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You Asked: How Do I Get Him to Take Care of Himself?

DearSugar --

I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 years. We're best friends and we will probably get married. The problem is that he's about 100 pounds overweight; don't get me wrong, I love him a lot just as he is--I wouldn't be involved with him if he weren's smart and funny and wonderful--but his weight is troubling to me and him.

He complains about being fat constantly but he has no motivation to get rid of the weight. It effects our love life and the activities we do. I used to be extremely athletic when we met and now I'm 20 pounds overweight because I've adapted his lifestyle of eating ice cream at 3 a.m. and sitting around for a whole weekend...every weekend. He has an excuse for
everything in his life, so having an excuse not to exercise is no different.

The biggest problem is that he says his doctors say he's "fine" despite being 280 pounds because he's young. Add that to the fact that he can't be duped into eating smaller portions or enjoying regular exercises. The little tricks that people use on themselves to make them forget that they're dieting or exercising don't really work on him.

All of this has turned into arguments with me saying things that I regret 5 minutes later.
What can I do to make sure that he is comfortable with working to make himself healthy?
-- Worried Wanda

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Hello Everyone: I asked FitSugar if she would guest-answer our reader's question, as I felt she would be most qualified to help. The following advice comes from Fit and is very appreciated.

Dear Worried Wanda --

From my personal experience, pushing a partner, boyfriend, or husband about issues involving weight is not very beneficial. Like most change, folks need to decide for themselves that they want to get fit and to lose weight. It seems like people need a conversion moment, something that makes it really clear that changes in habits and lifestyle need to be made. It could be a cholesterol test, surviving a car accident, or reading You on a Diet. It is clear to me that the person needs to come to the decision to make changes on their own.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start on your own life style change path. Maybe seeing you change will encourage, said boyfriend, husband, partner to change too.

Another idea is to start doing more physical activities together, like: daily walks, hikes or snow shoeing on the weekends, yoga (take a class or do a DVD), take salsa lessons. Basically just figure out other ways to hang out together that don’t involve watching TV or eating. Be creative and have fun.

Join The Conversation
HariboLicorice HariboLicorice 10 years
Honestly, there is very little that you can do unless he wants to change this. i have a former friend (who no longer is a friend for other reasons) whose boyfriend bought her a personal trainer when she graduated from college, took her to a nutritionist (and WENT WITH HER). She eventually let everything lapse and is heavier than ever. He still works out. She doesn't want anything to do...also breaking up with him didn't help either- so they're together and she is still being self-destructive- drinking herself into oblivion and eating herself into food coma after food coma. Obesity is an eating disorder- the person has to want to bet it to do so.
steviasweet steviasweet 10 years
I totally agree that setting a good example might just do the trick. I started working out regularly and I overhauled my eating habits after my son was born. My husband saw the changes in my weight and my energy, and now he joins me at the gym quite often. He even has my protein shake for breakfast!
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
for the last year and a half, almost every morning when i take my girls to school there is this woman we see jogging. it might be pouring down rain but there she is. about 4 months ago her husband started joining her. she is there more than he is, but he is there 2 or 3 times a week. the lady jogger has gotten much faster, doesn't look miserable any more and has lost quite a bit of weight. so maybe modeling is the way to go.
katie225 katie225 10 years
i tried the whole cutting out bad foods from my groceries, since i do all the shopping, but my bf got ticked off after awhile. it was like, "THERE'S NOTHING TO EAT IN THIS HOUSE!" and then i would give him healthy things he could eat, and he's like, "THIS ISN'T FOOD!" literally screaming and everything. i don't give in to him about the junk food buying, but now he doesn't eat at home, he goes out and buys fast food. honestly, i'm thinking the only thing i can do to help him is to model as healthy a lifestyle i possibly can and hope that he jumps in with me. i love him a lot and want him to be around for as long as possible, but i also don't want him to resent me or think that i find him unattractive. so i'm in the same boat, basically.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
hummm, i don't usually read other poster's suggestions before i post (feel like it should come from my gut), but this time i did. i think this is sort of a strange issue because he didn't just gain 100 lbs over night but now you want to make it an issue, it's really not your business if his doctor says he's healthy (i think that's a lie, but there's another issue) and after 4 years is that really what this is about? i suspect he might be depressed but if he denys it what can you do? much like him saying the doctor is happy with the 100 lb weight gain it's his word against yours "i'm not depressed". i dated a guy that gained about 40 lbs and i didn't even notice! he was really insulted and actually brought it up to me and was insulted that i hadn't commented. maybe it's an attention thing with your boyfriend. the thing is, it's obvious that there is at least 1 pretty big problem, but with one person in the relationship saying "problem, what problem" what can you do? i'd almost be tempted to buy him tons of sweets and treats and keep my portions lean and healthy. he's sure to notice and when you say "i did that for you. you like thoses foods". what can he say? if it's really about the food you'll at least know. i think the idea of including him in activities is only going to frustrate you. he's hip to the "tricks" you've already tried. maybe for your own sanity everytime you get mad you can grab your sneakers and go for a quick run. i don't see this resolving by anything you can do, it isn't in your control. let yourself off the hook and try to focus on other parts of the relationship that are more satisfying. i would be interested in hearing how this goes. i wish there was a follow up post available.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
AKA - my boyfriend and I play ultimate too. It's so much fun!
AKA AKA 10 years
This is an area where you want to build lifetime healthy habits. Instead of trying to get rid of everything unhealthy at once try to make changes in baby steps. Decide that YOU are going to add a salad to every lunch and dinner and if you are making the meal give your boyfriend a salad too. Then try adding an extra vegetable to your meals. Exercising can start out as short as 5 min. away from your house, turn around and walk the 5 min. back every day until you both feel like going further. Finding an activity where both of you are having fun is key. My fiancé and I found that we like to play ultimate Frisbee and dance dance revolution on the Xbox. FitSugar is right, make it a goal to do this for yourself and then include him.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
It seems like unless he really wants to change, he's not going to. But YOU can change, and it sounds like you want to! Maybe if you start going out and exercising and feeling great and having fun, he'll be inclined to follow in your footsteps. Did you or he used to play sports in high school? You can probably find adult rec sports leagues in your area and start participating again. BTW, it does sound like you love him, but his habit of "having an excuse for everything in his life" is worrisome to me. It sounds like he needs to start taking responsibility for himself and his choices, and you definitely can't do that for him. Good luck!!
JAM-the-MAN JAM-the-MAN 10 years
Changing the unhealthy diet would be good to start with, get all the ice cream and chips out of the house, so theres no temptation. Replace with fruits and such. Make a deal to both lose X amount of pounds by a certain time. Exercise togethor.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
Hi Worried Wanda, you are very sweet to be worried for your boyfriend, he's lucky to have someone who cares so much about his wellbeing. I agree with FitSugar that exercising together could be the solution to your problems. Instead of relating it to weight and exercising, relate it to feeling great and having fun together! In the summer my boyfriend and I love outdoor hiking and swimming. In the winter we go as often as we have time to our local community centre pool, it's fun and healthy too, with the added bonus of us spending time together. Do you have a dog? You could walk the dog together every evening. Even without a dog, a nice walk around your neighbourhood talking about your day is relaxing. What about taking a cooking class together? Something where the focus is a healthy menu. If you do most of the grocery shopping, start picking up healthy snacks and making fruit salad for dessert instead of icecream and other unhealthy treats. Eat healthy a few days in a row and then mention how good you feel, maybe your good attitude towards a healty lifestyle will be contagious. Buying a piece of exercise equipment for your living room is a good idea too, if it's right there maybe he'll use it. I have a simple stability ball I keep in the living room and I use it a few times a week for muscle toning and stretching and it was only $10, so you don't need to spend a lot. You can buy a simple weight set for about $30 and do some arm exercises even while you're watching TV.
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