Is My Spouse Trying to Sabotage My Diet?

Spouse

Spouse

Did you almost lose that ten pounds before summer last year? Did you cave during the annual family festivities–because who can resist grandmother’s chocolate cake? It’s actually possible that it wasn’t solely a question of your own “willpower.” It is surprisingly common for spouses to interfere with a diet plan, or for one to experience marital problems over weight loss.

Could It Be Conscious or Unconscious?

While it is relatively rare for a loved one to intentionally or maliciously sabotage another’s effort to be healthy, it may still happen on an unconscious level. Right now you are in change mode, and it’s distinctly possible that they are not. While your partner might not necessarily be forcing you to eat discounted candy after Halloween, they may have sent you a care package full of products containing high fructose corn syrup, even after you clearly expressed your desire to stop eating junk food.

In other words, while such diet “subterfuge” may be unconscious, it may still be happening.

They Feel Guilty about Some of Their Own Habits

spouse

Because you are trying to be healthier, your spouse may feel pressured to start on the same path. They may feel guilty for continuing his own unhealthy habits in comparison. They might even start to feel self-conscious about their own , eating habits or lack of exercise. It’s possible that they miss the “old version” of you; change can be scary.

A Permanent Change in Lifestyle Can Be Difficult for a Spouse to Process

If you have already achieved your target weight, your spouse might be wondering, “Why don’t you just go back to your normal diet now?” If they have not experienced a similar weight problem, they might not understand that you need to keep eating healthier to stay on target. Instead, they might just want to revert to what originally felt comfortable with.

It Can Be Helpful to Keep an Exercise and Food Journal

To keep yourself on track, it can be helpful to start writing down what you eat and when you exercise. The act of keeping a record will help you stay honest with yourself and disciplined with your plan. If you know you have to write down a fast food meal later, you’ll be more likely to avoid it entirely.

Try and Maintain an Open Line of Communication

Young couple quarelling

Your spouse loves you. They ultimately, deep down, want to help you; they may just be acting in the moment out of their own insecurities. It may take telling them more than once how much your commitment to your new diet and healthier lifestyle matters to you. There is a distinct possibility that your direct communication with them may result in them feeling threatened.

When deciding to approach them, there are a few things you might consider doing if you are concerned about them feeling threatened:

  • Initiate the conversation while going for a short walk. Being able to look ahead (literally) instead of having to face you can help alleviate any internal stress they may feel. It may help put them a bit more at ease and allow them to process things a bit better.
  • Start the conversation by reiterating how much you love and value them. You may even give some specific compliments or examples of how they have helped you with other transitions in the past. This will help your spouse feel affirmed and loved.
  • Give specific examples of how your partner has supported you in the past. Then you can transition into discussing your lifestyle change, and frame it as “I really appreciate how you supported me with such-and-such change in the past. I would absolutely love it if you could support me now in a similar way, because it was so helpful then.”

While it may be difficult at first, getting your spouse to support you in your change to a healthier lifestyle can very much strengthen your relationship in the long run. Working together, both of you can benefit from your renewed dedication to your own and wellbeing.

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Toby Broussard

General and Bariartric Surgeons at WeightWise Bariatric Program
Toby Broussard, MD and Gregory F. Walton, MD, General and Bariatric Surgeons, comprise WeightWise Bariatric Program. They have over a decade of experience assisting with weight loss success. They currently practice in Edmond, Oklahoma.
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