Some conversations within a couple must be managed with tact and sensitivity. A partner’s weight can be a particularly sensitive subject. You may be wondering whether to mention the fact that your partner has put on weight. You may be hoping they will become aware of it themselves and take appropriate action to slim down without any input from you. However, if your partner continues to gain weight and you can see that it is affecting their confidence and self-esteem, you can speak to them about it in a way that won't hurt they’re feelings. Here’s a few tips:
Educate yourself about body weight and weight loss. Many medical professionals use the Body Mass Index to work out whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. This takes into account gender, age, height and weight. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered to be normal and healthy. Meanwhile, 25 and over is considered to be overweight, and over 30 is considered to be obese. However, there is a much more scientifically accurate method to measure body composition which you can read about here. If your partner has only gained a few pounds, avoid making it a big deal.
Encourage your partner to talk about their health. They will be fully aware of their weight gain, and you pointing it out to them won't make them feel any better. They may feel extremely sensitive about their body and take any comments about their expanding waistline as criticism or taunting, even if you mean them in the best possible way. The key is to be subtle. Ask your partner how they are feeling or if they want to talk about anything that may be bothering them. Often, weight gain is linked to low self-esteem, frustration, feelings of inadequacy or depression. It is most important to understand the reason for the weight gain. Factors such as stress, overwork or eating on the run can be at the root of weight gain, and so can some serious physical or psychological health issues. Share your own health goals with your partner. Even if you don't need to lose weight, you may want to improve your fitness -- for example, by building lean muscle. If your partner opens up about their weight gain and expresses a desire to lose weight, encourage them to set a realistic goal to shed the pounds and to consider seeking professional help to assist them with setting up attainable and sustainable goals.
Inspire your partner to get back to a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Make healthy living a goal for both of you. Invest in a couple’s membership for your local gym. If your budget won't stretch to this, buy a fitness DVD you can do at home, or take up running. Start with walking or jogging short distances and increase your distance gradually. Purchase a healthy eating cookbook and start experimenting with nutritious, tasty meals for the whole family. Suggest tools to help your partner track their weight-loss progress, such as a food journal or an app.
One last Tip (not for the faint hearted)
When a partner gains weight or otherwise changes appearance to the point where the spark of attraction is diminished, it would be a loving gesture to do something to help them get back on track. Weight gain often negatively affects a person’s personal body image, which in turn can impact their own sexual desire.
Of course, it must be handled with great delicacy, but there’s nothing wrong with gently acknowledging the obvious and offering to help. Once health reasons have been ruled out, affirm your love for them, and reframe your desire to help them regain a healthy body as loving concern. As well as offering help with stress management, re-evaluate your joint lifestyle in terms of healthy eating, exercise, rest and fun.