This isn’t one of those slightly tongue in cheek posts about being married to a whale (AKA the ever popular skinny husbands-fat wives post ). This is a real situation, a common one that even I have to deal with. And don’t think this I am just talking about men and their wives, I could easily flip this to come from the common woman’s perspective about their husbands gaining weight.
Here’s the thing – I don’t have the answers, but at least have a few thoughts for you in the boat with me.
I’ve never professed to be perfect in any sense of the word, nor do I paint my life or wife as perfect. To do so would be outright untruth, and I’m certainly one to embrace our imperfections so that we may begin to address them. A work in progress as they say.
I’ve been within a pound or two at most of my solid 168 pounds for the past three years. I guess that’s my general maintenance weight, though my fat percent surely varies, and I’m usually looking to drop that a little, but nothing major. Holly, my wife, has fluctuated a fair amount. She’s also had two hip surgeries (labrum tears) over the last two years, the last one being this late spring/early summer. If you haven’t had a hip surgery, I can tell you that most physical activities are impossible. Holly likes to workout and uses that as a way to control her weight, hence when she couldn’t she started gaining weight. I’d estimate she’s 20 pounds off her preferred weight.
This manifests into a number of things that aren’t good. 1) She doesn’t fit into the clothes she has so has to buy new ones or wedge herself into existing – costing us money and her self esteem 2) I start to lose that animal attraction towards her – we still have sex, but that attraction loss is a real thing 3) Even the kids have noticed, so when they mentioned it, she made them feel bad for telling her resulting in them crying. So not a great situation.
So what do you do? Should you “agree and amplify” and redirect her “do I look fat?” into “Yeah, you look like the Goodyear Blimp!”?? Should you shoot straight and tell her your little man is not standing at full attention after seeing her in the shower? Do you lie and tell her she’s not fat, when you both know she is – or if not fat per se but thicker than normal? Especially when she may still look better than some, just not as good as she once did…
And that’s the case gentlemen, she knows she’s fat. But there’s not a whole lot talking about it does except cause hurt feelings. The ego is a funny thing. You both know the situation to be true, but the ego feels hurt and often lashes out – so even if you are gentle and honest with her when she asks “Do I look fat?” and tell her “yeah, you’re putting on some pounds” she will likely redirect and say you’re an asshole and maybe start a fight. Why they ask I have no idea, despite understanding women and relationships somewhat, they’re still a mystery. They want validation that they look good and therefore don’t have to put in much work to keep you sucking the few bits of meat off the bone. My wife is a “Words of Affirmation” person in the five love languages, which means that words are like a laser beam to her brain and heart, and can cause a meltdown if my wife doesn’t agree. I’m not afraid to tell her the truth, but know that for her those words are powerful and she could very well turtle up with the truth as she digests it.
Telling your wife she’s fat won’t necessarily make her change. It may, if she’s honest and takes it to heart, but the ego has a defense mechanism against attacks and usually she’ll just get pissed at you. It’s like telling an alcoholic they have a drinking problem and they should stop. They’ll likely deny it, redirect it to you, tell you to mind your business, tell you’re the one with the problem, whatever. Defense mechanisms. If they don’t want to lose weight from within they won’t. They may give it lip service, but until they really jump in, that’s all it is – lipservice to keep you off their back.
So here’s what I recommend. Stop talking about her weight situation, and put the pressure on by kicking ass yourself.
I think we all have that solipsism sense that we’re on better or equal footing as far as sex appeal and looks compared to our wife, and until that difference is a point or two, we’ll keep believing that. For example, your wife who has gained 20 pounds may believe that at her ideal weight she’s +1 over your looks, so 20 pounds of fat puts her back to even on the attraction scale with you. Sounds retarded but I honestly believe we all think that.
So if you start working out with a passion, lifting, eating better, wearing new underwear or styling a new look, or haircut, and take that delta away by increasing your sexual attraction and Alphaness, you’re going to scare her silly. If you gain a point, two over her, that’s undeniable if she’s lost a point due to weight gain. That sense of dread is a good thing in this case. And if she loses that weight, and looks hot again, that puts the pressure back on you, so it raises both of your games, which makes you both look better naked and hopefully leads to more attraction and sex.
My wife has since recovered from her surgery, but working out hasn’t been that big of motivation for her. She’s also been buried in work after a recent promotion, and when she wasn’t doing work she was buried in her iPhone or generally wasting time other ways. I was in maintenance mode for my own workouts while I slowly noticed the pounds start to pile on her, until I started the Tactical Barbell programming I was talking about. Besides getting up early several days a week, improving how I looked, I made sure to let her know that I hadn’t missed a single workout in this six week block I just completed. Hmmm…funny, that seemed to spur her more to action than any of the fat talk we had been having (“I’m sooo fat.” [Silence] “You think I’m fat.” Me: “I’ve noticed you had gained some weight, yeah.”, etc.). She just had to want it enough to really jump in.
Now the problem comes when she doesn’t react to your actions. Remember the general manifesto that you can’t control anyone else’s actions, only your own. Back in the skinny husband-fat wives post I mentioned before, I mentioned some forum friends dealing with this issue where their wife simply didn’t give a shit to start taking care of herself. This is where a real talk needs to happen – you can lay out the “I care about you and want you to be healthier” card. The “we need to eat better as a family card.” The “I’m going to be straight with you, I’ve noticed you’ve put on weight. Is there anything I can do to help set you up to be successful in addressing this?” But eventually it has to come from her.
Now I see more often through my coaching efforts that there is some effort being put in, but there’s a lot of self-sabotaging behavior. Drinking half a bottle of wine at night (justification for the hard workout in the morning or tough day). The soda. Staying up too late on E-devices. Not working HARD enough (that easy elliptical versus a HIIT spin class). So there’s something to be said noting these observations. If she’s trying though, positive feedback is GOOD! Like a puppy who piddles outside, you praise that shit up and down and stroke that ego. Many people truly turn around with that positive feedback, and if you’re doing many of the same things (eating well, exercising) it gets to be a fun topic of conversation about how good you’re feeling, or how healthy food tastes good, and how weight loss is fulfilling.
Sometimes this self-sabatoging behavior is hard to overcome. They may have built in limiting beliefs about being fat. A limiting mentality versus a growth mentality, like Mike’s new book Gorilla Mindset talks about. She may need to get help to deal with that. There could also be hormonal issues that are contributing adversely to weight loss goals if she’s truly trying. So recommending a doctor’s visit to get blood work done (similar to men and their testosterone) may not be a bad idea.
Ultimately, she’s the one that has to get down to business. Don’t let the weight gain get too out of hand. You don’t need to be mean about it, but let her know that the weight is starting to be an issue. Holly has done really well the last couple weeks and clothes are starting to fit better already. She’s cut carbs and is exercising with regularity in her busy life, including a 2 hour indoor bike today on a rainy day here. She wasn’t happy with her body, but something flipped from inaction to action and she’s working on it. I hope that if you’re in this boat, your spouse does the same. The most pressure you can put on her is action, not words. Work YOUR ass off, lose your fat, gain your muscle – for you so you feel fucking like a rock star – but you’ll invariable put pressure on to step up her game or get left in the dust. Just be gentle though. I remember when I first started my Red Pill journey I took this bull by the horns with action, and it caught Holly completely off guard. New underwear, new attitude, and she asked if I was cheating. So it has some unintended consequences, but she sees, she knows. She’ll hopefully be spurred to action.