SuperBanki wrote:What I am really interested in is how you all have gone about convincing your S.O. into exercising. I have tried, but due to an abrasive personality trait I have in person I seemed to have gone about it the wrong way. Anyone have any suggestions?
I can only speak for my own opinions, from observation and life experience, while understanding everyone else has a right to theirs, and I can only offer a male perspective on the issue, as sorry, I just have never been on the other team to get that viewpoint.
My viewpoint is an issue such as weight loss and fitness is essentially a lifestyle choice for most ( barring a few who have some type of medical condition, but I'll get to that point in a bit) and I don't think you can fundamentally change people from who they are. I suppose people can see this different ways, I see lifestyle as a function of resources creating a ceiling and floor, but ultimately a representation of what that person values. Being overweight, to the point of morbid obesity, IMHO ( and again, this is just my viewpoint) is a public declaration of a value. And that value is the person in question probably does not feel good about themselves, values themselves nor love themselves to the degree needed to be an emotionally healthy person.
Let me give an example. If you meet a person who has the means for basic hygiene ( i.e. where it's a situation where they are not homeless and they were likely exposed to the basic socialization about hygiene in general from their youth) but does not apply it, to me, IMHO, that indicates a person who does not value nor loves themselves. If you love yourself, if you value yourself, if you have good self esteem, those things manifest themselves into your behavior. If you meet someone who doesn't brush their teeth, doesn't wash their clothes, has greasy hair and is generally filthy in public but has the means to not be so, to me it's a statement of values.
And the thing is, IMHO, you can't make someone love themselves or value themselves. And I don't believe people who have an inability to love themselves can truly open themselves up to a functional and healthy relationship. They might meet someone who genuinely loves them, but if they can't do it themselves for themselves, then IMHO it's a sinking ship, it's just a question of when.
Sometimes a weight problem is a function of a larger medical issue, as stated before. In which case, I think it would be in the interests of a couple for both to get checked out. Sometimes it's a simple as making some adjustment or taking some form of medication that can help steer things in a different direction. But my observation is for most, it appears the issue with weight often underlies an issue at the emotional core of a person. A lot of people have past legacies and abuse and negative patterns of behavior, some they don't even realize, that are really self sabotaging. At some level, at some hardpoint, a person has to want to change on their own, for their best self benefit, or they don't.
I'm a big believer that all you can do is decide if you can accept a person for who they are or not. Let's say John and Jane Average get married. The core reason John marries Jane is because she is physically beautiful. She is the most physically beautiful woman he's ever seen. Let's say Jane marries John because he is an executive at his work and outearns every other male she knows by threefold and she believes he can offer a life of financial security. If Jane gets older or gains a massive amount of weight or is disfigured in some horrible accident or loses her beauty somehow, then John's reason for the commitment is gone, and likely he will be gone. This bears out in real life for many people. And it's not just a guy trading an old supermodel for the next, it can happen to people across the entire spectrum of the mating cycle throughout socioeconomic tiers. If John gets fired from his job and can't find the same kind of work and he loses that wealth and earning power, then Jane's reason for commitment is gone, and likely she will be gone too. Again, this bears out in everyday reality as well. As Chris Rock says, if you lose your job and you are a guy, you might not lose your woman today, but there's a good chance the clock is ticking.
But if John marries Jane because he simply likes her, he enjoys her as a person, he enjoys her personality, she makes his world brighter, then wrinkles, age, weight, those can all change, but if the fundamental reason he liked her was for her, then he will likely stay. If Jane marries John because she likes him as a person, she likes his conversation and his humor and his personality, then if he loses his job or ends up a guy working as a fry cook ( and there's nothing wrong with honest work), then those things can change, but the fundamental reason for being with him won't, then she's likely to stay.
I think, IMHO, each person has to ask themselves if the weight issue in a partner is an issues of values or simply an attribute of the person in front of them or if there is a tipping point, with consideration of weight on health, sex drive, and emotional mindset, where it shifts from being an attribute to being a value problem. IMHO, my perspective is value problems are naturally unresolvable. If she wants kids, and you never want to have kids, IMHO, that's a values issue. It's not that you have two different desires, you both desire actually two different lifestyles that will never be compatible and there is no workable compromise. If she wants to be morbidly obese and it's a value issue for you, then IMHO, it's a problem that will naturally never resolve itself without one person being miserable for it, just like the kids issue. It's a conflict of lifestyle types. Then all you can do is leave. IMHO, I can't decide for people what constitutes a core value for them, but whatever it is, if you can't live with it, and it's there, you have to approach it as if it will never change, and if it never changes, can you live with it? ( Keep in mind over 90 percent of obese people who lose the weight, put it back on in X amount of time. This is an unfortunate reality for those with weight issues, but it's line with patterns of behavior are hard to change and break for many, not just weight but for many things in life. )
So basically, an issue with a mate like weight is either
- A value issue or an attribute or an attribute that turns into a value problem at some hard point
- If it's a value issue, IMHO, your best bet is to leave, because IMHO you can't fundamentally change anyone or their minds about a lifestyle choice. If you stay, my guess is you will be miserable, or alternatively, she will be miserable.
- If it's an attribute issue, IMHO, then the weight is not why you love her and if you accept her, then you accept her lifestyle, including choosing one that will lead to health problems and possibly early death, are part of the overall deal.
IMHO, when it comes to health, I find that by observation, most people will tend to lean on the side of things being a value issue. Like smoking. Some people can't live with a smoker, because they don't smoke, and that's ok. But there are some that will see smoking and they don't like it, as a smaller overall issue, an attribute to a much larger dynamic in play. I think as a society, esp in the modern western culture, we are generally socialized to avoid conflict and we are generally socialized to not offend whenever possible. Compounding this is the reinforcement of a culture of adversarial legalism, where even the threat of a lawsuit has reduced most of our day to day human interactions into a sea of qualifications rather than a frank discussions of our actual values.
I try very hard to empathize with the fact that how a woman looks and issues like her fertility, youth and general physical beauty are very harsh and ruthless issues when weighed against a blitz of mass media, marketing, advertising, mass entertainment and peer pressure. I can see where body image issues can be frustrating and even debilitating to many women and young girls. I think in a general sense, most men are truly limited in what they can say, unless there is a predefined type of pact already in the relationship about communicating very directly. There are just a lot of women out there who don't want to hear things they don't like. At all. Not one bit. But this is understandable as well. Women are not socialized to deal with rejection in the same manner as men. I think some women out there do have to make a choice as well. What do you value more? Hearing what your male mate feels even if it's not a pleasant discussion? Or not having to deal with it at all and leave one or both parties miserable.
I think three general suggestions I can make for those wishing to make an attempt is
1) Get a dog if you don't have one. A good way to get someone walking is to have them walk their dog, where it's a required activity for the dog, and it's a daily need for a dog, so maybe it can get someone into a pattern of daily exercise that way.
2) Whatever anyone chooses in terms of attempts to change a diet or workout regiment, the best chance for success is to make it logistically simple. If you get her a gym membership that's 50 miles from your house and goes against rush hour end of the day traffic and there's no parking on site, then it's not really, IMHO, a plan to succeed. If you form a meal plan but each meal takes 80 minutes to prepare and you don't have a setup on when to shop and you never had the materials you need and it's mostly food you can't afford and you don't write things down. Then eventually that plan will fail if you are both always exhausted and never have time to effect the changes. Structure a plan to succeed if you are going to try it. A workable plan that is built for real life tolerances and contingencies.
3) If possible, buy your wife or girlfriend a note book and encourage her to journal about her body image, her fitness issues and weight and let her know you will never read it or ask about it. All you can do is ask her to write every day for X amount of time, and once a week review her thoughts. This is a strategy to help a person see many of their negative or circular patterns of behavior. Many people say, "Wow, I thought that, that's nuts" or "That would never work, why did I say that" You can't IMHO change a person's mind, but you can reflect what their current mind is saying to them.
So leave ( value issue). Or try a few small changes and if they don't work, live with it and accept the tradeoffs that come with it. (non value issue) I think as a guy, those are your only real options. For adults, I just don't think you can change a person or their ingrained mindset very easily and frankly I don't think it's often worth attempting.
For those out there who do struggle with their weight and body image, then I empathize with your struggles. It can't be easy and I wish you the best. Everything in life comes with tradeoffs, I think all you can do is ask if you are willing to pay what those costs will be. For keeping the weight, the cost is often socially and financially and health wise, very staggering unfortunately. For those who have lost some weight, I congratulate you and wish you future success. Good luck to all.