Switching Roles: How My Husband Helps My Weight Loss

Supporting a loved one through weight loss can take many different forms.

When I read the Weight Loss Support Contract on Waybetter Today, I first thought “Wow, it’d be wonderful to have someone supporting me like this!” It also got me thinking about how different people support our weight loss.

It’s wonderful to have someone holding you accountable – in the moment, it feels embarrassing and frustrating (Why won’t you let me make unhealthy choices?!), but in the long-term it can be so important to your success, plus it means you have someone to celebrate with you down the road.

I’m also convinced that there are a lot of ways that a person can be a supportive part of your journey.

My husband and I have been married for only about a month longer than I have been trying to lose weight, but we dated for more than 2 years before that. In those years, I have seen him play a lot of important roles, some of which are covered by the Weight Loss Support Contract and some that were far less active.

I think that some of the times when my husband wasn’t holding me accountable are the times that made me trust him—which has indirectly led me to where I’m at now: a weight I haven’t been since high school. So I’m pretty pumped! Some of the roles my husband has played include:

1. Appreciator

Even though I gained a bit of weight while dating my husband, at no point ever did he imply that I needed to lose weight for him to think I was beautiful. He’s a pretty blunt and honest person, so even though I’m sure he knows that it’s smart to tell a woman she’s beautiful at any size, I think he was also being honest. Almost as important as making the choice to get healthier is having someone tell us our worth isn’t tied up in a size.

2. Problem Solver

When I complained about my weight, my husband would remind me that he thought I was beautiful but then also ask me what I wanted to do about it if it was making me unhappy. This was a hallmark of our relationship: we both love problem-solving and getting out there and getting things done. Before him, I didn’t think to point my problem-solving strategies toward my own dislike for my shape— I wanted to, you know, create world peace or something. It was his clear-headed point that my weight made me unhappy, and I worked so much better when I was self-assured and happy. If he had treated my weight as the problem, I would have been offended and embarrassed; because he treated my unhappiness as the problem to be solved, I was empowered and hopeful.

3. Patient Waiter

Despite conversations like this throughout our courtship, I did not lose weight, and when we got engaged, I realized quite quickly that I’d be losing NO weight before the wedding. Wedding planning is stressful, and I didn’t need to add extra stress to that! I was satisfied to pick a dress that looked good on me the way I looked then, and delay the weight loss. Through this, my fiancé was the person trying to help me get through the planning hurdles (doing a lot of work himself, like a good equal partner), not making the weight loss process happen on his timeline. He did small things for both of our mental and physical health – Let’s go on a bike ride! I made salads to go with dinner! – but nothing concerted toward weight loss. It was such an important choice for our mutual happiness.

4. Cheerleader

When the wedding dust settled, I found myself looking on a new year and wanting a new challenge – I’d tackled throwing a giant party for 100 people, and it felt like it was time to do something else important. DietBet was introduced to me, and the timing just seemed perfect. It was key that it was my choice to take this on and follow through with it, but throughout the process, my husband was willing to eat the veggies with me, cool it on the dessert with me, and generally remind me of the great progress I’d made even when I was feeling like a failure.

5. Occasional Diet Cheater

He tried to help me focus on successes and the steps that led to them, and through that positivity he was able to keep me motivated without being the one to say something when I messed up. In fact, I wouldn’t trade the “mess up” nights: we needed take-out pizza after long days at work, or the occasional glass of red wine together, to be able to enjoy this first year of marriage. We just had to wake up ready to make healthy choices the next day. He kept single indulgences from becoming indulgence spirals.

My husband has played many other roles that don’t have anything to do with weight loss, but I am struck by how subtle some of his participation has been. Other people and other relationships would require a different way of supporting each other through difficult challenges like weight loss. And sometimes, just being with the person who waits for the right time with you can be exactly what you need.

Make it WayBetter

Challenge yourself to think about those in your life who want to lose weight; how can you be an appreciator, a problem solver, a patient waiter, or a cheerleader for them? Do they need a different kind of support because of who they are and how you relate? You can also let those around you know what kind of support helps you most when you are trying to lose weight!