Are Your Relationships Making You Fat?
5 strategies for dealing with non-dieting loved ones
5. Be Reassuring continued...
What should you do if this happens? First, Goodstein says, try to get the
bottom of why your partner feels this way. You may find it's really their fears
and not their desires they're expressing, he says.
"When one partner begins to lose weight and improve their appearance,
the other may feel threatened or scared that this new attractive person won't
want them anymore," says Goodstein.
By encouraging the dieter to remain overweight, the partner can exert a form
of control -- or at least ensure that the one with the "new" body is
less likely to stray.
To get around it, he says, lovingly reassure your partner that your weight
loss goals are driven by health, not vanity, and that losing those extra pounds
will help ensure a better future for both of you.
"Make certain to explain the serious health risks involved in being
overweight, and assure them that sticking to your diet is one way to ensure
that you'll be around longer to share the future together," says
What can also help: Include your partner in your weight loss rewards.
"Tell them that if they can help you to lose the next 10 pounds, there
will be a reward in it that you both can enjoy, like a weekend away, or
purchasing an item for the house that you both want," Mezansky tells
If, however, a partner, family member, or friend appears to be deliberately
subverting your weight- loss plans -- and talking it out doesn't help -- talk
to your doctor.
Adds Goodstein: "Though it doesn't happen too often, sometimes, one
person's need to subvert the other person's success is a sign of a sadistic
personality -- with problems that are likely to be evident in other areas of
the relationship as well."
Originally published Feb. 15, 2005.
Medically updated Jan. 23, 2006.