Posts

Weight loss after pregnancy

Dear Eryn-Faye,

I have a question about sex in my marriage. We have sex regularly, but ever since I became overweight, I don’t feel sexy because I am slightly overweight. I was at a healthy weight before becoming pregnant with my fourth child. He is 6 months old, and I am still overweight. I am trying to lose weight, but feel like my husband is sabotaging me. He believes in eating unhealthy foods and tries to guilt me into eating them. I try to eat only healthy foods and usually only eat my healthy foods anyway, but I hate the constant pressure, because sometimes I feel guilty and eat the unhealthy stuff to make him happy. I would like to exercise more, but I don’t have time. I am too busy keeping care of the house and kids. He says I need to exercise, but when I want to go to the gym, he says, “Will you change the diaper and feed the baby first? Oh, I hate it when you leave. Come sit on my lap.”  and I don’t end up going. I would like to  exercise 2 times a week at the gym. Now I am lucky if I get any exercise at all. He doesn’t think he prevents me from going, but he does. How can I help him understand that I need him to help me by allowing me to leave to go to the gym, and not pressuring me to eat unhealthy foods, so that I can enjoy sex more because I will feel sexier, and so that I can be at a healthy weight?

Allow me to start by saying, good for you for wanting to lose weight only 6 months after the birth of your fourth child!! Not only will shedding the extra pounds help you feel better about your body image, but it is also a healthy choice. Bravo! Here are a few tips and suggestions to overcoming the obstacles that you are facing:

  • Sit down, when the kids are in bed, and have a serious conversation with your husband about your desire to lose weight. Let him know why it is important to you (losing weight will make you feel more feminine, sexier, less stressed after a long day with the kids – whatever your reasons are).
  • In this conversation, let him know that he can demonstrate his love to you by supporting you on this issue. Then outline the specific ways that he can support you. (eg: “How you can help me, honey, is by taking care of the kids completely when I need to get out the door to the gym. This means changing diapers or feeding them if that is what they need.”
  • Use an analogy that he will understand. (eg: “Honey, when you need to de-stress from your day, your favourite thing to do is watch the game on TV [or play videos, or go out with the guys or whatever it is]. I support you when you need this activity in your life, and I am asking you to do the same for me.”)
  • Outline the benefits for him (eg: “Honey, when I am my ideal weight, I love having sex with you because I feel so sexy. Being overweight hampers my ability to get in the mood.” or whatever benefits he will receive from you losing weight)
  • Set a schedule for your days at the gym so that your husband won’t feel like the gym is constantly cutting into your alone time together and so that he will have a clear picture of when he is going to be “on deck” with the kids.
  • Don’t buy unhealthy foods! Very simply, don’t bring them into your home! They are called “unhealthy” for a reason – they are not good for you, your children or your husband. Of course, your husband is a grown man and can make his own choices. So, if he wants to eat this way, then he can do so during his work day, or go out with his friends, or swing by McDonalds or Dairy Queen on his way home from work to get his fix. There is absolutely no need to stock your house with such items and then beat yourself up because you caved to the temptation.

Finally, your husband is correct about one this – he is not the one preventing you from going to the gym – you are the only one doing that. You can make different choices so that you can get the outcome you are wanting and deserve. You can do it, and I am cheering you on!!

Warmly,
Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach

Eryn-Faye on Marriage Uncensored with Dave and Christie

On March 15th, Marriage Uncensored with Dave and Christie asked me to come on the show and talk to them about my role as Canada’s Passion Coach. They wanted the discussion to revolve around the kind of questions that I get asked “behind closed doors” by women and men. The episode is only 24 minutes long (half-hour show) but we cover a lot of ground! You can watch the entire show here. Hope you enjoy!



Watch Eryn-Faye on Marriage Uncensored in Celebrity & Showbiz | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Talking to my 5 year old…

Dear Eryn-Faye,

I really appreciate your what you are offering couples, families and individuals.

My wife and I are looking for some ideas/ advice about how to talk to our daughter.

She is 5 years old and for about 2 years (since she was about 3) we have noticed at times when she is bored/ alone in her room (as she has a younger brother who is 2 years younger), she “humps” her pillow or teddy bear. At first we thought nothing of it, and then we noticed that she would get quite red in the cheeks and was quite worked up. When we inquired what she was doing, she said it felt good. Understanding a bit about the way we’re built, we could see she was stimulating herself, and it felt good. This behavior has seemed to decrease (maybe we see her doing it once a month), but is still consistent to when she is in her room and “bored.”

I know there may be many thoughts on masturbation (which this might be defined as, but I would probably lean toward the definition of self-exploration, as she’s only 5).

So I struggle with dealing with her behavior or trying to figure out what to say, without making her think that her sexual feelings are bad (which I’m sure she doesn’t think these are sexual feelings).

How do we as a couple talk address this issue with her?

Advice? Books to read?

Allow me to say that I appreciate that you have decided to write, because it demonstrates that you are taking your role as a parent very seriously!

You have a wonderful opening to speak with your daughter about healthy sexuality. These conversations should take place throughout the rearing of the child in an age-appropriate manner, beginning with basic knowledge such as the proper names for anatomy and going from there. Most experts will tell us that if you have not initiated the concept of sexuality to your kids early on, they will hear about it on the playground from other children (albeit a very convoluted version). Proactive parents will take control of the message so that this topic is accurately presented to their children. I believe that, as parents, we have an amazing message to communicate to our children about how we were made.

The body is a magnificent design, and it is understandable and natural that we want to explore it. It is very common for little girls to “hump” things. I had one coaching client relay to me that her (probably very embarrassed) parents had to drag her out of church one day because she wouldn’t stop humping the church pew! (I bet you are breathing a sigh of relief right now that you aren’t dealing with that one!)  But I tell that anecdote mainly to let you know that your daughter is completely normal and that this is fairly ordinary behaviour.  We simply don’t talk about it publicly too often which can lead to concerns such as what you have.

As far as things you can do as a parent, considering your daughter’s age, you can explain that it is acceptable for her to explore in private but not in public. We use this same reasoning when we explain why we cover the areas of a bathing suit because these are the parts of our bodies that belong only to us and need to be kept private (understanding, of course, that mommy and daddy and doctors might touch those areas for health/hygiene reasons). Not only are you able to set the foundation for a series of conversations about sexuality and create a sense of openness about this topic but you will also be setting the groundwork for appropriate touch and “stranger-danger” conversations with your daughter.

I would also recommend that you and your wife construct your answer to THE QUESTION right now. (Meaning, “Where do babies come from?” or “What is sex?”) Decide together what you are going to say, and practice it together if this makes you more comfortable. At your daughter’s age, it is best to keep your answer simple, and having a book to illustrate your conversation is extremely helpful especially if some (or all) of these terms are new to your daughter.  Amazing You! Getting Smart about Your Private Parts by Gail Saltz and Lynne Avril Cravath is an excellent resource for your daughter’s age.  You can find it on Amazon here.

And the website Talking with Kids has some helpful hints on these discussions as well.

As a parent myself, I want to encourage you again.  Your desire to be proactive in your daughter’s life is exceptional.  Taking the time to ask questions -even when they are seen as “awkward” – is indicative of how seriously you take your parenting duties.  You have my deepest respect.  I wish that all parents were so willing to seek help and advice.

I hope you find these resources helpful! If you have any further questions or feedback for other parents, please feel free to write back at any time!

Warmly,
Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach

Enhancing Experiences

My husband and I have really nothing but positive things to say about Eryn-Faye.

Ever since we communicated with her, we have found that we experience more pleasure during intercourse. It also adds an element of excitement to know that your husband is thoroughly enjoying himself.

Her expertise, non-nonsense coaching and support allows me to relax and know that I will experience intercourse without any discomfort. Going to Eryn-Faye and even just talking with her is well worth it!

~ New Mother

Co-dependent Issues

Dear Eryn-Faye,

My question is how to handle a co-dependent relationship issue.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half and my boyfriend won’t let me keep anything at his place or introduce me to his parents. Exceptions are toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo. This took almost a year before I was permitted to leave these basic items at his home.

To say my boyfriend is territorial and defensive is an understatement.

My boyfriend says that he is protecting his mother and has had negative experiences in the past and does not want to cause her anymore stress from relationships that could possibly fail.

Furthermore, my boyfriend has asked me to marry him during sex and then afterwards, once back to reality, he changes his mind. He says that saying things like “he wants to marry me” heightens his sexual experience and that I take things too seriously. I am beginning to resent his lack of empathy for my feelings.

I love many things about my boyfriend and am perplexed in how to address these issues without causing a big argument.

I feel disposable in the relationship when my boyfriend treats me this way.

I have tried to address these issues with him and am at my wits end….

Suggestions are more than welcome…

Let me begin by saying that my heart goes out to you right now. I can understand that you are frustrated and need some outside insight on your situation!

In my practice, I often speak with couples about the three “C’s” – commitment, communication, and consummation (aka sex). These elements provide the foundation for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. If you are weak or lacking in one or more areas, then the entirety of your relationship is in jeopardy.

Commitment is the element which binds the couple together through thick and thin. It is not only the decision that “I am with this person”, but also the decision to make healthy sacrifices for your partner because you recognize their individual value. As we deepen our commitment, we realize that our own selfishness is a hindrance to our relationship and with it we will not grow as a couple. The tricky part about commitment is that both parties have to be on board. If one partner is constantly sacrificing for the other out of fear of making the other partner mad, or starting a huge fight, or being left by their partner, then there is a breakdown in the whole system.

Communication is the freedom to express what we are feeling and thinking with our partner without the fear of retribution. It is how we let that person really get to know who we are – our likes and dislikes, why we react a certain way, what our dreams are for our lives. It is also the way we do check-ups on our relationship – are we meeting each other’s needs, are we showing love to our partner in a manner that they understand, how can we work to correct the issue that we are facing together in our relationship.

Your boyfriend’s lack of desire or willingness to fully incorporate you into his life and his blatant lack of regard for your feelings lead me to think that he is not willing to develop the commitment or communication part of your relationship. I was horrified by his explanation for saying he wants to marry you during sex as just to “heighten his sexual experience.” (By the way, I did mention this situation to a few of my male colleagues, just to get a male perspective on your boyfriend, and they were all equally as horrified.) The general consensus was that his actions and comments do not reflect someone who is interested in a healthy relationship.

I am also concerned that you might be struggling with some underlining self-esteem issues which are the source of why you allow your boyfriend to treat you in such a manner. A counselor will help you understand your worth as a person, break patterns that you might have which lead you into unhealthy relationships, and shed light on ways that you can develop healthy relationships with people who value and respect you.

I realize that this is “messy” and maybe it is not what you wanted to hear from me. However, I would love to be here for you as you walk through these issues, and I welcome any further questions that you have. Please feel free to write back at any time!

Warmly,

Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach

Losing the Spark

Dear Eryn-Faye,

My husband and I have been married 40 years and in our early sixties. Five years ago our mom and pop business of 10 yrs went bankrupt and have done nothing since job-wise. Now one of us is getting a small pension, and we struggle to get by.  There is almost zero conversation between us, and we have nothing in common except for two married children who live.  I feel very alone much of the time. My husband does not like company so I never invite people over to save embarrassment. What to do–I have tried several approaches but almost anything I say–I get “oh woman” and remarks like that.  We are both educated but my level of confidence has gone down the drain and am depressed — Both have health problems which does not help.  For me-sex has become a task–help please!

As I read your email, a few thoughts came to mind. First of all, congratulations on having 40 years of marriage! That is quite a feat in this day in age! Sustaining a marriage takes work, and you have obviously been very committed to your husband.

From what you have written, it sounds like you are feeling quite isolated and alone. I would love to see you break out of this cycle and develop some friendships. If your husband does not like company at the house, then find it outside of the house. Here are a few suggestions of things you can try:

  1. Join a club. There are lots of organizations which are focused on social responsibility and volunteerism, such as the Lion’s Club. They are great avenues to serving your community as well as building personal relationships. Likewise, there are clubs which are formed around a common hobby, such as quilting, running, or reading.
  2. Become a volunteer. Non profit organizations are always looking for help to achieve their mandates. For example, you could check out your local food bank, children’s hospital, or home for abused women.
  3. Join a church group. Many larger churches have groups which meet throughout the week to meet the needs of their parishioners. These groups are often organized into age categories, or common interests, etc.
  4. Get a part-time job. You will need to check to see if this is an option given the fact that you are on a pension (sometimes working violates the conditions of the pension and is therefore not a good idea). Even if you are flipping burgers, you will be making a little bit of money (which will help on the home front) as well as connecting with the world around you. Don’t let your age get in the way – many people in their sixties are realizing that youth is just a state of mind and that they are too young to retire!

You might be asking yourself – how will any of this help my marriage? For a few reasons: first and foremost, the weight of being your only companion is very heavy for your husband to bear. Even if you are very involved with your children, having friends outside of your family helps you continue to grow as an individual and that will bring new life into your family relationships. Along those lines, men really don’t like to talk as much as women do. Biologically, they are “built” very differently than us, and they are very uncomfortable with the level of communication that we need. If you can create relationships with other women, you will find your need for communication much better satiated that expecting your husband to meet 100% of those needs for you. If you would like some books to read on this subject, Dr. Scott Haltzman’s books The Secrets of Happily Married Women and The Secrets of Happily Married Men and are both excellent resources.

Feelings of isolation and depression, as well as stress about finances, are all challenges to the intimacy of a marriage. It is not surprising that sex feels like a chore for you! As women, we reach out sexually when our emotional needs are being met. And for men, it is the opposite – when their sexual needs are met, they can reach out emotionally. So, continue to make sex a priority (I can give you a list of tips and suggestions to make it fun if you would like!), but branch out beyond your home to build friendships too.

I would love to hear back from you as you try new things and explore your options! Please write again to update me or ask new questions!

Sincerely,

Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach