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You Asked: My Husband Has Gotten Fat!

Dear Sugar,

I love my husband. He is everything I ever wanted in a man and more — about 25 pounds more. When we first met, he was very fit and athletic, but over time he's really put on the chunk. I find it very unattractive and I am much less interested in sex now, and it's starting to cause problems in our relationship because he feels rejected. I've never outright told him to lose weight, but I'm starting to think I should.

I'm fit and healthy (I'm training for my second marathon) so I'm constantly exercising and eating right. I always prepare healthy meals and have plenty of healthy snacks in the house, but he continuously goes to the grocery store to buy junk food, he goes out to lunch at work, or he eats obscenely unhealthy portions of what would otherwise be a healthy meal. When I invite him for a run or to walk the dog, he's not interested. What do I do? — Turned Off Olivia

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Dear Turned Off Olivia,

So this doesn't cause any more strain on your relationship than it already has, you've got to speak up and tell him what's on your mind ASAP. Not only is it important so you can salvage your relationship, but his unhealthy eating habits are most definitely wreaking havoc on his mind, body, and spirit.

Talk to him in a very nonthreatening tone so he won't get defensive, and instead of turning it into a "you need to lose weight" conversation, approach the topic as a life change you'd like to see him make. It sounds like your husband has simply slipped into an unhealthy rut, so work together to break this new cycle. Turn the nightly dog walks into time spent together, and if he needs those occasional breaks from the diet food, indulge in a pizza night together or treat yourselves to an ice cream cone every once in a while. As we all know, depriving ourselves of the things we love could throw off our weight loss plan all together so start with baby steps.

At the end of the day, your husband is still the same guy he was before he put on the chunk, so speak up, be honest with him, and hopefully he'll make getting back into shape a priority for him and you. Good luck!


Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I think it's best if you do an overhaul on what you keep in your home for food and try and think of fun "together" activities for some exercise.
karlorene karlorene 8 years
maybe there is something else going on that's causing him to gain so much weight? stressful things in his life, etc. if you are going to talk to him, make sure he knows you love him and are concerned for his health- and not just because he doesn't weigh what he used to
hope2be hope2be 8 years
Wow, that's a toughie. It really has to come from himself the desire to lose the pounds and keep up the healthy lifestyle. Is he depressed? Depression can cause weight gain for some because they became less motivated to be active and then the overeating can set in when you turn couch potato. I agree that you can approach this sensitively, and not mention about the bedroom part, and also ask him if something is bothering him too in another aspect of his life outside the house (work? friends? his family?). My fiancee was quite depressed because of his lack of work (his company cut down his work tremendously during winter time) and he gained 20-something lbs too! He's turned to be passive sexually (because he claimed to be embarrassed and such). I, on the other hand, keep my exercising and was losing weight. Until 2 weeks ago, he was in quite a denial (I tried suggesting healthier diet before but he became defensive), then after we had sex, he said, he noticed how his stamina was really down and that I've looked so much fitter than before then he suddenly became motivated. Fortunately, he also has started to work more too this week and he's happier. It's really easy once he has overcome the hurdles of being unhappy and such, then he followed my healthier way of eating to the T. His pants are getting looser although he still is scared to look at the scale, heck, I'm not complaining as long as he's doing his best with his eating and more exercise. :)
youbetcha youbetcha 8 years
I also wanted to add that I don't think the OP is being shallow at all. She made it clear that she loves her husband. How is finding chunkiness unattractive any more shallow than finding say, digusting table manners, poor hygiene, halitosis, baldness, excessive hairyness, shortness, tallness, tattoos, moobs, hairy back or whatever traits you find unattractive, unattractive. We all have different preferences and we can't help that. (I happen to find baldness sexy, btw, but I know plenty of girls who don't and I would hardly accuse them of being shallow ) Like the OP, when I met my husband, he was in reasonably good shape and at the time, took an interest in his appearance. We were on the same page, so to speak. It is not unreasonable to expect your husband to not let himself go completely just because you are married.
stumbler02 stumbler02 8 years
"I think it's one thing to be concerned about it for the sake of her husband's emotions/health and quite another to be concerned about it for her own selfishness/sexual satisfaction." I find this comment to be rather insensitive to the OP. Since when is sexual satisfaction in a marriage considered selfish? I think it's yet another guilt trip on wives, who are expected to remain turned on by their husbands no matter how much the men let themselves go. Sorry, but that is completely unrealistic and unfair. Obviously the wife shouldn't base the whole future of the relationship on this issue, but I don't think the OP is doing that anyway. In my experience, everyone should give their partner a chance when they're going through tough times, to straighten themselves out, but after that, it's time to speak up. For example, I gained 15 lbs last year after spending some time in the hospital and going through other issues. My boyfriend never brought it up and claimed he "didn't notice," which I know was a lie. But I knew I had to do something about it just for myself, and I lost the weight (and more) within 6 months. On the other hand, my boyfriend has now gained 20-30 pounds himself over the last year, and he only seems to be gaining more. He also doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. I am going to give him 3 more months to see if he does act on it. Then I will I speak up. Until then, he won't hear a peep from me about his weight. I haven't said a word about it yet--in fact, I tell him he's attractive to me every day, and I always brush off his weight comments. I think you have to give people a chance. Basically, my point is that negative comments and guilt trips get people nowhere. Consideration and honesty do.
stumbler02 stumbler02 8 years
I can't believe someone said it's the wife's fault for making tasty food. What, married men aren't adults? He sure sounds like a child if he can't resist food because it's tasty and available. And excuse me, but he should be packing his own lunch. Blaming the wife? Wow, grow up.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i actually found that often it was the wife's fault. my best friend gained a lot of weight because of his wife. she just bought junk food for dinner and a lot of unhealthy snacks. i recently visited them (they live in another town) and he ate every 30min, I asked why (we talk about our weight problems openly because it's healthy) and he said "because it's there, i know it's tasty and available".
youbetcha youbetcha 8 years
I completely agree with dm8bri's comment: If our loved ones can't tell us, who can? We need reality checks and some tough love. I think it goes without saying that most people would approach the subject in a tactful way, as gently as possible and wouldn't deliberately hurt their loved one's feelings. Some people are going to be more sensitive than others. My brother for example, doesn't mind at all talking about his weight gain and even jokes about it. But he also would go on a diet, exercise and gets slimmer before he gains any more weight. My husband, on the other hand, was so sensitive about it that his refusal to even discuss healther eating plans, his sulking was getting ridiculous. No amount of sugarcoating was going to work. The whole, 'I am thinking of joining a gym, shall we go together?' approach was almost like an insult to him, a thinly veiled attempt to make him exercise to lose weight. It was very tough for me to watch him pile on the weight over the years and see him in such denial. By denial, I mean he didn't want to think or talk about it but he knew perfectly well he was overweight. He would (over) eat cos he was unhappy- about his weight! He is usually not a grumpy person at all and we have a wonderful relationship but his weight was an absolute no go area. He felt that it was not possible for someone like him to lose weight, or that it would be very, very difficult, that he would have to practically starve, that he would have to do sooooo much exercise. He would say he is just big boned, that his metabolism is different to other people, he needed to eat more cos he is a big guy, that he was only slightly overweight but it was normal for his age (35), that he is no longer 18, what do you expect etc etc. He knew perfectly well that these were just lame excuses. But once he started seriously reading and researching and educating himself about healthy eating, he decided to try out low carbing combined with running and his weight just fell off! He probably lost the first 30 lbs in 8 weeks and the rest over several months. Now he is very, very well informed about good nutrition and exercising and cooks all our meals himself.
Athena123987 Athena123987 8 years
I can see the OP's point, although there's a fine line between justified and shallow. I've been with my boyfriend for almost four years, and over the first two, he gained 55 pounds! I still loved him dearly, but I couldn't deny that it changed things like his activity level (we watched a lot more TV because his poor diet affected his energy levels) and even things like cuddling became harder. Also, I was very worried about his health; for one thing, his family tends toward obesity (as in 400+ lbs) AND he is diabetic (type one, the genetic type) and I know that for all the types of diabetes, obesity is a big problem and makes the complications so much worse. I was terrified to bring it up for the reasons other commenter have mentioned; in our culture, weight seems to have all these moral implications, and I didn't want him to interpret what I said as a moral judgment. What I made clear is that I wanted him to be around for me and the family we want to have some day, and to be healthy enough to play with the kids. I also acknowledged that he was fighting an uphill battle in terms of genetics; all of my pre-med classes have acknowledged that some people burn calories more and store fat less than others, and I know my man will have a harder time losing weight than many. I wanted him to know I would help him, encourage him, and that I cared most of all because I valued him in my life. I don't want to be a cranky old person alone; I imagine it's much harder to chase kids off the lawn. ;) If you decide to talk to him, just think about how you would feel if the situation were reversed and make sure you are fair about it. I also know that someone who has gained a lot of weight can feel really defeated and overwhelmed; I just try to make sure I build him up and never tear him down.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
I'm going to defend the fact that I am not shallow, I genuinely care about his health. His dad died at a very young age from a rare heart condition and now his cousin has it too. I want him to do whatever he can to stick around for his family. I don't want our children growing up without daddy like he had too.
opentypeA opentypeA 8 years
I don't know for sure how this person feels, but I think it's one thing to be concerned about it for the sake of her husband's emotions/health and quite another to be concerned about it for her own selfishness/sexual satisfaction. 25 pounds is quite a bit, so it's not something to just let slide, but I don't think she is writing for the right reasons.
youbetcha youbetcha 8 years
I too was in a very similar situation until last year when my husband suddenly, out of the blue, after 7 years of being in denial about his weight issues (let's face it- he had become borderline obese), decided to start exercising, dieting and get fit. He lost 44 pounds in about a year and he couldn't be happier. Once he started losing weight, and with every milestone (he is training for a marathon now), he became more and more motivated. But the change in his attitude didn't come about easily! No matter how gently I tried to encourage him to get fitter, he became very defensive and didn't want to talk about it. I don't know what changed his mind. One day, he just made up his mind and once he decided he was going to do this FOR HIMSELF, not for me, not because I asked him but because HE WANTED TO, he went all out and managed to shed the pounds, run marathons etc. Not long ago, he actually apologised to me for having been so stubborn and difficult. He said he always knew that I was right, but he just had to get around to it.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Like some of the rest of you, my husband has also gained weight since we got married. And even though I love him to pieces, it scares me that his health might be in danger (he's gained about 30 lbs since we got married), especially since lately it seems like HE'S the one not interested in sex because he's always "too tired" for it. I guess I'm kind of in the reverse situation; I'm the one that feels rejected because if I don't initiate the sex, I don't get any. What I've done is to tell him that I'm worried about his health (NOT his weight) and I give him examples of how he can't keep up with me anymore. I told him that I want him around for a long time and that maybe he'd feel better if he worked out more. Since I know he likes riding his bike, I suggested that he ride to work when it's nice to save on gas. Also, I've been packing him smaller portions for his lunch and buying fruit as snacks instead of chips. Little steps add up to a big change if you are subtle and do it out of love. I know I wouldn't like it if my husband was blunt about telling me that I needed to drop a few; I'd appreciate a tactful approach.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
It's for better or worse for a reason... He wasn't like this before you got married?
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
I have to agree with most of the posters who said "time to reality check." When my husband and I were wrestling around one day he looks up at me and says "Ha. Your arms are getting jiggly". Don't get me wrong, I was a little miffed, but it was exactly what I needed to get my butt back in the gym.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i think telling people they got fat is ok. my parents do that to me. i gained 25lbs and my friends tell me I look fine - come on people i'm not blind. yes i'm still cute and most guys don't seem to mind it (weird, i know) but lying about it to my face is just uncalled for. people need reality checks. face it - that's the only thing that gets you moving. if you're fat then you're fat and sugarcoating it won't help. yes it might hurt to hear it, but come on, if you eat like a pig then you have to face the consequences ;) i embrace the truth - that's how i can make decisions that benefit me.
oohsexypenguin oohsexypenguin 8 years
I would approach the subject as a) a health issue, and b) an emotional issue because if you tell him flat out "Hey, you've turned into a porker and I just don't want to have sex with you anymore," it will probably do more harm than good. Sit him down, tell him that it would mean the world to you if he'd get back in shape so he's still around for your 50th wedding anniversary. Also tell him you're concerned that he doesn't seem to care anymore about how he's treating his body, and that you want to know if there's some underlying problem. The way you handle this will either make or break your relationship. You can help him through it, ultimately strengthening your marriage, or you can ditch him in favor of finding Mr. Six Pack. It's up to you.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
If our loved ones can't tell us, who can? This man has put on 30lbs and doesn't seem committed to making a change. It's HARD to maintain a relationship with someone who is not on the same page as far as personal health. It sounds as though some sort of emotional issue is going on here, as he is over-eating and avoiding walks as a couple. Maybe counseling wouldn't be a bad idea, in addition to sensitive honesty, light workouts and a diet change.
karlotta karlotta 8 years
By the way, I gained about 15 pounds in the past few months (change of BC, winter foods, and emotional eating) and I'm grateful that my BF didn't sugarcoat it. I may have been complacent, and not gotten my nice ass back, if he hadn't flat out told me that I was letting myself go. He didn't say it in a mean way, and he didn't threaten our relationship - but he made it clear that my waistline was expanding, and that it was totally NOT cute.
karlotta karlotta 8 years
Actually, he's a man, so he can probably just take it the way it is (which is often the only way men will HEAR things): Honey, I love you, but you've porked out, and it's becoming unattractive. I'm not going anywhere, because there's more to my love than your fantastic silhouette, but you need to get yourself back in shape if you don't want to end up in a platonic marriage for the next 50 years. If you try and be subtle about it, he just won't get it.
queenlizzie queenlizzie 8 years
I've gained weight since my relationship started 5 1/2 years ago, and if my partner took the approach Dear suggested, he'd be moving out this weekend. Get over yourselves.
RunninginBoston RunninginBoston 8 years
cherry--25 is more than a "few" pounds, especially if he put it on in a short period of time. From the last few lines it seems the OP is mostly concerned about the change in behavior that caused the weight gain. He's acting rejected because she's not turned on by him, but she seems to be feeling rejected because he doesn't want to do any of the activities they used to do together. I agree with mamasitamala. It sounds like there could be an emotional basis for his weight gain since he is uninterested in activities he used to like. Could be depression or something like that. I think the OP should try to look outside the weight issue and see if there's something else going on besides just simple slacking on healthy eating and exercise.
cherrygirl143 cherrygirl143 8 years
I think it is sad that someone would be more concerned about how their spouse looks instead of it being more of a concerned about their health. My husband had gained a few pounds too but I don't think he is any less sexy then when we met because I love him for who he is. I would encourage him to loose the weight because extra weight is a health issue not because I don't think he is attractive. Seems shallow to me.....
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