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!!
Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach