Thursday, September 18, 2008

telling someone they've gotten fat

I'm impressed by this spiel for telling your spouse that they've gotten fat.

I’ve been worried lately because my dad, mom, grandfather, other blood relative, coworker, long time friend or acquaintance… died from a heart attack (or has been ill). I’ve been really thinking about it a lot lately. And I have been trying to come to grips with that for some time. Not because they died (or are ill), but because I know it could have been prevented. They were (pick one or some) overweight, didn’t get any exercise, smoked, drank, were depressed… and I keep asking myself why they chose not to do anything about it? And then I took a hard look at us. I’m wondering if we’re falling into that same rut of complacency. I’ve been reading about the fact that positive lifestyle changes can add years to our lives together. And not just that, but add MEANINGFUL years to our lives.

I think we need to change some things about how we are living, and I’d like your help figuring out what changes we can make. I’ve got some ideas, if you’d be willing to listen: “I think we both need to change what we’re eating. The fast food is convenient, but it’s killing us slowly. I’m willing to do more around the house so that we can make time to eat healthier.” (Dietary habits are key to weight loss)

“I’d also like us to commit to getting in better shape. We both need to get out there. I’m not saying we have to join a gym or be muscle heads. But I know that if we just started walking or playing more that we’d feel better physically and emotionally.”

“I’d also like us to get rid of the junk food in the house and stop buying it. Cheetos, ice cream sandwiches and snack cakes are things I feel we eat too much of. I’m not saying that once in a while is bad, but I think we eat too much of that stuff right now. And if it’s there, I know I’ll go grab it because it’s convenient. Can we work on replacing the junk with healthier alternatives?”

Close by looking deep into their eyes lovingly, and placing your hand on the back of their neck, draw them closer to you. It helps cement communication. Say softly: “Honey, we’re a ‘we’. I depend on you so much for strength and support, and I don’t think I can make these changes without you. I need you in this with me and to be part of the solution for both of us. Can we do this together? I’ll help you and you can help me.”

What do you think, gentle readers? Would you rather hear this, or something straightforward?

19 comments:

Alex Power said...

I'd personally wish that the other person would stick to a variant of "You do realize you're getting fat, right?" Probably followed by a "You should stop doing that."

arkivarie said...

I vote for straightforward if only because I am the Asperger's syndrome postergirl and wouldn't be able to make sense out of all the "touchy-feely" talk.

Dicky said...

I like the fact that you adress this issue.

People today are living so unhealthily, we should just ban all junk food, and make people go for a run 3 times a week!

Nice post:)

Anonymous said...

how does one get across "meaningful" to someone that doesn't understand or has forgotten what it means? the definition changes based on who you are talking to and the scope of the matter is far greater than just, you've gotten fat. you'll need to find in your own way to say, "Please take care of your health; the gift of human life that is given to not just you, but that is shared with your family and friends as well."

Anonymous said...

how does one get across "meaningful" to someone that doesn't understand or has forgotten what it means? the definition changes based on who you are talking to and the scope of the matter is far greater than just, you've gotten fat. you'll need to find in your own way to say, "Please take care of your health; the gift of human life that is given to not just you, but that is shared with your family and friends as well."

Bob said...

I would put money on the fact that it was a woman who wrote this. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It is a nicely worded argument. Kind of reminds me of what my wife might say to me if I were overweight.

I would rather she just let me eat myself into a massive heart attack. Then, after my body is burned into ashes and planted under a nice tree, she should find a new husband to spend her golden years with.

But, if she were compelled to spend a long life with me, I would probably lean toward her telling me in a nice way. Kind of like this. Besides, at the end there, it sounds like someone was going to get some! That would after all be a great form of exercise. :)

Anonymous said...

This assumes the spouse delivering the message has also gotten fat OR wants to lose weight.

It would be pretty insincere coming from a tri-athelete with 10% body fat or someone that is just average but the spouse is over the top fat.

Jeremy said...

I vote for straightforward because that's what it took for me to realize that I had gotten chunky. I was still convinced that I was in good shape until enough people told me otherwise.

The Dr. Phil BS in the spiel wouldn't do jack for me. I never ate much junk food, but I did eat too much sugar (fruit juice, white bread, white rice, etc.).

Honesty > kindness

ArC said...

How do you tell your spouse they're ugly?

Daniel said...

That's laughably touchy-feely but diplomacy does matter. You should definitely make it a "we" thing, not a "you" thing. Even if they're the fat cow and you're just fine. Pick a goal for yourself. I once had a race with a girlfriend to reach the same weight -- her losing and me gaining. We made graphs and had a wager and it was awesome.

As for kibitzing at your significant other to lose weight, maybe outsource the kibitzing to a robot: kibotzer.com

Anonymous said...

Just say, "Tone down or find another slug to live fattily ever after!"

Anonymous said...

It depends on the person being told this. If that person knows you care for them, you can get this argument across in a lot more straightforward manner, which in turn is more likely to sink in, and be respected and taken seriously long-term. Agreed that honesty > kindness, but I also think honesty == kindness.

If the person trends to low self-esteem or hysterics, then a somewhat more obfuscated argument might be better. Or to say it generously, saying "you're fat" but also making sure to say "but I love you."

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, "myfatspouse.com".

Noah said...

That sounds familiar ...
Reminds me of this which I saw on TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgdYU6iDyh8

ArC said...

As with all things, let "The Simpsons" be your guide:

Lisa: Dad?

Homer: Yes, honey?

Lisa: Um...Mom just baked a cake.

Homer: Ooh! [walks into kitchen] Huh?

Marge: Homer, we need to have a serious talk.

Homer: You dragged me all the way from work for that?

Marge: Let's quietly and calmly discuss the pros and cons of your controversial plan, shall we?

Homer: I --

Marge: Con! You're endangering your health.

Homer: Pro: I'm drought-and famine-resistant.

Marge: Con! You're setting a bad example for the children.

Homer: Pro: I, er, don't have to go to work.

Marge: Con! You're running the air conditioner non-stop. It's freezing in here.

Homer: Pro. Uh...uh.. I love you?

Marge: Con: I'm finding myself less attracted to you physically.

Homer: Marge, this is everything I've ever dreamed of right here and nobody's gonna take it away from me. You never had faith in me before, but let me tell you, the slim lazy Homer you knew is dead. Now I'm a big fat dynamo! And where's that cake?

Marge: There's no cake.

Homer: [sulking] Oh.

cathexis said...

arc: Easy.

(paraphrased from the Net)

"Is that your head, or is there a possum stuck in your collar?" (unknown)

"Is that your head, or a chilling rendition of the antichrist?" (SNL)

"Is that your head, or a butchered turkey with teeth protruding from the stump of the neck?" (Foster)

Etc.

cathexis said...

(arc said it best)


Spousette: For you, honey! (holding curiously wrapped gift)

Spouse: Why thank you, dear. Uh...

Spousette: It's a dialing wand! (beaming)

Spouse: Uh, what?

Spousette: A dialing wand! You know, when your fingers become too wide to press individual buttons on the keypad...

Spouse: (speechless)


(screw it, I was never good at dialogue)

=)

Anonymous said...

why need add years to our lives?
somebody live 1 day better than somebody live 1 year.

Kevin said...

this is a long time strategy, i always tell me to lose weight although i am not fat.
Keep caveating myself, then i will be slim forever:)