Help Your Spouse Lose Weight and Get Healthy

Can you change your spouse? Ha.

When the doctor told me to help my husband lose weight, the idea made me laugh out loud. I couldn’t even get him to pick up his dirty socks. How could I get him to stop eating his beloved egg rolls or drinking his daily gallon of cola?

But after a heart attack and a weight gain of over 90 pounds during our marriage, my husband needed to lose weight or risk death. He was a lifelong smoker, sedentary, and suddenly suffering from backaches and knee injuries due to the excess pounds on his small frame.

My job was serious and seriously difficult. My first attempt at changing our dietary habits lasted one week. With only good intentions, I overhauled the way I cooked. I removed or substituted the sugar, fat, and sodium in my recipes. I bought sugar replacements and baked with applesauce instead of oil. Our favorite dishes were revamped completely. Foods tasted different, as expected, but the anticipated adjustment of our taste buds took longer than we were able to hold out. One week later, we were eating our usual high-fat meals.

Exercise was another matter. I couldn’t get him to join a gym or play sports. Yoga, aerobics or dance? No way. He used to golf, but even with a golf cart, his body hurt too much anymore. He seemed hopeless.

I believe there is always hope. Besides, what choice did I have but to try?

His health problems were my health problems. If he suffered, so did I. After all, that’s what happens when you really love your spouse. Truthfully, I had some effect on his current condition. My cooking habits—and personal tastes—ran toward the high-fat, indulgent dishes. I enjoyed eating in excess during the holidays and dining out at fine restaurants, as well as scarfing snacks at many a fast food joint, right along side him. I baked the cheesecakes and dished up the hot fudge sundaes for him. And I didn’t complain when he ordered the extra large tub of buttered popcorn for us to “share” at the movies. I could stand to lose my “marriage” weight gain, too.

Fifty pounds to be exact.

Motivation, in the past, was an obstacle for us. We weren’t particularly vain about our physical appearances. I hated to buy new “fat” clothes so I went without, often wearing old, worn-out casual t-shirts and stretchy waisted “jeans”. He avoided shopping, too, always shocked at the larger sizes he needed. Soon, we realized that we were wearing only baggy clothes in shades of black (it’s “slimming”). Still, we were happy with each other and it just didn’t seem to matter what we looked like.

Getting serious about his weight loss wasn’t about appearances. Frankly, I loved my big, tubby man. I loved his round, big bear of a man look. But because I loved him, I wanted him around for a long, long time. Just the thought of losing him and having to live out my natural life without him was motivation enough for me to get serious about his health.


Serendipitous discovery!

I spent countless hours reading diet books and trying them all. He used to balk whenever I launched us on a new health kick, but he soon learned to be patient and wait out the three days that it lasted. Occasionally, the new diet plan would last longer. But never more than a week. It’s not that the diets didn’t “work” because they did, even over the short three-day period. The problem was that we just couldn’t stick to it. I’m sure that all the diet plan success stories are true. People do lose weight successfully. But, it seems to be a matter of finding the right diet plan for your personality. If you search diligently, you’ll find yours. Our eating personalities were a tough fit for any diet. Our successful diet plan had to:

  • • satiate big eaters
  • • do not ban any type of food
  • • allow for variety
  • • make meal time enjoyable
  • • not require measuring, weighing foods
  • • be good enough for a permanent lifestyle change

It was a matter of serendipity, but I happened upon the right eating plan when I wasn’t even looking. One good step lead to another, and soon, I found 12 simple ways to help my husband lose weight and get healthier!

One day, as I casually browsed through a gourmet food magazine, a mouth-watering dish caught my attention. As I read the recipe, I realized that every ingredient was wholesome, nourishing and—surprise—low calorie! I decided to make the dish that night. Everyone, including my husband, thoroughly enjoyed the dish. After it was devoured, I announced that it was wonderfully good for us. I think I was the only one who was impressed by that fact.

Later that night, I scoured my cookbooks and cooking magazines for more super recipes that I knew my family would love and never notice were “good for us.” There were dozens! I tore out each page and slipped it into a sheet protector and then a large binder notebook. The next day, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on only the healthful ingredients on my list. For once, I wasn’t embarrassed to check out at the register. Usually, I felt sheepish as the cashier scanned my purchases of junk food.

Every meal became a restaurant-quality experience. We didn’t just eat healthfully, we feasted on gourmet and wholesome foods. Nothing was specifically dietetic. I did not buy artificial sweeteners or fat replacements. I opted instead to focus on nourishing and wholesome not dietetic or low-calorie. Portions were hearty. Flavors outstanding. No one felt as though we were dieting at all because we weren’t! We just began to eat healthful foods. I didn’t go to extremes by purchasing only organic or health food store products. I didn’t eat everything sprouted or raw. No protein powders or vitamins additives. If there was a middle ground to all the eating and diet lifestyles out there, we found it. And it worked. Deliciously.

Poll

Does your spouse need to lose weight and get healthy?

  • No. He/she pays attention to health and weight management.
  • Yes, but I do, too. We work on health and weight loss together.
  • Yes, and he/she has yo-yo dieted for years with limited success.
  • Yes, and I am worried about it.
  • Yes, and it negatively affects our relationship.
See results without voting

Why you can't lose weight

Helpful Books and eBooks

Mind Games for Weight Loss: Change how you see food & exercise in an instant
Mind Games for Weight Loss: Change how you see food & exercise in an instant

You can't be a healthy person if your mind resists healthy habits. Your thoughts about food and exercise have to change. Understanding the powerful human urge to avoid pain and enjoy pleasure, we turned looked for a good feeling to attach to our better choices and a bad feeling to attach to poor choices.

It worked. In an instant.

People thought my daughter and I were nuts when we adopted our new principles of a healthy life. No one before ever attached "feeling good" to the weight loss process. Being thin, yes, but not to the process of losing weight. But we did. We deliberately looked for ways to re-frame how we thought about every choice we made and made it pleasurable. We found the joy in every choice with 12 Mind Games we played to make our minds work for us instead of against us.

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Comments 2 comments

MaggieMarie profile image

MaggieMarie 3 years ago from Western Washington - Puget Sound Area

Thanks for a wonderful article. I have experienced the same thing with my husband. We've never eaten junk food, but when it reached that point of his HAVING to lose weight, it was extremely difficult, especially as he advanced in age. You are right, the trick is make GOOD meals, HEALTHY meals and make all meals ENJOYABLE!


Lori P. profile image

Lori P. 2 years ago from Southern California USA Author

Great comments, MaggieMarie! Thanks for reading. I'm so happy you and your husband are on the same page with healthy living. He's lucky to have you as his life partner.

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