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Old 04-14-2018, 05:54 PM   #1  
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Default How to Lovingly Discuss Wife's Alcohol/Weight Issues With Her?


Slightly nervous writing this as it's a sensitive subject, and I always try to be a very loving and respectful husband.

My wife and I had always been healthy and in great shape - we live in Texas so have amazing opportunities for leisure. Things changed five years ago when my wife had a breakdown and started taking anti-depressants, as well as stopping exercising and eating/drinking to excess. She gained 90 lbs and became very unhealthy; naturally, I was extremely concerned.

In December of 2016 my concerns for her health prompted me to address it, and I decided the best and most respectful way was to suggest we both embark on a new life in terms of wellness - so I wasn't just saying SHE had to make a change. Starting in July of 2016 we worked out six days a week for 30 minutes and *radically* changed our diet. It was literally like night and day from the previous five years.

The goal here was no fads or crash diets - we wanted steady improvements that were sustainable, with no food group denial that would create stress and encourage temptation. Goal was 1-2 lbs a week, kind of thing.

I'm SO proud of my wife, her changes and progress. She hasn't lost a significant amount of weight in 16 months (I'd say 20 lbs) but has got her old workout routine back and is mostly sticking well to our new eating regime. She is finding some of her old clothes are loosening up, and is also down a size and back in a few items of clothing she used to enjoy wearing, but had to retire as the originally weight gained.

Safe to say, she is a trooper and I love every ounce of her for it.

One thing we still have issues with is weekend drinking and weekend food binging. My wife will eat well all week and refrain from drinking 3-4 days a week, but Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday come with her binge drinking cocktails; she will usually enjoy both a bottle (750ml or 1.1L) of vodka and the same of Cointreau, in cocktails, each weekend. I estimate she drinks around 2-3 liters of hard alcohol from Thursday-Sunday.

On top of this, Saturday/Sunday nights usually means either a medium pizza each night or another "junky" choice. Again, we promised no food exclusions, which is why this happens.

I'm concerned. While my wife's weekly alcohol intake is down, she still binge drinks (and I'd argue binge eats) three nights a week, which is the consumption of a huge number of calories and it's naturally slowing down her progress. Coupled with that, it's normal for her to be in bed until Noon on Saturday/Sunday due to the alcohol.

We're currently staying with her parents and my Father-in-Law took me aside today to say that they don't see her often, and it doesn't appear she is losing weight. He is aware the anti-depressants may be slowing her metabolism, but feels alcohol may be causing a setback. I have to say, I agree.

Here's the main issue...

I've brought weeknight drinking up multiple times in the past year, and it really strikes an emotive cord (which I totally appreciate). She gets very defensive, accuses me of nagging and says things like "well I am drinking a lot less than I used to, and I don't want to go back to how I was" - which is of course true and I totally applaud her for her progress.

However, I just feel that she will never get where she wants to be, and regain more of her health and vitality, with these weekend binges.

The issue is, since I've brought alcohol up quite a few times in the past, I'm unsure how to have this conversation with her in a way that is loving and respectful. It's going to pain me to do it, but I feel it's something we must address.

Does anyone have any suggestions, or experiences, of how to approach this?

My goal is not to upset her but, since she takes such conversations very personally (as anyone would), I'm stuck in a rut.

Jeremy B.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:16 PM   #2  
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Sounds to me like she's depressed, and drinking on top of anti-depressants won't help. It's a sensitive subject but unfortunately until she wants to change she won't. The drinking is a problem but she's an adult and you can't force anyone to change. These issues go beyond food. She's not in a good place mentally. I wish I had some advice but I don't. She has to recognize that she has a drinking problem and people become very defensive. Good luck.
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Old 04-14-2018, 07:14 PM   #3  
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The goal here was no fads or crash diets - we wanted steady improvements that were sustainable, with no food group denial that would create stress and encourage temptation.
On top of this, Saturday/Sunday nights usually means either a medium pizza each night or another "junky" choice. Again, we promised no food exclusions, which is why this happens.
"No food group denial" is not the same thing as "No food exclusions". There are healthy and unhealthy foods in every food group. Pizza is (usually) not a healthy food, because it's usually made from white flour (a refined carb). If you're eating more than 2 slices then you're probably eating too much saturated fat (because of the cheese).

You may want to consider making your own pizza, so it'll be healthier than what you get in restaurants. Use whole wheat flour, and use vegetables as a topping (avoid processed meat toppings).

If you're looking for other options for healthy carbs, you can try brown rice, quinoa, beans, or sweet potatoes.

The 2-3 liters of alcohol probably have about 4000-5000 calories, so the alcohol alone is enough to cancel out the entire week's progress.
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Old 05-06-2018, 01:53 PM   #4  
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Have you asked her why she binge drinks?
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:55 AM   #5  
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As long as you feel like tiptoeing around the issue, can you do something else with her that circumvents her issues? She seemed responsive to your first initiative to change both of your health challenges. Have you considered some weekend warrior activities like hiking, painting projects, or dates that get her out of the house and limit her abilities to fall into the same groove she has for recent history. If you and her have legitimate intimacy, tell her you love her and want her around in the best form of herself (healthy and happy) and then be there for her as she begins to tackle her habits. Wishing you both all the best.
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Old 06-15-2018, 04:09 PM   #6  
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Well, you must put things in an inclusive way. Instead of "I think you're drinking too much," you have to say, "I'm unhappy with how much WE are drinking and eating on weekends. Maybe we should have some guidelines." And see what she says to that. She may become defensive and see through this as some kind of manipulation of her behavior. All you can do is stand your ground and say what you think, without being accusing.

And I'd suggest that you look into a group such as Al-Anon or Codependents Anonymous for yourself. You're not alone. People in those groups can give you a lot of insight into how to take care of yourself.
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:15 PM   #7  
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Her binge eating and binge drinking may be related to the same issues (the depression and whatever else goes along with that for her). They're self-medication and numbing agents. It's likely not as simple as 'just feel better,' which I'm sure you know. If she's clinically depressed, her brain is just naturally depressed and it's a chronic condition. That doesn't mean she can't work with it, but it does mean it's incurable.

If she's not ready to face why she binge drinks/eats, there's likely nothing you can do right now.

However, she may just need a helping hand. If you're pretty concerned (and it sounds like you might be), maybe sit down with her and lay out what you've seen in terms of the drinking and eating. Don't attribute anything to it - just verbalize what you've seen. For example, "I've seen you drinking x number of cocktails a night, usually in these conditions or places, and the effect I see is x." Tell her why it concerns you. Again, lovingly, but lay it out there. Don't sugar coat, but don't judge. Ask her what's going on.

She may not respond well, but if it's to the point where you're really worried, you may need to start a series of conversations with her. If she refuses to even talk about it, maybe just reiterate that you're concerned and not trying to make decisions for her, but you're worried, and you'd like to bring it up again at a different time. Ease into things if you have to.

If she does want to make more changes, do what you did before and work through what will work for her, try different things, do them with her maybe.

Keep in mind that even if she makes changes there will likely be backslides and growing pains. That's normal, and she should know that too. Improving doesn't mean no mistakes.

That's a tough situation for you, and it's got to be so much tougher for your wife. Good luck, and I hope things go well.
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