Yesterday I was reading, with great interest, a blog post on Babble.com by a woman who is growing out her hair to appease her husband. She goes on to say that she also stopped wearing eye makeup because he doesn’t like it, and now wonders what would happen if he asked her to lose weight (which she admits she needs to do).
What am I – or are most women – willing to do with regard to physical upkeep or sexuality, if they were asked to make a change. I’ve thought about how I would feel if Jon asked me to get off my ass and lose the 26 pounds (yes, I’m counting) that I am still carrying from my last pregnancy.
The author goes on to say:
But to be honest, I’ve not made any real effort to do the single thing it will take to get the weight off, which is walk 30 minutes a day, 3 or 4 times a week. That’s really all I would need to do, and I know it. But what if Jon suggested that I do that? How would I react? (He never has, by the way. He’s not totally insane )
Not surprisingly, this opened up a lot of discussion. Comments ranged from “I would do anything I could to keep my man happy” to “I would be angry and insulted”. Many women felt like their husbands would be out of line and inconsiderate of their feelings if they were asked to lose weight or even made aware that they need to slim down. I was surprised by how many women also blamed their excessive weight on the fact that they had children (um, when a child is two years old, you can’t really use that excuse anymore). I also found it interesting that the author claims she could lose her 26 pounds if she got out and walked three or four days a week for just 30 minutes. Again, something else that’s probably not realistic because losing that amount of weight requires a change in nutrition and more intense exercise than 90 to 120 minutes of walking a week. But, I digress. The issue is whether it’s okay for your significant other to comment about your weight and ask you to do something about it. My response is: absolutely.
Here’s why. When you get married — or are in any type of relationship, for that matter — you should want to give the best of yourself to your partner, just like you want to give the best of yourself to you. If someone is happy being overweight and their partner doesn’t have an issue with it, then that’s fine. But, if one partner is overweight and it bothers the other, then a polite and respectful conversation is in order. Not “Wow, your ass has gotten huge”, but “Honey, I’m concerned about you. Can we talk?”
If the overweight person takes offense or becomes angry, then it’s likely that their own insecurities have been touched. But, whether it’s a concern for our health or a matter of sexual attraction, I believe our partners have a right to point this out (especially when some people don’t realize just how much weight they have gained) and ask us to do something about it, just like we should be able to do with them.
Over the last 19 years, I have always relied on my husband to be completely honest and forthcoming with me. I deliberately didn’t marry a “yes man” because I like his un-sugar-coated opinions. If I put a dress on and ask how I look, I would much rather have him really focus on me and tell me he doesn’t like it versus saying “You look great, sweetie” from behind the newspaper. Not that I would necessarily listen to him if I really liked the dress, but at least there would be no uncertainty on where he stood. The same goes for my body. Given that we’re both athletic and want to do whatever we can to stay in our best shape, we rely on each other for honest input. If his abs are getting a little loose and giggly, I suggest that maybe more time in the pool is in order. If my arms wiggle a bit too much, he may suggest more pushups and pullups. Neither one of us takes offense. I have long since learned that in order to take something personally, you have to assume the other person has a negative intent.
When it comes to one partner asking another to lose weight, I have to believe it’s not out of anything but a positive intention. I mean, what’s more romantic than a guy who is concerned about his partner’s health because he wants her to be around for a very long time? Or someone who wants to continue finding her sexy and appealing?
What if your man asked you to lose weight? Tell us what you think!