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My Boyfriend Is Overweight

Dear Sugar
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

To see DEARSUGAR'S answers,

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."

Join The Conversation
Cleopatra Cleopatra 10 years
Good advise, Sugar! Luckily men burn off weight much easier than women do. Get exercising together. Nagging never works. At least with my husband. Gentle persuasion usually does.
DeaconP DeaconP 10 years
I think you can follow Sugar's advice without saying anything to him. Just motivate him by eating healthy, going with him to the gym, and staying active. If you say something, you might hurt his feelings more than showing concern about weight.
yayita yayita 10 years
I understand what your going through, weight is a very sensitive issue. I'm in a similar position as you, except that I'm heavier than I should be and my man is the one concerned about me but I don't like to talk about it. Thanks for the post, I think I see it from his perspective now and it motivates me to lose the added pounds. Now that he is also interested, we will try the buddy system Dear just suggested. I need more hours in the day! :)
FaeMuse FaeMuse 11 years
Make it a partnership and a point of being together! This can be a huge relationship builder and positive reinforcement for the two of you. It's hard sometimes to ditch the lifestyle that makes us sort of inactive, especially when putting working out or eating healthy into any sort of routine is often a challenge. Who wants to come home and cook dinner after a hard day's work when you can grab (McDonald's/Wendy's/In and Out/Subway/etc) on the way home? Spend an hour in the gym versus soaking in a tub? Priorities become easier to set when you've got someone to push you on, and in a positive way. :)
My-Opinion My-Opinion 11 years
awesome advice sugar!
jmac jmac 11 years
Another thought, you might ask him if he has started any medications that he didn't tell you about. I have Fibro and some of my med combinations have caused rapid weight gain, like 30 pounds/2 sizes and I used to be very thin. It's a constant battle.
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 11 years
follow sugar's advice.
FrugalFranny FrugalFranny 11 years
I have a simialir problem with my boyfirend. The way I'm dealing with it is that I cook most of the time so I cook healthy food. I also try to organise physical activities for us to do. Sometimes when he picks me up from work we stop and kick a ball around at the park,or we go walking etc Also remember sex burns off a lot of calories!
Shiloh-Jolie-Pitt Shiloh-Jolie-Pitt 11 years
oh that's a toughie! men have such fragile egos that you'll need a lot of tact to deliver him the right message. I mean not that you are being shallow but that you want him healthy. He already knows that he's overweight so if you pressure him he'll might withdraw and pout and eat some more. It might work to get a joint membership at a gym and attend together. Besides once he sees all the other guys with their bulging muscles, he'll surely feel motivated because guys are naturally competitive! Maybe you could practice what you'll say before actually talking to him..Good luck!
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