I have written this article from a wife’s perspective, but the same tips can be followed by a husband.
Weight gain is a delicate issue and needs to be handled with a lot of tact and sensitivity. If your spouse’s weight is becoming a cause of concern for you, then talk to him about your concern. Put your views in front of your partner, and let him know that you are getting worried about his health. Tell him that you want to find the cause behind his sudden weight gain, so that you can work on a solution together. Offer help and encouragement, instead of criticism and judgment. Tell your partner that you are with him, all the way, when he makes the decision to lose weight. Here are a few ways in which you can support your partner in his endeavor.
Be Considerate and Supportive
Instead of confronting your partner or telling him that he has let himself go, tell him that his health is starting to get you really worried. Do not accuse him of being lazy. Tell him that being overweight can cause him problems in the future, and that if he is willing to work on the issue, he will have your full support. Keep assuring him that you love him, and want to see him as healthy and happy as possible, and keep giving him motivation to lose weight.
Avoid Constant Nagging
After your partner has decided to lose weight, don’t continuously keep nagging him. Everybody gets bored of following routines, and can do with a break once in a while. If he has been sincerely working on his weight reduction, then once in a while, let him have his favorite dish without you breathing down his neck, about the calories he is accumulating.
Make Working Out a Fun Activity
Working out doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym, and sweating it out with an iPod plugged in your ears. Do things together, like trekking, hiking, joining a dance class, going for a walk, playing a sport, etc. Remember to play to work out, and not to win the game! Early morning, late evening and/ or after-dinner walks are easy ways to shrug off inertia and get fit. Doing things together will also give you the chance to spend some quality time with each other, which will help your relationship.
Make Changes in the Kitchen
Starting a diet shouldn’t imply giving up on your favorite foods and dishes. Try to substitute the fattening ingredients with suitable non-fat substitutes whenever possible, so that your spouse can enjoy his favorite dishes without piling on the pounds. Try SugerFree or Splenda instead of the normal sugar, non-fat chicken broth instead of butter, try baking or steaming foodstuffs instead of frying. Subtle changes will preserve the taste of the dish, while making it healthier for your spouse.
Address the Root Cause of the Issue
Sometimes, there may be medical conditions causing weight gain, and your partner cannot help himself from putting on weight, and may be equally baffled. Ask your partner if he is OK with getting himself a check up. If not, try finding out the reason. Coax him to consult the doctor. Get blood tests done. Weight gain can be the result of any number of physical or mental health issues, and finding the exact cause of the problem, will put you in a better position to find a solution for it.
Stock Up on Healthy Foods
Instead of stocking up with cakes, puddings, chocolates, fries, Cheetos, and other comfort foods, stock up on fresh fruits and healthy snacks. Get the seasonal fruits, so that your spouse finds an apple in the kitchen to munch on instead of fries. Incorporate leafy vegetables in your cooking as often as possible.
Do Your Bit for Your Spouse
When you know that your spouse is on a diet, do not eat tempting foods in front of him. If you are really craving comfort food, eat it in office or on your way back. Eating things that your spouse isn’t allowed to, in front of him, is not going to help him in any way. It will just make your partner angry with you, and weaken his resolve of going through with the diet and exercising. Help your partner as much as you can, in any small way that you can think of.
Avoid Eating Out
Eating out means you cannot have low cal versions of your favorite dishes, which quite defeats the purpose of dieting. When you eat at home, you can monitor the ingredients that go into your dishes and make them healthier. Eating out less will also help in curbing down unnecessary expenditure. Eat at home, eat together, and avoid watching T.V. while having meals. You tend to put on less weight when you watch what you are eating.
Provide Encouragement During Setbacks
When your spouse suffers a setback, don’t pounce on him. Compliment him on his progress so far. Tell him that you have confidence in him, that you believe he can stick to the diet and exercise and beat the fat. Keep the positive reinforcement and motivation flowing, and keep egging your partner on. Do not make rude comments or make him feel like he is good for nothing. Be gentle and considerate to help your spouse get back on track.
Lead by Example
If you and your spouse have decided that you’ll are going to work out together, then don’t skip sessions or walks because you don’t need to lose weight. Similarly, if you are attending a function, don’t pile your plate high with food that your partner is supposed to stay off. Try to eat what your spouse is eating, to show him that you’re really in this with him. You promised “for better or for worse”, right? Giving up on tempting food once in a while is hardly the worst thing.
Your spouse needs to know that you love him in spite of the weight he or she has put on. You have to reassure your partner that your love for him is not dependent on his physical appearance. It is going to be a long journey, and your spouse will appreciate your every little effort and gesture, specially the sacrifices you don’t really have to make. Be there, give hugs, kisses, compliments, and encouragement liberally and both of you will be stronger and closer as a couple, when you win this battle together.