Monday, June 21, 2010

I need your advice

Thank you for all of your kind comments from this weekend's post. I was able to get it back on track Saturday and Sunday. Both Joe and I have been exhausted lately so it really helped that I got quite a bit of sleep. I ended up taking a LOT of Advil over the weekend because the headache would pop up just when I thought I had it licked. I also make sure to drink extra water, just in case. I'm usually pretty good about water intake as a first response to headaches, but I made EXTRA sure. :)

So, I'm hoping to get your advice on something else...something that you all probably have a lot more experience with than I do.

Joe has gained weight since Thanksgiving. He's now 165ish instead of the 150ish that he was when I met him. Can I tell the difference? Yes. He now has a belly where his 6 pack used to reside. But do I care? No. If he's healthy, I don't care about him being a bit heavier (but still in the normal BMI range).

But he cares. He cares a lot.

This weekend he talked about it several times (albeit in short conversations) where he was remarking on how sluggish he feels and how he doesn't like the way he looks. Of course, I gave him verbal and physical praise (please, that's like the one thing a fat girl KNOWS how to do), but I felt a bit helpless because I wasn't sure what I should do. Should I suggest things to him? Should I give him advice? Should I tell him that he looks great just as he is?

In the end, I said that I wanted to be supportive of his any goal he has to be healthier -mind, body, and spirit, but that I wasn't sure how supportive he wanted me to be AND I wasn't sure how he wanted me to show my support. He basically said, "Okay. I'll think about that" which left me not knowing.

We did have an interesting conversation where I asked him what he did to lose the weight before (about a year and a half ago, he lost the same 15 pounds). He said that he worked out a lot. I asked him if he changed anything about his diet and he said no, and that he didn't want to. (aside: Joe eats healthfully - he just eats more than what any one person could or should need.) He said that if he ate differently or less, he would feel miserable and would be grumpy.

So his game plan? Start working out often again. "Often" means every morning and an evening or two during the week.

Here's what I'm doing:

  • When I cook, I'm cooking less. I notice that if I cook three servings of something, Joe will inevitably finish off the last bit because he doesn't want to "waste it." And yes, I've told him that it's a waste to have it go to our waists, but he disagrees. I've cooked extra so that we have something to take to work for lunch, but if he eats it it never makes it to the fridge. It seems to me like either way, I'm out a lunch for the next day, so I might as well just cook less in the first place.
  • I'm working out with him. This morning, we got out of bed early and I ran a quick two miles while he worked out. I might not want to do this every morning, but I was happy to do it today.
  • I'm setting our bedtime as an earlier time. Because we live Downtown, Joe prefers to walk with me when I take the dog out for the last time at night. I appreciate his concern for my safety, but it usually means that we go to bed around 10:30. So when the alarm goes off in the morning both of us would rather sleep in until 6. So the past few nights, we've taken the dog out earlier so we've been able to get to bed earlier.
  • I'm not baking or buying extra sweets at the store. I would usually do this because I knew it pleased him, but I don't want him to feel like I'm sabotaging him, so I will stop.
  • I'm being more vocal about me being hungry (and then eating) or me NOT being hungry and then not eating. I know that he knows my plan, but it is also my hope that he might think about this a bit more - it wouldn't impact what he eats, but rather how much of it that he does eat.

What else do you think I can do to support?

Has your partner ever gained weight? If so, what did you do? Were your attempts successful?

Also, when we go out to restaurants, I order what I truly want. But sometimes, I only eat a third of what is on the plate. He sometimes eats the remainder of my food in addition to his food. What do I do in this situation?

Like I said, *I* don't care that he's a bit heavier. But because I love him, I want him to be healthy AND I want him to feel loved for who he is. I think my issues with food and weight have me discombobulated as to how to be supportive but not be personally invested in his mood regarding weight. I'm not co-dependent about anything else with him, so I don't want to start now.

All suggestions would be MUCH appreciated.

Also, some of you have been asking about mindful eating and how to do it. I saw this post from one of the blogs I read's great - it goes into 12 habits for a more mindful eating practice. No matter what plan you're on, I think following these 12 steps will help you feel more in control and more balanced. Or at least that's what I always come away feeling. I also recommend the site that it comes from - that's where I've gotten some great yoga poses that help rejuvenate or calm me, depending on what I've needed at the time.


fatgirl_vs_world said...

I'm going for the obvious...

"Joe, what can I do to help you?"
He might come up with an answer that none of us might come up with.

I'm all about being direct. Either that or say "Joe, this is what I can do to help you. What do you think?"

Happy Fun Pants said...

fatgirl: Yes, I asked him that. He said that he didn't know and that he'd think about it. Typically that answer means I'LL NEVER KNOW. :) But maybe I'll try your second suggestion and let him tell me if an approach isn't working for him.

Wallene said...

To keep the third serving from being eaten during dinner [and so you can have it for lunch the next day] pack it up and put it in the 'fridge before you serve dinner. Joe won't eat what he can't see, right? I love sending leftovers for lunch with my husband and kids because they like what we cook and it saves so much $$$.

Same thing when you go out to eat - ask the waiter if he can bring a to-go box with your dinner and package up a portion of it before you begin eating. I know a lot of people who do this because they are trying to lose weight and the portions are invariably huge. I always give my plate to my husband to finish, but usually he is too full.

I think it is wonderful that you are trying to support Joe - I wish I could be of more help too.

Hope you have a great week.


Dani @ WRW said...

My husband is overweight but his weight is stable. He works two jobs (something like 86 hours a week) and that takes care of any gain he'd likely see since he eats like he's being paid to do so at all times. (Read: I have the same "leftovers for lunch? PFFT!" problem that you do! Hate it!)

I've asked if he wants to try to lose weight because he does complain about his extra weight every once and a while (other than his general health, I can care less about his weight. I like my teddy bear!) but he always says he doesn't want to give anything up or add anything else to his life right now so ...

I figure, all we can do is support them. These are grown men and if they want our help, they'll take it. All we can continue to do is offer it when the conversation steers in that direction naturally.

Just like our own journeys, it's a personal thing and they are responsible for themselves. When they make the decision for themselves, that's where we can do some good. But not until then. No use wasting your energy when their switch hasn't been flipped yet, you know?

Anyway, good luck! I'm going to keep returning to these comments to see if anyone has good ideas!

SherRon, Shoes To Lose said...

We grill a ton at our house for 2 reasons. 1- I don't have to cook. 2- The food is healthy and Matthew gets to feel manly and not like he is eating health food.

Hope this helps!

Katy said...

Wish I had some good advice, but I don't. If he said the workouts helped him the first time, my guess is that's his plan this time around. Do you think he's looking for help with the food aspect? My tendency would just be leaning more toward getting exercise in together.

sabina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sabina said...

I agree with fatgirl_vs_world; the direct approach is best. He's already given you lots of info: 1) he wants the quantity & quality of food he's eating to remain the same 2) he plans to exercise often to burn the extra calories he enjoys consuming. 3) he successfully dropped the same 15 lbs over a year ago using the exact same approach he's proposing now

If it ain't broke.....Women in general (not just big girls) tend to overanalyze.

You've already offered to help Joe. Either he'll accept your offer, or not. Otherwise, let the man do his thing in peace.

Happy Fun Pants said...

Thanks for the reminder that I didn't mention that his approach isn't the exact same these days as what it was a year ago.

And maybe that's my issue with this whole thing. He's been talking about this additional weight for weeks and has actually seen the scale trend upward - not downward. Which is making him cranky and sometimes not much fun to be around. I want him to not be cranky, so I was trying to figure out what I could do to help.

He doesn't exercise every day now, but he does it a lot more than what he used to. But still - the scale and clothes show him increasing.

He *would* exercise more if he didn't want to eat dinner with me after work or snuggle with me in the mornings though. I know it and he knows it.

On one hand, I feel a bit bad - knowing that the addition of me is changing his routine. On the other hand, he's the one that is making the decisions...not me. It's not like he gets up early and I ever say "No! Come back to bed!" In fact, when he mentions that he wants to work out, I (just like I would do with anything else) encourage that.

So a good reminder to post the whole story, I guess. :)

Margie M. said...

Being the "old lady" in your group of Followers I can add one factor to the situation: age. No, Joe isn't old but in my experience with DH and myself as we began to get closer to middle age our metabolism seemed to slow down. Less food intake is a good idea. He wouldn't really have to change the "what" he is eating, just the "how much" he is eating.

My DH has always done the dishes for me after dinner. He would go in the kitchen and begin to eat anything left over in the baking pan or the saucepan that could have been saved for left overs. So, I had to start getting into the kitchen first in order to put away any food that could be saved for later or run any food down the disposal BEFORE he could get his mitts on it. I do all the cooking and I plate the food and bring it to him. We never put food into serving bowls on the table as it is too tempting to help yourself to a second serving.

Other than that, you will just have to keep your eyes and ears open for a signal that he actually wants help or advice. Their egos are soooooo fragile. :)

Good luck.

Margie M. writes at:

Flabby McGee said...

I think you're being about as supportive as you can be - barring a good "get your fat ass off of the couch" pep talk. :P Cooking less and buying less sweets is a great thing to do for someone that wants to lose. In the end though - it's up to him! He's got to make the choice to really WANT to lose it. And you'll still be there when he does. :)

fatgirl_vs_world said...

One last comment: google "Sexercise"

Seren said...

Hi there! Have been lurking for a while and this post finally convinced me to show my "face"...Anyway, my beloved had this exact issue at the beginning of the year. He had gone from being skinny his entire life to having a bit of a pot and he found it quite depressing. We decided, to be mutually supportive, to ban all sweets and treats from the house during the week, and both threw ourselves into an exercise routine - doing it together helped a lot. We also shared our weekly weigh in results with each other and ended up with a bit of a friendly competition going.

Sadly, we've both regressed a bit recently, but my point is that for us we approached the problem as a partnership. As long as you let him know you are supportive of whatever he needs to do then you should be fine. But good luck!


Lala said...

i agree with fatgirl vs. world and sabina in that direct approach definitely helps. I think also your note that your worry about your impact on his weight gain is probably what's "weighing" on you (sorry, couldn't help myself :-)). So, I think your idea of working out with him in the morning is a really big help. I think everyone likes to be helped in different ways, but if he's not sure, I think your approach of letting him know that he can tell you to back off or change approaches is really a good idea. Sometimes we don't want to hurt someone when their approach doesn't work for us. I've had a lot of people offer me diet and exercise advice that wasn't right for me for various reasons, and it's always hard to tell someone that it's not right if you feel it might hurt their feelings... so just be really open and let him know that saying no won't break you :-). Other than that, I think you are doing all you can(and are a very sweet girlfriend).

POD said...

I wanted so badly to say kick him to the curb but then everyone would think I was being mean and i'm not mean. (haha)

Is he a booze drinker/beer? Stop that. Empty calories.

Waisting Time said...

I think what you are doing sounds great! My hubby needs to lose too and I am trying hard to keep my mouth shut when I see him eat crap and buy crap. But the sad truth is we each need to find our own motivation and want to lose for ourselves. I will be eager to see what seems to work because maybe I can copy you!

Missa said...

My sweetheart puts some pounds on from time to time and then rededicates himself to a fitness/food regimen. If he is feeling unhealthy and wants to figure it out for himself, then my advice is to let him do his thing and you do yours.

We all have our journeys and each one has a different flavor.


KyokoCake said...

I think support is the best thing for him. If he's ok with it, tell him - hey that's my lunch, don't eat it! That helps with my husband, although his goal is to gain weight which is why he's all pigging out on my food!