Certain conversations between a husband and wife must be managed with tact and sensitivity. A spouse’s weight can be a particularly sensitive issue. You may be wondering whether to mention the fact that your wife has put on weight. You may be hoping she will become aware of it herself and take appropriate action to slim down without any input from you. However, if your wife continues to gain weight and you can see that it is affecting her confidence and self-esteem, you can speak to her about it in a way that won’t hurt her feelings.
Educate yourself about body weight and weight loss. Many medical professionals use the Body Mass Index to work out whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. This takes into account gender, age, height and weight. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered to be normal and healthy. Meanwhile, 25 and over is considered to be overweight, and over 30 is considered to be obese. If your wife has only gained a few pounds, avoid making it a big deal.
Encourage your wife to talk about her health. She will be fully aware of her weight gain, and you pointing it out to her won’t make her feel any better, says psychologist Philip "Dr. Phil" McGraw in the article "Dr. Phil on Your Spouse’s Weight Gain" for "Fox News Magazine." She may feel extremely sensitive about her body and take any comments about her expanding waistline as criticism or taunting, even if you mean them in the best possible way. The key is to be subtle. Ask your wife how she is feeling or if she wants to talk about anything that may be bothering her. Often, weight gain is linked to low self-esteem, frustration, feelings of inadequacy or depression. Share your own health goals with your wife. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, you may want to improve your fitness — for example, by building lean muscle. If your wife opens up about her weight gain and expresses a desire to lose weight, encourage her to set a realistic goal to shed the pounds. According to the Mayo Clinic article "Weight-Loss Goals: Set Yourself up for Success," a reasonable goal for many people is to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week until a healthy body weight is reached.
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Inspire your wife to get back to a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Make healthy living a goal for both of you, suggests McGraw. Invest in a couples membership for your local gym. If your budget won’t stretch to this, buy a fitness DVD you can do at home, or take up running. Start with walking or jogging short distances and increase your distance gradually. Purchase a healthy eating cookbook and start experimenting with nutritious, tasty meals for the whole family.
- Use tools to help your wife track her weight-loss progress, such as a food journal or an app.