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Ask a Therapist: Should I tell my spouse they are getting fat?

Posted at 1:40 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 15:40:25-04

Therapist Anastasia Pollock answers the question: How do you tell your spouse they are getting fat?

This is a touchy subject but many couples face it. Following are some tips for approaching and addressing this issue in a sensitive and kind way that will do the least damage to a relationship.

1. Approach with love and concern
a. Choose your words wisely. Don`t say 'You`re getting fat'.
b. Instead, say something like 'I love you completely and I also want you to be around for the long haul. I am concerned about your health and am wondering what I can do to be supportive of you taking good care of yourself.'

2. Be sensitive to his or her feelings.
a. It is hard to hear criticism about one`s weight, regardless of the intention of the other person. Have some empathy for what he/ she may feel when you approach this.
b. Don`t assume that he/she is not aware that they are gaining weight. They are probably fully aware and may be self-conscious already.
c. If they are hurt by what they hear, validate them and offer them comfort.

3. Practice what you preach
a. If you are expecting your partner to take better care of his or her physical health, you need to do the same. Set a good example.
b. Start an exercise program together, go for walks, get involved in some sort of physical activity you both enjoy
c. Plan healthy meals and make them together

4. Don`t be the drill sergeant
a. If you are constantly scrutinizing everything your spouse is doing, eating etc., the relationship will likely suffer major damage.
b. If your spouse chooses to eat dessert, zip it and don`t say a word. Don`t bring it up and consider enjoying dessert with them. After all, one of the keys to sustainable weight loss is to indulge from time to time which helps tocut down on cravings.

5. Remind your spouse often the things you love about them.
a. A person is more than the numbers on a scale or the size of their clothes. Remind your spouse that they are wonderful regardless of size, fitness level, etc.
b. Positive statements are way more effective in motivating someone than criticizing them. Positive statements are also vital in preserving and vitalizing any relationship.

For more tips and information from Anastasia go to