What do you do when your spouse isn’t supporting your efforts to lose weight?
This can be such a lonely and tricky time in marriage when you are on the path to getting healthier and your spouse isn’t really interested, at least at the level you are. If that’s you, here are a few things to consider:
1. Find an accountability group.
You will need support when you aren’t getting it from your spouse. (And usually you need it even if you are!) Find a place where you can be honest and be pushed to better yourself when you are not getting support from your spouse. Along with finding a group, it would be beneficial for you to write down (maybe on your mirror so you see it everyday) why you want to be healthy. This way when temptations come you can be reminded of why you are making a choice that may be harder in the moment but that you will appreciate down the road.
2. Be strong for YOU!
Since I have moved back to the USA this summer I am seeing one thing so clear in our society- many women are so busy taking care of everyone else that they don’t take time for themselves. Your needs are just as important as your spouse’s and those of your children. Please stop feeling guilty saying ‘no’ to them to set time out for yourself. If you can’t reach your weight-loss goal because getting up at 4am before work is the only time you have to exercise it tells me your family is too busy! You wouldn’t make your 3-year-old get up at 4am to go to their activity–that’d be crazy! They need sleep–and so do you!
At the end of the day YOU are responsible for your body. Just as if you were single, you need to do this for you. Yes, your life can be so intertwined with your spouse that maybe you have adopted each others habits. But you can still change. You are an individual. You need to be honest and know if you are using your spouse as a scapegoat–are they really sabotaging your efforts or are they an easy excuse when it’s hard and you want a way out?
3. Offer security to your spouse.
This may sound weird, but think about it. You are in the process of creating a new you. When you lose weight it is not only your body that changes but your way of thinking. The activities that you used to find fun may not fit in with your new lifestyle. This can be scary for a spouse, they may be wondering where they fit in your new way of living and at times they may wonder if they fit. They may be feeling insecure, wondering if you will still find them attractive as you get more healthy and fit. They may not come out and say “I am insecure” but it may come out in other ways. It can come out in anger, withdrawal, mocking your ‘crazy healthy ways’, encouraging you to not be so strict. Be aware that this may not be intentional on the part of your spouse. Communication is key.
And the biggest thing to be aware of: Be an example and not a voice. Weight loss is such a personal journey and the LAST thing that is going to get your spouse on board is you nagging them to lose weight. Honestly, do you like to be told what to do? I wish I did, but a thing like pride can creep up and then we fight even harder not to do the thing our spouse is suggesting.
IF you are changing your meals start slowly. Ease your spouse into the new recipes you are trying or make compromises as you introduce new foods. (You could make pizza one night and they agree to eat your vegetable stir fry the next. You don’t have to eat the pizza, but at least you are valuing your spouse and they will take notice. Baby steps are still steps!)
Be intentional in finding things you can do to maintain the the bond you share (but don’t sabotage your weight loss efforts.)