As a person whose weight has fluctuated substantially over the years I am oh so familiar with the struggle. I’ve chubbed up recently and I’m currently a Chihuahua away from equalling my all time highest record on the scales.
The last time I was here it was under identical circumstances. I was at the beginning point of a completely new list of goals after ticking off my last lot. I’m very much an “in for a penny in for a pound” kind of gal so this has meant big changes in every aspect of my life.
These changes have challenged me and provided me with many opportunities to confront my biggest doubts and fears. And when I freak out I eat; correction, recently when I’ve freaked out I’ve eaten.
It is from this perspective that I write this post for you, for me and for my loving partner who has recently asked “How do I help you with this?”
1. What you need to understand before you begin
- You can’t ‘get’ anyone to do anything.
- Her weight is none of your business.
2. Why it is okay to proceed regardless
This process is designed to be unconditionally loving regardless of your motivations. Whether you are driven by your own fears and insecurities or a genuine concern for her good health and wellness; you wish for her to lose weight. There is little to be gained for either of you by you pretending that this is not the case, so why hide how you feel for the sake of being politically correct?
I bring no judgement about your motivations, I’m writing this because I wish to help you navigate your way through in a loving way which doesn’t piss her off, upset her or crush her self esteem.
3. Her reasons
Regardless of what you think or what she has told you, she is carrying her weight for a reason. Not only are they good reasons but they are awesome reasons. Whether her weight has been a comfort, a protection, a support or a shield, it has been of great value to her.
Whilst weight gain as a coping mechanism has many limits and some obviously health costs, it is not the enemy here. It has done everything that it has been asked to do. It has been her way of coping, and it has done its job. It has also provided her with a sign that something is out of balance in her life.
To effect change you don’t need to unravel the specific reasons why the weight has been necessary in her life. You only need to acknowledge that those reasons are a part of who she is; therefore they are important, valid and worth loving.
4. Why do you want her to lose weight?
Years ago I dated a man who thought that it would be helpful to pull at a fat roll on my stomach and tell me “You know something? You would be stunning if you lost some weight”.
Now let us ignore the insensitive nature of these comments and look at them for what they were. They were statements that I allowed because they mirrored my own thoughts about my body. They were also statements projected from a man who had those same insecurities and thoughts about his own body.
His motives limited his ability to offer a solution. He wasn’t able to offer me anything other than critical observations because that was all he knew how to bring to his own struggle.
5. Your weight loss
You may not have a weight issue but there is something that you are struggling with. There is never a time when we are thriving, feeling awesome and kicking goals in all aspects of our life when we bother to stop and notice the flaws and shortcomings of those we love. Never.
There isn’t anything intentionally unloving about wanting the best for our loved ones. Who wouldn’t want their partner to live the very best life that they can and to be healthy and well?
Noticing and caring about the flaws in others helps us to bring love and understanding to our own struggles. In fact I would argue that is one of the key purposes to being in a committed partnership.
So how do we fulfil that key purpose without hurting our loved one and our relationship?
We offer solutions that bring more to the table than the criticisms that our loved ones are offering to themselves.
6. Specifically, what are you hoping to achieve?
As an example let’s say that you’ve lamented how your partner used to be the life of the party and now she’s put on weight you’ve noticed that she holds back, she’s less willing to go out, and she’s lacking in confidence.
In this instance what you are hoping to achieve is for her to regain her confidence in a social context.
When looking at how you’ve perceived her weight to have affected you; maybe you are not feeling as attracted to her as you used to. You are hoping to experience yourself as someone who physically desires their partner.
I would encourage you to write out a list of the qualities you are hoping to see in her and experience for yourself once she loses the weight.
7. You are a mirror
You are a mirror from which she sees herself daily. If you were to start offering a new perspective on how you see her and her weight, then doesn’t it make sense that so would she?
I’ll pick up the example of confidence that I gave above. The first thing I’d like to ask you is, how has her lack of confidence benefited you? Some possible examples below;
- You don’t like big parties and it has meant that you’ve been able to spend more time at home.
- You’ve had to come out of your shell more to compensate.
- She’s developed empathy for your quieter moments.
- She’s become a better listener.
Go through your entire list of what you are trying to achieve and look at how her being overweight has benefited you in those areas. Then let her know how much you’ve appreciated those benefits.
NB: I’d strongly suggest that you leave out any mention of her weight in these appreciations, keep it focused on the benefit.
8. Her positive aspects
Going back to your list of things that you hope to achieve, I’d encourage you to start looking for where those facets of her are currently showing up.
If you are seeing her lack confidence at big parties; then where isn’t she lacking confidence socially? Where is she thriving socially? Who are the people she is with and what are the places where she is completely uninhibited?
Look for those moments, offer her appreciation and positive attention about those moments. The day that you find more examples of her thriving then of her struggling, is the day that you’ll help her to tip the balance in her own perceptions as well.
9. Tell her why she is beautiful
Offer her specific compliments that she can’t dismiss or shrug off.
Be as enthusiastic and adoring of her and her body right now as you would be if she was the dream that you envisage for her.
Why wait until she loses weight to offer her this level of attention, appreciation and affection? There is a lot about her for you to be attracted to right now. Start looking for these things no matter how small they might be at first and then compliment her about them.
10. You don’t need to fix her
She doesn’t need fixing because she isn’t broken.
She doesn’t need ‘to do things’ as much as she needs ‘to stop doing things’. She needs to stop believing that she is anything less than magnificent as she is right now.
Underneath she is exactly the same strong, brave, caring, compassionate, loving, smart, sexy, capable, funny and beautiful woman who you fell in love with.
You don’t need to help her ‘get back’ to that; you only need to help her acknowledge that she still is that. If the both of you could focus more on ‘what she is’ and less on ‘what she’s not’ then you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation.
If you really want this, then be the change that you wish to see in her. Keep your focus on just how amazing, beautiful and special she is right now. You tried this approach when you first fell in love with her remember? I’m guessing you weren’t trying to point out her physical shortcomings and ‘tell it like it is’ on your 3rd date? And if you did then allow me to tell it like it is, “You are a fool and you don’t deserve her.”