For the spouse trying to lose weight: One key to dieting success is limiting temptation by cleaning out less healthy foods that could trip you up. But, you also have to remember it’s your spouse’s kitchen too. Determine what your trigger foods are (chocolate and sweets, salty potato chips, pizza, etc.) and then talk with your spouse about how you can limit these foods in your home. Also, if there are foods that your spouse enjoys that don’t tempt you, let him know those are fine to have around.
For the spouse on the sidelines: It’s understandable if you’re not overly thrilled about the ice cream and chips getting thrown out, but the reality is that no one needs those foods on a regular basis. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, everyone should follow a healthy diet – more fruits and vegetables, nonfat dairy, lean protein, whole grains, and good fats and less sodium, solid fat, and added sugars. You can still enjoy those less healthy foods, but be respectful and try to do it when you’re not with your spouse.
Issue #2: The Spouse Losing Weight Expects Perfection
Credit: Photo: Lee Harrelson
For the spouse trying to lose weight: Are you your own biggest critic when you have a small slipup or miss a workout? If so, you may be beating yourself up more than you should and possibly taking your dieting frustration out on your spouse. The quicker you ditch the bad mood and get back on the wagon, the better your diet and relationship will be. Focus on the positive changes you’ve made, and talk to your spouse to explain why you’re upset. Use it as a way to strategize with her on how you can better manage a slipup or temptation next time.
For the spouse on the sidelines: If you’re trying to be supportive, it can be hard to watch your partner get down or frustrated when he slips up. It can be even harder if some of his diet frustration is vented towards you. Your best option is to give him a little space to process his mistake and feelings. If your partner doesn’t bounce back in a day or two, then mention how you don’t want to his frustration to hold up his diet success. Point out all he has accomplished, and if he’s open to it, figure out ways to help him avoid the slipup next time.
Issue #3: The Spouse Not Dieting Expects Perfection
Credit: Illustration: Sarah Wilkins
For the spouse trying to lose weight: Pointing out your diet mistakes, nagging about what you can do better, or giving unwelcomed advice can be really hurtful especially when coming from a spouse. The last thing you need is criticism when you’re working really hard to incorporate healthy changes. Remember that her criticism or advice is most likely coming from a place of love and wanting you to succeed—they just aren’t delivering the message well. Try calmly talking to her and tell her what kind of support or advice you really need. Acknowledge that you know she means well, and share how her comments make you feel.
For the spouse on the sidelines: It’s time to back off, especially if slipups are not a regular occurrence or he’s having weight-loss success. Also, consider how your comments may come across, how you could rephrase comments, and what thoughts might best be kept unsaid. If you continue to nag, one of three things will happen: your spouse will withdraw, get mad, or quit trying to lose weight all together. Ask how you can support him and think of things you can do to show your support—rather than simply voicing it—like keeping the house stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, packing him a healthy lunch, or picking up the kids so he can work out.
For the spouse trying to lose weight: You’ve lost 10 pounds, and you’re fired up to keep going. Maybe you’ve cut out fast food and are eager to try new healthy recipes. The only problem: you feel like you’ve don’t have much in common with your spouse anymore. It can be hard when one person in the relationship has made changes but the other hasn’t. Don’t compromise your healthy habits, but instead look for ways to incorporate your spouse. If she loves Italian food, find a delicious sounding pasta dish in your meal plan to try. Suggest a restaurant with healthy options instead of cancelling your regular date night. Also, look for ways to be active together like walking the dog and doing yard work or gardening.
For the spouse on the sidelines: It’s normal to miss the spouse you had before they started making healthy changes. You may even feel like you don’t know her right now while she’s so enamored with healthy eating and activity. This will subside some, but making healthy food choices and being active are lifelong changes that you both need to make—regardless of weight—so look for ways to join in. Find a new cookbook with recipes that work in her meal plan or join in on her evening walk.
Get a customized diet plan and daily reminders to keep you on track. Support for vegetarian, gluten free, ingredient exclusions, and more. Now with Progress Tracker: track your weight loss, earn badges and rewards!