Weight Loss Support - What kind of support from boyfriends/husbands/SO's works?




PositivePursuit
04-07-2010, 06:03 PM
I'm a late 20's man looking to support my girlfriend's desire to lose weight. I actually stumbled across these forums looking for more recipes for the Fat Smash Diet. While browsing through the rest of the forums it dawned on me that I had also found a wonderful community of people....and that maybe I could get some ideas on how to help her achieve her goal of being healthier and happier.


squishysquirrel
04-07-2010, 06:20 PM
I've tried losing weight several times, but this is the first time by boyfriend has truly been supportive. I cook, and he has been eating the same meals as me. He even makes comments about how eating healthier is making him feel better, so that is encouraging. He also praises me for doing a good job sticking to my exercise routine, which makes me want to keep going. I love it when he calls me skinny, though it isn't true, after he started noticing results. He has also promised to buy me whatever I want (which happens to be a fitness video) if I can stick to exercising for 3 months.

WarMaiden
04-07-2010, 06:22 PM
Don't be the food or exercise monitor / cop. Ever. Even if she asks you to do that, don't. It's not your job to remind her to eat or not eat something, or to exercise. That way lies ruin for your relationship.

Do plan fun dates for the two of you that have nothing to do with food. Dinner dates, movie dates, etc are often food traps and may end up upsetting her. Instead, plan to do things that you both find fun, such as hiking, swimming, biking, rollerskating, a music festival, and so on.

Do remind her that she is beautiful to you, just as she is. Compliment her often. Encourage her to dress in ways that make her feel attractive, and to purchase new clothing that suits her body.

Do cook (if you cook) in ways that are respectful to her way of eating, whatever that is. If you don't already cook for her, learn to do so. It's so incredibly supportive to plan and prepare a healthful, enjoyable meal for another person.

Do help her with meal planning and grocery shopping, if she wants that. Grocery shopping can be a fun date-like experience, too.

Do verbally acknowledge her efforts to be healthier, and offer verbal encouragement. Sometimes men aren't great at doing this, but it can be very helpful. But make sure that you don't sound patronizing when you do it.

Do ask her questions and find out specifically how she wants you to be supportive.

Don't ever make her losing weight a condition of the relationship or of your love for her.

Do be willing to listen to her complaints and rants and triumphs. Sometimes silently; she just may need to vent.

Do try to live healthfully yourself.

Don't bring junk into the household. If you must eat it, do it elsewhere. Don't bring in pizza, cookies, cake, candy...it's like laying a minefield of temptation.


polarisx89
04-07-2010, 06:25 PM
As dumb as it sounds, being relentlessly supportive is a HUGE help. When a lot of us started losing weight, we got lots of eye rolls and comments like "yeah, OKAY." That sort of negativity is hard-- show that you have as much faith in her as she has in herself.

Also, I agree with what squishysquirrel said-- try to eat healthier along with her (i.e., don't bring lots of junkfood into the house) and maybe offer her some kind of incentive for sticking with her program.

The fact that you're even on this board looking for answers says a lot...I have a feeling that you're probably already doing a great job being supportive :)

Trinity1004
04-07-2010, 06:26 PM
Awwww thats very sweet of you to want to help her out! My hubby is my biggest supporter and I am soooo thankful to have his help! He is on board with my new healthy lifestyle even though our goals are different. I need to lose weight and he's a weight lifter with no weight to lose. For me having him workout with me helps me a lot! He pushes me to do more and encourages me to always lift that weight one more time or walk that extra mile. I am also lucky that he's willing to try new healthy recipes! He encourages me when the numbers on the scale aren't to my liking and he is always compilmenting me on the way I'm looking. I think it's great that you are willing and wanting to help her, she's as lucky as I am! Ohhhh and it helps that I get to buy something special for myself every 20 pounds I lose! ;)

Shmead
04-07-2010, 06:26 PM
My husband stays the **** out of it: he listens silently when I want to obsess, virtually never offers advice, and only ever compliments me on what I've done, not how I've changed.

He rarely, rarely reassures me if I am feeling insecure: we both are wary of setting up that sort of dynamic (where I look to him to make me feel better about myself). Once or twice he's said something nice, but never in response to me asking for reassurance.

He never gives me "permission" to cheat when I want someone to, but he also never says anything if I veer off my plan--it's totally up to me. He never complains about sacrifices I ask him to make to make staying on my plan easier (i.e., we go out to eat at places I can find something to eat, my exercise schedule determines many things).

For me, my husband is perfect, but I think a lot of people would consider him under-involved. Me, I need the room because I tend to get clingy if someone allows me to be. You need to talk to your SO and figure out what she needs, and repeat that conversation over time--because what she needs may not be what she thinks she needs, at first, and it may change with time. So you have to continue having these conversations over time.

ParadiseFalls
04-07-2010, 06:35 PM
If your girlfriend is anything like me, for the love of god do NOT ask her if she's "sure she wants to eat that" when she decides to have an off-plan meal or desert one night. My boyfriend did this a couple of times when I had already decided it was time for a night off from the diet, and I know he meant well and just wanted to help me, but all I heard was "You cow, you're not allowed to have ice cream!"

If your girlfriend is more confident, go ahead and help her make the right choices, but just a warning, some of us prefer to fly solo and make our own decisions with no boyfriend input!

And just keep telling her she's beautiful :)

ncuneo
04-07-2010, 06:35 PM
Maybe you could start by asking her what would help her. As you can see some people what their SO's to be involved some don't. I think I'm in the middle. My husband has been very very supportive. He always tells me how proud of me he is and although I try not to talk to him about it too much (I'm obsessive) he listens every time I drone on and on about my weight loss. He's very encouraging on my new fitness goals and has expressed some interest in joining me. He has made his best effort to make healthier choices for himself and I appreciate that even though I am cooking two meals a lot of the time to satisfy each of us. But he will eat what I eat as often as he can and it is usually my choice to cook two meals.

But anyway I think that you have the right idea and just talking to her about what she needs from you to succeed will make all the difference, just communicate. Oh yeah and share this site with her! It's has been amazing support for me and I'm sure she'll love it too.

2phatinvictoria
04-07-2010, 06:38 PM
Tell shes beautiful everyday! and tell her your proud of her! ..
My boyfriend is great... he wouldnt bring junk in the house until i was able to be around it and not shove it in my mouth! you must really love her if your here supporting her! keep at it!!! and tell her she can rock this!

MyBestYear
04-07-2010, 11:52 PM
Good advice!

I would say, ask her how you can help. Simply say something like, I love you very much and I support any positive goals you have and will help you any way I can :)

That should do a lot. My husband is very good about staying out of things -- he doesn't criticize if I slip, and joins in when I am proud of myself (me: I lost 3 lbs honey... Hubby: WAY TO GO babe, you're awesome!)...he will also tell me randomly that I am looking really good or he can really see the difference in my face or whatever.

The key is, another poster mentioned -- he doesn't at all police my food or make comments regarding that. It isn't his place to comment, in my opinion. If I talk to him about it, as in, "I am so disappointed I went over my calories" he is encouraging "don't worry, one day is not what makes or breaks it...I know you'll do great tomorrow, don't give up!" stuff like that.

Good for you for supporting your partner :) I love coming here because then my weight loss efforts don't become the entire subject of my marriage like can easily happen when some one is very committed to a cause :)

angelskeep
04-08-2010, 12:03 AM
Wow! You are already pretty awesome yourself for taking the time to talk to the fat chicks here!

My husband walks with me, rides bikes with me, and even does the video workout with me. He can run circles around me in all the activities, so I know when he goes with me he is just being supportive and I so much appreciate that. He also seems to notice when I'm struggling when I am exercising and acts as a one man cheering sectionl Never criticizes my poor abilities, but stays positive. It's helped a lot for me to keep pushing myself harder so that one day I can bike or hike to his level.

Foodwise, I do most of the cooking and we shop together. He eats pretty much whatever I eat and no longer suggests going out for food that isn't on my plan. If I need extra help with food prep, he helps. Sometimes, he cooks. If he cooks, I clean up the kitchen, but usually he cleans because I cook.

Whenever I need something...special food, clothes, equipment, he encourages me to get it.

Barb

Shytowngal
04-08-2010, 12:12 AM
This is so GREAT that you're even asking this. One thing I want to make sure of is, is she already trying on her own or is this something you're going to spring on her? If that is the case, don't push her, she has to want this on her own.

If she has voiced to you that she wants to lose weight/get healthy then compliments ALWAYS help. My bf calls me skinny mini, which isn't true, but I think it's cute. One other thing he does that I LOVE is that he walks with me everyday when it is nice out (and when schedules permit). Not only are we getting great exercise but we have meaningful alone time and can talk about everything going on in our lives.

He also eats by my plan and we also spend time in the kitchen together. Him doing everything on plan with me makes me feel like I'm not in this alone.

The things he doesn't do that I'm greatful for is he does not check up on me, ask me what I'm eating when he's not around, force me to exercise if I just don't feel like it one day, he also doesn't bring it up to other people we are with unless I initiate the conversation.

Your girlfriend is lucky to have you, and ditto to all advice above!

ValRock
04-08-2010, 12:13 AM
You've gotten some great advice! The biggest one for me is Don't sabotage her! My husband is horrible with this. If you want to eat a Big Mac or a cupcake, fine! Don't do it in front of her. Be supportive and encouraging without being pushy :). And it's super sweet of you to be supportive of her!

srmb60
04-08-2010, 06:04 AM
It breaks my heart when my husband goes to the kitchen and makes a peanut butter sandwich after eating the beautiful healthy meal I've cooked. So he's taken to eating sandwiches for his lunch when I'm not around, he can bake his own potato while I'm cooking nice vegetables and meat, he can nibble on carrots after dinner, he can grill our meat ....
The 'treat' he brings me is diet coke.
He walks with me and that's probably the nicest one :D

ValRock
04-08-2010, 06:11 AM
It breaks my heart when my husband goes to the kitchen and makes a peanut butter sandwich after eating the beautiful healthy meal I've cooked. So he's taken to eating sandwiches for his lunch when I'm not around, he can bake his own potato while I'm cooking nice vegetables and meat, he can nibble on carrots after dinner, he can grill our meat ....
The 'treat' he brings me is diet coke.
He walks with me and that's probably the nicest one :D

That's super sweet! My DH brings me Diet Coke now, too :)... I wish he would walk with me!

Robsia
04-08-2010, 06:23 AM
Don't be an enabler.

One of the worst things my OH does is bring chocolate into the living room in the evening to eat it, and offers me some.

When I complain about it, he tells me that he was brought up to believe that it was polite to share with people and he can't bring himself to be rude enough not to offer it to me, even though I have told him explicitly not to. I can just about manage to ignore him if he eats it in front of me, but I don't have the willpower to refuse if he actively offers it to me.

When I tell him this he tells me I am an adult woman and I am resposible for what I put in my mouth, not him - I can say no if I don't want it.

It is the only thing that really pisses me off about him.

He also doesn't understand about "allowing" yourself an off-plan treat, so he sees me eat a small bar of chocolate and then doesn't get why I am annoyed about him offering me chocolate. He buys me fattening things as treats "because he knows I love them" and thinks he is doing a nice thing.

I have tried to explain - I compared it to offering a dry alcoholic a glass of wine, in the full knowledge that that person WAS an alcoholic, purely in the interests of "being polite".

He is getting better, but he still doesn't really get it - comes of being 6 foot tall and effortlessly 150 lb - and never having lived with anyone with a warped relationship with food before.

What he does do for me is tell me I am beautiful and gorgeous and sexy all the time, and he looks after the DCs whenever I want to go for a run, and he came to support me when I did a 10K race last year. He is also proud of me and tells his friends that I run 4 miles a day every day - which is not true - it's more like 3 OR 4 miles about 3x a week.

Danielle2842
04-08-2010, 08:57 AM
My husband very recently went from being a bad influence on my dieting/exercising habbits to being a positive and supportive stronghold.

1.) He cooks much healthier, lower calorie dinners for us and if he makes carbs for us, he'll only make small servings.

2.) He started working out with me in the evenings, which really encourages me to stay on track.

3.) When we go out to eat, we think about the restaurant's menu options before hand and choose the healthiest option. Also, when we have parties, instead of putting out my favorite junk foods we put out fruit and veggie trays in addition to some snacks that I don't care for.

Lastly, though my husband doesn't really do this enough, it's very important for supporting your woman - Tell her how good she looks, tell her you see results, tell her what a great job she's doing and how proud you are of her.

Good luck & I hope we helped!!

randomcards
04-08-2010, 10:03 AM
**DISCLAIMER---I'm a guy**

You've gotten some good advice in here from people much better able to comment than I.

I'd just chime in a few things and hope I don't get bashed too much.

1. Be prepared for the fact that no matter how well intentioned or how hard you try there will be many times you do it wrong (at least in her eyes). Sorry it's just a guy/girl thing, don't let it get you down, if you really care keep trying.

2. Realize that due to many many many many reasons, what is appropriate and helpful support one day might not be the same the next day. I'm guessing you know what I mean;) but be prepared to be light on your feet and adjust quickly to what is appropriate in the moment.

3. The best advice I think you've gotten in this thread is to carefully understand how important it is to not be an enabler, but the key difference between that and not being an accountability cop (even if she says she wants this). The first is great, and the second is a can of worms to avoid.

springlover
04-08-2010, 06:55 PM
I think its so great that you are here, and you want to be supportive.

The best thing, is working out with her even if its not an intense workout. My boyfriend and I go on a walk almost every night after dinner, even though I already worked out in the morning. We can talk and after walking for an hour we both feel good. Just do a lot of activities with her that are focused on being outside and healthy. It does wonders for your relationship, and if she skips a workout she gets to feel healthy while you encourage her to go do something with you.

Good luck to both of you, having a supportive boyfriend makes the process feel even more rewarding.

PositivePursuit
04-08-2010, 09:06 PM
Wow! Thanks for all the great advice.

Seems like I haven't fallen into any common traps yet (policing or commenting, etc). I could do a bit better by not enabling certain eating patterns (eating out, not fast food, but not always healthy), but that'll take some work.

I've asked her how best to support her and she has a bit (*ahem*) of a stubborn independent streak (that I love in her :) ) So she tends to try and go-it alone...but she hasn't been very successful in doing so. She told me the last time that she slimmed down she had been single, and working out at the gym 4-5 times a week, 2 hours in the evenings....so eating dinner together kind of goes out the window, and we lose some of that couple time as well.

From my perspective (which I haven't shared), it's more of a gradual lifestyle change than a huge one...but it means smaller meal portions, less ice cream, less television. The payoff is more energy, feeling less stressed about her weight, fitting into her old clothes (and nicer new clothes), and feeling better about herself in general. I worry somewhat about her overall health...but I'm not sure how to express this in a way that is constructive. It's hard to change though, I know that from my own life experience from growing up as an overweight teen and young adult. It means new coping mechanisms outside of food (she spends plenty of time talking about the things that stress her in her life, but she still tends to eat sweets in excess.

I make sure to let her know how much I love her, how beautiful she is, and she knows without a doubt that I'm not going anywhere.

I suppose the real reason that it has been on my mind more as of late is that in a few short weeks I'm going to be proposing to her....and I know that the idea of getting married (one that she is on-board with) will be a bit stressful because she'll immediately start thinking about her weight again. I'm not in a position to control her stress....though I do my best to be aware of it.

Thanks again for all the wonderful feedback, I'll be sure to keep reading the thread!

angelskeep
04-08-2010, 09:28 PM
You're very thoughtful and considerate. I'm sure she'll say yes. If she needs convincing, send her to talk to us!

Barb

luciddepths
04-08-2010, 09:58 PM
I think JOINING in helps when my DH joins me on my walks or works out when i do, i love it! One because he walks faster than me so he slows alittle for me but walks still fast enough so that i have to work a bit harder!

When eating its so hard if you are eating all these "unhealthy" foods and im stuck sitting there eating a salad.. or whatever it may be. Try and Join in on the effort.

Shytowngal
04-08-2010, 10:15 PM
Can you both go on a plan together? Let her know that you want to be in the best shape of your life for the happiest day of your life (the wedding) and need her support. Sit down, review plans and pick something that works for you both.

jenwoobiekins
04-09-2010, 10:44 AM
Compliment, compliment, compliment - but don't make it about weight loss -- don't say "you look like you're losing weight" -- say "you look great in that outfit", tell her that her hair looks great, you love her smile, whatever it is in the moment, but don't remind her that she's even trying to lose weight.

Make "dates" that are active, without letting her know that's what she's doing - take up bowling, find a local hiking spot, even go to a park to start looking at the spring flowers in bloom - be subtle about it. Never pressure her to exercise, but if she wants you to tag along, be happy to do so. Go buy bikes together and start riding. If you have a dog, walk it! Stuff like that.

When she tells you about an accomplishment, if you can afford it, buy her a reward - a single carnation, a new favorite CD - if you can't, simply write her a little note that says "I"m proud of you" - and be specific -- if she tells you she's lost 5 pounds, tell her that you're proud of her for that, if she met a goal of walking so many miles, tell her that, etc.

I am ALL about the positive reinforcement, but I don't want to think that my boyfriend "notices" that I've lost weight because then I start to wonder "Gosh did he think I was FAT before" -- know what I mean?

The best thing you can do is tell her how much you love her and admire her courage/strength/restraint, etc!

PositivePursuit
05-07-2010, 08:36 PM
Hello everyone!

Just a quick update....I popped the question last weekend and she said yes!

On another positive note, she also signed up for a big Team in Training event towards the end of the year that she's asked my help with to prepare for, so we've got some goals to work towards together as a newly engaged couple (including setting a date, hah!)

Thanks again for all the wonderful advice that you so kindly shared with me. Back to looking for healthy recipes....might share a few I've come across too :)

Renwomin
05-08-2010, 03:31 PM
Hello everyone!

Just a quick update....I popped the question last weekend and she said yes!

On another positive note, she also signed up for a big Team in Training event towards the end of the year that she's asked my help with to prepare for, so we've got some goals to work towards together as a newly engaged couple (including setting a date, hah!)



:hat::congrat::yay:

I'm so happy for you both! It is so great you are being so supportive of your partner.

LovebirdsFlying
05-09-2010, 05:17 PM
I'll have to go back through and read the advice you've already been given, so I don't repeat. But I wanted to post and say *applause* to you for wanting to be supportive. :D

LovebirdsFlying
05-09-2010, 05:49 PM
Hello everyone!

Just a quick update....I popped the question last weekend and she said yes!

On another positive note, she also signed up for a big Team in Training event towards the end of the year that she's asked my help with to prepare for, so we've got some goals to work towards together as a newly engaged couple (including setting a date, hah!)

Thanks again for all the wonderful advice that you so kindly shared with me. Back to looking for healthy recipes....might share a few I've come across too :)

Well congratulations! :carrot:

It sounds like you're both blessed to have each other.

And now that I've gone through the thread, it looks like you've gotten the best advice. My hubby and I support each other by not taking over each other's eating plans, even if they are different. He does his thing, I do mine. He is just as able to cook as I am, sometimes more if I'm not well. We already need to plan my diet around the fact that I am allergic to corn, so it's not that much more effort to allow for trying to lose weight too. If he wants something I can't have, whoever is cooking will simply prepare one dish for me and another for him.

I understand completely where SusanB is coming from. I have an ex who would eat the balanced but abundant supper I cooked, even seconds or thirds, assure me he's full when I ask, and then not a half-hour later I'd see him fixing not one but two sandwiches for himself to eat in front of the TV. He himself would freely admit he was not actually hungry. He called it "feeding his nerves." Very frustrating. But that's food addiction for you.

Like Robsia's husband, mine feels it is simply polite to offer the other person some of what you are eating. At first we had issues with him not only offering me off-plan food, but then 10 minutes after I say no, he'll ask again, "Are you sure you don't want any...?" This would make me mad, because I feel it's disrespectful to re-ask a question that's already been answered. No means no. To ask again implies, "I didn't like your first answer, so I'm asking again hoping to get the answer I want." We're both getting better. He doesn't ask again, as often, and when he does I don't get mad. I simply stick to the no.

And I agree 150% with ParadiseFalls about not asking, "Do you really want to eat that?" Not only would I take it the same way she said she would, but my rebellious streak would only make it more likely that I *will* eat it. My hubby and I are alike in that area. When we do something positive for our health, we want it to be because *we* made the decision, not because someone nagged, insulted, humiliated, or shamed us into it.

Beyond this all I can give you is negative examples of what not to do. I have actually heard such things as, "Sure, go ahead and have that cake. Hippo." "Two pounds this week? That's all? I can poop and lose that much!" Or, "I don't want to hear about you losing any 16 pounds. You're still overweight." Believe it or not, these were attempts at motivating me, thinking I'd get mad and "show them" by losing more weight. You are such a nice guy that I know you wouldn't treat your fiancée like that. But maybe someone else will read this and learn not to say things like that.

Again congratulations on your engagement. May you always be as happy as at that moment.

Robsia
05-09-2010, 05:52 PM
Congratulatons :)

angelskeep
05-09-2010, 06:55 PM
Congratulations to you both. I think she is getting a great guy!
Barb