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Old 01-15-2007, 05:10 PM   #1  
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Default Significant Others & Weight Loss

My husband needs to lose a few. He's put on weight slowly over the last 20 years we've been together and he's never dieted or exercised on a regular basis before. Like me, he turns 40 this year, and I'm worried how the weight he's carrying around his middle is affecting his heart and overall health. He would probably have to lose about 30 lbs to get down to a healthy weight. He doesn't talk about it very much, but he hates seeing himself in pictures and he gets frustrated about how out of shape he is when he's invited to play basketball or soccer or whatever.

Now, here's the tricky part. I was overweight for years and he never EVER bugged me about my weight. Even at my heaviest, he always told me how beautiful I was - he was always so wonderful about it. When I finally decided to lose the weight (once and for all), it was because I wanted to - not because I was shamed into it.

I want to be as loving and supportive toward him as he was toward me, but I do not want a heart attack to take him away from me. I've tried on a couple of occasions to encourage him gently and reassure him that I'm concerned about his health, NOT his appearance.

Well, he decided this month (it being the New Year and all) that he's ready to try. The kicker is that he wants me to do all the work. It's my own fault because I'm the one responsible for setting up that scenario. I'll be planning and packing and cooking his meals and I'm sure I'll be reminding him that he committed to working out for 30 min 2x a week to start.

He swears he is too busy to do what it takes to lose the weight (and I agree for the most part... his schedule is insane for at least one more year). In a way, I'm excited - I'm good at project management and this feels like a project that could use my management. In another way, I'm wondering if I'm doing him a disservice by approaching it in this way.

Do any of you face similar issues with your spouses or siggies? How do you handle it?
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Old 01-15-2007, 05:36 PM   #2  
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My DH doesn't really struggle with weight the way I do, but he does go up and down a little, and the 'down' always takes some effort. Some things I do to help:

1) The number one thing that has helped my DH is increasing the fiber in the entire family's diets. DH get so FULL from all the fiber (veggies, whole grains, more veggies, beans, etc) that he doesn't eat as many calories. Along the same lines, I limit junk and sweets in the house and we do fruit for dessert most of the time. In summary, the biggest contributor to my DH's weight loss is fiber, 'volume', and lots of healthy options (very few unhealthy options).

2) I never wanted to be set up in the role where I could accidentally be his 'mother' or a nag (easy for me--as a control freak--to go there anyway) so I refused to be "in charge" of his diet and exercise. Therefore, I always happily dialogue with him about what he's eating, his exercise, etc., but I never tell or even remind him of what to do. Of course, I love to make all kinds of healthy suggestions, but only if he's interested. I try to be more of a "sounding board" than anything else.

3) We try to coordinate schedules as best we can to get workouts somewhat simultaneously. This helps him stay motivated (I'd go whether he does or not). In the past we've also jogged, hiked, and walked together (although no time these days).

I also love to tell him all about health, fitness, and nutrition news. This is mostly because I LOVE to talk about it! The upside, though, is that he has become very informed. I also talk about nutrients and nutritional benefits in foods that I serve. It has become something fascinating to DH and DDs, and occasionally one of my DDs will say something like, "Oooh, bananas! More potassium!"

Happy for you to have this opportunity with your DH. Hope some of my ideas help!

Lindy
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Old 01-15-2007, 05:49 PM   #3  
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My partner and I are in a similar situation.

Basically, I'm "in charge" of her weight loss, according to her, but its not really "in charge" as much as a "big influence on". But let me explain what I mean by that.

I work from home, so I can go to the grocery store and prep meals on my lunchbreak and etc. I also pretty much run our schedules...since i cook dinner every night, I decide when dinner will be ready. Because I am choosing to eat healthfully, with an emphasis on whole foods, fiber, and protein, the dinners I cook are low-calorie and based on those foods. In addition, I have always (even when not losing weight) made enough of dinner for lunch the next day, so lunches are also low-calorie and based on whole foods. Since I am preparing her dinner and lunch, she is on the same plan as me almost by default.

Since I do the grocery shopping, there aren't any junky or high calorie foods in our house...but there are lots of low-calorie and healthy options for snacks, like fruit, yogurts, etc. There is no soda in the house. There are dessert options, but only those that fit in my plan.

As for motivating her to go to the gym, I know for a fact that my going to the gym every day motivates her to go more often than not...I mean, her options are "sit at home by herself" or "work out together", so she usually opts to go to the gym. I don't spend a lot of time motivating her to go, she just goes more often when I go.

HOWEVER - with all of this, many things are still up to my partner. For example, she works outside of the home - starbucks and baked goods beckon her almost daily. If we don't eat dinner at home the night before, she has to find her own healthy lunch options. Ultimately, she decides what she eats, so it IS her decision and her journey.

I don't think this is going to hurt her long-term in her loss or maintenance. The way I see it, we're about to get married - we're in this together forever, and I don't mind being the one who cooks/plans/shops if it helps both of us meet our goals.
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:42 PM   #4  
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My husband had a lot of weight to lose too. The hardest thing for me to learn was that I couldn't convince him to try to lose weight -- he had to really want to do it himself. He was adamant he would not try -- and for a long time I used it as a reason I couldn't try either.

Finally, I started without him and told him NOT to join me (reverse psychology!). And after a number of months of my success, he decided he was ready. (Things got a LOT better!). That was over a year ago and he has done great, losing over 60 pounds!

I understand your concerns! I do most of the cooking/meal planning. I make breakfasts and pack his lunches (when he brings them) and often cook dinner. I give him the opportunity to succeed. But I am really clear on the fact that these are HIS choices, not mine. Sometimes he makes choices I don't think are as healthy, but then, sometimes I do too.

So, I do do a lot to make the weight loss possible, but he is the one who has to choose to do it, whether I'm there or not. Sometimes when I'm out of town, he goes into a bit of a spin. It seems he can't figure it out without my help completely (or rather, chooses not to).

I don't think people can be successful at weight loss unless they personally are committed to it. But that doesn't mean that person can't have a lot of support getting there. Anyway, that's what I think!
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:44 PM   #5  
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I think it is great you are there to help! I am a SAHM so I do feel it is my dept. to make sure I serve healthy nutritious food for all of us. My dh is naturally thin. He is 5'10 and 145-150. He was a big junk food fanatic before he met me. Mainly soda, donuts, hostess, and anything fried in grease from his then restraunt job was the norm. Big change over here! haha

As I have progressed to healthy eating my family just eats whatever I make. For a while I was still buying the junk for them, teh cookies and cracker snacks etc. But funny thing is once I cut it out and replaced it with just fruit and yogurt stuff everyone eats that up too! I do get goodies once in a while but it is a treat not the norm. With my dh he still does his coffee but is trying to switch over from soda every day to more water and juice. I let him have goodies a little more often than I do but his eating is way different than it was before. He doesn't mind most of the foods and the only thing he doesn't care much for is the grapefruit which we sometimes have in our smoothies and he does not like green tea!
He says, "I'll eat anything just feed me!" With him I am not worried about his weight but it is never too early to eat healthy. He does smoke and I wish he would quit but for now he still does. Hopefully all the fruit and veggies can help counteract the negatives.

Anyhow just try to incorporate it into healthy eating for both of you. We do alot of the same stuff as before just with some healthier choices. Chicken and turkey. Brown rice and beans, whole wheat bread, etc. Throw in some yogurt and more fruit and veggies. Good luck!!
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:55 PM   #6  
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My DH also needs to lose a little~maybe 15 pounds. I know he's impressed with what I have done so far and he tries to be good. He loves the meals I prepare, and asks for more salads and veggies, but if I'm not around to fix food, he buys fast food for himself and the kids....he drinks too much Scotch...he doesn't exercise enough. I've gotten up the last 2 weeks every morning and exercised for 30 minutes. He said he would, too. Last night, he again said he would (which he did) but only for 10 minutes. He comes from a family with heart disease and it scares me how he carries his weight (all in his chest).

What I plan on doing is to continue to make the healthiest meals (we work together so I fix our lunches 4 days per week and I fix meals at home every night except for 1 night every two weeks when I have a meeting during the dinner hour). If we go out, he generally chooses fish, so I can't complain about that, and we only go out about once a month. Since he knows he wants to lose, he might on his own do some more things to lose the weight (like cut down on his Scotch consumption).

Lindy~I'm glad to hear I'm not the ONLY control freak around here!!
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Old 01-15-2007, 07:50 PM   #7  
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My DH definitely needed to lose weight as well. And he did without even trying. He's lost over 20 lbs, could stand to lose another 30 or 40. I am the shopper/cook in the house and as I changed what was served for dinner and what was brought into the house he naturally lost. He would from time to time do some of his own shopping for the weekend, a treat for himself and the kids is what he told me. I think I've FINALLY got through to him that our kids and himself could definitely do without that "treat". I make sure for weekends that they do have a treat, fresh pineapple, fresh berries and the such. I also frequently, frequently talk about which foods have which nutrients and at dinner Friday night as we were eating our brussel sprouts, hubby asked me what kinds of vitamins they had. I was shocked and of course knew the calorie count and what was in them. And just today we were out together and headed for home and he was hungry and instead of picking up some fast food item, he came home and I made him a healthy lunch. He is DEFINITELY making better choices now. I think he is getting into it more and more. This weightloss thing IS contagious. My healthy eating has for sure rubbed off on him, and I couldn't be happier.

By the way another control freak here at 3FC, yup that would be me. My family affectionately (sometimes not) calls me the food ****.
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:43 PM   #8  
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My DH lost about 30 lbs a few years ago and has maintained that loss. He did it all himself, mostly by giving up sodas and some of the other junky stuff he used to eat. This happened after my big loss, so I don't know if I was an example for him or not--he is surprisingly private about it all. I try to make good choices for the family, and encourage him to eat some vegetables to set an example for DD, but basically his weight is up to him.

FWIW, if you are concerned mostly about health and not appearance, there are significant health improvements as measured by blood sugar and lipid levels for most of us after losing just 5 to 10% of our starting body weight. That is 10 pounds for a 200 pound person. Most people can do that with modest lifestyle changes that aren't too onerous. Of course, most people want to reach some fantasy goal weight and aren't happy about small losses like that, give it up, and get back to where they started. The trick is to convince people that small steps are really worth it.

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Old 01-16-2007, 10:20 AM   #9  
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My DH has never had a weight problem. He has though recently said that he wants to start working out, but never does. He is not a picky eater and doesn't complain at all about the way I cook. I fix healthy meals for the whole family. The thing that gets me most is that he comes home from work and tells me almost daily how he picked up a cinnamon roll on his way to work that would "cover an entire large plate". Which he then describes how he slathered it in butter and nuked it and ate the whole thing. He also thinks if he is out of Pepsi or Beer that it's time to go to the store. I'm glad he doesn't have a weight problem, but his eating lacks a lot to be desired. I do pack his lunches, so they are healthy. My doctor asked him why he isn't really on the same food plan with me. He responded "because I don't need to lose weight". Dr. then said "I've seen a lot of people with heart disease that were'nt overweight and ate terribly". It obviously didn't sink in.
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:58 PM   #10  
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Maybe it will eventually Lily! I agree with what the doc said. That is why even though my dh is super skinny and very active I have made this a "WE" thing. I am glad he is accepting of it excepts he hates it when I read him the list 111 reasons why sugar is bad for you.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:18 AM   #11  
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My fiance recently had a health screening that told him he needs to lose about 15lbs. He has gained some weight and lost some muscle lately because he hasn't been working out as much or as hard as he used to. He eats all the same things as me, so there's not much diet-wise for him to change except that I've convinced him to stop eating buttered bread as a snack several times a day (butter adds up fast, and so does bread!). A change I need to make to help him lose weight is that usually if we go out to eat and I get full halfway through my meal, I give the rest to him (he cleans his plate and mine too), but I need to stop doing that!

We work out together but we've both slacked this past year, largely due to both of us having knee and arm injuries. Anyway we're planning on joining a new gym in the next month or so so we can get back in shape. I think if he has access to a functional stationary bike and weight machines instead of just a treadmill and free weights then he will be able to work out more effectively without stressing his knees and arms as much.
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Old 01-18-2007, 07:00 PM   #12  
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I'm so glad I asked you guys about this. Thanks very, very much for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this subject. You have totally helped me sort out my feelings and ideas regarding hubby's new way of eating.

Initially, I felt like he was going on a "diet," but I was doing all the work. Now, I see it more like I'm supporting his efforts by making healthy dinners for the entire family (one of my resolutions anyway) and keeping healthy food on hand that's easy for him to take to work for lunch. We're working as a team and it's been a good week for both of us. I don't feel put upon and he's getting through his day with healthy meals and snacks AND without hunger (to his surprise and relief).

We haven't talked about exercise, but I'm gonna leave that one alone for a bit. I'm really proud of him and what he's already accomplished so I want to focus on that now. What I'm determined to be aware and careful about is that I can't feel frustrated or let down if/when he chooses to go eat a cheeseburger for lunch sometime. This has to be "his" thing, not mine. HIS choices. I can support him, but I can't force him to do what I think he SHOULD do. That might be tricky, but again, I'm going to try, try, try my best. I have a bit (or more) of a control freak in me, too.

So, thanks again. You've all been a huge help!!!
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