Flipping through Fitness magazine an article entitled “Don’t Go There” drew me in. In the piece, the author recounts seeing a nutritionist who made some rather rigid suggestions. The women shares the nutritionist’s recommendations and her concern over sticking to the plan with her husband. He roots her on, encourages her to give it a try and she flips out. Subtext to her was maybe you should try a little harder to lose weight. After the scuffle that ensues the husband declares weight an off limits topic in their relationship. He concludes that whatever he said was taken the wrong way. For them this was the right decision. She went on to build a healthy routine and lose some of wedding weight.
This got me thinking. I do not think there’s any place for harsh or critical weight commentary in a relationship but the notion of an off limits topic doesn’t sit well with me. I may fall too far in the “better to say it” camp but I think with weight it in can be just as damaging to say nothing. So how do you say something without wreaking havoc?
- First, don’t have this conversation when someone is getting dressed, about to leave the house etc. While there may be no perfect time, right before you leave for a night out or work isn’t best. It's also not best right before or right after sex unless of course you never want to have sex again (with that person).
- Second and I’ve said this before “how do I look?” isn’t really a question. “How do I look” is praise seeking. When faced with this request, whatever it is find something to compliment the other person on and move on.
- It’s crucial to make sure your wellness or weight commentary is about the other person even if it in turn affects you. Have you noticed your partner is more self-conscious? Dressing differently? Super stressed? So busy that workouts are marginalized? If so, these are great points of entry. You don’t have to say much, sometimes a question is enough to plant a seed or get a conversation started in a gentle manner.
Weight gain doesn’t exist in a vacuum and support, genuine concern and help when needed can make a big difference and I think a much better way to go than doing or saying nothing.
If faced with this situation, would you “go there” or steer clear? Do you think weight can be discussed in a nonthreatening manner? Has anyone/ a partner ever discussed your weight in a hurtful manner? Have you heard phrase mixed-weight relationship? I just did for first time.