Thank you all, so much for your advice! I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back to all of you.... life has been crazy this week.
First of all, I think a lot of you are right about the love languages. I think that is exactly it - we have different ways of showing each other that we love each other. I actually brought this up with him, because I thought it was such an important and interesting idea, and he agrees. Perhaps I will pick up that book. We both communicate very differently, and maybe it would help if we were both "speaking the same language."
Second, I do think it is his validation that I want. I feel like part of it may be because I have been on this weight loss journey pretty much on my own. A lot of times while trying to lose weight he would discourage me from getting up ear;y and working out, or encourage me to eat ice cream even though it wasn't on the plan. HE thought he was being helpful, because in HIS mind, he would much rather ice cream and sleep over exercise and carrots. I think I want him to treat me differently because I want to get feedback that all the hard work I did over the last three years has been "worth it." I know it should come down to MORE than just how "hot" my husband thinks I am, and it does... but sometimes staying disciplined is really HARD and I feel like it would be easier if I got his approval. It would feel like more of an even exchange.
I think I am viewing losing weight as my own language of love. Like getting fit and healthy is not only a gift to myself, but a gift to him. Not only do I look better, I am healthier, more confident and more comfortable with who I am - all good things in my book. If he doesn't give me the validation I am looking for, I feel like the gift isn't appreciated. Also, I really love my husband as he is now.... but because I consider what I am doing a gift, I would hope for the same back - but that doesn't happen. When we first met, my husband was an athelete. He was on varsity baseball in high school, and in good shape. He used to run on a regular basis. When we got together, he put on weight and stopped working out. He eats pretty unhealthy. I kept hoping that if I went ahead and changed, maybe he would go back to some of his healthier habits. But I feel jilted because I put in all of this "effort" and he has not. But again, I guess this comes down to different languages... I don't think he sees his health as having anything to do with showing me he loves me.
Finally, I just wanted to reinforce - I have no intentions of leaving my husband. At all. We've been together for so long and we have so much history... I wouldn't throw it all away. And as for counseling, we have been going to a therapist regularly well over a year. We've had other issues. The counseling is kind of fun actually.... but I don't know how much it has helped. We have good conversations, but not much changes. He's a creature of habit, and his feeling is that I should always just love him for exactly who he is, and he'll do the same, and that asking him to change isn't fair.
Point is - we are working on it.
Thank you for the feedback so far! Very insightful and interesting stuff.