Monday, September 24, 2007

How to tell your significant other that they're getting a little chubby

Not on Weight Watchers yet, but soon. Soon.

Breaking Her The Bad News
Been with your girlfriend or wife for awhile now and you’ve started to notice a little increase in her dress sizes? You’re not alone as many people in relationships tend to gain weight after an extended period of time. Whether it’s because you’ve both stopped dieting because you’re not in the dating scene anymore, or that you’ve just gotten too comfortable on the couch with her to get up and go to the gym, there are many factors that contribute to gaining weight in a long-term relationship.

But if you think she’s totally oblivious to her sudden weight change and you don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, how do you go about telling her without hurting her feelings then?

Chances are, you probably don’t have to.

She Already Knows
“First, women who have put on weight don't need their significant others to tell them,” says Registered Dietician, Jennifer Nardone from the New York State Dietetic Association. “Chances are, they know it and are reminded everyday when they try to fit into a pair of jeans, a dress, etc.

“But what a woman does need is constant support and unconditional love regardless of size so not to exacerbate other underlying problems that may exist and that have led to weight gain. Some tips and ideas to try and find out what else is going on include asking how they are, asking if there has been any stress or problems they what to talk about, and simply, being aware of their emotions,” says Dr. Nardone.

But as men, we know that something as seemingly easy as being aware of her emotions isn’t easy at all, and many guys in this situation tend to either A) Tell her flat out—“Honey, hate to tell you this, but you’re getting a little chunky.” Or B) Insinuate that she shouldn’t be eating certain foods that you know will go straight to her thighs—“Do you really need that second scoop of ice cream?” Neither method is really recommended.

It’s About Health, Not Appearance
"It's important to never accuse your significant other of gaining weight, but rather, emphasize the importance of making changes together,” says Dr. Christopher R Mohr, RD of “Suggest daily activities, rather than sitting and watching TV, and join co-ed intramural sport activities in your area, such as softball, volleyball, etc.”

Another good thing to do before you start poking her in the belly is walking over to the mirror and lifting up your own shirt. If your girlfriend or wife gained a considerable amount of weight, then there’s a very good chance that you did, too

"Always support one another in trying to make positive changes,” says Dr. Mohr, who also recently filmed a Healthy Grocery Shopping DVD with his wife to teach about the right steps to make when at the supermarket, which is a good way to start the conversation about making healthy choices as a couple. “It's not just a weight thing, it's a health thing and it should be encouraged that the entire family make smarter decisions."

Think Smart, Not Low
And smarter decisions really aren’t that hard to make when the two of you are working as a team. When going to the movies, instead of buying popcorn, sneak in some healthy snacks instead. Got an urge to eat right before hitting the sack? Play a game in bed that will keep your minds off food until you fall asleep. She wants White Castle but she just had it two days ago? Suggest that you’ll cook her a healthy alternative at home that really shows you know what she likes without going overboard on the calories. The more fun it is, the more likely she (and you) will stick to it.

And most importantly, don’t let it dominate your lives.

“Should the girlfriend grab a box of cookies, don't rush to criticize!” says Dr. Nardone, stressing the importance of being her rock rather than her shadowy scale. “Let it pass, tell her she's beautiful and continue to be the support system she needs.”

What Guys Who Have Been There Have Said
Advice from doctors and dieticians is fine and good and all, but what about advice from guys who have already been there with their significant others? Here are three guy’s accounts of how they went about doing it. And to keep them out of the doghouse, we’ll only use their first names. Googling your partners kind of takes the fun out of things when your significant other can find out what you’ve said about them by just entering you name and address. Use these methods with caution.

“Travis” from Texas—“I at first joked about it and said she was fat and needed to lose some weight. But then I suggested that there was a race that I wanted to run with her and we practiced for weeks. We lost a lot of weight that way.”

“Vladimir” from New Jersey—“I joked with her and called her a fatty. We both laughed about it, but I think she got the point.”

“Ankur” from New Jersey—“In a relationship, there should be a good amount of comfort where you can directly tell them, 'look, you're getting fat.' That's what I would do, and that's what I have done in the past. I don't see what's the big deal.”

Again, use these methods with caution.


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