My girlfriends and I have had numerous conversations about our undying love for the book Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner.
For the uninitiated, the book tells the story of Cannie, a full-figured woman whose journalist boyfriend dumps her and promptly proceeds to pen a column for a major magazine titled, “Loving a Larger Woman” wherein he documents their relationship and sex life for all to see.
For many of us women, this scenario touches a place deep in our psyches.
It’s like the perfect storm of every common nightmare – being naked, being in front of a crowd, feeling exposed and vulnerable but unable to run.
Because in case you haven’t noticed, our weight is, ahem, a touchy matter.
It’s one thing to feel the need to lose weight. But knowing that a partner or other loved one sees you as “flawed” can be extremely painful.
The topic of whether it’s ever okay to express concerns about a loved one’s weight, and under what circumstances, is one for debate. (For the record, I say yes).
I would imagine the conversation is about as much fun as a root canal for all parties involved.
But while there may be no comfortable way to have this discussion, there are sure as heck wrong ways.
Unless your end game is to end your relationship and damage a loved one’s self esteem in the process, avoid saying the following:
This is DEFCON 1.
If your S.O. has put on some pounds, I can guarantee you they’re keenly aware of it without your pointing it out, and the implicit threat that you’ll leave unless they slim down is likely to backfire.
Instead, try to understand what’s going on with your partner.
• Are they depressed and having trouble keeping up with self-care?
If so, have the conversation around supporting them through this and enlisting professional help if needed. If they’re happy but just being a little over-zealous with snacking, leading by example is a better route than direct intervention. Talk about how you can make your household/relationship/habits more healthy together so you both feel your best.
When it comes to weight loss there’s no magic bullet that works for everyone, and it’s presumptuous to assume otherwise.
All power to you for shedding 30 pounds on Atkins and getting washboard abs by cutting gluten, but you’re better off asking what strategies work best for them and how you can support them in that.
You don’t effing say, genius.
Now that she’s equipped with this new revelation, losing weight should be a breeze!
Your intentions may be pure, but this comes off as patronizing.
Speak to your loved one as an equal, worthy of respect.
No doubt you have also struggled with things in your life. Speak from a place of sincerity and humility, and your good intentions will show through.
What do you think? Is it ever okay to have this discussion? Have you ever been the intervener or intervene? How’d it go?