Society sells the world the idea that being skinny is equated to being attractive. Attraction is typically the first clue that someone could be a potential mate. But what if your spouse was thin in the beginning stage of a relationship and now is obese or has gained a lot of weight?
This can make for awkward feelings and frustrations, especially if one partner values personal fitness or taking care of themselves – as in working out and eating healthy.
In this article, we discuss how to cope with these feelings that come up when you notice your spouse is gaining more weight than usual. This is very normal and common as you may feel resentful or more importantly, worried about their health.
What Determines an Overweight Person?
BMI is a person’s weight calculated in kilograms, which is then dived by the height in meters. A high BMI can indicate overweight body fat.
If one’s BMI is 25 to 30, it is seen as categorized in the overweight grouping. Any more than 30 is obese.
Calculate your spouse’s BMI here. It might be a good idea to let them know the risk factors associated with overweightness without hurting their feelings. You can mention you’re calculating yours and tell them it’s best to keep both of your health in check.
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6 Ways to Deal With an Overweight Spouse
#1. Practice Patience
Harvard art historian teaches patience among her students. An experiment showed that learning is obtained through practice and strategic patience.
Even though this study was directed towards students in the classroom, this can bleed into any aspect of life where you are trying to learn something on a given topic or issue at hand.
Learning how to cope with an overweight spouse can be hard. Seeing your partner gaining weight can cause relationship issues and a lot of tension – making for a worse intimate life. Libidos can lower due to stress or resentful feelings towards your partner.
Not knowing when or if they will lose weight may encourage you to take action. But this is their personal choice and the best you can do is practice patience for your sanity regarding their own pace.
Here is a video on how to practice patience so you can better deal with frustration in tough life circumstances, one being an overweight spouse.
#2. Reverse psychology
A study showed that an elder couple would engage in behavior that may be deemed as negative, such as teasing to get a positive outcome, rather than negative. The positive outcome goal is strengthening the playful aspect of their relationship.
An individual in a relationship can transform a negative or positive interaction to persuade and meet a certain goal.
With an overweight spouse, you can use reverse psychology by complimenting them on their diet that week, even if they haven’t been eating the greatest. This will only work if it’s not blatantly obvious that they are eating badly for an entire week.
They’ll likely see that it makes you happy and proud of them when you point it out, and they may subconsciously want to please you more.
They might pick up the clue that you like when they eat healthier and start preparing better meals themselves.
Notice when someone says you’re funny or loyal, you tend to want to do even more of those things that deem you these traits.
Using reverse psychology may sound like manipulation, but only if you view it that way. In this case, it’s better used as encouragement to use a positive interaction, to encourage more positivity by eating healthier.
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#3. Focus on Other Attractive Traits
Physical attraction is only one factor in a relationship. Fortunately, it’s not end all be all. Various factors make you attracted to your romantic partner. Such as their humor, laugh, tone of voice, confidence, or intelligence in meaningful conversations.
Studies show that gratitude improves relationships by focusing on their partner’s value. Being grateful about what your partner does have to offer excluding what they don’t have, creates a feeling of contentment. Thus, expanding your gratitude for having them in your life.
Gratitude also promotes relationship-enhanced motivations to better solidify your emotional connection. The more grateful you are, the more you want to connect with the traits you admire about your spouse to feel happier.
Another study showed that naming three things you are grateful for in your relationship can create an accurate measure of relationship quality.
While you may prefer that your spouse slims down due to personal reasons, it’s encouraged to remember why you fell in love with them in the first place.
Amazon carries a book called Attitudes of Gratitude in Love: Creating More Joy in Your Relationship to feel more peace in your life by focusing on what your partner has versus what they don’t.
#4. Support and Be There for Them
Your partner may be suffering from a slow metabolism and feels bad about themselves. Research indicates that carbs are a factor in whether or not a person loses or gains weight. A genetic inheritance from obese family members has a high risk for the child to develop obesity tendencies as well.
As there’s only a small storage space for carbohydrates a balance of carbs is needed to regulate the body’s energy intake, thus impacting body size.
This ambition for balance may backfire and cause imbalanced energy intake when consuming a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates. May increase body weight if continued over time. it is highly suggested to go to a nutritionist to find out what meals work best for bodyweight loss.
To see your spouse upset over their weight that could be genetically based can be disheartening. Studies show that showing empathy helps the person feel understood, and validated for their emotions. The ability to empathize with others’ distress allows for the regulation of emotions as they don’t feel alone in their suffering.
Although validating doesn’t solve the problem, a problem half shared is a problem half solved. Sharing uncomfortable feelings to someone and revealing more about themselves strengthens a bond.
Having someone to support them in a hard time is vital to building a stronger relationship and makes the person trust you, even more, to confide in you.
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#5. Grocery Shop and Do the Cooking
By doing the cooking for you and your spouse, you decide what goes in both your bodies to keep your partner accountable for what their diet is if they are on a diet.
If they aren’t currently on a diet, you can incorporate healthy meals with veggies, fruit, protein, and some carbs.
Research shows that people get full due to the amount of food they intake not the number of calories they intake. You can lower calories in your prepared dishes by using more fiber-rich ingredients such as vegetables and fruit.
It’s important to note that cutting calories doesn’t mean serving less food – just serving more ingredients with fiber for a healthier alternative.
You can also go grocery shopping together (or alone) and pick out foods according to what you want to prepare. Just simply ask, “what vegetables do you like”, or “which protein do you like” so you can cut out bad fats for the better of their health.
You can purchase a recipe book on Amazon that has tons of healthy meals to lose weight.
This step should be practiced at every stage. But some people may think that accepting is just giving up which can have that connotation sometimes. Such as “I’m just going to have to accept it” as the final straw.
Acceptance is more about letting things be without having a mental resistance towards them.
This is not to say you shouldn’t be upset and just accept terrible things, but to allow them to be as they are and have hope for the future that they can improve.
This is a key component in mindfulness, as it trains you to sit with your feelings without judgment. It teaches you to accept your feelings in the present moment – which takes some of the power out of them.
If your spouse is overweight, you’re allowed to be upset over it. however, knowing that it mostly is out of your control can deter your perspective and have compassion for them instead.
This is easier said than done. But with a little practice, you’ll feel better by just accepting everything as they are while working on improving the situation. Whether that’s a conversation about physical health, or planning their meals, you can feel more content right now by changing your mindset.
Acceptance and commitment therapy suggest ACT can improve maintenance of long-term health behavior change through committed acts in service. These acts are composed of chosen values while acknowledging and accepting the existence of negative thoughts, rules, and emotions as part of themselves but not a major cause of behaviors.
It helps you better control your reactance to your spouse’s weight gain and accept all the above.
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Dealing with an overweight spouse is not easy. You may have grown up your whole life with beliefs that being skinny is attractive, and you’re scared you’ll lose intimacy or attraction to them.
Or you simply are a fitness and health fanatic who wants a partner to stay aligned to your values.
With these above steps, you can take action right now to cope properly with having an overweight spouse. By not hurting their feelings, you can suggest, encourage, and more importantly be there for them in an upsetting time in their life and maybe even yours.
It’s most upsetting when health issues are at stake when someone is overweight. You never want to see someone suffering and have anxiety about the future due to compromised physical health,
If you resonated with this article or found it helpful please share with your family and friends who may also be struggling with an overweight spouse.