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You Asked: How Do I Approach My Boyfriend About His Weight Gain?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend has gained about 15 pounds over the last year. He's mentioned it offhandedly on occasion, but doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. I haven't made a big deal out of it so far because I thought he'd lose it eventually, but now I'm not so sure and I'm worried. Today was the last straw when one of his guy friends told me he was looking a little tubby and I might want to suggest he hit the gym. If it were me, I wouldn't want anyone to tell me that I've gained weight, but at the same time, if I was aware that I had put on weight, I'd start doing something about it before it became noticeable. So should I mention my concerns to him as his girlfriend, to give him more motivation to lose, or should I keep my mouth shut?

— Unsure Sharon

To see DearSugar's answer,

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Dear Unsure Sharon,

Unfortunately, weight gain is always a dicey subject to bring up. It seems no matter how it's done, feelings get hurt, which is why I always think it's best to start with a gentle, less-direct approach. Especially since you know your boyfriend has noticed his weight gain. Mention that you think you both should start being more active together a few times a week — trying jogging, hiking, taking up tennis, or even taking a walk after dinner. If he seems put off, just tell him that you want the company while you do it!

Once you've started to get him moving again, incorporate better foods into your home. Make big steak salads for dinner or whip up stir-fries with lots of veggies. It's likely that once he starts seeing himself get back in shape, he'll want to keep it up. But by making it a team effort in the beginning, it will not only get him off the couch, but it'll give you something to look forward to as a couple. And make sure as his body changes, you reward him well!

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Gracie-Lu Gracie-Lu 4 years
I met my boyfriend through match.com He stated that he was a runner, and his photos included ones of him skiing and sailing. He said he'd work out with a partner. He came to the gym w/ me a couple times. He carries an extra 30 lbs! Still, he tried running as fast as he did when he was younger even though he hadn't been running for a few years. He injured his back where he had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. I helped nurse him back to recovery. He went biking with me a couple times and is ok with that. He eats a high fat high volume diet. I bought him a low-fat cookbook and suggested we eat healthier together. I've suggested he stretch daily and do light yoga at the gym. He hasn't done either of these. He hasn't curtailed his intake. He eats like a football player. He told me yesterday that he's comfortable with his weight! I've been a triathlete for 7 years and athletic all my life. Never overweight. His excess weight is unattractive to me.. a BIG turn off. I'm so discouraged. He's such a wondeful man. I do love him. Now I feel stuck. He mentioned that he could take off 10 lbs. He really needs to lose 30-40 lbs. Since he had problems with both his knees and back, I suggested he take off the weight to improve his health, especially his back and knees. He agreed. But, hasn't curtailed his intake and hasn't worked out other than what I mentioned. When he was younger, he was a star runner for years. I just don't understand how he can just let himself be so fat and out of shape and not care. I don't know what to do. I work out at the gym by myself and invite him often. He hasn't joined me lately. Any advice??
ajennilynrushhh ajennilynrushhh 7 years
I'm with Karlotta. My boyfriend and I make fun of eachother about it too! It's funny to us also. My boyfriend gained 15 pounds also and I gained 10 over the year. We can laugh about it, but we know we need to work out and we do talk about it a lot. But Dear is right, do exercises together. It's more fun. You can even just start taking walks with your boyfriend around the park or something and just talk. If you have a dog, take it out for a walk with your boyfriend and he probably won't really notice that he's getting a little workout at the same time.
ajennilynrushhh ajennilynrushhh 7 years
I'm with Karlotta. My boyfriend and I make fun of eachother about it too! It's funny to us also. My boyfriend gained 15 pounds also and I gained 10 over the year. We can laugh about it, but we know we need to work out and we do talk about it a lot. But Dear is right, do exercises together. It's more fun. You can even just start taking walks with your boyfriend around the park or something and just talk. If you have a dog, take it out for a walk with your boyfriend and he probably won't really notice that he's getting a little workout at the same time.
Meike Meike 7 years
My husband and I despise any sort of lie, even white lies or withheld information. And, for that we feel even more secure in our relationship because only truth spills from our lips. Are people so afraid their partners are too sensitive nowadays that having an open and honest channel of communication in your relationship is seen as a taboo thing? Sorry, I love my husband unconditionally and vice versa but if I ever see him putting a few too many pounds on, I'm going to kindly say something about it and he will do the same for me. We wouldn't ever leave each other for this reason but both of us would be unhappy with sluggish behavior or overeating that could lead to any unhealthy and continual weight gain. If you let it slide this time, 15 after 15 after 15 pounds will turn into 45 pounds. We all know the older people get, the more habitual they become and the harder it becomes to return to a healthy weight. If you both have a lifetime goal to lead a healthy and active lifestyle well into your senior years, then it becomes necessary to communicate those feelings to your partner now in your youth.
Meike Meike 7 years
My husband and I despise any sort of lie, even white lies or withheld information. And, for that we feel even more secure in our relationship because only truth spills from our lips. Are people so afraid their partners are too sensitive nowadays that having an open and honest channel of communication in your relationship is seen as a taboo thing? Sorry, I love my husband unconditionally and vice versa but if I ever see him putting a few too many pounds on, I'm going to kindly say something about it and he will do the same for me. We wouldn't ever leave each other for this reason but both of us would be unhappy with sluggish behavior or overeating that could lead to any unhealthy and continual weight gain. If you let it slide this time, 15 after 15 after 15 pounds will turn into 45 pounds. We all know the older people get, the more habitual they become and the harder it becomes to return to a healthy weight. If you both have a lifetime goal to lead a healthy and active lifestyle well into your senior years, then it becomes necessary to communicate those feelings to your partner now in your youth.
clareberrys clareberrys 7 years
Also, I think as long as he is healthy and active, then the weight itself shouldnt matter......agreed puddlesworth! I love my bf's beer belly it is so nice to lay my head on and hes such a cuddly man!!!
puddlesworth puddlesworth 7 years
Give him hugs and squishes! Learn to love it!
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Wow, Greentea, you sound a bit like his mother! While I am all for couples eating healthier together, working out together, etc. I would never tell my husband "you really shouldn't eat that." He is an adult and he can make his own choices. If he ever suggested or told me what I could or couldn't (or should or shouldn't) eat I would tell him the same thing: I am an adult and I make my own decisions regarding what I eat.
Greentea1203 Greentea1203 7 years
this is going on with me too. My boyfriend isn't overweight at all, but he needs to tone up and lose some weight. He wore a white t-shirt out the other night and my best friend said 'that shirt makes him look like he has manboobs, even though he doesn't.' I pretty much told my boyfriend he just needs to work out and every time he drinks soda or eats candy I tell him he shouldnt.
cubadog cubadog 7 years
You already know that it is a touchy subject and at this point unless he asks for your weightloss advice keep your mouth shut. I do not think there is a difference between Men and Women when it comes to anyone suggesting they need to hit the gym it for the most part will piss them off. For me personally the gym is my time and I do not want to go with anyone including my BF. If you do not mind him there with you, than maybe invite him a long but do not be surprised if he doesn't want to go. Ultimately it is his decision to change and he will when he is good and ready! For the future keep healthier foods in the house that way if he wants crap he has to physically go to the store and buy it.
bluebird bluebird 7 years
He's probably cuddlier now! Rope him to the couch and get your snuggles in while you can! ...Okay, just kidding. Suggest going out on walks together, and while you're out walking race little sections. For example, "I'll race you for the next four houses! Winner gets to have their favorite vegetable for dinner tonight!" That way you incorporate healthier eating into your exercise.
bluebird bluebird 7 years
He's probably cuddlier now! Rope him to the couch and get your snuggles in while you can! ...Okay, just kidding. Suggest going out on walks together, and while you're out walking race little sections. For example, "I'll race you for the next four houses! Winner gets to have their favorite vegetable for dinner tonight!" That way you incorporate healthier eating into your exercise.
crackaddict crackaddict 7 years
I think seriously if this was my boyfriend i would say look you have put weight on and i dont like it
sundaygreen sundaygreen 7 years
Just cook healthy food together and become more active - dudes shed weight pretty easily (especially if it's only an extra 15 pounds). Have some more sex, too. Haha.
karlotta karlotta 7 years
Wow, you are all being so nice to your SOs!! My boyfriend and I both gained weight since we moved in together (and maybe what - 5 or 6 pounds?) and we throw it at each other like a brick! I make fun of his tire all the time, and he sometimes grabs my ass and goes "everything okay down there?" - but we also insist how handsome and beautiful we find each other, so it's not as hurtful as it may sound. But it DOES keep me on my toes, and I watch what I eat, and lose the weight on and off (he's a different story... HELLO TIRE, YOU ARE STILL THERE?) If it bothers you, you should tell him something about it. Okay, you may not want to say it our way "Hey, are you becoming an aircraft carrier?" - but I think Dear's advice is good. It's good for his health, too, to exercise and eat less. So go for it. Open your mouth.
karlotta karlotta 7 years
Wow, you are all being so nice to your SOs!! My boyfriend and I both gained weight since we moved in together (and maybe what - 5 or 6 pounds?) and we throw it at each other like a brick! I make fun of his tire all the time, and he sometimes grabs my ass and goes "everything okay down there?" - but we also insist how handsome and beautiful we find each other, so it's not as hurtful as it may sound. But it DOES keep me on my toes, and I watch what I eat, and lose the weight on and off (he's a different story... HELLO TIRE, YOU ARE STILL THERE?)If it bothers you, you should tell him something about it. Okay, you may not want to say it our way "Hey, are you becoming an aircraft carrier?" - but I think Dear's advice is good. It's good for his health, too, to exercise and eat less. So go for it. Open your mouth.
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
My weight yo-yo's about 15lbs every year. When I reach the top of this weight gain (15-20lbs later) I would be horrified if anybody mentioned it to me... I go to the gym and eat heathily but this weight cycle still seems to happen! Hormones? Stress? I agree with Dear: suggest workout activities that you can both do together. Cycling, walking... anything really? :) If he is reluctant to actually physically move then this is a strong indicator of what is in your future... ;)
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
My weight yo-yo's about 15lbs every year. When I reach the top of this weight gain (15-20lbs later) I would be horrified if anybody mentioned it to me... I go to the gym and eat heathily but this weight cycle still seems to happen! Hormones? Stress?I agree with Dear: suggest workout activities that you can both do together. Cycling, walking... anything really? :)If he is reluctant to actually physically move then this is a strong indicator of what is in your future... ;)
otaku otaku 7 years
no offence, but i can't quite understand why 15 lbs is such an issue. hopefully if you gain any weight in the future he wont think there's a problem like you do. obviously if he's mentioned it in passing, he's feeling like you would have a problem with it and he's insecure. i do agree with sugar tho, suggest something that you can do together so he doesn't get hurt.
jessie jessie 7 years
just start going for walks and invite him with you, make healthier meals, don't say anthing, just incorporate healthier things into your daily routine. and when he starts losing a bit, start complimenting him and maybe he'll get the idea and be a bit more motivated.
ann418 ann418 7 years
My boyfriend gained 20+ when we started dating, but I didn't exactly mind because he was too skinny. Now he has high blood pressure and cholesterol. Our friend, however, tells him regularly that he needs to loose the weight. If we're out to breakfast with the friend and either of us orders something that isn't an egg white omelette with wheat toast and no butter, we hear about it. I would never say anything to him because it's bound to hurt his feelings; he's already getting enough of it elsewhere. What I can do is be supportive of him and encourage him to be healthy by cooking healthy meals (which benefits me too) and going to the gym with him. My advice to you is not to say anything directly, unless it's effecting his health (and even then, do it very gently - maybe even let a doctor tell him). Just be the wonderful, supporting girlfriend that he'll need if his self esteem has taken a hit. Guys are just as sensitive about their bodies as we are!
melissa624 melissa624 7 years
I'm in a similar situation. My fiance has gained around 60 lbs. since we've been together (mostly because of job changes that force him to sit all day long.) He is 6' 5" though, so he can store it pretty well, but he feels bad about how he looks and is working on losing the weight. popgoestheworld made a good point though, if he doesn't really care about the weight gain, it's not going to really help to try and lose weight.I think if you make the issue more about spending time together rather than working out/losing weight, it will change the tone of the whole conversation into a much more positive one while still getting at the issue you want to address. That has worked for us, because instead of nagging him to come work out with me, it's just about doing something fun together!
melissa624 melissa624 7 years
I'm in a similar situation. My fiance has gained around 60 lbs. since we've been together (mostly because of job changes that force him to sit all day long.) He is 6' 5" though, so he can store it pretty well, but he feels bad about how he looks and is working on losing the weight. popgoestheworld made a good point though, if he doesn't really care about the weight gain, it's not going to really help to try and lose weight. I think if you make the issue more about spending time together rather than working out/losing weight, it will change the tone of the whole conversation into a much more positive one while still getting at the issue you want to address. That has worked for us, because instead of nagging him to come work out with me, it's just about doing something fun together!
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