Your weight vs. your relationship...hmm, there is a topic I probably could go on and on about...So many directions to take this blog...Let's stick with an overview today..After further research on this topic, let's stick with the why?
Sociologists agree -- the provision and sharing of food is an important part of pair-bonding necessary to ensure the perpetuation of the species. When we feed each other, it's not just a sign of love; we are performing a ritual that we've been biologically programmed to do ever since the first sentient homosapien clubbed a wooly mammoth and drug it back to the cave for the woman in his life to prepare.
Male birds gather worms to feed the woman in their lives so she can keep eggs warm in the family nest. Female lions stalk and kill prey and haul it back to the pride for her mate's consumption. Human courtship usually doesn't begin on the tennis court or jogging trail; it starts in romantic restaurants and in movie theaters over shared tubs of popcorn.
But when one person is trying to lose weight, a favorite restaurant becomes a den of temptation. Bonding over a pint of ice cream while watching television seems just as sinister. The significant other of a person who's embarked on a new weight-loss program often doesn't understand that the couple's routines must change profoundly, and this might mean giving up some of the habits acquired during courtship, even those designed to show thoughtfulness.
Inside the mind of the overweight significant other
From a psychological perspective, self-esteem is intrinsically tied to body image as it is currently defined by culture. Jim and Eileen love the significant others in their lives, weight and body size notwithstanding. But to those who carry the burden of extra weight, such unconditional love seems impossible.
Their fit counterparts might not grasp when they commit smaller peccadilloes that seem like a direct attempt to sabotage or undermine their efforts. Most people consider weight a very personal issue. An overweight person who suffers from poor self-esteem as a result may look in the mirror and disparagingly wonder, why would anyone be attracted to me when I look like this?
But elucidating these doubts to the person with whom they are most intimate physically and emotionally is still difficult. Confessing feelings of unattractiveness connotes that weight has a negative effect on the relationship, rather than the lack of self-esteem that is the result of excess weight and poor body image.
Negating their feelings by saying, that's silly or you shouldn't feel that way is counterproductive. Equally damaging is assuring them you understand just how they feel, when there's no way that you can (and an overweight person knows that, too).
Listen -- really listen -- before trying to offer practical advice. Find out the triggers that make that person want to indulge or the factors than prevent them from beginning an exercise plan. Know all of the new rules that will apply to the relationship, even if it means avoiding the old familiar places that evoke temptation or yearning. Only by discovering how you can be a part of your significant other's support network can you be a part of their self-esteem recovery.