When a pinch is more than an inch: How to tell your wife she's fat

Weight is a sensitive topic. How you approach the subject can make or break your relationship with your wife. Here are some suggestions.

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  • "Do I look fat?"

  • Women are complicated. It can be hard to know what may set us off, make us cry and cause us to give men the silent treatment for days with seemingly no reason. I can say with certainty, if my husband ever told me I was fat, all of the above would happen. In my opinion, it is never OK for a husband to tell his wife she is fat. Does this mean if a person has put on 100 pounds and has put her health at serious risk you should stand by and say nothing? Not necessarily, but there are other ways to help someone then just telling her she is fat. Here are some things to consider.

  • Know what is culturally acceptable

  • In some cultures, it is common and accepted to talk about a person's weight to her face. It is normal to ask her why she gained weight or to let her know she looks fat. It does not mean she likes it, but it is not looked at as a social taboo as it is in the American culture.

  • In America, telling someone she is fat is one of the worst insults that could be given. The only time it is acceptable to bring up a person's weight is if she has lost weight. It is considered rude, condescending and embarrassing to talk about how much weight a person has gained or how fat she looks. With that in mind, know the culture you are in, what is acceptable and then proceed with extreme caution.

  • Consider explanations for weight gain besides the obvious

  • When you are genuinely concerned about your wife's weight, and there seems to be no logical explanation as to why she has gained weight (in other words, she is not pregnant, did not just have a baby, or does not have any other health issues that you know about) then it may be time for an intervention. Again, it is still not OK to tell her she is fat. Instead ask her how she is feeling. Try to see if there could be a health concern that neither of you is aware of. There are several reasons for weight gain besides a bad diet and lack of exercise. When your body is not working properly, weight gain can be a symptom. Depression, hormonal issues, problems with a woman's reproductive system and even cancer can cause a woman to gain weight. Suggest she go to the doctor and see if there is something wrong.

  • Brush up on your health facts

  • Being healthy is more important than being thin. Just because a person is overweight does not mean they are not healthy. Try to focus more on being healthy than the number on the scale. Being active, eating well-balanced meals and practicing good hygiene should be your main focus throughout the day. You do not need to eat a crazy diet, work out 3 hours a day and count every calorie.

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  • If you are trying to lose a lot of weight, you may need to be stricter, but for most people getting off the couch and eating less processed foods could naturally result in weight loss and better health. Keep these things in mind when evaluating yourself and family. Be honest with your lifestyle, and take some time to learn the basics of what being healthy means.

  • Take the first step

  • It is common to put on weight after a couple years of marriage. It is likely that both the husband and wife have added inches to their waistline. If this is the case, perhaps you, as the husband, can take the first step for living a healthier lifestyle. Start working out every day, cut back on the soda and sweets and mention how you would like to lose a few pounds. If you start eating healthier, it is likely your wife will join you. If you start making healthier meals or requesting more vegetables and less starch, your wife will probably feed the rest of the family that way as well. Invite your wife to join you in your workouts, but don't force her. When it comes to losing weight, if a person is not committed, it will not happen. She has to make the decision on her own to change. But, if she sees your results, it may be motivation for her to get moving.

  • Gaining a few pounds is normal. A woman's body changes over time due to pregnancies, age and lifestyle changes. However, if there are health concerns involved, you may need to gently address them. Keep in mind, however, a husband's main priority is to tell his wife as often as possible how beautiful she is, curves and all.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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