My husband has been obese for most of his life. There was a brief period from 18-23 where his weight was much more under control, but since then it has steadily crept up. When we began dating 7 years ago, he was already obese, but he has since put on about 30 more pounds. His BMI is nearly 50.
On the plus side, his blood levels are normal, he is not pre-diabetic, he maintains a decent blood pressure, and he is able to get around very well. He has an incredibly large frame and a lot of muscle. He would be unhealthy at a "normal" weight for his height, and a lot of people are surprised when he tells them his weight since he carries it so well.
Unfortunately, however, he is running into some health problems with sleep apnea and joint/back pain due to the excess weight. It wasn't so much of an issue when we were younger, but now that he's past 30, I've noticed that his excess weight gives him more trouble.
So that's the background...here's my point...
I don't know how to help him. I love him so very much. He is an incredible person- positive, funny, loving and so supportive. He is also very stubborn and prideful when it comes to his weight (he admits this openly). If I hint about eating healthy/exercise- like inviting him on a walk- he refuses and rebels.
I've tried the whole "setting a good example" thing. It doesn't work. He supports me in my efforts but is either too stubborn or too afraid to try things himself. We worked with a trainer last year, and DH got back to his wedding day weight. When the trainer said something about making better food choices, hubby rebelled, quit the program and gained all of his weight back.
He is not in denial. This is something we have discussed openly in a non-confrontational way. I try to stay positive, but it gets so difficult. Attraction and intimacy issues aside, I know sleep apnea can shorten your life. His joints and back will only get worse as he ages, and I'm afraid he'll end up like his dad, overweight and unable to move comfortably.
Do any of you have a similar situation? Or, is there someone who can offer an opinion from the other perspective? If you had a spouse that motivated you or vice versa, what worked?
Any input is appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this novel!
12-28-2009, 05:07 PM
I don't really know what to say, I think a person has to be ready on their own terms to lose weight, or make any other change for that matter, such as quitting smoking for example.
12-28-2009, 05:14 PM
I think Canadian Cutie is right. He probably looks at your tries to help and the trainers remarks as nagging . I find that the most difficult thing to do is to try to help someone, for their own good. He will be ready when he is ready.
12-28-2009, 08:34 PM
I agree with the others. You have to get off his case. I would be the same and really hate others trying to give me advice. He KNOWS what he should be doing.
Other than the sleep apnea, and that may not be from overweight, he doesn't sound like he really has any problems. You say he was "obese" and then gained 30 lbs, which is really a small amount of weight for someone who you say is big. With a "very large frame and lots of muscle," the charts are useless, absolutely useless. Your stats show that you are very slim yourself. I would truly back off. You may be overreacting.
12-28-2009, 10:14 PM
Thanks for the input. Hubby and I have talked about the same idea- it has to be on his own volition. Trust me, I get that.
I have left his exact weight out of the post because I wanted to respect that element of his privacy. Weight charts or not, he has been morbidly obese since I met him- and he has told me on a number of occasions that he feels unhealthy and uncomfortable. We are fortunate that he hasn't developed many secondary problems.
Also, I want you all to know that my husband knows about this post, and that he likes what y'all had to say. He said "I like those three fat chicks" :)
All of that said, I could see how I might appear as a harsh intolerant nagging whip cracker. But really, that is very far from the truth. I'm not on his case. I have been in years past, but I learned that the "nagging" on your case approach doesn't work. When I ask him to join me for a walk and he declines, I drop it. When he goes for another portion, I don't really say anything about it. I admit to slipping up and making a snide comment from time to time, but really what marriage is perfect? He does the same to me about other things. We apologize and move on.
I do appreciate you all taking the time to read my post. I am going to continue to be hubby's number one fan and support him as I can.
02-05-2010, 04:20 AM
I understand...my husband is much more overweight than I am...he too has okay blood pressure (it probably could be better, but it is not high), and has good blood work -- but the sleep apnea is an issue, as is flying (he travels for work) -- those seats are just not made for extra weight.
I don't have any suggestions than what you have tried, I guess just hang in there....I am hoping the lead by example will help, and my husband even suggests walks on occassion, hopefully that will increase.
My thoughts are with you and your hubby...good luck :-)
02-05-2010, 06:47 AM
Look at it this way, it is like when a parent has a teenager who is dating someone they hate. This person is trouble for the teen, the parent knows that eventually this person will get their teen into trouble even inadvertently, they might do things the parent does not want the teen to do, etc, etc. The parent wants to protect their child, put down boundaries, etc, but doesn't want to push the child even farther towards a bad situation, possibly one in which the child runs away or worse. What should they do, how far should they go? Well, your hubby is the same and you have to use those same instincts to help him. You must not nag, cajole, demand, etc. That will make him even more stubborn with him saying, "I'll show you, it is my body and I will do what I want." On the other hand, you DO NOT have to be his enabler. You must stand firm and refuse to make a fast food run for him, go out and buy him snacks, beer, whatever. It is not mean nor unkind to be upfront with him and tell him that you love him but you are not going to help him kill himself. If he wants food that is bad for him, he must go and get it himself, or make it himself. Refuse to make the pizzas, high fatty foods, etc. It is his choice whether he loses weight or not, but it is your choice whether you help him put his other foot on that banana peel so to speak. Be very, very supportive, but not enabling. I am a morbidly obese woman and if my husband did this, I would be madder than a wet hen about it, but I also would know that he was doing it because he loved me. Like the others commented, he must do this himself. He must want it and want it more than anything so maybe a little push in another direction might help. Talk to him about something he really wants or a place he really wants to go, then together make plans for it on the condition he loses weight and gets to goal that will be his reward. Make it something worthwhile too and NOT food related. One thing I noticed about my husband losing weight is things he doesn't like he has to want to try on his own so don't push that. Help him live within a lifestyle not a diet. For example, even if he wants fried chicken, make fried chicken, but use an oven recipe for starters using all chicken parts. Gradually, change to just breast meat, etc. You can do that without him even saying he is on a diet. My husband won't drink or use ff milk, but cooking with it is fine so if you make mashed potatoes, forget the butter and use ff milk with them, etc. When he is ready, help him in this way to little by little adjust to a new life without making him seem deprived. I wish you both so much good good luck!!!
02-05-2010, 02:06 PM
I am currently meeting up with a friend on Saturdays to walk. He has gained a lot of weight and is trying to get it back in control. My hubby is trying to lose weight. I am trying to lose weight. I am trying to be encouraging of everyone without being a pain/nag.
I agree that we all have to do it for ourselves. That we each have to make the decision to it. That being said, I disagree with the PP's! ;) But I mean no offense. Just that I don't think you should just back off or drop it - you are concerned with his health, you love him, and you should continue to express to him that you love him and have concerns. No, I don't think you should nag him, but maybe you two could sit down and you could ask him what he thinks would help him. What does he think? Does he want your guidance or does he want you to back off? Does he want you to stop buying junk food or cook a particular healthy meal? (just examples.)
On another note, (this is going to make me sound like a jerk - but I don't mean for it to) It also sounds like your hubby needs to grow up. The trainer talking to him about what he eats wasn't (at least I don't think) a criticism. The trainer was trying to help him get in shape and be healthy. Exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand. It's the trainers job to also discuss healthy eating, because you can't get good physical results if you aren't eating right. And when you are paying a lot of money for a trainer, they want you to see results.
Your hubby can't react to things people say or do by gaining all his weight back. That doesn't hurt anyone except him. He needs to think about why he reacts that way and what he can do to change that reaction. ex. instead of quitting and gaining weight back - go take a boxing class to vent frustrations/anger
I hope that helps a little. I also hope I didn't come off as abrasive, b/c I don't mean to. I think weight loss is hard. I think most of it is about changing our mentality - how we think about food and exercise, why we eat what we eat and less about "eat less, exercise more".
02-11-2010, 02:16 PM
Eventually his health will suffer or he will become ready to tackle the weight. Be loving and supportive until then and when he asks for help , be there to be his helpmate. Otherwise weight loss is up to the individual.
No one can help an other else lose weight (quit smoking, give up alcohol, put down the crack pipe) if the overweight person isn't ready. His weight becomes your disease too if you take on the responsibility of "helping".
Be his wife, his lover, his best friend and leave the other stuff to professionals.
02-11-2010, 02:33 PM
Part of my motivation for changing my life the way I did going on two years ago was what was happening with my husband's health, not just mine. He was suffering from some pretty severe snoring and there were times when I would hear him just...stop...breathing. It freaked me out, completely. Often he would have to sleep on the couch because it was more comfortable for him and that way I wouldn't have to constantly make him turn over in the night to stop snoring. I was very scared about his health. (Also, our sex life was really not ANYTHING as good as it had been previously.)
The first major, major change that I made for myself was to stop consuming sugar. I knew that if I asked my husband to do it with me, he'd refuse, and tell me that it was simply a whim on on my part and I wouldn't stick with it. He would have seen it as a punishment/deprivation I was trying to put on him. So, I didn't even tell him what I was doing. I just refused to eat things with sugar in them; it took him a couple of weeks even to notice that behavior.
After about a month, I was losing weight and feeling pretty physically awesome, and I finally told him what I was doing--and said that it was so very easy once I got past the sugar cravings, and that it was effortless to lose weight. I mentioned that it might be that way for him, too. (He consumed a pretty good bit of sugar--at least 2 sodas per day, plus other stuff.) I said: "How about if you just try it out for 30 days? If it works, great, but if you hate it, then go back to the sugar." He agreed to try it--once he'd used up all the 2-liters of Coke he had in the pantry ;)
Eventually he did quit sugar, and started easily/miraculously losing weight, even faster than me. His snoring started to go away, and the sleep apnea. He was able to sleep in the bed with me again and not disturb me. A problem he'd had with his eye getting clogged up from being pressed against the pillow at night went totally away. Our sex improved incredibly.
To date, he's lost about 80 pounds and I've lost about 85. (I weigh just a few pounds less than him.) He's totally happy about the change he made and has no desire to go back to regular sugar consumption. He doesn't see it as something I imposed on him, but as something he chose to do--something we choose to do, together. I am still very important in the maintenance of his good habits, but at least in part he sticks to it himself, because he has learned a lot about his body.
I don't know if this helps at all, but I do want to say that being concerned about your husband's health, and wanting to try to help him change for both your benefit--well, that's pretty normal. Of course, you can't change him, people don't work that way. But it's also very possible that eventually he will decide that he wants to change, and he'll do it.
Another note: Food/consumption is the most important thing that has to change for weight loss and health, but it is also the hardest thing to change. Exercise alone generally won't lead to weight loss, and it won't do a lot to improve health when eating habits go the other direction. I have had to change my diet basically 180 degrees in order to get healthy, but there's no way I would go back, now.
02-11-2010, 02:53 PM
Awe, you guys sound open and honest to me, and that's awesome!
:wave: Hi Tanna's Hubby!
My husband is in this with me, though you won't see him posting. His progress is in my signature. Though my husband has always had a better BMI than me and though he's never been morbidly obese, his body thinks that he is. He's always had that problem. He suffers from high BP, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, snoring, back pains, knee pains, foot problems, heart palpitations and the inability to do much activity at all for a total lack of endurance. His weight is a far bigger concern for US than mine is. His weight, unfortunately, is a direct parallel to what I am doing. If I'm gaining, he's gaining. If I'm losing, he's losing. It sucks. :( But on other hand, it's certainly good for me to be on plan. He needs a lot of hand holding. He doesn't like being told what to do, but he eats what I make. When I cook now, I make just enough to feed the four of us with no leftovers. That way I'm controlling his portions without his really realizing it. I don't hide that fact from him. If he asked I'd tell him. ;)
I don't know what the answer is for you, but I think it's really cool that you two have each other. His health is very important to you and that's an amazing thing! Maybe he'll get the courage to jump about here.