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Ask E. Jean For DearSugar: We've Both Gained the Newlywed 15 — Help!

Ask E. Jean For DearSugar: We've Both Gained the Newlywed 15 — Help!

Dear E. Jean,

My husband and I have been married one year and we're very much in love. What's the problem? We're getting fat and we blame each other! Instead of the Freshman 15, we’ve each put on the Newlywed 15 in less than a year. We’ve tried dieting together, but we fall back into bad eating habits during times of stress or celebration. My husband is a fan of the low-carb diet; I don’t think a life without carbs is worth living. He likes lifting weights and running; I prefer yoga. It’s impossible!

But no matter what E. Jean, we’re too attractive to let ourselves go! I haven’t been feeling as confident as I used to, and this affects our marriage in more ways than one. When I feel badly about myself I can’t give my husband the attention he deserves. We should be feeling frisky and sexy, not flabby and irritable! Help! — Fat and Unhappy in Houston

To see E. Jean's answer


E. Jean to Houston,

Darling, I’d like to see you and your husband try to keep the weight on after you have a whirl at this. (I’m a moron for not thinking of this years ago!)

Go to Decide how much money it’s worth to each of you to get rid of the 15 pounds forever — $15? $50? $150? $500? (I know people who’ve spent $5,000 a year since the Reagan Administration trying to lose the same 20 pounds.) Decide the date by which you want to lose the weight. Then tell Auntie Eeee the name of your husband’s ex-girlfriend. Because Auntie Eeee is going to send her the money if you don’t lose the weight.

Yes, and to make doubly certain you don’t "fall back into bad eating habits," the note I’m sending to the ex-girlfriend (along with your money) will say you’re such a delightful dingbat that you want her — the ex-girlfriend — to take your husband out to dinner because you’re no longer feeling "frisky and sexy" and can’t lose 15 pounds. (By the way, the note I’d be sending to your ex-boyfriend because your husband can’t lose the pounds is even more entertaining.)

Of course, you’ll get the money back if you do lose the weight; not that you’ll be able to look at food again. And if there are no exes in the case, you can name a horrid ex-boss, a mean girl from high school, or a nasty political group like Kill the Whales.

So let’s do it. The $40 billion-a-year diet industry has wasted everyone’s bread long enough! You can help feed the world’s hungry by stipulating that the United Nations Food Programme receives a percentage of the money you put down. My friend, Kenneth Shaw, a brainiac economics guy out of Stanford, has made the site so simple (no pictures! no bilge!) it’s almost Google-esque.

And best of all? On, you can maintain your svelte self by stipulating that the cash will go to your husband’s ex (the guy who stole your promotion, a puppy mill, etc) if you gain a pound back. Enjoy!

To see more advice from E. Jean, visit Elle magazine and

frieddumpling frieddumpling 8 years
i actually really like the website E Jean what if it was a shameless ad, it was actually good advice! i'm going to try it :) i think some of you are being a bit too harsh on E Jean!
sassy_chick sassy_chick 8 years
This whole thing is just a self-serving ad. I won't be reading E Jean's postings anymore, since I just lost respect for her.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
I don't really like the idea of basing your weight loss on something that essentially has a negative connotation to it. So if you don't lose the weight then you have to give money to your worst enemy? Stupid. I would rather join a site like peertrainer or sparkpeople that allows you to stay accountable to either people in your life or just an online community. Also, why doesn't the OP just go ahead and lose the weight by doing her own thing, then possibly her husband will follow suit? If he sees you determined and looking hot again, he'd probably want to do the same.
caryatid caryatid 8 years
Yeah, I agree with Fallen... kinda annoyed at how this pitch for the website was disguised as part of the normal advice column. Especially since the same letter appears on the website with the same answer. Even though I like the idea behind the website, I don't like this approach to selling it. Sorry E Jean.
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
chantondeniege she didnt offer anyone money and EJean created the website with the help of "Kenneth Shaw, a brainiac economics guy out of Stanford". It's an ad for her new weightloss website.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
E. Jean, fat is not contagious. Laziness, however, spreads like wildfire. This chick needs to put on her big girl pants and get over it. She and her husband are not Siamese twins, and they do not need go to the gym at the same time. The healthy eating they can do together, but they each have to have individual plans regarding exercise. More than anything, they both need to have their own individual motivation, or they will not get anywhere.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
dm8bri, yoga can make you shed pounds quickly if you do it right! I've only done it four times since the new year (I was sick for a few days so I skipped) and there's already a visible difference in my musculature. I don't use weight as a measure of my health, but my arms already feel less flabby than they did last semester! If you're not becoming more fit quickly, you're not pushing yourself hard enough. That's the joy of yoga - it's all about how hard you want to go. If you don't want to become more healthy in yoga, you won't! I agree that they clearly don't have interests which allow them to lose weight together. And as much fun as it might be to get back in shape with her hubby, they each probably need to find someone else who shares their interests. And I don't think that E. Jean's answer was confusing at all. She offered money so the two of them could use this website (to which she has no ties) - a rather kind offer, in my opinion!
Marci Marci 8 years
Take control of your own diet. It doesn't have to be the same as your husband's. Cut your portions, count your calories and do the yoga you like. If your husband wants to join you in any of those, he can. Otherwise, he can do it his way. But just because you're married doesn't mean you have to do the same exercise program. Or even eat the same way, even when eating together.
candace87 candace87 8 years
I agree with Fallen this was definitely an ad.. and CYL's advice is great:) Basically, as everyone else said, don't do this together if it isn't working. Get another friend to go to the gym with. Eat what you both want to eat sepereately, just because you are married doesn't mean you are now suddenly one entity :)
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
*le sigh* Besides this couple's inability to do things independently, they're only half-assing their attempts to get into shape. A) Don't stock the pantry and fridge with unhealthy food. If it's not there, you won't eat it. B) And, if you're too lazy to get some exercise in, you probably won't be motivated to go out and get the bad food either. C) Yoga doesn't make you shed pounds very quickly at all. You need cardio and weight training along with other things like yoga and pilates. Can you guys take up some sort of competitive sport like co-ed soccer? D) I complained all last month to my bf about my weight gain...then I realized I was wasting time and breath. Talking about it doesn't help...doing something about it does. So I got a personal trainer and got over myself.
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
Ok people, enough criticizing... She's asking for advice, that's the first step to taking control and responsibility. And sorry E.Jean, I think your advice on this one wasn't worth much... My husband and I are looking a bit softer too. I don't believe in money as a motivator to lose weight, so here's what we're doing: I'm a secretary, he's in construction. Meaning I sit a lot and he lifts a lot. So I started dancing again, which forces at least an hour a week (2-3 if I practice at home) of good heart pumping, muscle building activity. I'm also taking the 7 flights of stairs up to my office everyday, and sometimes at lunch too. And I downloaded some quickie workouts (most are 7-10 min and not strenuous enough to leave me drenched in sweat, but I still feel it) for my lunch hour from Women's to my iPod. Those are my ME things. Together we're going swimming once a week and making sure to go on a small walk together with the doggy. He loves hiking no matter the weather (I'm a fair weather hiker), so he's going on a 2-3 hour hike every weekend. That's HIS thing. Meal planning and portion control are also a MUST. Use a recipe site! Create enough meals for the week, plan 4 servings each night so you have enough for lunch, and plan to make a healthy snack and desert for the week so you're not as tempted to go out for ice cream or something. Most recipe sites list the calories per serving; stick to that serving size to control how much you're eating (making only 4 servings helps with this). When you go to the grocery store, be religious about taking a list (most recipe sites can do this) and STICK TO IT. That way you don't have as much junk food in your kitchen. Keep lots of fruit on hand too, it makes for a quick healthy sweet snack. If you find you're too tired to cook certain nights, make it a point to do some batch cooking before your week starts and freeze it so you have healthy dinners on hand that are as easy to make as frozen pizzas. Be each other's cheerleaders! My hubby asks me almost every evening, did you take the stairs? Did you do your lunch workout? And I ask him in the middle of the week where he's going on his hike, so he gets excited about it and doesn't want to put it off... It sucks and it's hard, but you don't have to spend money to lose weight. You just need to plan health & fitness into your life routines, EVERY day. You can do it!!
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I take responsbility for myself. Both of you can cook healthy meals (I eat a gluten free lifestyle so SCREW low on carbs because thats easy in comparison) together and that takes no effort at all. You can add on your carbs later if you have to (bread, pasta) but those are the worst things to eat when you are dieting anyway! 15lbs is not a lot of weight. At times of stress I'll gain about 15lbs but then I'll take responsibility for losing it myself. Me and my boyfriend go to the gym and we do totally different things. Are there no yoga classes on at the same time as he can go and run and lift weights?? Seriously, you are your OWN PERSON. I have no idea what E.Jean was on when she wrote that reply but yeah... you need to behave as an INDIVIDUAL and not 2 people in one body. :)
geebers geebers 8 years
I have to agree somewhere between E.Jean, Fallen, and CYL. While I don't get why the two MUST do something together -her question is clearly pointing to needed the incentive to lose weight BY doing something together. And let's face it- people usually gain weight and stay fat because they have no motivation or will to do it alone. People who work hard and lose weight are admired because they are rare - and it is a serious accomplishment if you do it alone. So I get where she is coming from - I don't agree but I get it. I think they should continue to find something they enjoy together- don't give up! And joining this site- what is the big deal? If it helps- it is something that worked! If not- then continue to find an exercise that you both enjoy. It is possible to have healthy meals together - low-carb or what-not - healthy food doesn't change even if diets do. Keep that mind.
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
EJean, I dont understand your response to my comments.. is it YOUR website that is devoted to people losing weight? Regardless, the question what about how could the poster lose weight with her husband when they both like different things and your response was to give money to someone else if you dont lose weight.... it doesnt really make any sense. Your response just sounds like a plug to your buddy's website which is exactly what it is. If the poster had asked how she could convince herself to get her lazy ass out of the house then your response would be warranted but since it wasnt then you just sound like you're doing some shameless promotion instead of giving advice.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
You and your husband can lose weight by doing things differently. Running and walking is sort of a universal thing, but men and women have different likes and dislikes. If your husband wants to run, and you want to do yoga, fine. If you both really want to be active as a couple, then think of exciting things you can do, like going for a hike. And seriously, if you don't have any place to walk comfortably (i.e., live in an area with no sidewalks on the main roads" then even taking a trip to the mall or Super WalMart and doing a couple of brisk walking laps can help you a lot. But, if you really want to lose the weight, then you're going to have to take control of your own body NOW, and stop making excuses. I talked some sense into myself, and my BF is a SKINNY pig, so he eats whatever he wants -- and ya know what I said to myself? "NO, you can't have the f*cking chips and 3 grilled cheese sandwiches, because YOU are on a diet. Who cares what he does?"
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Oh, and EJean, I actaully really like this idea as motivation. It's funny as hell for me to think, "If I don't lose Xlbs, then my cash goes to THAT CHICK?!? Hell no!" LOL, I don't think I would actually sign up (no cash anyway) but still, its funny and the thought will probably help me get out of bed on a cold morning for excerise when its freezing out.LOL
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years damn true! I hate to admit I used to be like this. I put on a whopping 30lbs since dating my BF (almost 5 yrs now) and for the longest time I would put the blame on him (oh, I always eats when he eats even if I'm not hungry. It's because HE wanted dessert so I ate some. I ordered the fries with cheese because HE thought he sounded good...blah blah blah, his fault his fault). Then one day I it clicked in my head: If I don't want to eat this or that or at this time I won't. And just because he orders bacon burger with fries doesn't mean i have to. Now looking back I am ashamed I ever blamed him for something that is so CLEARLY MY FAULT. I even went so far as to apologize to him. Now I'm taking control of my own habits and I feel great. I can't believe I blamed him for something he had no control over (my own damn habits. I guess in denial, its easier to blame someone else) But yeah, suck it up!
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Count calories ( is great), weigh yourself 1-2 times a week, focus on choices, limit sugar and alcohol, and try to workout 3-4 times a week. You're not locked into doing it together - it's YOUR life, set an example and maybe he'll follow!
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
Umm. Where is the common sense these days? Put on some shoes and get out of the house. Go for a walk/run. Its really that simple. And to be honest, 80% of the time you wont feel like it, and the weather will be cold or rainy, but suck it up and exercise. You will feel better about yourself. And stop eating McDonalds so much and cook dinner instead! My mom always told me to "suck it up" and now I'm telling you that. Its called tough love.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
Maybe this Depression is good for America. It might help overweight people lose weight because they can't afford to eat like Henry VIII. Maybe everyone will be skinny again like they were in the 1930's when they were lucky to get an apple for lunch.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I dont get this question. They both gained 15 pounds, he likes low carb diets and she doesnt.....he likes one exercise she likes please tell them what to do? eat better exercise repeat above till not fat.
karlotta karlotta 8 years
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 8 years
I understand and agree that they should work with what suit them best individually. however, if they are one of those couples who prefer to do everything together (which kind of makes me ill personally), I think there should be some sort of exercise or routine that would meet in the middle like the others who mentioned Tae Bo or something along those lines.
hope2be hope2be 8 years
In terms of physical activity, OPs, I'd suggest that you guys do your own thing (he can lift weight while you do yoga or whatever). Or if you both like the outdoors, just join one of those outdoor fitness thing (hiking, running, etc), you may be able to find it in your city. As for diet, here's an idea, since you guys both want and are willing to spend money to get there, how about BOTH of you go to a nutritionist or dietitian or someone pro in that field. Maybe he or she can suggest the best combined diet for both of you.
kia kia 8 years
The newlywed weight sometimes happens. You need to get yourself in shape whether he is going along with your plan or not. Good luck and I hope you guys find your balance with your diet and activity.
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