Posted by Pascal on April 3, 2021 at 10:12
Weight loss is a multi-multibillion dollar industry. And it is hard to go more than a few days without being reminded that “slimmer is better”. You, yourself, might also be attracted to slimmer women. This weight-loss message does not only come from the beauty industry, but also from public health organizations.
So, if you want to help your wife lose weight, at least you have got that working for you.
Obviously, if your wife is already making efforts to get in shape, there is no need for you to harp on the subject.
But even if she isn’t, she will be aware, at least on some level, that shedding a few pounds could make her look more attractive. And do her health some good as well.
Nevertheless, it is still a delicate subject to broach with your partner. Especially if she hasn’t really shown signs that she would like to lose weight. How do you approach the topic without hurting her feelings? And could there be underlying causes that prevent her from getting in shape?
If you are not sure how to proceed, here is a step-by-step guide to motivate your wife to lose weight.
Let’s be honest. Your wife probably knows that she has put on weight. She is not blind, and she may have noticed how some clothes don’t fit her as nicely as they used to.
So, it wouldn’t be a huge reveal if you told her something she already knows.
What might be more shocking, however, is the realization that her weight gain is worrying you enough that you’d want to talk about it. So, tread carefully.
Pick a good time to do it. That means not waiting until right before she needs to go to work, nor just before heading out for a date at the bar or restaurant.
Then, gently bring up the subject using “I” statements. These put the focus on you and avoid making her feel guilty. For example, instead of saying “You have put on weight lately”, say “I have noticed that you have put on some weight”. This won’t change the meaning of what you say, but it could soften the blow of it just a tad.
Finally, let her decide if she wants to discuss the issue.
Make a comment like “Is it okay if we talk about it?” and leave it up to her. You probably know this already, but forcing your wife to have a conversation when she is not ready might result in a fight, which would make it even more difficult to have an honest conversation about her weight.
Just let her pick a time when she feels okay to talk with you.
People in glass houses should not throw rocks.
It should be clear that if you are not in the best shape of your life yourself, you cannot really demand your wife lose weight without sounding hypocritical. If you asked her to make an effort without being willing to do the same, she could get defensive and throw this contradiction back at you.
And she would be justified in doing so.
The good news, however, is that you can reframe your suggestion by including yourself in it.
Going from “It would be good if you were to lose a few pounds,” to “Let’s do this together, you and me?” can really lower her defenses and make this an interesting goal for you to work towards as a couple.
What’s great about this is that it works even if you, personally, don’t feel that you are overweight.
Okay, what if you are in the best possible shape of your life and cannot possibly benefit from losing weight?
Well, you can still show your wife that you are willing to actively participate in her weight loss journey. We will see how you can do that later, but it boils down to three things:
It may not be easy, but it is simple. Plus, if you’re a guy, cooking is a big turn on for women.
It might be unpleasant, but you are allowed to share your truth in a relationship. While this does not give you a licence to be a jerk, it does mean that you don’t have to bottle up your feelings. Leaving things unresolved would lead to dissatisfaction in the long run.
If you are worried about the long-term effects on her health, you can let her know.
Maybe you are more interested in making sure she can keep up with you in physical activities.
Or perhaps even you are simply not attracted to belly fat.
Whatever your concerns, you are allowed to voice them. But here’s the thing:
If you are using your wife’s weight gain to get back at her for something else, or to attack her, you will fail. Likewise, if you pretend to be concerned about her health when in reality it’s your attraction that is waning, she will know.
Your wife will be able to suss out any insincerity in your approach. If you seem disingenuous, she will put her defenses up. Then, she will be skeptical of anything you have to say after that. Good luck trying to convince her to lose weight if you get to that point.
Finally, while you might view this as a suggestion for improving her life (and the life of your couple), she might not. Asking your wife to lose weight can easily be perceived as a criticism of who she is as a woman.
To avoid that, make sure to tell her that you still love her and that it doesn’t change how you feel towards her as a person. She is still your wife, you are still attracted to her, and you still want to be with her.
Which segues nicely into point #4…
When you do some research on the topic of “How to get my wife to lose weight,” you can quickly find yourself browsing some… questionable content.
There are communities of men advocating for the use of “dread” and “fear”. Basically, finding ways to show your wife that if she doesn’t keep a great shape, you are willing to walk out of the relationship. You basically would be using fear as a motivator to get your wife to lose weight.
To be fair, there is no scientific proof that this does not work.
But there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that this is not the best advice either.
To start with, marriages are built on a lot of things. Companionship, trust, helping each other become better versions of yourselves… fear, clearly, should not be on that list.
Reverse the roles for a second: would you feel comfortable in a relationship where your wife threatens to leave if you don’t act the way she wants? Not only would this be stressful and unpleasant, it wouldn’t motivate you if you had to “bow to her will”. This type of things can fly when you are casually dating, but hopefully by the time you are married, you are past the point of flimsy commitments.
Besides, your wife might put in the work to lose weight in the beginning, but quickly get tired of always having to wonder if her relationship is safe. Security is part of the reason she married you.
How much effort would you be willing to make to satisfy someone who always seems to have one foot out the door?
But all this is not even the most important point: There is a better way!
Showing affection, touching her playfully or romantically, complimenting her looks… all this works much better. And yes, that includes being intimate with her.
The more you show her you are into her, the more she will want to look good for you. To impress you.
And the best part is that it comes from her.
You spend quality, intimate time together, which makes her feel good, she gets in better shape to wow you, which brings you closer, etc.
Instead of a negative, fear-based, vicious circle, you create a virtuous one with positive reinforcement.
If your wife is feeling a bit insecure about her weight, she will sometimes try to test how you react with some questions.
There is the classic: “Does this dress make me look fat?”, of course. But that’s not the only question you might hear. The following, or variations of these, are also quite common:
You get the idea. It can even be a straight-to-the-point: “Am I fat?”.
Now, here is where you might easily mess up:
Because you love your wife and you don’t want to upset her, you lie to her. “No, not at all honey. You look amazing.” Just a little white lie, you know. How bad can it be?
It’s not great.
When you shield your wife from an uncomfortable truth, you are not helping her. You might even convince her that nothing is wrong with her weight, even though she doesn’t feel like it. It could also encourage her to not lose weight. “If my husband likes fatter women, what would happen if I became skinny?”.
Perhaps even worse is that she might see through your lies. Of course, she will probably guess that your intentions are noble, but that sort of things can erode the trust she puts in your word. If you are willing to lie about that, what else are you not being truthful about?
Now that we’ve established that you shouldn’t tell your overweight girlfriend that she looks great, what do you say? Should you tell your wife she should lose some weight? Be blunt and tell her she is chubby?
No. Of course not.
Just because you should not lie does not mean you have to hurt your wife’s feelings.
What you should do is understand where she is coming from.
When she asks you: “Does this dress make me look fat?”, there is something else that is bothering her. It’s a sign she wants you to say some specific things.
Knowing what stands behind her questions will help you answer in a way that is not only truthful, but that will help you move your relationship forward.
The first thing to consider is that when she asks “Does this dress/do these pants/any item of clothing make me look fat?”, she might as well ask you: “Do you think I’m good enough?”.
This points to a possible issue with her self-esteem. People who lack a bit of confidence will start asking around for reassurance. Your job as a husband will not be to help your wife lose weight, but to help her work past her self-doubt.
Likewise, she might be feeling insecure, nervous, or anxious. For a ton of reasons.
She could be suffering from issues with her body image, or be worried about her health, or struggling to deal with the stresses of daily life and looking for a comforting word from you.
In all these cases, you won’t know what is really going on with your wife unless you ask her.
Don’t answer directly: “Yes, I think you should lose weight.” That would only add fuel to her fire.
Instead, rephrase what she is asking you to get to the bottom of things:
Married life can get busy. And when that happens, we forget to “check in” with our partner. Sometimes we don’t even know how to do it!
Your wife is asking you these questions because she is worried about something. Health issues, stress, a busy lifestyle, and depression are all linked to weight gain. Do your best to work with her and accurately figure out what is bothering her.
Ask any fitness expert and they’ll tell you: “Abs are made in the kitchen,” and “You can’t outrun a bad diet.”
They say that because if you want to lose weight, what you eat is exponentially more important than exercise. What this means for you is that if you want to know how to get your wife to lose weight, you’ve got to start with her diet.
Remember how we said you’d have work to help your wife lose weight? This is where you can help.
Start at analyzing the way your wife eats right now. You already know how often she eats out at restaurants or orders take out. But don’t forget to ask her about her snacking habits and if she has any cravings.
Then, get to work.
There are many ways to make healthier versions of her favorite dishes. Just google the name of the recipe and add “healthy version” or “for weight loss” in the search bar. If you really want to help your wife get in shape, you’ll have to start cooking a lot. Especially if she is too busy to do so.
Also replace her snacks with home-made versions whenever possible. It won’t be an exact replacement for her favorite chocolate bars, but will go a long way toward mitigating her cravings. And you don’t even have to be perfect for it to work. You can still use butter and sugar if you want, just cut down on them.
Finally, make sure your wife eats enough. A lot of the reasons why diets fail is that they are too restrictive.
Once you have sorted out your wife’s diet, you can work on the second part: getting her moving.
It will be important to meet her where she is at. If you are a gym buff but she has trouble running more than two minutes without getting out of breath, don’t bring her to the gym.
Find something else to do with her instead. Like walking.
What if you find that boring, or not challenging enough? Tough luck. This is not about what you like, but what your wife can accept. Get to her level first, and gradually work up to more challenging hikes, light jogging, or even cardio training.
One way to make it fun is to do fun activities that don’t feel like exercise. Enjoying the great outdoors, for example, will take the focus out of the “I’m here to lose weight” and make it fun for both of you.
Here are some ideas: swimming, hiking, window shopping (yes, even that), going to a concert, taking dance lessons, visiting a museum… anything that gets your wife moving.
And don’t use winter as an excuse: take her tubing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, or just checking out the Christmas illuminations downtown. As long as she is moving, you are doing great.
There is a big difference between feeling like you have to exercise and not even realizing you are doing it.
One thing that would be pretty discouraging for your wife would be to make all these efforts only to have them go unnoticed.
Sure, she might get some satisfaction out of reaching some personal milestones and goals. But if you don’t even acknowledge them, why would she bother working so hard?
It might not sound like a big deal, but it is.
And it doesn’t take much on your part. Just a quick “Wow, you look great. Your new lifestyle is totally paying off,” or “I’ve seen how diligent you’ve been with your exercises lately. You’re amazing so I wanted to reward you with a night out.”
Little attentions go a long way.
Just think of yourself as one of the guys handing bottles of water to marathon runners during their race. Except, instead of water, you’re giving out compliments.
If your wife refuses to lose weight, you need to do some digging. Get to the root of the psychological issues that might be affecting her well-being.
Does your wife still love you, or has she checked out of the marriage? Is she happy with her weight right now?
Understand that, while you can voice your concerns and be supportive, the decision is in her hands. Ultimately, whether she follows through or not will be up to her alone. If you are unsatisfied with that, maybe suggesting counselling might work. Hopefully your differences can be reconciled.
Also, accept that setbacks are part of the process. Having a cheat day, skipping her workout, or eating an ice cream do not mean that she has stopped caring about her weight. Don’t be too hard on her if that happens, simply encourage her to get back on track without feeling guilty.
One thing you can do, however, is to make it easy for her. Don’t leave tempting snacks lying around the house. Accommodate her schedule when planning your workouts and support her if you see her struggling.
Finally, recognize that your request cannot be one-sided. If you ask her to change her body for you, she also needs to see that you are working on becoming better every day. That you are someone worth losing weight for.
If you manage to do that, you will create a relationship where your wife will actively want to lose weight. For herself, sure, but also for you.