don’t know what’s going on. I lost the weight so I could be here for my family but honestly if feels like it’s driving a wedge between Todd and me. What should I do?
Now Fit But Former Fatty
Hey Not Fit,
First off, congratulations on the weight loss! Those of us who’ve tried (and that’s MOST of us) know it’s not easy to lose even 20 or 30 pounds, so losing 100 is incredible. Is Todd trying to sabotage you? Does it bother him that you lost all of this weight? Would he rather you just stay obese and unhealthy? The answer to all of these questions is “not really but…yeah, kind of… Confused? Here’s what I think is happening and why Todd is troubled.
*Your diet has changed. If you’re eating healthier, then you’ve probably started shopping and cooking healthier for your family. This means some of Todd’s favorite meals have probably been altered or have disappeared all together.
*Your activity level has changed. Just eating right won’t do it. To lose weight, you’ve had to get moving. Those lazy nights of lying around on the couch are now few and far between. Now, Todd has to choose between watching TV alone or power-walking with you.
*You mind-set has changed. You’ve decided to take charge of your life and your health. To Todd, this means he’ll have to change his mindset too. It’s time to shape up, or… ?
*Your look has changed. A hundred pounds makes a BIG difference in how you look, how you’re looked at and how you see yourself. You’ve got a new shape and probably new clothes to fit your new body. You’ve got a new self-image, new-found confidence and you’re getting new attention from new construction workers. Good for you!
*Your needs have changed. Todd used to show his love by bringing you the cookies and candies he knew you had a weakness for. Now those things upset you so he has to figure out what your new needs are and how to meet them and whether he can help keep you healthy AND happy.
And you say, “But all of those are good, healthy things… so what’s the problem?” The problem is that every example above contains the word ‘CHANGED”.
MAN RULE: MEN SEEK COMFORT AND RUN FROM CHANGE: Of course this rule, like all of the others, doesn’t cover every single man on the planet (always have to add that disclaimer), but for 99.9% of us, this holds true. Women love to “reinvent” themselves but you’ll hardly ever hear that from a man. Ask both sexes which pair of shoes is their favorite, a woman answers “the new pair”, a man answers “the comfortable pair”. Women can’t wait to go and try that new restaurant; men want to go to their old, favorite (comfortable) restaurant, sit at their favorite (comfortable) table, and eat the same thing they’ve ordered for the last ten years. I could add a million more examples, but you get the picture.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NEXT: You know what’s great about Weight Watchers? It’s a step-by-step plan that tells you what to do and what not to do to fix a problem. If you follow it, you see positive results that motivate you to stick to the new plan and stay away from old habits. So it’s time to do the same thing for Todd. He’s been bringing you cookies for 16 years. It’s what he knows. Now, he’s supposed to stop. So what SHOULD he bring you? Carrot sticks? Running shoes?
Your diet plan doesn’t say, “Stop eating bad stuff”; it explains what you can and can’t have and why. Todd only knows how to do the things that helped you gain weight, so you need to sit him down and explain, step-by-step, what you need from him now. Explain what things he should bring you. Explain what he can do to help you so that you can lead a longer, happier life with him and the kids. And when he does the right thing, pour on the praise. Tell him how much better he makes you feel and how supportive he’s being. Who knows, enough motivation and he might jump on board with you and lose that extra 30 pounds his been carrying around!
I know I’ve given you a lot to chew on (especially with your diet and all). This question has a lot of small symptoms all coming from one root cause: change. Be patient. Give Todd some time. I think you’ll both be great in the end. Good luck!
William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing.