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Supportive spouse. How can I help him?

(8 Posts)
ColoursOfTheWind Sun 06-Oct-19 23:44:16

Hi all, will try and make this as concise as possible as I have a tendency to waffle and go round in circles!

Partner is roughly 18st 8lb. He wants to lose weight. I've offered to try and help him in the past whilst assuring him I absolutely don't need him to and I love him how he is (absolutely true, I do). I've told him I do however, want him to feel healthier, happier and better about himself so want to help him. He's not up for anything that I suggest and I don't know where to begin. I'm very slim and always have been and I think he feels a bit isolated by that. Anybody got any do's and don'ts for me to help him? Every now and then he gets upset about his weight and we have a chat and I say I want to help but nothing changes and here we are again. We have a 2 year old baby now so it gets him down more than ever because he wants to be able to do things with him as he grows up but knows his weight/negative body image and self esteem will hold him back. Ie. Swimming, rollercoasters (can't fit), playing football, keeping up with us walking. What I find difficult is he's a very, very fussy eater. He gets very excited about sugary foods like cookies and muffins and loves fast food also and white bread. He is very fussy about meat, only likes it in processed form like chicken nuggets. He doesn't like seafood, vegetables or fruit. I'm at a loss as to how I can help him but I really want to. I feel like I'm letting him down by not insisting he loses weight for his own good but at the same time I don't want him to feel pressured or like I don't love him how he is. I totally do! He was the same weight when we met and always has been so at least he knows I am attracted to him, surely. It seems as though he doesn't actually want to try sometimes because I've not seen him alter his diet in the slightest bit even when he says he wants to lose weight. Do I leave him to it even though I know on the inside he's sad about it? I definitely don't want to make him more insecure or make him think that I need him to lose weight myself. Oh, also, he has several health conditions that the GP suspects are weight related (depression being one of them) and his life would be so much easier without any of that! It's a lot of effort for him to play with our toddler and I know he wants to but he says everything aches and it makes him feel like he can't be bothered. Any advice or pointers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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ColoursOfTheWind Mon 07-Oct-19 00:01:45

I'm only a very average cook, I might add! I'll give anything a go by it doesn't come naturally to me.

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Dyrne Mon 07-Oct-19 07:45:32

You sound lovely and supportive.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s really a lot you can do - he needs to want to lose the weight and the motivation can really only come from him.

What do you think his issue is? Does he eat a lot of chocolate/crisps, drink a lot of beer, or is it just generally larger portions?

Would something like Slimming world help, so you think? It’s not for everyone but it seems to focus a lot on “healthy swaps” and could be good for gradually cutting down as it doesn’t insist you start off with kale and broccoli smoothies; rather it does things like suggest you swap your chocolate brownie for a Freddo.

You could suggest family walks - he might be only able to do 10 mins at first but if he perseveres he’ll be able to gradually increase his walking stamina, even if he doesn’t lose weight.

Again though, it’s really got to be him; there’s only so much you can do from the sidelines.

ColoursOfTheWind Tue 08-Oct-19 20:31:44

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and for your reply Dyrne.

I'm not entirely sure what the problem is because at home he actually eats smaller portions than me, doesn't drink fizzy drinks, only drinks a few beers at the weekend and although he does eat biscuits and chocolate, he doesn't appear to eat enough to account for his size. He takes X4 white bread rolls with butter and (a very meagre amount of) cheese to work with him everyday. He has 2 as his breakfast at 10am-ish and the other 2 at lunchtime, both times followed by X2 snack size chocolate bars. It certainly wouldn't be enough to fill me! So perhaps there's something extra going on during the day that I'm not aware of or perhaps it's just the quantity of sugar that's the problem. I've suggested swapping to brown bread rolls but he said he absolutely can't tolerate the taste. Perhaps once he's not as hooked on sugar and processed food his palette will change and he won't find them so bad.

One week I made a huge batch of breakfast casserole (with eggs, sausages etc) and cut it into portions for him to take to work with him warm in a food jar everyday as a more nutritious and filling breakfast but he left it at home every single day and said he didn't fancy it so I ate it and he hadn't even tried it.

Healthy swaps is definitely a good approach. Breaking it down into small steps is probably the way to go and maybe adding another swap each week so it's nice and gradual. I think maybe I just couldn't see the wood for the trees because this has been going on for so long.

I don't want to push him but he's asked for my help so we'll give it another go and take things slowly. I do tend to take an extreme approach to things myself and I'm very all or nothing so maybe he thinks that I have the same expectations for him, which I don't and I shall try and make sure he knows that, in a non-patronising way!

Thanks again for your reply.

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ChocOrCheese Wed 09-Oct-19 14:19:25

As has been said, there is little you can do if he is talking the talk but won't walk the walk.

I do wonder if it might be worth trying to push him to swim, though. Once he's in the water nobody will particularly notice his size (they won't look anyway, but I can understand him feeling self-conscious nevertheless). It's a great way of having fun with your little one, and the water will support his joints. More physical activity should help a bit with the depression and may give him a bit more motivation to work on the diet.

Sweet treat-wise, would he eat something like carrot cake? It's easy to make, and you can use sweetener instead of sugar. I'm thinking that you can gradually reduce the amount of sweetener to see if you can gradually wean him off very sweet tastes.

HalfBearOtherHalfCat Thu 10-Oct-19 00:31:07

I think the first thing to establish is what he is actually eating on an average day. Would he be willing to use My Fitness Pal, and weigh/measure and accurately record all his food intake for a week.

So then you can see how many calories he is actually consuming, and from what. From that you might be able to pin-point the biggest trouble areas (highest calorie for lowest satisfaction) and look at swapping them out - while leaving less problematic areas to tackle at a later date.

Or (if he is truly 100% honest with MFP) it might reveal that he is not eating an excessive amount of calories and possibly has a medical problem which needs addressing. (I have thyroid disease, and losing weight before I was medicated for it was so much harder than it should have been).

I suspect that he is just eating too much though - I had one small bread roll with a smear of butter, an ounce of cheese and a couple of slices of cucumber in it for my lunch and it was approx 300 calories. So if he's eating something like that x4 every day, plus chocs and other stuff...

pumkinseason Thu 10-Oct-19 02:24:59

I agree with pp. An accurate 2 week food diary is a good way to start.
Then a conversation about what type of weight loss program he would find works best for him.
DH likes 5:2 because it has involves less continual thought. But I'm not sure it really matters what he picks as long as it works for him.
My part is to empty the house of snacks and ensure there is plenty of high protein and veggies around. If the stuff isn't in the house DH is unlikely to bother going looking for it. So no crisps, cookies, chocolate, high calorie juices etc.
DH's experience is that weight loss requires thought and effort but is very doable.

ColoursOfTheWind Wed 16-Oct-19 23:37:55

Hi all, thanks so much for your replies. I'm new on here and assumed I would get a notifications for replies but obviously that's not how it works so I've only just seen these grin apologies.

I'm feeling more and more like he just isn't willing to walk the walk as ChocOrCheese said. He's doing increasingly unhealthy things it seems lately! Eg. Adding a lot of cheese to the top of meals already very high in fat! To be honest, adding cheese to EVERYTHING! That's not the behaviour of somebody who is actually trying to lose weight, surely? Not sure what he's thinking.

ChocOrCheese carrot cake is a no go unless covered in frosting unfortunately! It's very frustrating. I guess I could take the idea of baking using less and less sugar gradually and apply it to another less healthy treat though. Better than where we are now. I think swimming would be perfect for him for the same reasons you mentioned ChocOrCheese and he was an excellent swimmer as a child. I just cannot get him to give it a go though. He's sure that he will be the biggest person there and that everybody will stare, no matter what time of day/night sad

HalfBearOtherHalfCat My Fitness Pal is a very good idea. I don't think he would be comfortable sharing his food diary with me but maybe just seeing it himself, written in front of him, might be a wake up call and give him the motivation he needs to change it. Thyroid disease runs in his family and his Mum really struggles to lose weight for this reason. I insisted he get his thyroid checked out at the Dr's on 2 occasion's and his results have come back fine both times but I'll be keeping a close eye on it because I do think that he suffers from a lot of the symptoms of it dispite this! I think we needs to keep getting it checked regularly.

PumkinSeason I think clearing the house of bad foods is key if he wants to succeed! He doesn't want to throw out any of the treats that he currently has and he has enough to last a lifetime but I think I just need to be firm on that one and insist! Thanks for the inspo. He's very reluctant to talk about which diet plan would work for him and says that he knows that he just can't do any at all but I think if I did the work for him and researched what there is out there and what each one is all about then maybe we could reach a decision together.

All in all, whilst his attitude remains how it currently is, there's probably not a lot I can do by the sounds of it but I've gained lots of fresh ideas for when he gets serious about this and very grateful. Thank you all very much. Like I said before, this has been going on so long that I feel like I can't see the wood for the trees sometimes so thanks for bringing me back!

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