Weight Loss Support - Cry for help, how to not be an enabler

06-27-2011, 04:29 PM

How do I say no to baking cookies, pies, popcorn with full-fat cheese for dinner, every night? I don't eat it myself. I eat well. But I always say "yes".

I feel like I am killing my husband. Is anyone here a hypocrite in terms of eating healthy for themselves but turn a blind eye to their spouse? I cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This isn't about weight. It's not about looks. It's about his health, I worry, men in his family don't live past 50 due to heart disease and poor diet. He's almost 34. I don't want to be a widow so early.

Please help

06-27-2011, 04:44 PM
I don't see why you should cook unhealthy food. If he wants it, he can cook it himself!

06-27-2011, 04:49 PM
I agree. My husband knows that if he wants anything in the house that is unhealthy, he has to cook it/buy it himself. Unfortunately, he does exactly that!

06-27-2011, 05:16 PM
My ex used to make a big fuss because I wasn't Betty Crocker. While we didn't divorce over this, to this day, he STILL will complain about that.

It's tricky. Is he going to be a big baby about it and make a fuss if you don't? Many people cook out of love. Clearly, you'd be doing the opposite out of love. Would he see it that way?

BTW, my ex's gf bakes ALL THE TIME. Now, they both struggle with their weight. I just love Karma.

06-27-2011, 05:26 PM
Unfortunately if I don't make it, he won't eat it. He will just do without.

It's ME who is really the problem. I don't know why I don't say no?

06-27-2011, 05:31 PM
Unfortunately if I don't make it, he won't eat it. He will just do without.

It's ME who is really the problem. I don't know why I don't say no?

I'm confused. Isn't a good thing he won't eat junk if you don't make it?:^:

06-27-2011, 05:34 PM
Sorry, I meant fortunately he won't eat it. I'm just not sure why I always say 'yes' when he asks. Maybe because it makes him happy?

06-27-2011, 05:36 PM
Do you equate love with giving people whatever they want? Are you afraid he'll leave if you don't? That's the only thing I can think of that would explain what you're doing.

Simply say that you're going to be cooking healthier food for your meals, and you hope he'll join you. Tell him if he wants desserts like pie, cookies, etc. that's fine, but you're not making them anymore.

If he chooses not to eat, that's not going to kill him, is it? He'll either get over it or find a way to get his own food.

I don't recall anything in the marriage vows that says you'll love, honor, cherish, and cook anything he wants. :lol:


06-27-2011, 05:37 PM
it's possible to switch to healthier versions of the things that you make for him...using sugar substitutes or whole wheat versions or low-fat versions of ingredients...it's possible to show him that eating healthier versions can be just as tasty, especially if you switch ingredients slowly...what type of things does he eat for meals besides cookies etc?

i began a few months ago to switch to lower carb foods because i am pre-diabetic...once my DH saw me losing pounds and once he saw how delicious i can make low carb food that i cook, he joined me and he's losing weight even more rapidly than i am!

06-27-2011, 05:41 PM
Sorry, I meant fortunately he won't eat it. I'm just not sure why I always say 'yes' when he asks. Maybe because it makes him happy?

Ah, so it's not a issue of practical relevance, it's an emotional thing.
That's more difficult to answer. If eating junk makes him happy, you can't change that about him. All you can do is stick to cooking healthy food. However, it sounds like there's some headwork you need to solve. Why do you cook unhealthy food on request that only he eats when you're silently scared you're contributing to his morbid obesity by doing said cooking?

06-27-2011, 05:42 PM
Karma is a beautiful thing! X didn't like it that I was fat. He also didn't like to eat healthy. I did cook, a lot, but all healthy stuff. I refused to cater to his poor eating habits.

I started to lose weight. He started to find more things to complain about with me. And then he started building a Pringles shrine in the man cave (garage). For many reasons, we were eventually divorced. And then, just two weeks after the divorce was final, he married a mail-order bride who is subservient and very small. And she doesn't speak much English. And now he's gained about the same amount of weight that I've lost, 50 lbs.!

Sacha, you must be getting something out of making the stuff. Otherwise you wouldn't be doing it. How does it feel to you when you make it? Are you feeling better about yourself when you bake? Do you gain pleasure from feeding him? Are you trying to tell him you love him more? Are you communicating something else? Just be a little vigilant, see how you're feeling, don't judge what you're feeling, and see if there's some other way to accomplish what you want that you feel good about.

06-27-2011, 06:03 PM
In all honesty I think it's just because I love cooking and making him happy. I went through some really bad postpartum depression and he was amazing to me, very supportive, and being the 'perfect housewife' stereotype makes me feel like I'm making it up to him

06-27-2011, 06:39 PM
I've been a vegetarian for the last 10 years, while my husband's favorite food continues to be MEAT. I don't buy it or cook it. I cook a healthy, vegetarian meal for our family every night, and he scarfs it down and never complains.
If I'm not home for dinner, he runs to the store and puts meat on the grill.

This system works great for us. I feed him healthy most days, and he gets to treat himself to what he feels like he's missing a few times a month.

06-27-2011, 06:52 PM
Why not say "how about on Friday?" And leave it at that. Then you can bake a whole batch of cookies, give all but 3 away and he will have a special treat to look forward to.

Also, I think if you're worried about something as serious as him DYING in the next 15 years, you should tell him how you feel!!

Nola Celeste
06-27-2011, 07:11 PM
I totally get the "it makes me happy to make him happy" thing. Both my husband and I like to cook and we frequently whipped up little treats for one another before we decided to get healthier. It was a little gift that I could give him, something that didn't cost much and made him aware that I was thinking of him, to bake his favorite cookies or add extra butter to the mashed potatoes.

It's a kind and thoughtful impulse, one that shouldn't be throttled. It's a good thing to want to delight a spouse. The problem only came in when "delight" became synonymous with "overfeed on wildly rich foods." :D

Our solution was to keep that generous impulse, but do it creatively. My husband loves finding recipes that fit into my calorie plan; his most recent effort was home-baked French bread with whole wheat flour and narrower loaves for easier portioning. Before that, it was a to-die-for chicken mole that he tweaked to make a little more diet-friendly. For my part, I pick up new fruits and vegetables for him to try when I go shopping, learned a new way to make his favorite meat loaf, and took him out for sorbet at our favorite sweet shop this past weekend.

It's really hard to say no to "Ooh, would you bake me your awesome apple pie? I love it sooo much!" So don't say no. Say, "I have a better idea: how would you like to try this recipe for baked apples I saw online?" or "I was thinking of skipping dessert in favor of a trip to the bookstore; want to join me?" or "It's too nice outside to stay in and bake; let's go for a walk and grab a couple of snowballs on the way home from the park."

Then there's always, "I've got your dessert right here," if you catch my drift. :D

Your husband sounds wonderful; it's no wonder you want to do kind things for him. Show him even more kindness with a few new cooking tricks that'll satisfy your desire to do something nice for him and his desire for something tasty; you'll both be happier and healthier. :)

I'm really glad you've recovered from your depression and that he was so supportive of you. It makes me smile to read such a kind-hearted thread. Happy relationships are awesome!

06-27-2011, 07:18 PM
Then there's always, "I've got your dessert right here," if you catch my drift. :D

LOLOL! it's so low-calorie, you might even burn a few calories!!

glad to find someone with a dirty mind like me :P

06-28-2011, 05:08 AM
There is no way you have tried all recepies on the planet of healthy food yet.

Make it a new hobby together with your hubs to try new foods. I call it food adventure with my fiance. It is a rare healthy way to have fun with weird flavors and unusual textures.

Choose options with lots of interest and less calories.

If you can't see that doing it for you then there is ONLY one thing I'm afraid: portion control. Start counting your hub's daily intake and make him look at it and ask him where he wants to cut down.

From what I know from my relationship: Plans made alone FOR the partner never work. Plans made with the partner are like double strong and certain to succeed.

Find out what you both want from your life together and achieve it.

06-28-2011, 06:35 AM
I LOVE cooking for my boyfriend (er, fiance, we just got engaged this weekend!) so I totally get it. I enjoy cooking in general and being able to cook for him allows me to be appreciated for getting praise for something I love and for him to feel appreciated because I am doing something for him.

I may be off-base here, but if you are cooking whole foods for him, is what you are cooking really terrible? It's not like you are bringing home huge bags of chips and boxes of Oreos. I personally don't see anything wrong with eating a slice of homemade pie with fresh ingredients if it fits within your calorie range (and our guys' calorie ranges are probably around 2500-3000 a day) and is complemented by other higher-nutrient foods.

I sometimes make full-fat versions of foods (from alfredo sauce to apple pie) but I often substitute (yogurt for sour cream/mayo, mashed bananas for oil) and he doesn't even notice a difference. Either way, as long as the ingredients are fresh and whole (we almost never use canned or frozen foods) and he's not eating mountains of food, I'm not worried.

I guess I didn't give you any advice really... hm. I guess my question to you is, do you need to be serving him lower-fat foods and he won't eat them if they are lower fat?

06-28-2011, 07:24 AM
Well last night was a success! He wanted popcorn loaded with butter after a big dinner and I said no. He whined but I stuck to my guns and we went to bed 2 hours later without eating :carrot: Like I said, if I won't make it, he won't bother to go make it himself. He was of course, not hungry! A little pouty though. Haha.

Indieblue: The cookies he wants are about 2700 calories for teh whole batch that he will eat the entire thing, so it's homemade and fresh yes, but honestly calorie-wise better off with oreos! He won't eat healthy alternatives.

06-28-2011, 08:24 AM
Ah I see. I understand the challenge a bit more then. At least, like you said, if you don't make it for him he won't make it himself. Congrats on the success of last night!

06-28-2011, 09:21 AM
I'd suggest lots of healthy treats. Something that feels luxurious is key, along with things that are fun or attractive to look at, and of course you'll want to make at least some things where you can put some effort into cooking them and enjoy feeling that you're making him a nice meal.

My partner and I love to eat fruit when we're curled up to watch TV before bed, typically strawberries, raspberries with grapes, cherries, that sort of thing. We keep an eye out for the special offers at the supermarket. Strawberries with the odd bit of chocolate thrown in can be good as well. The flip side is that I'm having to get quite good at getting raspberry stains out of the bed linen! Anyway, washing and dehulling a bowl of strawbs isn't quite the same as lovingly making a batch of cookies, but it's enough work that you definitely feel you've made some effort, especially if it's late in the evening when you're both feeling lazy and disinclined to go to the kitchen.

The other day we were both lazing around the flat feeling exhausted, and he was muttering about going out to buy some crisps. I suddenly remembered that we had houmous in the fridge and suggested that, and he said, Oh yes, that would be lovely. So I peeled and cut up a couple of carrots, washed some sugar snaps (think they're snow peas in American, or is that mange tout?), and we curled up on the sofa and noshed those. There's something very fun about dips, especially when you can jokily fight each other to get to the houmous tub at the same time, and they're pretty to look at and fresh tasting and slightly sweet. He actually said how thankful he was that he has a lovely girlfriend who makes him great snacks like this. Cherry tomatoes are good with this as well, and again they are relatively sweet and have that visual appeal.

I went to a friend's garden party over the weekend and while she'd cooked loads, the thing I really noticed everyone eating was a large packet of peas in the pod. Tasty, plus it's fun to shell them. Her six year old daughter adores them, and she's holding her breath in the hope that the girl won't figure out that they are vegetables.

Other nice foods which are a big success in this household: falafel with wholemeal pitta bread, some chopped veg (cucumber, tomatoes, sometimes lettuce), and dips (houmous, baba ghanoush, yoghurty dips, chilli sauce if you fancy). You can bake the falafel instead of frying them. They're street/fast food in Israel, which shows that they have that sort of appeal, but really healthy.

Sushi: home-made sushi is actually pretty easy to make. I'm vegan (he isn't, one reason why we eat separately a lot), so I make vegetable sushi, e.g. with avocado and red pepper. One time I was out of pickled ginger and the shops were shut, so I decided to try making my own pickled ginger. To my delight, it's dead easy to make, pretty quick, and tastes out of this world. Whenever I make sushi as part of a Japanese meal, I generally have to put them in the fridge and stand in front of the fridge door to stop himself from wolfing them down before the meal.

Actually, Japanese food might be a good avenue to explore: madly healthy, and there's huge stress on making it attractive. Go and get yourself some cookbooks, whether they're about healthier world cooking traditions, or perhaps something about desserts/snacks which are good for dieters.

Sometimes it's more about the feeling of pampering someone than it is about exactly what you do for them. I give my partner little foot rubs or head massages, maybe just for a couple of minutes when I happen to be passing that way, and he loves it. We also have a tradition of me making him cups of tea. (NB: as I'm seriously disabled and need a lot of looking after, it's important to us that I turn round and pamper him so that it feels balanced and I can return the love and support he gives me. And it has to be little things because I get exhausted quickly.) We've made a joke of it, he will wave the mug at me and make a cute face and perhaps say, "Minion, fetch me my tea!" And if he forgets to do this, I will tell him that he's not getting any tea unless he waves the mug at me in the approved fashion (which he can also do without actually having a mug there, he just mimes it).

Arctic Mama
06-28-2011, 01:25 PM
I have this issue to a lesser extent with my family. I am happy to makemyself a salad, for example, while making them hotdogs. But for me, I view it as balance. None of them struggle withtheir weight, portion control, or eating an excess of junk food. So cinnamon rolls for breakfast every few weeks, or a cheesy casserole? It isn't impacting their health negatively, because it is balanced with heart-healthy bean dishes, raw carrots for snack, water instead of juice to drink, etc etc.

I cook healthy food for my family probably 90% of the time, some pizza or baked chicken nuggets for a meal a week isn't what is going to break the bank with their health, and I know they enjoy a good variety of food, both more healthy and less. I have changed my husband's diet through my own - the entrees are healthier, more veggies, more whole ingredients even in the desserts I make, etc etc - and he has dropped about 20 pounds just naturally through the last two years, due to these changes. I don't need to have them all on a calorie restricted diet like mine, because they don't have the same problem I have. So healthy, whole foods, including a little natural sugar and a fair bit of fat, is fine for them.

For me, I am giving them lessons in portion control (my kids are so great at this, they'll stop eating the moment they aren't hungry, and my husband as well!) and providing them a variety of foods to choose from, including the occasional junky option. Their diets are balanced, their habits are solid, their bodies are healthy. I had to find a balance between pleasing their palates and considering their health, and doe me that didn't include never baking again. I also refuse to buy diet cheese or organic veggies, for cost reasons, so we make due with the inexpensive, standard alternatives and use them in smart ways.

Just do the best with what you have. Change your husband's diet slowly, make healthier desserts, or relegate them to a special day of the week (like Friday night is pie night, etc). Make a cheesy casserole, but serve it with fresh strawberries and a salad, and make up the first plate for him. My husband likes being served by me, especially when I do it with a smile and a kiss, as it makes him feel special and loved. This gives me some control over his first helping, at least, and I can give his plate a nice balance of nutrients to start off with, helping him fill up on more than just the high calorie main course.

Little things like this make the difference in our family. I don't put my family on a diet with me, per se, but the basic habit changes I have undertaken do trickle down to them and impact them. I have no desire to make them eat rabbit food every day for the rest of ther lives, but neither will I allow them to dine on hohos and soda either! Knowing their like their sweet and savory dishes, the best I can do is make them as healthy and tasty as possible, balancing them with whole grain sides, lightly cooked veggies, and a cornucopia of fresh fruit. I control what is cooked in this house, and have a responsibility to balance the needs and wants of all those involved. That means I don't enable them with cookies daily, but don't make them set kale or starve, either. You'll find your balance too, just make it a priority to show your husband love in ways other than comfort food, or put those foods on special days where they can be had, but aren't a regular feature in the daily diet of your home. It has worked marvelously for us :)