Prospective Bride Biding Her Time Over Lover's Obesity
Posted Sep 11 2008 6:18pm
Love is a beautiful thing. When two people meet and create that indestructible connection with one another, it's something to be treasured by both the man and woman for the rest of their lives in holy matrimony. It's the best thing that ever happened to me.
But what if there is a concern by one of the two lovebirds for the other spouse? Not about that other person's commitment to the relationship, but with their physical ability to be in it for the long haul. I'm referring to the subject of obesity and how that can impact the wedding plans despite the love.
This is precisely the predicament that one of my readers finds herself in right now with her lover who is obese and she needs help trying to help him lose weight and get healthy for the sake of their future together. It's a common issue that I'm sure many of you will be able to relate with whether you are thinking about marriage or have been together for many years.
Here's what she wrote to me in that e-mail:
I have been a devoted reader of your blog for some time, and I applaud you not only on your weight loss, but on the help you give to others!!
I have no idea if you'll actually read this or take the time to respond, but I am genuinely not sure where else to ask.
I'm at a healthy weight, 130 lb at 5'6". I had my own weight loss experience in adolescence, about 75 pounds, so I can appreciate the sensitivity and the emotions that go along with the experience of being obese and then losing the weight.
My significant other is obese at 5'9", about 275 pounds. He was that big when we met, and I love him regardless of his weight. He's an active guy, and despite some minor breathing/snoring problems, he seems relatively healthy.
We are at the point in our relationship where we're thinking about marriage. My only hangup is his health--I don't want to be a widow at an early age! He does see a doctor regularly, but says his doctor thinks he's healthy. (I'm not sure if he has a "unique" doctor, or if he's lying about what the doctor says--I can't imagine a responsible doctor wouldn't be encouraging him to lose weight.)
He's been obese his entire life, and I know he has a lot of insecurities left over from childhood due to his weight. It's a really touchy subject.
My question is this--How do I broach this with him? What can I say that won't hurt him? My concern is honestly with his health, not the way he looks. Now that we're thinking of spending our lives together, I want it to be a long, happy marriage--not one cut short by preventable health problems. (As a side note, I stopped smoking, a pack-a-day habit, for the same reasons, so I don't think it's totally out of line for me to bring this up.)
Any suggestions? I've read your blog post about this topic, and have "waited for him to come back to me," but he's not coming back for help.
If you're too busy, I understand. But if you can take the time and help, this Midwestern girl would surely appreciate it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This e-mail really hit home with me because this is something that my wife Christine and I went through early on in our marriage, too. After I started livin' la vida low-carb and lost my weight in 2004, Christine revealed to me that her parents didn't want her to marry me because of my morbid obesity.
I was shocked to hear this, but I certainly can't blame them for their concern. It was serious as my reader notes and it needed to be taken care of. While it didn't prevent our wedding from taking place and many years of happiness together, we are a MUCH happier couple now that I have taken back control of my weight and health.
Here was my response back to this reader about her question:
THANKS so much for writing and I appreciate your sincere question about how to approach this man you love. When I got married to Christine in 1995, I weighed 350 pounds and Christine was only 95 pounds. She loved me and that's what drew us together. But she too was worried about my health like you are.
In fact, she bugged the crap out of me about it and I grew resentful that she was judging me and telling me what I NEEDED to do. I didn't want to hear it. It wasn't until I discovered on my own that I needed to eat a low-carb diet as my permanent lifestyle change that I made the changes needed to lose weight and get healthy.
How can you convince your man that low-carb or some other nutritional change is right for him? Eat that way yourself, show him how delicious and easy it is to eat this way, and encourage him to give it a try. Do it together and you may find great receptivity.
It will be difficult, especially when he wants sugary, carby foods, but you stick to feeding him low-carb. Eventually, he'll never notice the difference while his weight keeps dropping. BE THE EXAMPLE FOR HIM TO FOLLOW!
It's not a perfect solution, but you do have a lot more power than you think. YOU CAN DO THIS! I'm also a big believer in just being honest about how you feel so everything is out on the table. Yes, honey, I love you, but I'm seriously concerned about your weight for the sake of our future. Could you commit to doing something in that regard if I help you?
How could he say no if you give him the puppy eyes?
THANKS again for writing!
It is indeed a difficult subject, but one that needs to be out on the table. Tell that loved one exactly how you feel so at least he/she knows where you stand. Present it in a non-threatening manner and offer to give support and assistance in any way that you can. You might be surprised how well that is received.
Of course, encourage, encourage, encourage! That's something Christine was and still is to this day VERY good at. Positive reinforcement, especially when the going gets tough, is a necessary part of your strategy to help that loved one. Don't give up on them when they need you the most. Being there is most of the battle!
Incidentally, Christine's parents couldn't be happier or prouder of what I have been able to do to get my weight and health under control. They often tell me how much they care about me and that they are thankful I am Christine's husband. I wonder sometimes if they would feel the same way if I still weighed over 400 pounds.
That's neither here nor there because I DON'T weigh that much anymore. I'm fit, trim, and healthy as I've ever been because I'm livin' la vida low-carb. And I'm gonna KEEP ON living this way for the rest of my long and prosperous life. :D
If you are like my reader and have a loved one who struggles with their weight, then be encouraged today! Don't get down and depressed because THEY NEED YOU now more than ever. Take those feelings you have for that person and invest your time and energy into helping them overcome their problem with effective solutions.
I'm always here to help and would be honored to answer any questions they may have about the amazingly healthy low-carb lifestyle! E-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm happy to answer EVERY e-mail I receive and would be thrilled to hear from someone who wants to change their life forever!