So this is a tricky subject. Talking about any person’s weight can be sensitive. You have to know how to encourage but not patronise, motivate yet be prepared for setbacks. But when it comes to your partner it’s a whole new ballgame.
You don’t want to jeopardise the relationship but you want the best for your loved one. So where do you start?
You may have noticed your husband’s weight gain over the years, or he might have asked for your help in losing weight. Either way, there are important health benefits to losing weight. And with a staggering two-thirds of all Americans needing to lose weight, your husband is not alone.
Carrying extra weight is not just a troubling national statistic. It has real-life implications.
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Here are just some of the risks associated with weight gain:
There are plenty of reasons to want to help your husband lose weight. However, there are a few questions to ask yourself before you help your husband.
Once you have a better idea of what you are dealing with you can tailor your weight loss strategy.
For example, if your husband could do with losing a few pounds here and there then you can implement a couple of changes.
If he is not that motivated you can set goals to encourage him towards a target weight.
For a husband who has serious weight gain my advice is structure and goals.
Look at where you are starting from and where you want to end up.
My last point before I talk about how you can help your husband with weight loss is that the key to losing weight is always:
Expend more energy than you put into your body.
In other words – eat less and move more.
Sounds simple right? Well of course many other factors cause people to become overweight. There are psychological issues as well as physical.
Men and women associate food with comfort. We know that certain food, such as chocolate, activates the same pleasure hormones in our brains as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.
Victims of abuse can overeat to appear less attractive to their abusers. They assume that an overweight person will not draw attention to potential abuse in the future.
Once a person reaches a certain level of obesity they become dependent on others for their daily care. Unable to work, they relinquish responsibility for themselves to others.
But the basic premise of eating less and moving more stands.
You know, we never used to snack. More to the point, we don’t need to snack. Snacking was a marketing ploy by sweet manufacturers to try and push parents into buying their children chocolate bars in-between meals.
It’s easy to lose track of snacks but they add up, especially the unhealthy ones. Remember, every time you eat something your body has to work off the calories. Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or bag of chips, drink water or grab a piece of fruit.
Certain ways of cooking are unhealthy. An obvious one is frying. You can still have chips but use an air-fryer instead of deep-frying. Air-fryers only need a tablespoon of oil.
Get used to grilling foods such as chops and steaks and steam vegetables to retain the vitamins. Eat more raw foods such as salads and fresh fruit.
Processed food such as sausages, burgers and bacon are high in salt, fats and sugars. Consuming a lot of these products raises cholesterol, thickens arteries and increases your risk of cancer.
Limit intake to once every two weeks. See them as a treat, not an everyday occurrence. Swap processed meat products for lean protein such as chicken breast, lean beef, fish, eggs and low-fat dairy.
Vegetables should take up half of your dinner plate, lean protein a quarter and carbs the remaining quarter. Including a variety of vegetables will make the meal appealing.
Vegetables don’t have to be boring. Use spices and herbs to bring out their natural flavour. Toss salads in vinaigrette dressing and try steaming instead of boiling veggies.
One of the easiest ways to gain weight is to eat on the road or to grab some junk food because you haven’t prepared anything. And when you are in a rush and hungry your mind isn’t thinking about calorie control.
Help your husband make better choices and stop his weight gain at work by packing his lunch for him. In the summer provide healthy salads with veggie sticks he can snack on. Winter is the ideal time for hearty soups to keep him going.
A simple way to cut down on calories but retain flavour is to replace cream sauces with tomato ones. Dairy products such as cream are full of fat and hence contain a much higher calorie count.
Tomatoes are high in vitamins, including A (when consumed), C and E, B and K. They also contain lycopene, potassium and magnesium. Cooked tomatoes increase their nutritional value too.
The key to a good weight loss plan is to look at every aspect of your diet, and that includes your digestive system. If your gut is sluggish it doesn’t matter what healthy foods you consume.
Adding fibre will wake up your gut and help with weight loss. Start with using wholemeal bread and brown rice once or twice a week until your husband gets used to the taste.
You’d be surprised how many calories there are in alcoholic drinks. For instance, a glass of wine contains as many calories as a bar of chocolate.
Drinking a pint of lager is the same as eating a packet of crisps.
If you drank 5 pints of lager each week that is the equivalent to eating 221 doughnuts. Keep your alcohol consumption to 14 units per week.
Alternative drinks with a glass of water. Eat before you go out drinking. Take smaller sips and try not to drink in rounds as you can lose track of how much you are drinking.
There’s a reason why gym memberships start to tail off after the first three months. People are enthusiastic about weight loss at the start and then lose incentive after a while. The problem is that most people throw themselves into an exercise regime full-on and find they can’t keep going.
It’s far better to find fitness opportunities that you enjoy and will keep doing. The trick is to find a different approach and cultivate good exercise habits, otherwise exercising will seem like a chore. You need to incorporate these habits into your daily life.
It is boring losing weight on your own. Your husband will have far more motivation with you by his side. You never know, it might even be good for your marriage. Perhaps you’d like to get fit and already go to the gym.
Or maybe you want to spend more time as a couple and this is the perfect opportunity. Chat about the things you like to do together and see what you come up with.
When your husband is trying to lose weight, keeping track of his achievements will help with his motivation. No matter how small the goal it is important to recognise it.
Positive things like reaching targets help to cement exercise habits, not negative stuff such as a guilt trip if your husband went back to his old eating ways.
Cut out junk food and cut down on alcohol intake. Help your husband make healthier food choices by including more lean protein, such as chicken, fish and low-fat dairy into his diet. Increase the amount and variety of fruit and vegetables, drink more water and add fiber to his diet.
If weight loss isn’t on your wife’s mind, ask yourself why you want your wife to lose weight. It is not ok to ask a spouse to lose weight because you desire a slimmer partner. However, it is right to be concerned about someone’s weight for health reasons. Adopt a healthy lifestyle yourself and encourage your wife to join you.
With encouragement, support, motivation and by setting a good example yourself. Watch for their triggers. Do they eat out of boredom or for comfort? Try replacing triggers with exercise or something fun to do as a couple.
Offer to work out together as a couple or set goals you can both reach. Combine these with enjoyable activities such as a weekend hike or bike ride. Cook healthy meals that incorporate lean protein, lots of vegetables and fibre.
If your partner has a weight issue you can set a good example by eating healthily and cutting out junk food. Help them change their diet by cooking healthier meals, or packing a brown bag lunch for them. Exercise together and encourage them if they have setbacks.
Remember, people tend to find any change difficult. Try not to force or control the changes. By adding simple goals you can track progress and reward successes.