My boyfriend is at least 30 lbs. overweight. He was a wrestler in high school, and has been a pretty "big guy" since he was a child. Every so often he'll go to the gym, but it's not a regular occurrence. I tell him all the time how good he looks and try to boost his self-esteem about his build but he always gets defensive and changes the subject.
Our relationship has been really serious for a few years now, and we are open and honest about everything except that I cannot seem to bring up the issue of his weight. I feel bad admitting I'd be more attracted to him if he was in better shape...but it's true. How can I talk to him about this without hurting the guy I love? Sensitive Serena
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Dear Sensitive Serena
It's not going to be easy, but you need to be able to be honest with your boyfriend in a gentle but concerned way. It's unhealthy to be that overweight and if he doesn't take control of it now, it could lead to serious problems for him very soon.
Fear is a huge motivator. Talk to him about setting up an appointment for a physical to check his cholesterol levels, etc.. (I'll be willing to bet he hasn't gone yet this year). Tell him how much you love him and that you are concerned for his well being.
Be sure and mention that you would unconditionally love him no matter how he looked, but this isn't about looks, it's about health. Being overweight can put him at risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. After he makes his appointment, make yourself one if you are due.
Unless your boyfriend is going to make the commitment to burn the calories and eat right, he's not going to lose the weight. So the next step is to use the buddy system tactic. I've always been a big believer in pairing up. If you get into a routine together, the chances of him sticking to it are greater. This way if he bails on the gym, not only is he letting himself down, but he's letting you down too. You guys can set goals for yourselves and creatively reward each other.
By taking care of yourself as well, you are showing him that you aren't just going to point fingers at him, rather you are truly concerned about fitness and health. The benefits to exercising together are innumerable. You will both feel better physically, mentally and emotionally, you'll feel sexier and you will be stronger. Don't underestimate the old adage, "couples who play together, stay together."