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Help a reader out: How do you get a spouse to lose weight with you?

A reader, who we shall call Susie Spouse, recently wrote me with this dilemma:

I currently weigh 330 pounds and my back and knees hurt almost all the time. I want more that anything to exercise and eat healthier…My husband is also a big man and I can not seem to get him interested in eating better or exercise. It seems harder without his support and I don’t know what to do… It seems like every time I bring it up he responds with “if you force this it will not work.”

I’m not married myself, so any advice I could give is speculative at best. But I figure I must have readers out there who are experts at manipulating their spouses. So, how can Susie Spouse get her husband on board with her healthier lifestyle? I know it’s a whole lot easier to make changes when you’ve got the support of the people who live with you.

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Being a Team Player · August 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm

[...] a reader wondering how to get her spouse to support her quest to get healthy.  Jeanette posted the email on her blog, and asked her readers to offer advice in the comments [...]

52 Comments

Megan • June 2, 2010 at 9:47 am

You can’t force him to do it. It has to be his choice.

You might have to go first. My husband only got inspired to join me after he saw how much weight I was losing.

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tessler • June 2, 2010 at 9:48 am

Unfortunately, heartbreakingly, you can’t. You cannot make another person want to change. You can only work on changing yourself and hope that your spouse will eventually decide to come along with you toward better health.

Attempting to force change on someone who is not ready to change is a recipe for disaster.

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Danielle • June 2, 2010 at 9:56 am

Good luck. You can’t force him, but don’t let him sabotage you – if you’re eating healthy, do it with or without him. Make time to exercise, with or without him. Maybe when he hears people complimenting you on how great you’re looking, that will inspire him? Most of us have egos that like to be stroked…

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MargieK • June 2, 2010 at 10:03 am

Megan and tessler are exactly right. It has to be HIS choice.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. Yes, it’s easier and more fun when you have a partner. But it doesn’t prevent you from getting healthier.

When I went on South Beach, I didn’t force the rest of the family (my kids were teens). I just ate extra veggies and left the potatoes. You don’t have to prepare two separate meals, just make more of the good stuff.

My kids were more receptive to trying whole grain pastas, crackers, etc. But eventually (i.e., a few years later) my husband did. He’s not a total convert, but less rigid — which is about all I can ask for.

Just because he isn’t willing to begin a healthy eating (and exercise) program himself doesn’t mean he isn’t willing to support you, to encourage you and praise you. They aren’t mutually exclusive. But know, too, that you can get support elsewhere if necessary. There are lots of online support groups (Sparkpeople, weight watchers, Prevention, etc.) as well as friends, blogs, etc. where you can get encouragement and moral support.

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Nina • June 2, 2010 at 10:10 am

Oh, I’ve been there. When I first lost weight, it was because my boyfriend at the time made me. Nowadays I have a wonderful husband who loves me no matter what I weigh, so eating healthy is hard! We both love our food, good for us and not… but my husband has high cholestorol, so I have to remind him of how we want to grow old together to get him to eat better. Sometimes a little guilt-tripping works, but you can’t overdo it. I admit that I overdo it, because I worry. I want to spend the rest of my life with him, and that won’t happen if he doesn’t eat right.

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Aline • June 2, 2010 at 10:10 am

Are you doing the cooking in the household? If yes, then just cook whatever you want to eat. I started cooking everything from scratch about 6 months ago. I cook very healthy but also very nice tasting food and just eat small portions. My husband LOVES that I cook better food and try new things all the time.
I also set a rule that whenever he wants to eat junk food he has to do it at work. He is not aloud to bring junk food home.
For exercise I am getting him to go on bike rides and walks with me.

He is not “dieting” with me but it is so much easier for men to lose weight that just changing what he has for dinner and doing a bit more exercise – which is really not “work-out” exercise but just fun weekend activities – he is losing weight.

There is this misconception in America that to lose weight you have to give up all joy and only eat grilled chicken and brown rice but that’s not the case and that’s what he has to understand.

Tell him you are going to implement those changes at home and he can do what he wants outside of the house. Tell him that you do it FOR YOURSELF and to make your own life easier you don’t want junk food in the house.

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NoCeleryPlease • June 2, 2010 at 10:14 am

Everyone is quite right that you cannot make him change. It’s his life to live as he sees fit.

However, you’re life is also yours to live as you see fit, and so you should go ahead and eat more veggies and find some fun activity that can help you get moving.

If you are enjoying yourself and the changes you implement, then perhaps he’ll see that living a little healthier can be fun and come along.

If you are making yourself miserable with rigid limitations and horrible grueling workouts, then why would he want to join you?

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andrea @ a cake for a wife. • June 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

You truly, honestly, can’t. There’s no way of ‘convincing’ someone who isn’t ready, whether it’s your spouse, child, parent, best friend — or even, frankly, yourself.

The most you can expect is for him to support YOU in YOUR efforts. For example, it is not unreasonable to request that you change your weekly takeout order from a pizza place to a different restaurant that offers more healthy options. It is not unreasonable to ask him to store all his junk food in one cupboard that you don’t go in, so you don’t have to see it every time you go looking for something. Etc.

And while I think it’s good to have the SUPPORT of the people around you, I totally don’t think it’s necessary for them to actually be participating. In fact, I’ve found it easier to have my boyfriend NOT watching his weight — that way when I want a little bit of junk food, I can eat my small portion and pawn the rest of it off on him. :D

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Tara • June 2, 2010 at 10:46 am

She can’t. You cannot force anyone to make lifestyle changes. All she can do is try and take care of herself. If that means leaving him home to go and take a solo walk, then that’s what it means.

If she does the majority of the cooking, she needs to cook for herself. If he does the majority of the cooking, she needs to cook for herself.

It’s lonely and hard to do it like that, but honestly you can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to.

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Hal • June 2, 2010 at 10:49 am

My boyfriend was already trying to drop pounds when we started dating, so I haven’t had this issue, but I think other commenters have pretty much nailed it.

You can’t make him change.

You can and should ask for his support. Maybe junk food stays out of the house. Maybe you schedule date nights that involve a walk in the park. Maybe you teach him to be your cheerleader and your emotional support when the going gets tough.

Having said all that, I think it’s important that you try to find someone else who is going or has gone through this process. Especially in the first few weeks or months, lifestyle changes can feel a bit like an obsession, and it’s really helpful to have someone to talk to who understands.

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tina • June 2, 2010 at 10:50 am

Like the previous readers, I agree that you have to start first. My boyfriend was not on the eating healthy bandwagon when we first started dating. Over time (admittedly 2 LONG years!), he saw that I was able to be healthy, commit to workouts and splurge reasonably and only on special occasions. He started to see it as “easy” so when his doc told him his triglycerides were EXTREMELY high (as in 600+), he made the same changes I was making. And now, he’s trying to get everyone at work (he works in an ER where they have notoriously bad eating habits and crappy cafeteria food) on the bandwagon as well.

What I did to make this look easy:
I taught him how awesome steamed chicken and vegetables are from Chinese take-out (sauce on the side, brown rice if they have it).
I have a wide array of healthy favorite meals for all seasons
I used to have a list of healthy, easy snack ideas posted on my fridge
We love Dairy Queen Blizzards but know that a medium (550+ calories) is NOT a regular food treat, so we negotiated how frequently we could indulge in them each summer (no more than twice a month). We’ve learned to look forward to these DQ date nights and they feel more special since they’re planned and not a frequent occurance.

Now if only I could get him to the gym…

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Tricia • June 2, 2010 at 10:50 am

Sometimes it’s easier with support – but sometimes it’s not. I’ve had workout partners before that make me work out less because we ended up encouraging each other to slack off – same thing also happens with food. Imagine cheating on both the days you feel like it AND the days your partner wants to? What I’m saying is that even if he is supportive, most people aren’t the great weight loss partner of your dreams.

Another idea is to find an activity he enjoys doing, or wants to learn and do more of that together.

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Lisa F. • June 2, 2010 at 11:04 am

My husband has lost weight on his own, so I don’t have that problem, but that being said I have also helped him along.
One thing would be taking walks together. We love to take evening walks together just to spend time with one another, and get a little exercise. (Just don’t leave him in the dust, or he won’t want to do it again.)
Second would be cooking at home more. I know just last night I cooked Veggie Omelets – something my husband would never order or make for himself, but that he loved! He isn’t a big veggie person, but I’ve tried to find the ones he will eat and it helps a lot!
Good luck!

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Lyn • June 2, 2010 at 11:09 am

Lead by example, but honestly, if he is happy eating junk and sitting on the couch while you eat healthy and exercise, that is his choice. He will floow if and when he is ready. The best thing you can do is say “I love you and want you to live a long happy life with me.” and leave it at that.

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Dana Lynn • June 2, 2010 at 11:16 am

Education and communication can help.

My husband started working out and eating better before I did. He was constantly talking about this new workout video he got, or how sore his arms were from getting heavier weights. Everyday I saw him counting calories and eating healthier. He also talked about wellness a lot more.

At first, I kind of resented him. We really enjoy eating together, I felt like he was taking that away. Eventually though his positive attitude sort of seeped in. I started sneaking glances at the nutrition labels and asked him to burn me some of his workout videos. Eventually taking care of ourselves became something we enjoyed doing together.

Having someone to talk to about your struggles is very helpful. I would suggest jumping in with both feet and enjoying yourself, learn about food and exercise and don’t be afraid to share all the new things that you learn. Hopefully, your husband will get sucked in, just like I did.

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fd • June 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

i agree with everyone above. you can’t make him. but you can show him how effective it can be and inspire him. in my experience, i had so much more energy all of a sudden which he found attractive and definitely in his interest to keep up with :-) and encourage me to continue.
you can ask for his support and probably guilt him into changing those behaviours that are specifically detrimental to your efforts (in my case that would be ‘no potato chips in the house’).
you can also find amazing support online in the networks mentioned above, i’m only familiar with sparkpeople but i’m sure they all have their particular strengths.
please dont let your determination get sapped away.

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Jenn • June 2, 2010 at 11:36 am

As with everyone else who’s commented, I agree that he’s got to want it. I was in a similar situation… I would work my butt off (literally) and my husband would bake me a cake (!). Seriously.

Ultimately, I just took it upon myself, charged ahead and did it.

If he truly loves you, he’ll at least support your own efforts. Happiness is contagious. If he sees how much being healthy is having an impact on your life (and, likely, your sex life!), he just may follow suit!

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Alison • June 2, 2010 at 11:37 am

I agree with those above, but would also suggest that maybe Susie Spouse can find a girl friend to exercise with and exchange food/recipe ideas and tips. Sure, you can do this alone, but having a girl friend to share the experience with can be fun and motivating!

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RNegade • June 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm

If you think that you need the support of a spouse before you can be successful at losing weight and/or getting healthier, then you probably aren’t ready to make the required changes. If you think you can manipulate another person to change, then be ready for disappointment.

You can only share power with another by pursuing your own vision for a healthy, happy life. If what you do then appears attractive, others may or may not want to join with you.

For years I though I could not improve my own diet as long as my husband kept ice cream, candy, and other temptations in the house. At one point I even asked him to lock all those things in a separate cupboard (including locking the ice cream in a spare freezer.) I did not lose weight. I just ate larger quantities of my “healthy” food.

When I was finally ready to change, I did it without his support. In fact, he admitted that he felt a sense of loss that we were, no longer, eating buddies. No more ice cream feasts. Boo. Fucking. Hoo.

He got over it.

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Jen • June 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I had a friend I’ll call Bandwagon Bev. She was always starting new things and immediately had to get all of her friends to do the Great New Thing too. If we took the bait, she would be on to the next thing by the time we got started, and if we didn’t, any problem in our lives was because we weren’t doing The Great New Thing. Also, when she quit doing something, she would sometimes use lack of support as an excuse.

I’m not saying that Suzy is doing the same thing, but she might be.

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Thumper • June 2, 2010 at 12:19 pm

How I got mine to want to lose weight with me…wheezed “get off me…”

Given the choice between crap food and being more bendy with me, he chose being more bendy. Hell, we both did.

Sometimes pointing out to someone you love them and want more years doesn’t strike a chord because they think they’ll do it later. But tel a man to get off because you can’t breathe, and then point out how much more fun thinner person sex can be, and you want it with HIM…he’ll start dieting five minutes later…

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sundari • June 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm

It is more difficult when your spouse is not on board, but you can’t let that be your excuse for not doing it. Because if that is your excuse, then you will always use something as an excuse.

You have to be willing to do it for yourself, and do whatever it takes to make it work for yourself. Do you do the shopping? Then make sure there are only healthy choices available in the house. Do both of you do the shopping? Then talk to your husband about what you are doing and make an agreement that there will only be healthy choices in the house. He can eat whatever he wants when he’s out and about, but the home should be healthy.

You have to put your foot down about your OWN health. Your husband loves you and maybe it’s difficult for him to think about changing, or to think about you changing. Maybe he’s worried about losing you if you slim down. You just have to assure him that you love him, and don’t make it a fight. Take a supportive stance for both yourself and for him, and ask him sincerely that even if he decides not to do this for himself, that he will be supportive of you doing this.

But yeah, you can’t use him as an excuse.

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Sarah F. • June 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

You can’t make him, as everyone has said, but here’s a hint: if he likes gadgets, get him hooked on some of the gadgety weight-loss things. The thing that did it for my husband was the “Lose It” app for his i-phone.

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Debbi Does Dinner Healthy • June 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I pretty much agree with the other readers. You can’t make him but don’t make him your excuse! I used to weigh almost 330 lbs. so I KNOW that not losing weight is all about excuses. Tell him what you want to do, cook for yourself. If there are certain items that you would rather not have in the house (like chips for me), tell him to keep them somewhere else or preferably agree not to buy them. I do all the cooking so if my husband wants to eat unhealthy stuff (and he does) he has to buy it himself. (and he does.).

I just started a weight loss challenge at the site from The Biggest Diabetic Loser, google it and I think you can still sign up to be in her challenge until Saturday. You can pick any goal you want for yourself, it’s AWESOME motivation!

My other advice, from someone who has been over 300 lbs. WRITE DOWN YOUR MEALS. And plan your meals. I know we’ve heard it but it really works. As soon as I stopped this, I gained 20 lbs. back. Find what works for you!!

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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • June 2, 2010 at 3:06 pm

First – you are your priority – you get healthy first, once you have hit your stride Do what I TRY to do, when you are in your groove and eating healthier – cook healthy and some days my husband loves the foods I cook, others he groans but ya know what, after 7 months of really eating healthy guess who went food shopping yesterday and bought a ton of veggies and fruits? My hubby!! Slow and steady changes.

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Karen • June 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I agree with everyone who has said that you can’t force someone to change their behavior and start a diet/exercise program, but I DO think it’s perfectly reasonable to request that he help you in whatever YOU need as you embark on your weight loss journey. By that, I mean, if having chocolates and bad-for-you food lying around the house is a major temptation to you, ask him not to bring that kind of thing in the house, or if going out to eat with him at your typical places will lead you to overeat, tell him you’d rather stay home, or go someplace with healthier options. If you have children, or other household responsibilities, and yet need to find time to workout each day, ask him to help you with those tasks (or, better yet, do them for you ;-) so you have time to exercise. I think those kinds of requests are TOTALLY 100% REASONABLE, but unfortunately trying to force him to diet alongside you isn’t. Maybe your positive influence will rub off on him over time and he’ll decide to get with the program on his own.

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Jenny • June 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm

This is really annoying and hard to learn, but Susie Spouse has to do what she needs to do for herself, regardless of Mr. Spouse’s support or participation (or lack of same). Been there, believe me.

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Princess Dieter • June 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm

You can’t make a person want to lose weight. They have to want it. However, if your husband loves you, he will want to see you get painfree and healthier.

I’ve been crazy-happily married for 28 years to a man without a weight problem. He has a major sweet tooth and ice cream jones. Fortunately his candies and ice cream don’t appeal to me, but his cookies and chips do. So, I ask him NOT TO BRING THEM HOME, period. If he does, he has to hide them. But best not to have them around.

And when I feel I need help, I ask him to help me by not buying me chocolates or sweets as gifts (though I do occsionally cave and want Godiva, like on Valentine’s Day). Because he adores me, he’s willing to go to Farmer’s Markets on weekend mornings with me, go to Whole Foods and help me stock up with produce and organic foods.

I’d like to get him to exercise with me on days i don’t do my Pilates, but so far no luck. I know if I cajole and beg, he’ll do it, but I don’t wanna be a nag. I want him to realize that even though his weight is fine, he also needs to exercise for health. It’s not just for weight loss.

I think your Susie Spouse needs to make it clear she’s afraid of ending up in a wheelchair and unable to do things hubby likes (whether it’s outdoors stuff or just plain SEX) and that losing weight and getting healthy with a buddy is more effective and that she’d love for him to think about becoming her diet and exercise buddy, to be a team in not just love, but in health. And also, if Susie Spouse does the cooking, she can control what goes in the food (more veggies and whole grains, lean protein, tweak old recipes to be lower calorie and more fiber etc). If he doesn’t like the new food, guess what, he can cook his own. :) My household rule is if I cook, then I get to decide what to cook. I’ll make veggie lasagna with lowfat cheese instead of the old version with lots of beef and full fat cheese. I’ll only buy whole grain breads and tortillas. If she’s the cook, she can find ways to cut calories.

If he never comes to be her weight loss buddy, she can still do it for herself and maybe he will see how it improves her life and mobility and medical lab values, etc and want that too. Maybe he’ll see their sex life improve and want to keep up. I know that losing 32 pounds and exercising regularly made a huge, huge difference to our sex life. I want it all the time now. :) I’m way more flexible and stronger pelvically. MEn can appreciate THAT if not calorie-counting.

Just do it for yourself and pray he comes along. Don’t nag, but let him know his health amtters to you and yours matters to you and should matter to him. Wishing Susie Spouse loads of luck…and losses.

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Missy in Seattle • June 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm

He will lose weight if and when he’s ready. The best you can hope for at this point is that he doesn’t outright try to sabotage you… which he probably will.

Why? Because….

-He may see encouraging you to lose weight (and vice versa) as not accepting who you are… and he doesnt want you or himself to feel unaccepted.

-He may feel threatened. You will be a different person 50/100/150 lbs from now and he may be worried about how the “new you” feels about him, or how attractive the new you will be to other men, or how your lives will change.

Like others said… be honest with him about why you want to do this for yourself and your health… and make sure he understands that your love for him is unconditional. There is a reason you weren’t ready to do this yet at 250/275/300 lbs, and there is a reason he isn’t ready. Its up to him to figure out when that point is.

Ask him for support, but make sure you are thoughtful about any “limitations” you place on him… like not keeping certain of his favorite foods around, or not eating them around you.

Weight loss takes a lot of focus… but don’t forget to set aside some time to focus on him too.

Hopefully he’ll come around.

Good luck!!

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Natalie • June 2, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I’m coming at this from the other direction. My husband conquered his (small amount of) excess weight with lots of exercise, whereas I have been getting a bit fatter every year. He is very loving and doesn’t criticise or hassle me but he has started to worry about my health, and so have I. However, he has always scoffed at the need for dieting – he did it all with exercise right! So he still wanted his fatty foods and still bought me chocolates etc, even as we both worried about my weight.
So a couple of weeks ago I complained that he wasn’t being supportive of my weight loss efforts, that maybe exercise was enough for him but I need to change my food lifestyle as well (maybe he isn’t aware of quite how much junk I eat while he is at work …). This may have been a mistake. He has made up a strict set of rules – for both of us, he doesn’t ask me to do it alone – including exercise before leisure each day, no junk food except on weekends, no food after 9 pm and so on. All reasonable, healthy, achievable rules. And he has stuck to them, every day. I’m trying. What have I got myself into!

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Jessica • June 2, 2010 at 10:38 pm

@Thumper – Humiliate your partner sexually so he/she will lose weight? Sounds great! As long as you don’t have any qualms about emotional abuse, I guess.

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Lori @ All About Me • June 3, 2010 at 3:22 am

Everyone has said it, you can’t make him want it. Just don’t let his attitude be your excuse. If you think you HAVE to have his help and support (by losing with you) in order to lose, you are setting yourself up for failure. There will always be obstacles in your life, sometimes in your own home, unfortunately. But you have to find a way to go around, over, under, or even through the brick walls. You have to lose for you without worrying about what someone else is or isn’t doing with you.

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rah • June 3, 2010 at 8:53 am

Suggest you choose a time, take his hand, and tell him you are very serious about changing to a more healthy lifestyle and you would love to be able to grow old with him, but you respect his right to make his own decisions. However, you are going to make a change, and it would go easier for you with his support. You promise not to nag him or say anything to him about his own decision [making it very clear that his choice IS a decision, one way or the other].

Then just do it. When he sees changes in you, and your determination to stick with it, he’ll probably come around. And as others have said, don’t get sabotaged!

And may I just say congratulations and give you strong good wishes for your change!

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SG • June 3, 2010 at 9:31 am

well, with my husband it’s easy….because he doesnt eat anything that i dont buy or cook. so i just buy and cook healthy things. and i invite him to go for a walk with me. not “exercise”….but the BIGGEST thing is doing it myself. i think that the best way to lead some one is by example. usually a spouse (or the person closest to you) starts to notice changes in you before anyone else (sometimes even before you do)….and not just changes like “a smaller butt”….i mean changes like wanting to do more and feeling happier. it’s contageous! and usually others will follow suit…

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Jenna Z • June 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

I concur with all the posters that say you can’t make him. Go it on your own! I did, I made the commitment and lost over 40 pounds and after seeing me, my husband has finally committed to getting healthier! I think it helps them to see someone do it, that it really is possible and worth while and it’s also an incentive because they see your hotness level go up and it triggers some jealousy/anxiety on their part. :)

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Kelly • June 3, 2010 at 11:19 am

More of the same from me: you can’t make him change.

However, you can be a good example.

For the year prior to our marriage and the 2 1/2 years since we’ve been married, I have been working on being healthy. I eat realtively low-carb (about 100 g of carbs per day) and mainly eat whole foods. When I’m in a good routine, I work out 4-5 times per week.

My husband has always been super supportive of my efforts. He praises me when I work out consistently, even if I’m not losing weight (I recently brok through a 2-year plateau). I cook dinner for us, and dinner always consists of healthy protein and vegetables. If he wants a starch, he has to make it himself, which he doesn’t. He grew up thinking he didn’t like vegetables because his family always served them so bland. I’ve shown him vegetables can taste fabulous (my favorite veggie recipe site is kalynskitchen.blogspot.com).

My husband has steadily gained a bit of weight here and there over the past few years. He would complain about his growing stomach occasionally and I would just shrug and say, Well, you know what you need to do.

Earlier this year, he had an epiphany. It was actually spurred by watching the documentary Fat Head, which explains in scientific terms why excess carbs aren’t good for us. My husband is a scientist, so the straight biological facts really spoke to him.

He joined my gym, he started thinking about what he was eating and making better choices, and a few weeks ago he ran a 5K. Plus, he’s lost 20 pounds. I am so proud of him.

However, it took 3 years of me consistently living my healthy lifestyle before my husband decided he wanted to make a change too. So I think you should do your thing and maybe, eventually, your husband will want to join in. Maybe he won’t, but you’re doing no harm by taking care of yourself and by being a fabulous example for him in the process.

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Bridget • June 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

I remember once that my mom casually mentioned my dad having “moobs” and that caused him to drop 50 lbs. I don’t think my mom was telling him he had to lose weight but the thought of having man boobs made my dad want to start cracking. I doubt that will help in this case, because the husband seems like he likes how he is. I hope that the wife can find support maybe through friends or other family members.

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Melinda • June 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

I was looking for some “Self Help” Books yesterday and ran across one called “Lick It! Fix her Appetite Switch” by Anne Kathrine. I was thinking about getting it for my fiance so maybe he could handle the ‘me dieting / me not dieting’ moods. But it’s basically a book on how to support your loved ones while they’re dieting.

Here’s a snippet from the description:
“What’s a husband to do – or a mother, sister, best friend, lover, or partner? What can you do when you love someone who overeats? You can try controlling her (which rarely works) or you can get smart. Learn about the appetite switch and what causes it to get stuck in the “On” position.”

I’m a sucker for self help books. They really do enlighten the mind. And with 5 star reviews, you can’t go too wrong.

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Heather • June 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm

My husband was the same way until I “forced” him to go to the doctor for his yearly physical. He was only 30 lbs overweight, but the doctor talked to him about his blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. That was a wake up call for him. He isn’t so much on a diet right now, but he watches what he eats and exercises whenever possible. He has noticed how much better he feels just from those small steps.

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Quix • June 3, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I was in the same boat (I had over 100 to lose, fiance had about 70), and I just started. I said damn the industry I work in (video gamers are not known for their health), damn the hours I put in, damn the convenience of eating fast food, I was going to do it.

Once he saw it was working for me he jumped on. At first, I think he was terrified I’d lose weight and be too cute for him or something (or maybe he just saw me feeling so_much_better), but then as we took off weight and became more active, we wanted to eat better and be more active because it FELT good, not just to look good. Now we run races together and bike and walk and I even drag him to the gym sometimes.

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Susie Spouse • June 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm

First of all I would like to thank all of you for your inspiring information. I plan to take your advice and get the junk food out of the house and start preparing better meals.

I think I will try exercising at my mother’s house while he is at work, since she has a pool and it is warm enough to swim now. Plus this will be easier on my joints until I lose some of the weight.

I know that I can not force him to do anything he does want to. We have only been married 6 years, but I am sure of that fact :D. Lol. It is just that I love spending time with him and hanging out with him. He is my best friend and the love of my life. I wanted to inspire him. So I will! The way that so many of you have recommended — I will inspire by example.

I have gained over 100 pounds since we have been married. We both love each other just the way we are, and though that is wonderful it doesn’t inspire any change.

I like cooking, but lately the pain makes it harder to cook. I would love any recommendation for quick preparation healthy meals for two. I have ordered a couple of cookbook recently and I look forward to trying those recipes.

Thank you again for all you supportive comments! I really appreciate your information.

Sincerely,
Susie Spouse

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RG • June 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm

@Jen – loved the story about Bandwagon Bev, maybe because I’ve often got some Great New Thing I’m trying out. I mostly use these activities as a way of meeting new people, but I do try to bring the old friends into it.

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Lisad00 • June 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm

First things first keep the focus on you. The only thing you can do for your husband is live by example.

Option 1: If you get thin, he will get thin because he don’t want the new thin you running off with a thin man.

Option 2: Only cook healthy meals. My husband is lazy around the house. So he will eat whatever I put on a plate. He will not by pass me to go use the stove to go fry some chicken. He also ain’t going the grocery store either. So if I don’t by chip he will only eat them if he at a gas station or at a party.

Also, if you want weight loss support. Go to a Weight Loss group or blog. Only seek people to discuss weight with who want to lose weight. It is the same reason Alcholics go to AA and not yoga camps to talk about alcohol. No your audience before you open your mouth and you feelings will be hurt less often.

Good luck in the journey.

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Brittany E. • June 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm

I just started eating right and working out and as I lost weight, it got my husband jealous and motivated

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Lisa • June 4, 2010 at 9:39 am

Oh Susie–
My heart goes out to you. My husband and I went through a lot of weight ups-and-downs for years, but never at the same time. I worried about his health, but he didn’t want to hear it. Then, when he was 37, he had a heart attack & had to have a quintuple bypass. It sucked SO. MUCH. The day after the surgery, he said “Just leave me the f*** alone about what I eat.”
It’s been 12 years since; we’ll celebrate our 20th anniversary in a couple of weeks. We’re both thin & healthy & our marriage is rock-solid, but now we’re trying to help our daughter lose weight.
I agree with everyone who says you can’t change him, & you need support. I would also add that you might consider getting some therapy, preferably with someone who specializes in weight loss issues. You have to think of this as a lifestyle change, and professional help can make a huge difference.
Best of luck to you.

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Lisa • June 4, 2010 at 10:34 am

I told my husband this morning… ” I can’t be on my diet AND yours”

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Cristy • June 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm

I convinced mine to diet with me by promising a future filled with roller coasters that we could fit on, and noy having to spend a fortune on tolerable “big and tall” clothes. Good luck!

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anji • June 6, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Divorce him.

Worked wonders for me. And I’m sure he lost weight too.

I know I lost about… 280 pounds :) (And, I started at 270!)

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schmei • June 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I’m sure after 40+ comments this is going to sound repetitive, but he’s right – you can’t force him. You can start yourself, enjoy the benefits of losing some weight and feeling healthier, and then see where it leads him.

My hubs and I go running together – for fun – two to three times a week. Two years ago this would have been unfrickinthinkable. What happened? Um… I’m not sure. But these were some factors:

1) I reached the weight past which I would not allow myself to go, and a bit over a year ago I joined Weight Watchers online for a couple of months, dropped some pounds and got into an exercise groove. I learned quite a bit about mindful eating – and since I eat most of my meals with the hubs, he learned about it, too (though, again, I forced nothing – just tried to eat less/better).

2) around the same time I signed up for a couple of races, did couch-to-5K, and ran them. Hubs came along and cheered, but “no way in hell” would he ever participate in one. He’s a great cheerleader, though, and I enjoyed running past him and giving him a high-five along the route.

3) then… I don’t know. One day he just asked if he could join me on a jog. The whole time I thought I had been accidentally transported to another dimension, one where my husband enjoys exercise. I think he realized that running can be enjoyable. Or maybe he saw how much more comfortable I was in my own skin. I’m not sure.

I had honestly given up on him ever doing anything like running with me, but I wonder if that was what interested him: I was doing this for ME, for my health and happiness, and it was working. When the pressure was off, he got interested.

Have patience and have fun. He may or may not come around, but you’ll feel better for investing in yourself.

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Ali • June 8, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Blah blah blah, can’t force him, etc.
Frankly, as long as he’s not making your meals or dependent upon you to the point where you can’t get out to exercise, I don’t know what your problem would be. Temptation has been and will be everywhere, including your own house. Be strong and set a good example. If he wants to sit around or eat junk food, just be firm about the choice you’ve made. Maybe he will want to lose weight when he sees how good you are feeling!

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Mallory • June 11, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Oh Susie, I have heard of other women in your situation, and I thought I would write and say that you should go for it! You can do it! Believe me, my greatest motivator (and I know this is the case for other people too) is seeing someone else being successful at losing weight. I am losing weight because I have a skinny friend that I would love to look as thin as, and because my mom is losing weight. When your husband starts noticing that you are changing for the better, and looking GOOD, he might be inspired to do the same!

Don’t feel like you are doing this alone either, millions of other women are doing the same thing. Surround yourself with people who will support your weight loss. Have you tried http://www.dietdiaries.com/? It is a very helpful blog site in which people wishing to lose weight write about their progress, and all the people there give great advice and are very encouraging! If you join, my screen name is missdetermined, I will add you, and cheer you on! If you make an attempt to write at least a few times a week, I think it will really help. Writing down what you eat might help too : )

Good luck Susie, you can do it!

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