A Delicate Subject

in All Posts

A Worried Fiancée sent me the following question, “I know you’ve said before that your journey to a healthy lifestyle began with an "intervention" from a friend.  I’m basically trying to do the same thing with my fiance.  He is somewhat depressed, mostly from his job, and has been coping by eating fatty foods, drinking too much and basically just vegetating on the couch.  He says a lot of it has to do with his current job situation, but he was never the healthiest of people by any means when he was happier in his job.  I’m honestly worried about his health.  He’s about 40 pounds overweight.  I guess my question to you is was there anything specific that your friend said that really got through to you and made you turn your life around?  I try to talk to him about being healthier, but it’s like I’m not getting through.  He acknowledges what I’m saying but doesn’t do anything to change his sedentary lifestyle.”


I wrote back to A Worried Fiancée and told her that my friend snapped me out of my unhealthy funk by telling it to me straight.  My friend told me either stop complaining about my health or get my booty moving.  I also asked her if she could help him prepare his meals or help him work out.


A Worried Fiancée wrote back and said, “Unfortunately, I’m more of the one that is complaining so I don’t think that tactic will work!  A huge part of the problem is that his work schedule is really crappy.  He works all sorts of different hours – sometimes a regular 9-5, sometimes 2pm – 11pm and sometimes 3am – noon and just can’t get into a routine.  I often make dinner for him, but I guess I could make his lunches, too.  I don’t even know if he even eats lunch, or if he does, it’s probably fast food.”  She also added in another e-mail, “I hate to admit it, but I’m definitely not as physically attracted to him.  Our sex life is weird because we have conflicting work schedules so it’s hard to tell if the lack of sex is from his weight gain or not.”


I’m hoping that YOU can help A Worried Fiancée out. 


  • Have you ever had to confront someone about their unhealthy habits?  How did you do it?
  • Has anyone ever confronted you with your unhealthy habits?  What techniques work and which don’t?
  • Have you ever had a similar problem with your significant other?  Do you have a “I Promise Not to Let Myself Go” Pact?


Advice for A Worried Fiancée would be appreciated!


Ready, set, comment!



  • Brie (The Fit Bride) November 24, 2009, 3:59 pm

    I think the hard part about this is that he’s an adult and his life is his to seize…or ruin.

    Honestly, I think really all you can do is sit him down and say, “Honey, I love and care about you, and I am worried about your health. I hate to say it, but your recent weight gain has also made you less attractive to me. I work hard to stay in shape for you and I wish you’d pay me the same respect.”

    It’s his choice to do what he wants with that. You have to decide if it’s a “dealbreaker” or not if he chooses to remain unhealthy and sedentary.

    I would also make sure to NOT enable him–if you grocery shop, don’t buy the unhealthy foods he eats. That way he can’t blame it on you and he’ll have to seek out and buy the bad stuff himself. I’d also try to get him interested in fun exercise activities as a couple that might not SEEM like exercise, like a flag football league or Wii boxing or salsa dancing classes.

    Good luck!

    • meg November 24, 2009, 4:13 pm

      I agree with not enabling him by buying unhealthy things and finding fun things to do together, but I do have to take issue with the idea of telling him “I work hard to stay in shape for you and I wish you’d pay me the same respect.” I don’t think it’s a good idea to approach it as something he can do for HER. This has to be about him and a choice he makes for himself and himself only, otherwise it will never stick. He can’t change his body and lifestyle for his fiance, no matter how much they love each other. No one should stay healthy for anyone but themselves, otherwise the motivation won’t be enough to carry you through the tough spots, in my opinion.

      • Brie (The Fit Bride) November 24, 2009, 4:32 pm

        I don’t think he should do it FOR her, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having outside motivation for working out, ESPECIALLY in the beginning when you don’t really know what internalizing a healthy lifestyle looks like. I like it when my fiance says I look great and compliments my body or a new muscle I’ve developed–it doesn’t make my fitness goals any less worthwhile. I work out mostly for myself, too, but I think relationships involve at least some degree of give-and-take and maintaining yourself physically is a nice thing to do for your partner.

        If I got into a relationship with someone and they were really nice at first, and I fell in love with them and they suddenly started being mean and judgmental I’d have grounds for asking them to make a change. I don’t think this is that much different.

        • meg November 24, 2009, 6:55 pm

          I definitely agree with the positive reinforcement, and the mutual aspect of encouraging each other to be healthy. I probably should have clarified that I do think there are many types of motivation, but unless, like you said, it’s mostly for himself, I doubt he’ll stick with it. Maintaining yourself physically for your partner is definitely a nice thing to do, and I think it’s an important part of a relationship, I just think he needs to find something in himself to get it jumpstarted.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 24, 2009, 3:59 pm

    Luckily, my husband is in amazing shape so I have never had to deal with this. BUT, I do have some close friends who are overweight. When it comes to training clients – I tell it to them straight. When it comes to family members, the more you nag, the more they tend to shy away – at least in my experience. I think the best she can do is to express her concern, and try to lead by example.

  • Kelly November 24, 2009, 4:01 pm

    hahahahah I shouldn’t be laughing this hard about a “I Promise Not To Let Myself Go” pact but the name just cracks me up.

    I think it’s a VERY delicate subject and I can’t wait to hear the responses. I’ve always been really surprised by your story Caitlin because most people would just be like ugh that friend sucks, instead of actually listening. I think maybe the best way to go for Worried Fiancee would be to try to make the “get healthy” plan involve the upcoming wedding. Start a competition, who can get healthier before the wedding? How much weight can we drop before the wedding? etc. I think she needs to find a way to make it fun so it won’t be another annoying aspect of her fiance’s day. However, long term- he is going to have to fix the depression issue…

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:03 pm

      haha i respond well to honestly, what can i say?

      and i agree, the depression with his job is a separate, but confounding, issue.

  • Anita November 24, 2009, 4:03 pm

    Here are my thoughts on the matter:
    Unless a person is ready to change, and WANTS to change their behavior, you can talk until your blue in the face, and it won’t make any difference. You can’t control anyone but yourself. Lead by example. Eat healthy and keep up with your fitness routine–hopefully something will “click” with the other person when they see the benefits YOU are reaping from a healthy lifestyle. I know it’s frustrating when you see someone who NEEDS to change, but the bottom line is, until THEY see it, nothing’s gonna happen!

  • Yasmin November 24, 2009, 4:03 pm

    There is such a thing as ““I Promise Not to Let Myself Go” Pact”? As in verbally spoken to one another?

    Regarding the worried fiance: has she at all brought up this topic with him? Asking him what his thoughts are on the weight gain, how he feels?
    I would ask more questions to understand him, as opposed to being prescriptive out of assumptions.

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:05 pm

      the husband and i actually have this pact – it’s not a “you have to be perfect” thing, its just a “caitlin, try to remember to shave your legs” and “husband, pluck your nose hairs” kind of deal. we made it about 4 years ago, and it also focuses on health, not just vanity issues. we both want each other to stay healthy and fit so we can live a long life together. if the husband suddenly started to smoke cigarettes, for example, he would be in huge violation of our pact.

      • Yasmin November 24, 2009, 4:16 pm

        oooh. so if one you “breaks” it, would it qualify as grounds to sue? lol

        • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:18 pm

          i’ll take him for all he’s worth!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg November 24, 2009, 4:06 pm

    Hmmm…this is interesting. I have to say, I have been very unhealthy before (eating disorder), and although it’s a totally different situation, I think that when you’re dealing with issues of health (whether it’s an eating disorder, or something like this, where the person is just leading an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle in general), you can confront them about it, and it might make a little bit of difference, but honestly, the decision to change has to come from within that person. It has to be something that THEY want, and you can’t force them to want it, no matter how hard you try. That’s what makes it so frustrating 🙁

    Could they do more “active” dates? Instead of going to a movie, go to a yoga class, or even just go for a walk. Cook a healthy meal together, etc.

    It’s a tough situation, for sure.

  • julia November 24, 2009, 4:07 pm

    Is there unhealthy food in the house? My boyfriend has lost some weight because when he moved in with me, his snacking habits totally changed because I do most of the meal planning and food shopping and don’t buy many snack foods. It helped cut back on mindless eating, and if he is hungry, he usually ends up having a banana or yogurt!

    Other than that, I have no advice. That is a really tough situation and I can’t imagine trying to get someone to change that doesn’t want to. Good luck!

    • stephanie November 24, 2009, 4:35 pm

      I did this as well. My boyfriend had gained weight during our 5 years of dating and when he finally moved in I took over all the food aspects. Even after an exhausting day when he wants burgers and booze, it is no where to be found in our house- he would have to get up, go out and get it, and I have found this to be super helpful. Typically they will have to really want it to put forth all that effort to go out and get it themselves. Another Way I got him to incorporate exercise is that I had been so busy trying to move my workout time to a different time so we could spend more time together at night after work, but I finally stopped. Runs after work are better for me and I went back to that schedule, he learned that if he wanted more time with me at night then he had to come with me. He is training to run his first 5k with me Thursday. Hope this proves somewhat helpful- but these little strategies worked for me.

  • Emily November 24, 2009, 4:09 pm

    I completely understand where Worried Fiancee is coming from. But there’s goood news – people can change their habits.

    My boyfriend has love about 70 pounds in the last year. It’s unbelieveable how much more energy he has…and because you brought it up, the sex is much better. He has more energy for life in general. So how did the change come about?!?! I refused to give in to his bad habits. I continued to work out – even if it meant leaving him at home when he wanted to “relax” (aka be lazy) on the couch. I also started taking his favorite meals and tweaking them to make them healthier. He cut out all sugar drinks – including sweet tea and soda. He still drinks – but uses no calorie mixers, like Diet Sprite and doesn’t drink during the week. After about 3 months, I finally convinced him to go on a walk. Unfortunately, this habit hasn’t stuck due to his crazy travel schedule with work, but he’s so good with this diet, that he still lost. No red meat during the week and no fast food. I’m still working on getting him to eat breakfast, but I honestly think something “clicked” after he saw how dedicated I was to a healthly life. I’m not going to lie – he’s a results kind of guy, so once he started losing – he became so aware of the calories he was consuming.

    Good luck – just stick with it and be a positive motivator. Always offer to have him come along for physical exercise and make the meals as healthy as you can – the one thing that really helped my boyfriend was having cheat nights – we have steaks on Friday and that makes the world right for him.

  • Michele November 24, 2009, 4:12 pm

    She can try lots of things, many of which she’s maybe already tried, but in the end, she must take care of herself first. Sometimes, we want to help the ones we love with their issues, but we often have a more significant effect if we tend to all the weeds in our own gardens first. If she sets an example of the importance of self-care, then it might influence him to care more for himself. They could build a wonderful relationship with self-care as a foundation. In the end, it may not work out. She has to take care of herself first.

  • Carrie H November 24, 2009, 4:12 pm

    Oh, man, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure what I would do … but I can tell you that for many months before and a few after my husband and I were married, I was VERY restrictive and obsessive about everything I ate (and didn’t eat). I was relying on disordered eating habits for emotional release, and possibly was at the beginning of an eating disorder (and I still struggle with disordered eating sometimes, though it is *much* better).
    It was obviously taking its toll on our relationship, as I couldn’t function as an equal partner … he finally told me I had to get help or our relationship might not last. It might sound harsh, but he was/is so supportive all the time that that was the reality check I needed to realize I had to change my behavior. So I went to counseling and we moved on.
    I’m much healthier and happier today (we’ve been married over two years now). I’m not sure if the same would work here, but the wake up call letting me know I might lose the most important thing to me in the world made me snap out of it regarding seriously disordered and debilitating unhealthy habits.
    Caitlin — do you and the husband have a “I Promise Not to Let Myself Go” pact? That made me laugh out loud! Now that my husband and I are both generally healthy, we stay in pretty good shape and are active … but I have a sister who is married and she and her husband have both gained about 40 pounds since thier wedding. (In her defense, she has had two babies). She’s always all, “Why do you care so much about how you look now? You’re married!” I’m like, “Ummm, I still want to be healthy for myself…”

  • Kara November 24, 2009, 4:13 pm

    Haha, you’re like Dear Abby now.

    My husband hates to workout, but he has his reasons (pain from military-related injuries) so I just have him eat healthy. Well, we didn’t agree on it, I just do all the cooking and he eats whatever I put in front of him (another military-related habit 🙂 If he complains about his weight, then I tell him to stop being a pussy and be a Marine and do something about it…although my husband is used to me and Worried Fiance’s guy might take that the wrong way:) My husband is really tall, so he can hide a lot of weight gain.

    My main suggestion is premartial counseling. Any pre-wedding issues need to be worked out, and an impartial third person could help to keep their interactions on the subject on positive side.

  • alli November 24, 2009, 4:16 pm

    i agree with anita.
    my husband isn’t unhealthy or out of shape, but i have noticed that the more interested i become in different health and fitness routines/changes it motivates him to do better, too. we can all improve, right? example is great!
    i would have a real honest and open talk with fiance at a time when neither party is on the defense. let him know of your worries and if this is going to create problems after the wedding. after that i would try not to bring it up that much. depending on the person that may drive them away.
    i notice when i get compliments on something it makes me want to achieve goals in other areas (i like compliments:)
    find something that you can compliment him about to build up some more self esteem and perhaps it will encourage him in the health/fitness area.

  • fitforfree November 24, 2009, 4:18 pm

    I could have written this post myself a year and a half ago. My bf and I live together but have totally different schedules, and he’s always been a terribly unhealthy eater / prone to drink when stressed. The very best thing you can do is to be a good example — lead a very healthy life without shoving it in his face. Also, I packed him healthy lunches/snacks to take to work when I had extra time in the morning — he really appreciated the saved $$, and enjoyed the food too. Eventually, he decided to become vegan, and lost a lot of weight. This change was very gradual and happened over the course of a few years, but if you’re committed to him, be patient!

  • Shelly November 24, 2009, 4:20 pm

    I think that it’s harder to hear the “get healthy” message when it comes from a lover rather than a friend. When a friend says it, they’re saying that they’re worried about you. When a lover says it, it can imply rejection or that they’re not attracted to you anymore….And there is nothing like feeling like your lover doesn’t want you to drive you into the arms of a pint of ice cream.
    I think that she’s said her piece and she shouldn’t repeat it over and over again. It will just come across as nagging and insulting.
    She should lead by example. The last time I needed to get fit coincided with a time that my fiance was really into working out. He never said a word to me about my habits, but I found it pretty hard to justify sitting on my butt to myself when I knew he was at the gym. He’s been really great about encouraging me as well- again I don’t think he’s said a word about me looking “better” but he certainly lets me know when I look good and fit, and he’s taken to buying me fitness related presents- my Garmin Forerunner and some Lululemon clothes, for example.
    Incorporate activity into the time you spend together. If you don’t already have a passion for long walks or hiking or biking, or roller skating or ice skating, or skiing, etc….then develop one and ask him to come along with you! Head out to the park with your honey and your camera and walk around and take pictures. Pack a healthy picnic and take it with you. 🙂
    Also, if you eat really healthy and refuse to allow junk food in the house, he’ll be surrounded by stuff that’s good for him and will hopefully develop a taste for it.

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:23 pm

      this is good advice!

  • Jess November 24, 2009, 4:25 pm

    Tough situation. I’ve been on both sides of the situation and neither has been easy to change. If she can create a healthy environment and lead by example that will be helpful. If she can support him and urge him to make other positive life changes the eating and exercising habits will likely follow suit. Someone else said to try and go on active dates. That is a really great idea. We swapped out our high calorie sunday brunches at the diner for walks in local nature preserves and whole grain pancackes at home. Good luck!

  • beerab November 24, 2009, 4:29 pm

    I rarely post but I have to agree with the first poster that being honest is the best thing. I agree to say everything except the last sentence. I would probably say something like:

    Honey, I love and care about you, and I am worried about your health. I know you are having issues, but you don’t want to let that get in the way of your health. And I hate to say it, but your recent weight gain has also made you less attractive to me. Everything I’m saying comes from a concerned and loving area- I don’t want you to be upset with me- but this is honestly how I feel. What do you think? What can we change to make things better for you so you can take better care of yourself?

    I wouldn’t get married if he doesn’t resolve this issue because it’ll only get worse if he doesn’t care what you have to say.

    Good luck.

  • Kate (GirlTweetsEats) November 24, 2009, 4:32 pm

    Definitely a difficult, delicate issue.
    Approaching it postively is the way to go. If you come from a negative position it may just push him further into his unhealthy habits.
    I agree with a lot of the others re encouraging more health and fitness based activities and leading by example. This is a great idea.
    I would also talk about myself, and how I was feeling “so good” after the gym etc (insert fitness/health based activity in there.
    They could also try talking about goals/plans for the future. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time etc. If their partner is unhappy where they are with their job etc, this may be a subtle way of getting him to talk about his feelings (because guys LOVE doing this! Ha), and then give you the opportunity to say “Hey honey, I can help you with this etc”, and he won’t feel so needy and hopeless because HE bought it up. This will also give focus to the overall picture of where his life is going, and hopefully that way, he may be able to see from an objective standpoint what his life currently looks like, and make a change. Best of luck whoever you are -I hope this page of wonderful advice helps 🙂

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner November 24, 2009, 4:35 pm

    I agree with the comment that she has to take care of herself first. I think the best way to influence others is to lead by example. Mentioning the “attraction” issue is not going to help here! I think that if she keeps healthy food in the house and encourages more healthy (active) dates she might have a positive affect. Really a person can only change if they want to, they can’t do it FOR another person. My boyfriend has lost about 20 pounds by just eating the healthier meals and snacks that I cook (or keep in the house), but he is still not active. I don’t believe you can push someone to change….just something to think about!

  • Megan November 24, 2009, 4:38 pm

    I think that if she is going to bring it up to him, it’s important to keep it in the context of worry or concern instead of judgment/physical rejection. For example, mention concern about the fact that he’s acting depressed, engaging in unhealthy habits. I do think that when it comes from a significant other, it definitely can be more hurtful or come across as nagging.

    I think the tips that others have mentioned about leading by example and inviting him to come along on hikes/walks/healthy picnics are great.

    What about showing him this article about how exercise can make you less anxious: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/phys-ed-why-exercise-makes-you-less-anxious/?em

    She could email him it and say something less harsh like “Hey I thought this was interesting, especially given how stressful your job is lately–want to get our sweat on later?” (or obv something less awk/cheesy, but keep it light). I think sometimes having an icebreaker like the article can be helpful–less about calling him fat or unhealthy and more about pointing out a creative way to help with his work stress!

  • Elizabeth November 24, 2009, 4:38 pm

    My man isn’t overweight (much closer to skin and bones), but he doesn’t work out at all. Would I like him to be more buff? Of course! Do I think I can say this? No. Does he go work out with me sometimes? After watching for almost a year, yes! He volunteers to go with me on walks or runs, and sometimes he even joins me for a spin class or some weight lifting. And when I sneak activity into daily life, he never knows the difference. (It sounds manipulative, but I’m hoping it’s not actually a bad thing to do 🙂 )

    It takes time. I converted him from the little-known superhero “White Starch Man”, who would eat two loaves of white bread by himself EVERY WEEK and pasta at every meal, to “Whole Grain Man” who now eats sprouted bread and whole wheat pasta by substituting my healthy grain choices when cooking for him or doing the communal grocery shopping. Now he likes the taste of the healthy ones better and chooses them on his own.

    The other thing – he’s not dumb, and I’m sure he knows he’s put on some weight but is too sensitive (or embarrassed or shy or overwhelmed with the rest of life) to deal with it. I bet if you give him the tools (healthy food, gentle invitations to work out with you) he’ll come around and think it was his own idea.

    Devious advice: get him to go clothes shopping or try on tuxes for the wedding…he’ll have to face facts when he reaches for the 34s and ends up with the 38s.

  • Tyler November 24, 2009, 4:39 pm

    Whatever you do, don’t bring up the “I’m not as sexually attracted to you…” part. If I had gained weight and my bf told me that, I would get depressed and probably eat more! It really does have to be his decision, which is frustrating b/c you probably would do anything to help!

    It sounds like his days are really unstructured, and I know that makes a healthy lifestyle more difficult. Would he be willing to go see a dietitian for advice/motivation on how to plan healthy meals? (Maybe you could even go with him?) Or maybe join some kind of adult rec sports team for organized exercise that is fun?

    Good luck! And you should e-mail Caitlin again to update us in a few months to see how things are working out 🙂

    • Kristen November 24, 2009, 7:32 pm

      I wonder if this is true for men though (and I haven’t read the rest of the comments so maybe a man has piped up). My first thought was “well, nothing will get a man going to the gym like the potential that he’ll have more sex if he loses some weight…”
      But it really probably depends on the man 🙂

    • Ellie November 24, 2009, 9:27 pm

      I don’t agree. Sexual attraction is a really important part of the relationship, and if it is an issue to the point of being a “dealbreaker” that’s important for the fiance to know before any more progress gets made toward the wedding. Also, I think there’s truth to the gender stereotype that men are somewhat less sensitive to remarks of that nature than women are.

      • Ellie November 24, 2009, 9:27 pm

        I meant to say, of *a* relationship

  • MelissaNibbles November 24, 2009, 4:40 pm

    This is a tough one. I think she should try talking to him, but don’t make it about weight loss. I would stress that I’m worried about his health and concerned that he might be getting depressed. Suggest exercising together, coordinating a gym schedule around his work schedule. That way they can spend time together and they both get their exercise in. Maybe watching him flex his muscles in the gym will make her hot for him again.
    It really all comes down to him though. He has to be the one to get healthy, she can’t do it for him. Also, why should she have to cook all his meals for him? I think it’s a nice thing to do now and then, but like I said, eating healthy is something HE has to do not her.

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:44 pm

      she doesn’t HAVE to cook his meals, i just know that my husband will eat whatever i prepare for him, so i could basically get him to eat any way (i.e. vegetarian) by cooking.

      • MelissaNibbles November 24, 2009, 4:46 pm

        I was assuming they weren’t living together thinking she was making his meals for him. Sorry, my misunderstanding. I was just thinking that would put more stress on her and be inconvenient, but if they live together, then it makes sense.

        • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:52 pm

          i wasn’t mad, melissa! i was just explaining. 🙂

  • Ashley November 24, 2009, 4:43 pm

    I agree with Kelly (#3). Guys like competition. I would make a friendly “healthy” competition between the two of you before the wedding. I think that it is easier for people to stick with healthy routines once they see a change in themselves- and maybe some old fashion rivalry can get that started.

    Friends of mine had a competition where they had to lose x percentage of weight in 3 months. If she won he had to buy her new boots and if he won she had to buy him a new golf driver. They both worked their butts off to beat each other and had fun in the process!

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:44 pm

      thats really cute 🙂

  • stina November 24, 2009, 4:46 pm

    I’m in an almost identical situation with the exception that we’re just living together not engaged!

    I’ve been trying a lot of the strategies people have suggested. I make dinner every night, but that leaves him breakfast/ lunch on his own. I don’t buy all the junk food, but he’s an adult and can go out and buy it for himself if he wants it. I ask him to join me when I go to the indoor track to run, and I’ve offered to go walking with him. He has expressed interest in wanting to start running so we can run together, but overall, my efforts have been pretty futile. He’s started to talked the talk about losing weight and getting healthy, but he’s yet to walk the walk. I’m going to keep leading by example and hoping eventually he finds it in himself to make the changes and not just talk about them. I have to whole-heartedly agree with Kelly above that fixing the depression issue is key.

    I wish I had a solution, but since I’ve yet to find one, all I can really offer is empathy.

    • Shelly November 24, 2009, 5:57 pm

      Well at least he’s expressing an interest and eating a good dinner! Can you make a ritual of preparing your breakfast, snacks, and lunch together at the end of the evening so that’s one less thing you have to do the next day? Maybe if he doesn’t have to think about it in the morning, he’d be open to packing healthy food during the day.

  • Miriam November 24, 2009, 4:48 pm

    My sister has a similar problem with her boyfriend : he is unhealthy, smoke cigarette on a row, spend too many hours at the bar or drinking with his friends, is totally out of shape and always negative and sarcastic. At least, she is making the food so he eat healty most of the time.

    Two months ago, we went (for my sister birthday) tree climbing, which was physically challenging. My sis boyfriend couldn’t go through half of what we other did (we were 10 people total). My boyfriend (who is one of his friends) told him that he is a shame… and since then my sis bf started (slowly) to get back on track, he is now jogging some time during the week… (it’s a start)! Let’s hope that he stays on track. This to conclude that some of us need more than some word of encouragement, but need to be shaken.

    I would try everything if I were the “worried fiance”. This is part of a relationship to help each other been better persons togheter and appart.

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:54 pm

      see, i think some people really respond well to being told the truth straight-up. i understand that it hurts some people’s feeling, but um… sometimes you NEED to be honest.

  • Keva November 24, 2009, 4:49 pm

    An interesting article from msnbc.com’s health team on this sort of thing today: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34108851/ns/health-fitness/

    On a personal note, I would be really upset if my partner kept nagging me to change….I’m uncomfortable enough in my own skin without someone adding to it. Change for me always starts from within, and is more likely to stick if I’m doing it for myself instead of because I feel like I have to for someone else. And as a side note, as someone who has worked a variety of hours over the years, you would be amazed what having an inconsistent schedule does to your eating, sleep patterns, and energy levels. Try to approach it with understanding…when your body never knows what’s coming at it, staying awake through a work shift can be hard enough, let alone trying to make big changes to your lifestyle. baby steps.

    • Shelly November 24, 2009, 6:01 pm

      I think inconsistencies play a huge factor in loss of fitness and weight gain. Every time my schedule changes, even if it changes to another consistent schedule, my fitness suffers until I get used to my schedule and get back on track. It also affects my mental health (I have a very well managed anxiety disorder). Have a very strict daily schedule and eating at around the same time every day really helps my mental health (no hungry crashes or sugar highs). Exercise also really helps me control my mental health.

  • Laura November 24, 2009, 4:52 pm

    I’ve read some of the comments and I have to say – I love the healthy lifestyle pact you have with your husband Caitlin!

    Regarding the Worried Fiancee, I have to tell you to just be supportive of him. You won’t get anywhere if you are nagging him and complaining the whole time. And definitely if you haven’t told him FLAT OUT what is going on, he doesn’t know. My boyfriend complains about this all the time when I try to hint around things. We communicate best when each other is being honest. If you are afraid of hurting his feelings, just ask him to please listen to you and explain how you feel. I guarantee you he doesn’t want this to impact you!

    If you can try to cook for him as much as possible and definitely control the food in the house (as much as you can). My boyfriend has lost almost 10 pounds since moving in with me simply because I batch cook for him on the weekends and I also prepare dinners and lunches for him when he’ll let me. When we go grocery shopping he will still buy his convience frozen foods, but doesn’t eat them that reguarly since I cook for him so much. No matter what, you have to take care of yourself first though and let him follow by your example. My boyfriend sees how much I work out and definitely wants to workout when he can from seeing my results. He also tries to be as supportive of me as possible and when I’m feeling temptation he pushes me now to eat healthy meals and be active when we can. It wasn’t always this way though and has taken almost a year for him to get to this point, so just be supportive of him and help him through this! He needs to focus on being happy so his health isn’t impacted, so maybe that means to help him look for a new job with better hours?

    Having a healthy lifestyle CAN happen no matter your schedule, it takes dedication and planning. If you can do some of that planning for him at first, it will really help him. And remember, he has the same struggles as we women do. Anytime my boyfriend is trying to watch what he eats and blows a meal, he feels like there is no reason to be good at the next meal. I can remember feeling exactly like that, so I just encourage him now that every choice matters and that having one bad meal does not mean you have to give up. Be there for him and help him through this every step of the way!

    • Laura November 24, 2009, 4:54 pm

      Also – remember it’s ultimately HIS decision and you can’t push him one way or the other. Like someone else said, if he is unreceptive to your honesty and you trying to help him, you have to decide if this is a deal breaker. I hope it never comes to that point!

  • Nobel4Lit November 24, 2009, 4:54 pm

    Coming from a psychologist’s point-of-view, maybe try some small reinforcement. Praise him each time he makes a healthy choice. And when I notice more muscle definition, I make it known. Every time. And yes, I lead by example, though I know that having a fit partner won’t necessarily get one to be fit. But seriously, loving praise is essential. Obviously you don’t want to imply that you won’t love him otherwise, but a simple comment like, “You’ve been working really hard on that bicep, *drool drool*” is powerful.

    To kick start changes, ditto on the other comments about “active dates.” Walking and biking are good starts. And cook together… we do that a lot, and since I have food restrictions (no meat/dairy), we end up eating healthy without really going out of our way to do so. When going out, fast food should be a treat, and dishes should really be split or part of it taken home for another meal.

    • Nobel4Lit November 24, 2009, 4:57 pm

      Also, I would not go the “you’re less attractive to me” route. That is really painful, and as another reader said, I’d be depressed if I heard that.

      Someone once told me that they noticed I was gaining weight but that it was sexy. Not sure if it was true, but having someone point it out to me was alarming enough to the point that I have lost the extra weight since.

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 4:59 pm

      i like the positive reinforcement! i would challenge him to a push-up stand off in the living room and then say, “oh, look how big your biceps are when you do push-ups!” and then give him the googly eyes. 😉

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels November 24, 2009, 5:03 pm

    Healthy eating has always been my priority and not my boyfriends. After trying many different agreements as far as house hold duties we decided that I would do everything food related and he would do everything cleaning related (dishes, laundry, raking leaves). I prepare meals and lunches and make grocery lists. Every once in a while he will tell me that he really does not like what I’ve served him but usually it just works out.

    I would start with taking over the food responsibilities. If you pack him lunches, believe me he will eat them instead of trying to find some take out. Eventually he’ll just give into it, even if it is out of laziness and I have a hunch that he’ll find he feels better. If you start with food, he might even have more energy so that you can get to the working out part soon too.

    I also agree with Keva – be understanding of his schedule. I work a similar schedule and have been faced with feeling that my boyfriend didn’t understand it. Some days the non routine of it just kills me. For instance, I fell asleep on the couch at 8 pm last night and except for moving to the bedroom at 11, slept until 8 am this morning.

    GOOD LUCK worried fiancee.

  • Beth November 24, 2009, 5:05 pm

    I was in a completely similar situation with my boyfriend last year. Although I had so much fun with him and really cared for him, he was overweight (not huge but heavy) and didn’t seem interested in his own health. I tried to approach the subject kindly a few times, tried to encourage him to get active and eat healthy with me but nothing worked. For me, it got to the point where I had to end things with him. I think it’s really hard to be with someone you aren’t attracted to, no matter how much you care. I want someone who is interested in living a healthy, happy life together and I realized that was just not him. I don’t think this is always the case though, sometimes people really just need a gentle push in the right direction.

    • Katie November 25, 2009, 11:12 am

      This happened with me and my ex-husband as well. Smoker, drinker, and generally the most unhealthy person I’d ever met. I lost 30 lbs during our marriage, and he gained 70. I tried and tried to get him to exercise, quit smoking, I made lunches for him to take to work and he wouldn’t eat them. He would smoke, drink a milkshake, and drink energy drinks while at work, and bring the lunches back home. His health issues was one of the final nails in the coffin to end our marriage….we weren’t spending any time together at all and had completely seperate interests. I know from experience that unless he WANTS to change, it won’t work out. It’s impossible to force it.

  • Kara November 24, 2009, 5:26 pm

    Man, this is a tough one. I’ve never confronted someone about their unhealthy habits — I don’t think it is an effective strategy for most people and winds up hurting more than helping — but I think the best approach is to be unconditionally supportive and positive. Coming from a place of “I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I want the rest of our lives to be a LONG time!” is more effective than expressing fear, frustration or negative emotions.

    Also, it sounds like his job is a big part of the problem; is there any chance she can help him find something he might be happier doing? If switching jobs isn’t possible, maybe counseling would be helpful for both of them, so he can find different strategies to deal with his depression.

    Worried fiancee, I’ve been on the other side (I have weighed anywhere from 160-250 lbs. in the years my husband and I have been together) — if you want to talk at all, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me: marathonkara@gmail.com.

  • Deirdre November 24, 2009, 5:26 pm

    I feel like she could say something like: “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. And if you continue down this path then our time together could decrease.” Also what about taking classes or joining a gym together. Even if its something small like taking walks with each other at the end of the day I think that could help. These are obviously just suggestions. I am still trying to lose more weight but if I’ve learned anything its that all the small stuff adds up.

  • Mandee Lei November 24, 2009, 5:33 pm

    There is not a single thing she can do until he is ready to do it. The best thing she can do is offer to help him out when she can and show him how to live a healthy lifestyle and be a positive influence to him. I am in the same boat with my hubby and he is real with me. He says “I’m just too lazy to go to the gym and I hate working out.” The eating thing has been helped by (ironically) our financial situation. We have always had our money separate but he came to me one day and told me he was going to have everything changed to my accounts because he was going into debt. We continued to keep our money “separate” by tracking his pay and his purchases but I finally told him one day “You either stop spending so much or you are going to put us BOTH in debt and I WILL NOT let that happen!” So I told him stop buying junk we don’t need especially fast food. So that helped his eating because now he cooks most of his meals. He is still pretty bad about it because he wont eat all day most days. I work and go to school full time so I simply cannot make him all of his meals. I manage to do it for myself and I know he could too with a little effort. He has not seen the consequences of his health yet but it will catch up to him someday and I truthfully hope he makes a change before that happens. Long story short, tell her to stick in there but you simply cannot change his ways you can only help him do it when he is ready to.

  • Katie (Sweet Tater) November 24, 2009, 5:47 pm

    shoot, show him this comment string. that should do it.

    honestly, i don’t know what i’d do in this situation. i’m way too passive to confront people but way to aggressive to just let it go. i have found, though, that in business, friendships, romantic relationships and family… people just want to think it was “their idea.”

    i’d accomplish this by doing my healthy thing and inviting him along for workouts, to make meals, etc. once he sees how it’s done, hopefully he’ll get hooked and follow suit.

    good luck.

  • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 5:47 pm


  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 24, 2009, 5:48 pm

    Honestly unless he asks for help she can’t really force him. But precooking meals that are easy to reheat despite his changing schedule. And offering dates to be fun walks or bike rides might help without making it feel like he is being forced.

  • Gab* November 24, 2009, 5:55 pm

    I think that the first thing that needs to be tackled is his job. You shouldn’t underestimate the effect that work stress has on the rest of your life. I agree with healthy meals and not purchasing junk. How about having healthier snacks ready to go in the fridge?

    I think the confronting him with “I don’t find you attractive anymore” has the potential to depress him further and push him further down the unhealthy road. I think it’s important that he feels supported – men need that too, not just us ladies!

    He really needs to be ready to make the change himself, he’s not a child and he’s entire food intake can’t be regulated. He can still buy as much crap as he wants while he’s at work 🙂

    How about doing some activities together on the weekend, even if it’s walking somewhere to have a coffee and chat? We usually walk to a cafe about 3km away on sundays, it’s great relationship building time and you get some incidental exercise. It might not be a fantastic cardio workout but it’s better than nothing!

  • Betsy November 24, 2009, 6:09 pm

    We don’t have a pact per say, but when either of us starts eating healthier or working out more, the other one follows. It is sort of a mutual respect thing – Wow, you are working hard and look great, I feel like I should do the same.

    I think it needs to be less complaining and more focused on the fact that you want to spend the rest of your lives together… shouldn’t both your lives be long and healthy?

  • MLT November 24, 2009, 6:32 pm

    Worried Fiancee, I was in this same situation! Right around the time we got engaged, my boyfriend (now husband) started a very demanding job. At first he loved it, but he gradually realized that he hated both the job and the whole industry and wanted to do something else, but wasn’t sure what. He felt trapped.

    He was always a little overweight (stocky looking) but during that time he gained about 20 pounds.
    I was at my wits end. He was moody, depressed, working all the time, often wasn’t home for dinner, and when he was home, he barely wanted to talk. And he had no interest in eating healthy or working out. I’ve always been a pretty healthy person and I tried so many times to get him involved- I helped him find a gym down the street (he never went) I bought him new weights for his barbell (stayed in the closet) I begged him to go running with me or to take an “after dinner walk”- he would grudgeingly go, but after 15 minutes was ready to go home and sit on the couch. And I made the shopping list and tried to keep junk out of the house. But it wasn’t until almost 1 year later that things finally changed.

    Sorry for such a novel, but I just wanted you to know how much I sympathize. Every person’s situation is different, so it’s hard to offer advice, but I here’s what I learned:
    1) His being depressed was incredibly stressful for ME. I didn’t realize how bad it was until he began to get better and I realized how drastically better life had become. Don’t sacrifice your mental health for his.
    2) Yes, you should lead by example and avoid enabling him, but he has to really want it. I think a competition is a great idea. My husband,when he finally did start losing weight, used a calendar to mark his progress and it’s worked really well. Also, this is random, but my husband heard somewhere the average American walks like 1000 feet during the day and should really walk like 5000 (can’t remember the actual numbers). So he bought a pedometer and every day became a competition with himself to reach that goal on his pedometer. He’d even walk home from work at midnight! (4.5 miles).
    3) Most importantly, in our situation, the health issues never really got resolved until the underlying mental health issues got resolved. he did work out a little bit, and make vows to eat healthier, but it wasn’t until he quit his job and went back to school that he became incredibly motivated in every area of his life and since then has dropped 30 pounds.

    I know it’s such a hard situation, but I hope some of these suggestions work for you. I know it’s not always practical to quit your job, but sometimes you do have to address the underlying issues in order to change the way you look. best of luck to you!

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 8:59 pm

      <3 also good advice

  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale November 24, 2009, 6:46 pm

    The thing is, its going to be really hard for someone to change their lifestyle if they truly do not want to change. Ultimatums won’t work unless the person has the desire to break their unhealthy habits.
    That being said, I always think tough love works much better than coddling someone. You can push him to be the best he can be by setting an example yourself. Be healthy, happy and talk about the benefits of incorporating good eating habits and working out into your life. It’s bound to rub off on him and work much better than nagging.

  • SweetiePotato November 24, 2009, 6:47 pm

    Talking about health is very difficult. It tends to get very personal and many individuals get offended easily. Just don’t judge and help because you’re truly concerned about their health and overall well being. If the other person that you’re giving advice to thinks that you are putting them down or trying to show that you are “smarter” or “healthier” than them, they will most likely end up angry. Just show them that you aren’t perfect so they won’t feel the need to be perfect too! 🙂 Kindness and love are the ways to go!!

  • Katie November 24, 2009, 6:53 pm

    I still worry really hard (it’s one of my biggest fears) I will gain weight but I come from a thinking of disordered eating. I agree with a guy who said you have to hit rock bottom before you want to change. I lost out on a chance with a great guy and my friends all told me either shape up and fix it or don’t talk to me. I understood completely. I gained 15 pounds (I was almost anorexic, but wasn’t thin enough to really be classified as such, but I certainly didn’t eat 3 meals a day) and I’m finally healthy, but it took health problems starting to form and people leaving to make me realize if I didn’t shape up I would NEVER have what I wanted out of life. You can’t want it for them. If she has a problem she needs to say I love you, but I can’t love you when you don’t love yourself. Help me help you. I hope this issue gets resolved. She can’t sacrifice her happiness for his. If he isn’t willing to compromise then some hard decisions may need to be made. Talking about eating habits is never easy for a person and an intervention isn’t either. I wish her the best.

  • meagan November 24, 2009, 7:10 pm

    1. i had a friend who told her boyfriend that he had become unattractive to her after gaining a lot of weight. he took it well and changed his diet and began to work out.

    2. i had a friend who told her boyfriend that he had become unattractive to her and he grew sulky, depressed and passive-aggressive. eventually the health issue (and passive-aggressive behavior) became a dealbreaker and they moved on from the relationship.

    so, on that stance, you need to know what your partner’s reaction would be. if someone told -me- that i’d react unfavorably. but put me on a rock wall and if i can’t get up it–well! i’m right back on track. it’s a different kind of honesty.

    however. it seems like your fiance’s issues are more widespread, and health is completely holistic. if he’s sleeping erratically, even if he sleeps 9 hours, he’s probably still groggy and low energy. low energy? then you’re not going to workout or cook. and if you’re not working and not eating well–then you’re low energy. low energy can also exacerbate depression. viscous cycle.

    so…i’d encourage him in counseling. and since some people HATE the idea of solo counseling…then i’d suggest couples/premarital counseling. i’d suggest that no matter what. it’s a really invaluable tool to have someone you trust asking questions and prompting you to actually TALK, honestly and safely about your issues.

  • Red Head, Yellow Dog November 24, 2009, 7:16 pm

    One thing I have found helpful is that I’ll ask him what he wants for lunch for the week and make him think about it and plan it out. That way we can go grocery shopping and get stuff and he will have choices for the week. I’ve also had to realize that he’s not going to make the same efforts to prepare meals for himself like I will. He is more likely to make a turkey sandwich on wheat bread or heat up an amy’s burrito then to cook up quinoa and chop up vegetables to put in it. It’s just important to stay realistic and work within those boundaries. Oh and if I do make dinner (I’m a first year law student right now so that has become less frequent 🙂 ) I try to make a lot so he can have the leftovers.

    When my bf and i first started living together, he ate fried food, fast food, lots of meat etc. Now, since he’s been eating my cooking for a year, he doesn’t even like meat! and fried/processed foods don’t make him feel as good as he does when he eats something “cleaner”. I would have NEVER expected it to happen but it’s amazing how one’s taste buds will change.
    So yea. those are my tips! Still can’t get him to exercise..he definitely never feels bad that I’m at the gym/out running and he’s at home watching TV 🙂 gotta love him!

  • Kristen November 24, 2009, 7:38 pm

    I’m not sure I have much to add- but good luck “Worried Fiancee”! I know that it took the right motivation for me to start changing my lifestyle and become healthier. Hopefully he can find the right motivation, whether it is health, vanity (nothin’ wrong with wanting to look good), or getting it on more…

  • Erin November 24, 2009, 7:42 pm

    As someone who has been on the boyfriend side of the equation about 2 years ago, I can totally relate as well. My ex boyfriend and I had moved in together, I had started a new job with a crazy schedule, and I was having major anxiety about everything. Add to this the fact that said boyfriend could eat, literally, a pint of ice cream every other night and neverrrr gain an ounce (freakin’ boy metabolism). He was a vegetarian and a great cook but had never had to worry about his eating habits. I never really wanted to go on walks, or active dates, or play basketball with him because I was so uncomfortable with my body as it was. Whenever he would suggest something like this, I would shoot him down.

    I had lost about 25 pounds prior to that in college and knew that I loved to exercise, so I tried to start doing that again. I got to the point where my clothes stopped fitting and I knew enough was enough. He was very encouraging and supportive of that. The better I felt, the better I ate too, and he again, was encouraging. We planned meals together and since he really liked to cook anyway, he introduced me to some great healthy recipes. I started to feel less self conscious about my body and started being more active too.

    I guess mine is an example of how it can work on both ends. I really was the one who needed to change for myself, but he also supported and encouraged me and led by example. He had healthy foods in the house, he cooked healthy recipes – and I learned from him! – which was also really cool. Unfortunately, the relationship ended (I ended it actually!) for other reasons, but I will always, always appreciate him for helping me to be healthier and learn more about food, cooking, etc. Good luck!!

  • Jenny Eastwood@ JennyLikesToRun, On a mission to run a marathon to fundraise for The Breast Cancer Foundation November 24, 2009, 7:49 pm

    It sounds totally dorky, but one suggestion I have is to watch things like “Biggest Loser”, I find that show works a charm in motivating me to get off my booty and do something.
    Another thing that really got to me a few months ago is when my lovely boyfriend told me my “curves have gotten bigger”, I was like “oh shit, I’m getting fat”, and the motivated me to get back into running ASAP!
    Perhaps you could be straight up with him and tell him how you are finding it difficult to be attracted to him physically anymore and it’s really upsetting you how unhealthy he is?
    That would probably strike a nerve within him which could help him improve his bad habits.
    Or maybe you could remove all high sugar/high saturated fat food products in your house so that at least when he’s home, eating, he won’t have the option of unhealthy foods.

  • Karoline November 24, 2009, 7:57 pm

    Maybe I’d slyly leave this article (and I’m sure there are others like it) up on the computer screen…

  • Tess November 24, 2009, 8:14 pm

    I’v had problems with health – an eating disorder – and agree with people when they say you have to WANT to change. A few simple exercises I have done in therapy may also help in this situation;
    The first is simply getting him to write down the pro’s and con’s of getting healthier (you’ll find the con’s list will be ALOT shorter!)
    The second was writing 2 very short stories – the first, how you imagine your life in 5 years continuing the unhealthy habits you have now…the second, how you imagine your life in 5 years if you change your habits to lead a healthier lifestyle
    These exercises helped me put things into perspective!

  • Kaye November 24, 2009, 8:22 pm

    She may be the one ‘complaining’, but she can still decide to tell it to him straight. The American Heart Associate defines being over 30lbs overweight as being obese. So, maybe using that label (ugh, I feel SO unethical saying this) could help scare him straight? Honestly, if she emphasizes how important a healthy lifestyle is for them and their future, he SHOULD care and he SHOULD want to do something about it. If they plan on children in the future, they need to talk about how his neglect of his own health may impact the childrenssssss. I know that he could rely on her cooking and her healthful choices to help him in the beginning, but he needs to shape up himself, he can’t rely on her babysitting. Though her help could be the springpad for him making changes.

  • Heather November 24, 2009, 8:42 pm

    Personally, I would never sit him down and flat out say “your weight gain has made me less attractive to you and/or is affecting our sex life.” If a guy said that to his girlfriend/wife, all hell would break loose. Contrary to popular belief, men also deal with body image issues. I think leading by example is obviously the best thing to do, but also doing things together. I know his schedule sucks, but carving out even 20 minutes a day (if possible) or one day a week where you do something fun (and active) is so important. Whether it’s yoga or a long walk (and maybe throw in a fun little challenge of sprinting or something?), it’s quality time AND movement for your body so it’s a win/win! Preparing healthy meals TOGETHER, showing him that food does not have to be loaded with unhealthy fats and scary ingredients, and that home cooked (healthy) meals are much more satisfying, budget-friendly AND better for you is important. It’s his body and his health so you can’t force him to care, but you can try to lead by example and maybe *hint* that you love him and want him to show some concern for his health because you want to live a long, happy, healthy life with him. Don’t be preachy, don’t attack him, and don’t get frustrated. Don’t make it YOUR cause, or else he’ll totally be turned off. Most of all, good luck!

  • Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) November 24, 2009, 8:57 pm

    I’m sorry to be a downer, but he will not change until he’s ready to change. Perhaps it means a huge threat (I’m going to leave) or perhaps it needs to come completely from within him, which is NOTHING she can change. It’s a very, very tough situation. Sounds like first thing he needs to do is get another job. Otherwise, I think she might have to let go and either accept him the way he is, or leave. Sounds awful, but true.

  • Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) November 24, 2009, 9:03 pm

    BTW I speak from experience- when I was heavy, there was NOT ONE THING that anyone could say that would make me get up off the couch and move, or eat right. It was only when I was so sick of myself that I just couldn’t take it anymore, did I change and lose 90 pounds. Everyone is different- this is my perspective- I hope it’s helpful to your reader.

    • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat November 24, 2009, 9:57 pm

      That was me too Debbie! I had to make up MY mind, no one else could convince me.

  • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 9:06 pm


  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat November 24, 2009, 9:56 pm

    When I first got married, my husband had crappy hours like that and either didn’t eat at all or ate like crap (I was unhealthy too at this time). Four year later he’s in a different job (regular hours), eating better and going to the gym now too. Just don’t give up on him is what I would say. There is still hope.

  • Jenna November 24, 2009, 10:56 pm

    interesting post!

  • Susan November 24, 2009, 10:59 pm

    Wow, so many great comments and pieces of advice. My first thought is that if the job is the biggest problem here, then maybe it’s time to sit down and figure out if the consequences of this job are worth the bad outcomes it’s creating. If they’re temporary hours no problem, or if it pays wonderfully, okay. But if it’s a mediocre job that’s making him miserable in all aspects of his life (and his partner in the process) then something’s got to give.

    With that said, I’m a fan of honesty. I know there’s been a few people who said not to mention the sexual attraction part, but that’s a HUGE part of a relationship and can’t be ignored. Lack of sex drive on either side will put a huge rift between a couple, and will be hard to maintain long term. Perhaps there’s just a tactful way to go about it. Also, finding activities to do together is a wonderful idea. My boyfriend told me that my interest in cycling is what got him back into it. It got him into awesome shape this summer, and gave us endless hours of things to do together and talk about 🙂

  • Trainer Momma November 25, 2009, 12:00 am

    I believe that we all have our season. I tried to confront my husband — and it backfired BIG TIME. However, five years later, he got in gear and has joined me in a healthy lifestyle. Nagging, complaining will only cause contention which is not a good foundation for a marriage. Either love him and accept how he is now — or walk away. He may or may not join in the healthy choices, that is completely a gamble at this point. Can you accept how he is now? If not, just walk away. If you can love him anyway, get married, set a good example, and hopefully someday he will find the internal motivation to change. You cannot change him.

  • deb_dee November 25, 2009, 6:54 am

    I bet if you start sexing him up after he worked out, he’d get to the gym more often;)

  • julie @ finding jewels November 25, 2009, 8:38 am

    We have to remember we cannot change for someone else, we change for ourselves.

    We cannot change, unless the direction and purpose of that change meshes with our own convictions and dreams and unless we already feel accepted and loved by the person who is asking.

  • cali November 25, 2009, 9:05 am

    Until someone is ready to change themselves, you can’t really help them other than leading by example and not preaching or making any comments – people just react negatively to them. Sometimes people ask for help and then resent it. My sister often asks me for health tips and then gets mad at me when I tell her something she doesn’t want to hear (aka eat breakfast).

    I’m really lucky that my boyfriend has picked up on my healthy habits – all on his own. He even reads nutrition labels in the store and compares products and I don’t have to say a word. But that being said, we are both vain and don’t want to gain weight. We have a pack to tell the other if they are looking a bit chubb. I know I wouldn’t want to hear it, but the truth is I would already be painfully aware of any “chubb” and it would just fuel me to get back in shape.

  • Kim November 25, 2009, 9:36 am

    My fiance and I both have extra lbs that we need to lose. I never said anything about his until had some medical issues resulting in 2 911 calls and some heart medication. After that, I really got serious with him about us BOTH getting healthier. We weren’t engaged at the time, but talking about it, and I told him that I was scared that if we both didn’t get our acts together, we wouldn’t be around for the kids we talked about having at some point. He still has been resistant to change, we both have been on and off again with diet/exercise. But lately we have taken to making deals with each other – 5 lbs by Thanksgiving or 10 lbs by Christmas, ect. Then we go to the gym together and help cook healthier meals for each other. That is helping. With the dining out – we actually approached this not just as a health issue – but a financial one. It is SO much cheaper to cook lunch for the week than to buy it out every day. It has a net positive benefit – but we both committed.

    So I guess my point is that the only way I’ve gotten him to change is to make is an “us” thing and not just a him thing. I phrased it as something that we needed to tackle together, which makes it less intimidating and less mean.

    • Caitlin November 25, 2009, 9:38 am

      i think making it an us thing is a GREAT idea.

  • Rachel November 25, 2009, 11:39 am

    We definately have a ‘if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for me’ pact. Not all couples are on the same wavelength as we are, so she’ll need to judge for herself. Our relationship is one where he can tell me clothing is unflattering, or maybe I should lay off the cookies, and I can do the same for him. We always know each others exact weight, as we weigh together regularly. If you decide not to get your feelings hurt and approach serious topics with humor, you can work together on health and attractiveness. It can be an extension of partnership if you want it to be. It is definately an ‘us’ thing, and if she mentions that she believes there might be more sex at the end of the weight loss tunnel, I’ll bet he gets up off that couch.

  • MareBare November 25, 2009, 12:12 pm

    I’ve been studying health communication- how to get people to change their bad health behaviors to good health behaviors and the #1 thing that will keep a person from exercising or eating healthy is self-efficacy: which is whether or not they believe they can do it. Not only would it be a good idea to alert him to the dangers he is doing to his body by not eating correctly and getting enough exercise but also let him know that he can live a better life if he chooses to because he has what it takes. Since this is a romantic relationship I would also suggest she sit down with him and be like “listen, I love you but this is not how I am imagining our future together. I’m willing to do my part to ensure we have a long and happy life together its time for you to do yours.” and then help give him the tools to do so- make low-fat versions of his favorite foods and have healthy options available at the house. If the problem really is his job I would highly consider him finding another one- no job is worth that much stress on your body. Some more things you could do together to get him more active and having fun- take evening walks when we isn’t working to get some fresh air and catch up on each other’s day, when having dinner together don’t have the tv on light some candles and take about future plans. What ever you do make sure you do address this problem so it doesn’t end up becoming even bigger and potentially ruining your relationship. Find a solution that works for both of you. Good luck!!!

  • Liz N November 25, 2009, 1:49 pm

    Its good to care, but you don’t want to be nagging. Guys normally start to hear nagging and instantly turn their brains off. For me, I used to be unhealthy (drank a lot, smoked..gross) and so did my now husband. However, when I started working out and eating healthier and he saw how happy I was, he decided to give it a try. The eating healthier thing for him isn’t 100 percent there, but he does work out about 5 days a week and has even turned himself in to a runner who does races. I guess the only advice I can give, from my own experience, is to show encouragement when he does do healthy things – and even offer to do them with him. Both have a Saturday off? Go for a walk in the park. Even go bowling, at least its moving. Hope that helps.

  • Haylee D. November 25, 2009, 2:53 pm

    I think one of the easiest ways to get something out is through just a little letter. you can express what you feel, but can express that you dont want to hurt their feelings either. Then when they are ready they can talk to you, and they know how you are feeling.

  • Foy Update - Cook. Garden. Write. Repeat. July 9, 2010, 11:32 am

    My husband and I both agree that being healthy is important. We both stay active in different ways (I work as a gardener and he bikes and plays frisbee). Food is where we overlap. Partially to keep costs down and partially to make sure that we are choosing healthy food for our bodies and food that is low impact enviromentally we make a food menu every week and then go shopping together. It takes about four hours every Friday to put together the menu/recipes and then shop. I like that it is one of the things we do together. I’m not sure as though this will work for everyone, but it works for us.

Healthy Tipping Point