14
May 2015

What to do when your man insinuates you could lose a few

Picture this: We’re on our way back from Mexico. I had just gotten Marshall to sleep after an hour of singing, bottles, peek-a-boo and a blow out.  I felt like I just won the lottery.  I took some time to write out my ideal schedule for the next few weeks.  Jonathan peeks over my shoulder and asks me to share.

“Well, on Monday, I’m going to go to pre-natal yoga, then work for the rest of the day, Tuesday is my day of meetings and calls, Wednesday I’m going to go to dance and then work at a cafe the rest of the day, Thursday morning I’ll have some down time… etc etc.”

Then he says, “Ok, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way…”

Okaaay…

“But do you think you should maybe go to yoga five days a week, since you know, you haven’t been going that much?”


OH NO YOU DIDN’T.

“I MEAN, you were just a lot stronger during your first pregnancy, and I want this pregnancy to be easy for you.”

No sh*t Sherlock, probably because when I got pregnant the first time I didn’t just have a baby like 10 minutes earlier. (If you’re new here, I’m pregnant, which happened when my first son was 9 months old).

I was livid. And hurt. And felt like I weighed a million pounds.

I just stared at him, told him I didn’t want to talk about it and locked myself in the airplane bathroom and cried.

Here’s the deal.  Jonathan didn’t call me fat, to him mentioning going to yoga is like asking if I was going to get a massage this week, but given my history with feeling terrible about myself and equating being told to workout with needing to look a certain way, it felt so different than he intended.

And, this wasn’t the first time we’ve had a version of this conversation, though it had been a while, maybe years, but it still kills me every time.

Has this ever happened to you?  And maybe it wasn’t your husband, but a friend, your mother or your doctor.  If it has, you know the pain, the embarrassment and the intense anger.  I was in that bathroom for a while, deciding how to deal with this situation because I was clear I never wanted to feel this way again.


Here’s how I handled it and what you can do next time you find yourself in this situation…

 

ONE: FEEL ALL THE EMOTIONS. I felt shame, embarrassment and anger.  I was reminded of all the times anyone had ever commented on my weight, like they were all on the plane telling me how fat I was.  I was second guessing wearing my bikini all week, questioning my choices to not work out 5 days a week. I got small, and sad.

TWO: GET STRONG. After I went to the place of feeling like a helpless, worthless ten year old girl, I tapped into my strong inner woman.  I got back into my seat, sat up straight and looked directly at Jonathan.  I talked for a long time and don’t remember everything I said but the energy was, “I am awesome, I am doing the best I can, and my body is my business. Period.”  I told him he was never allowed to make a comment about my body (unless it’s about how gorgeous I am), my weight, working out or food, ever, for as long as we live.  It is my domain, not his.  This conversation is off the table.  I told him how much he hurt me, how angry I was and how he made me feel.  Yes, all on the plane, crying, and speaking pretty loudly.  I wanted him to really get that this was unacceptable.

THREE: UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY MEANT. Now, this is not about excusing their behavior and making it ok.  I believe that people should never meddle in your health, ever, unless you are at serious risk of hurting yourself or others, but I think you get that’s not what I’m talking about here.  However, understanding what they meant will help you feel better.  The reality was that Jonathan was not saying I was fat, nor was he telling me he wanted a trophy wife or that I was lazy (even though that’s how I interpreted it).  He was actually just wanting me to feel strong, so I can be comfortable during my pregnancy.  Does this excuse the comment? Nope. But it allows me to come back to reality.  The truth is that our partners need to be sensitive about how certain things make us feel, not just what they meant.  Just because they wouldn’t feel hurt if we said that to them, doesn’t mean they have permission to say what they want to us.

FOUR: BE CLEAR ABOUT BOUNDARIES  Tell whoever it is in a strong confident voice, “My body is my business. period. You are never welcome to mention anything about this ever again, am I clear? If you do, we’re going to have to reevaluate our relationship.” Or something like that.

It’s never easy to feel attacked or shamed by a loved one, even when they didn’t mean any harm, and 99% of the time they don’t.  It’s ok to be sensitive, this is just how you are and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.  We all have a history that makes us emotional around conversations like these, and we can all do work to be stronger and more self-accepting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t set some healthy boundaries with our partners.

In the comments below I want to know, have you experience this before? And how you would handle a situation like this?

And if you know someone who has struggled with this in the past, I hope you will share it with them by sending an email or using the social media buttons below.

Can’t wait to talk with you below about this sensitive topic.

Love,

Sarah

We would love to hear from you, leave a comment.

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  • Alex

    This is beautiful advice for any situation where you are made to feel small, inadequate, ashamed, patronised, belittled etc. I like the message of standing up for yourself and being able to recognise that someone has crossed a line and being able to say that behaviour is not ok. I have only recently started doing this for myself. And let me tell you it feels bloody great!

  • Hannah

    Wow! That was so hard to read. I’ve just split up with my husband and one of the reasons was because I found him shallow for finding me unattractive when I put on weight during and after my pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong I’m not happy about it either but the truth of the matter is I can and WILL lose the extra weight when I’m ready to. Unfortunately the knowledge that someone is that shallow wont ever go away. We’re all going to get old one day for goodness sake, would he have found me unattractive for that too? Thanks for posting this, obviously hit home for me! Hannah x

    • Sarah

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Hannah. I’m glad you can relate. Well, no I’m not – I’m glad that we’re not alone and we can talk about it. Wishing you all the best. xo

  • Betsy

    I was in a relationship for 25 years where I was politely told (at first) what to wear or more often what not to wear. For most of my marriage I was thin with curvy hips. As I got older having 3 children the comments became more and more abusive. It started with “those jeans (size 8) are a too tight you should wear pants instead” to “it’s almost summer and you can’t be seen in a bathing suit like this (size 10)” to “I can’t be seen in public with you (size 6)you’ve let yourself go”. I was belittled and betrayed. it took much strength for me to leave this marriage with my kids. I was unable to do what you did. To speak up. To say my body is my business. Now I’m a single mom and due to thyroid trouble I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been (size 16). My confidence is zero. I still put a smile on my face to go out, but my insecurities run deep. I’m not sure I will ever lose weight. It’s a daily struggle to rebuild my inner strength over my demons voices. I hope someday I can be confident like you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kristy

      To this reader: You are courageous and beautiful. We all hold weight on our bodies for different reasons. It’s about getting down to what it’s all about and finding a way to really celebrate you and do things in life that make you feel good about yourself. Do some journaling, talk to somebody that will be a good support as well as real with you to help you release your pain , fears ect… This is temporary. Don’t wait to celebrate you and life!

      • Anne

        That was a beautiful reply. I like what you said about not waiting to live your life.

    • Sarah

      Besty, thank you for courageously sharing your experience. I agree with Kristy, and I applaud you.

      You can become more confident and comfortable, each day. There are always ups and downs (for me), not a final, stagnant point of great confidence. Did that make sense? There’s a ton of free content on my blog that I think would be a great starting place for you. You can take one small step TODAY toward building your strength and confidence, and then see how that feels. What would that look for you?

    • bubbles5

      my husband brought up my weight during a marriage therapy session, when in fact I have been losing weight and changed from a meat diet to vegetarian and than the therapist started to say how I could count calories and watch what I eat..I wanted to kill them both, I left feeling confused. My husband says I only tell our daught fat is ok and I put down thin…I don’t do either I think he is crazy ..we have a kid who is always wanted to be thin and does’t eat enough she is only 8 to me no fat talk is better

      • Hi Betsy- I wish you weren’t feeling hurt but I’m glad you reached out. I would definitely start with letting him know how it made you feel and set some boundaries around this for yourself. Additionally, I would talk to him about creative ways you both can speak with your daughter about healthy body image. Sending you some support, xo

  • Leann

    You hit the nail on the head with this one, Sarah! My fiancé and I have had so many of these moments where he says something about my working out or what I order, out of love, not malice. The last time this happened I got super upset. I wasn’t able to tell him never again that day, but after talking to a counselor (who said just about exactly what you do here) I told him never again. To get there I had to share with him why it hurt so much. I also told him he can make positive comments, like I look fantastic, but never comment on my portions or body choices. Since then we have not had another one of those talks. And our relationship feels better too.

    • Sarah

      Great work, Leann. Thank you for sharing what having that conversation did for your relationship. All the best!

  • Stephanie

    One summer when I got home from college we had a family party at my dads house and my grandma just straight up said to me “you got fat”

    I didn’t even know what to do. I couldn’t scream at my frail grandmother but that’s how I felt. I tried to just play it off and I heard my dad say to her quietly “mom you can’t say that” but it’s stuck with me since

    • Christine

      The same thing happened to me, only it was my granddad. It had been a couple of years since I saw him last and it was the first thing he said to me. I stood there in shock and then walked away before I said something I might regret. He passed away the very next day so I never got the chance to tell him how much he had hurt me, but I think he knew.

    • Sarah

      This is difficult. It doesn’t make the comment(s) more excusable, but I can see how you might want to navigate the situation a little differently. Does anyone have additional thoughts on this?

  • Susan

    Wow! What a poignant topic for me! This absolutely happened to me. My ex-husband would berate me in public about what I would eat and how much I would eat when we would go out with friends/family even though he would say he have the best intentions for my health and well being. I would be so embarrassed and I would tell him that this is my choice and to stop it! I’d ignore him and order what I would want. Other times he would tell me how easy would be to lose weight, just do what I do… Drink a lot of seltzer in between and you will lose weight. Mind you I was maybe 15-20 pounds overweight at my heaviest. The way he would talk to me, it would be is if I was obese! I have been up-and-down with my weight through my years. My weight has always been a sore subject with me starting with my pediatrician when he would point at my belly and tell me I had to lose this. Looking at pictures of me back then when I was a kid, I was not terribly overweight; a little chubby maybe that was it. That was my “Awakening” and being self conscious to weight issues. My ex was well aware of my sensitivity to my weight. Needless to say now when my ex husband made these comments, I became a closet eater thinking this is one thing I have control over in my life; he won’t tell me what and how to eat. Yes I have taken weight off with Weight Watchers and other programs but that was on my terms not his! Yes I am aware that I am an emotional when I am not in control of situations. After a 25 year marriage and having to deal with this and other controlling issues we divorced. Food is an issue with me even now when I feel out of control. I am not happy about it. I know when I do get my eating patterns under control a lot of areas in my life feel under control.

    • Sarah

      Susan, thank you for opening up to our community about this painful topic. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with those comments from your ex. Our behaviors around food can definitely be a mirror to the rest of our life; so much is connected… and I think you’re in the right place for getting to the root of some of these issues and making positive shifts in your life. Let me know how I can best support you.

  • OMG! My husband and I go through this a lot. He is always saying things like, “Is that on your diet?” or “You working out today?”. It drives me nuts. He isn’t trying to be condescending but that’s how it comes off, like he knows all the answers and I need him to tell me how to live. As I have gained more confidence it bothers me less and less but I still have my moments… The next time he says something like that I am definitely going to have this conversation with him 🙂

    • Sarah

      Sounds like a good plan CJ. Feel free to share the results with us, here. 🙂

  • Dear Sarah,
    I can totally relate to your post. It reminds me some of the most awful and embarrassing moments I’d lived. A so called friend told in front of my former boss “if only she could lose about 30 kgs, she would finally look acceptable”. I was so ashamed and desperate that I almost froze, I tried to smile and change the subject after a long period of silence. I wish I know how to deal with the situation… I even tend to believe that I was not allowed to go outside if I was so atrocious to see. I know it’s a complete distorsion (yet, I still have hard time to put myself out there and I find it’s easier to stay single) Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it’s very kind of you.

    • Sarah

      Hi Ophelie, I hope you’re able to implement some of these steps and tips in the future. I also want you to give yourself permission to get out of the house and take yourself on some dates. Reaching outside of our comfort zone isn’t easy, but that’s where the magic happens. Let us know how you feel after taking these steps. xo

  • Jenipher

    This was great! After I read it the 1st time through – my husband came and sat next to me – so I read it to him too. When I got to the part about “But do you think you should maybe go to yoga five days a week, since you know, you haven’t been going that much?”…the hubs said “Oh Shit!” and we both laughed. Now- I’m not saying this is funny, by any means….although your delivery, Sarah, is entertaining as always. But I have set these boundaries with my husband around weight/workouts/what I’m wearing….and he knows how sensitive I am about anything that has to do with these areas. It’s not his place to say things to me about these subjects – unless he’s adoring me (like Sara says). I can remember having “the talk” about how it made me feel (a couple of times) – and now he knows – and he steers clear of that territory. Laying out your feelings about it can be tough, vulnerable, scary – but ultimately creates a deeper connection and understanding. And….Happy Wife = Happy Life!
    Thanks Sarah – great post!

    • Sarah

      Jenipher, thanks for sharing and for setting a great example for us. “Laying out your feelings about it can be tough, vulnerable, scary – but ultimately creates a deeper connection and understanding” – well said.

  • I find this so hard. My husband is always trying to lose weight so it starts off with a we should do this or that then descends into you should and I do. Drives me crazy. We need a positive comments only rule.

    • Sarah

      Hey Amanda! It is hard. Why don’t you try starting a dialogue with your husband (about this topic), and just see how it goes?

  • Hi Sarah,

    Thank you so much for this post today. My friend and I had a similar situation like this happen like this on the weekend, but with a total stranger. The stranger started telling my friend she needed to lose weight and she should soon for the sake of her daughter. She kept saying she needed to lose for her health. We went along with what she said but it was the oddest thing-getting lectured by a total stranger. What would you do or how should you react in a situation like this?

    • Sarah

      It is amazing to me how often people think it’s okay to share their unsolicited opinions with total strangers.

      Personally, I would try not to stoop to the other person’s level – I would be respectful and generally polite while also being firm and assertive. But, this is obviously different than dealing with someone who you share a long term relationship with. And, I think this person was way out of line and not worth listening to. I would try to say a quick something that sets a clear boundary, and if they don’t immediately respect that boundary, you can always walk away. What do you think?

  • I used to get this about my ex boyfriend a lot when it came to working out. “You’re not going to the gym today?” And I don’t even have weight to lose! But in all honesty, I was just so busy and not feeling the gym! It made me want to go to the gym less, and made me feel like if I went, I wasn’t going for me I would be going for him. I would also get this from him about drinking…so frustrating!! Needless to say, we’re no longer together and it took me a LONG time to get comfortable in my life again.

    • Sarah

      Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Mariana. It sounds like that was a difficult relationship, but I’m happy to hear that you’re feeling comfortable again. Wishing you all the best!

  • Heather

    Thank you for this post! It was just what I needed to hear. You see, just last night I had a similar situation play out AGAIN with my sister. She is skinny. I am not. However, she is miserable. I am not.

    • Sarah

      I’m so glad this was helpful, Heather. And, I’m glad to hear that you’re happy. Are you planning on laying down the law with your sister?

  • Jessica

    My mother in law comes over to pur house every once in a while. Not often but when she does she always has something to say to me like “I can seeyou hsvent been sticking to your diet”, or “you need to exercise”. We really do get along but I hate when she makes these comments because I slready feel bad enough that I have gained 40 pounds after having my kids, I understand shewants me to feel better about myself but shes so blunt about it.

    • Sarah

      Jessica, It sounds like you have a pretty good relationship with your MIL and that you want to spend time with her. Have you ever tried having a conversation about her “bluntness”? Would you be up for it?

  • Heather

    Rock on! I haven’t had many weight conversations but I get a lot of my husband trying to “shame” me into doing things that are clearly out of my comfort zone, such as skiing. He grew up skiing, I did not, he loves it, I have resolved that this is one sport I will not be doing in my life time. Almost 20 years of marriage later he is still at me for a few of these things, which has now been passed onto my kids doing the same thing to me. The other day (Mother’s Day no less) I was getting some heat for not getting on the ATV’s they were riding (again, no interest and I am happy that they are happy) and I finally snapped. I had to have a sit down with all of them, especially my boys who I feel are learning a bad behavior. What I choose to do and not do is my business period. Good post!

    • Sarah

      Thanks for sharing this twist, Heather. I’m glad you were able to sit down and have a tough conversation with your family. Let us know how that changes things for you all, in the future.

  • Donna

    I joined a gym last winter and two weeks later my boyfriend said (in front of other people) “Slimming down nicely!” I just shook my head at him at the time, because a) of course there were no visible results yet and b) he’s always told me my body was fine just the way it was. I gave him the benefit of the doubt at the time, thinking he meant to be encouraging or flattering, but obviously the comment was neither. It still rankles now, 3 months later. I wish I had told him the subject was off-limits!

    • Sarah

      Donna, yes, that’s why I think this is a good method and why it’s so important to be firm… the comments can stick around. But, they don’t have to stay forever. I hope that you’re able to remind yourself, too, “I am awesome, I am doing the best I can, and my body is my business,” and any other affirmations that bring healing for you. You are a strong and amazing woman. Thanks for joining the convo!

  • Candace

    I 100% agree with you, Sarah, on the need to set clear, absolute boundaries on this issue. It is a slippery slope from innocent, well-meaning comments to full-fledged emotional/verbal abuse. My first marriage ended because my husband refused to drop his obsession with my weight (btw, I wasn’t overweight), and all of those “just trying to help” comments over the years took a tremendous toll on my overall self-esteem (not just mybody image). Great advice, and I encourage all ladies out there who are dealing with this to take it!

    • Sarah

      Totally… thank you for sharing and for encouraging, Candace.

  • This actually just happened to me by my mother. My husband passed away a month ago and I’m very emotional and not feeling very good about myself to begin with. In a round about way she said, “maybe you should buy some clothes that make you look thinner.” My reaction was anger and I just said “okay, okay” and walked out of the room. Not a very mature way of handling this situation, but I was truly at a loss for words given my already raw emotional state. I don’t have the strength to even think about my weight, let alone having to hear about it.

    • Sarah

      Oh babe, I am so sorry. You handled that situation in the best way you could at that time. Boundaries might be really helpful for you, and I hope some of these tips can lead the way in the future. Sending so much love to you.

  • Hi Sarah,

    This reminds me a lot of a comment Paul Newman made about his wife,Joanne Woodward. When asked about cheating by a reporter, Paul commented, that he wouldn’t because “why choose ‘hamburger’ when he had ‘steak’ at home?” Joanne went ballistic, and no one understood why… because it’s a compliment, right? But, her feeling was, “compliment or not,” no one should be considered, or commented on, that way… like a piece of meat. People are people so much more to offer than their waistline size. Good for you for feeling it, but not allowing that feeling to overtake you real life and identity! And, thank you for realizing that Jonathan didn’t intend to hurt you, but that he should never do it again.

  • My boyfriend and I have gone through this before. He is very critical of his own weight and health and he uses that same critical eye on me. Luckily more often than not he adores my curves, calls me “drop dead gorgeous” and makes me feel amazing. But when he questions my order at a restaurant with a quick “is that on your diet?” I want to punch him! We’ve had that talk, although I’ve never been as firm as you suggest. I think I’ll try that next time. It’s so nice to know it doesn’t only happen to me and I 100% agree that we need to feel the feelings and work through them to get to a place of strength. Awesome!!!

    • Sarah

      Heidi, thanks for sharing your experience! You’re definitely not alone, and I hope these specific steps can give you some extra help in the future.

  • Molly

    This is so timely for me. My husband just sent me an email this week asking “is this as good as it gets or are you finally going to get in shape?” I am probably 40-50 lbs overweight, and I have been for years. (emotional eating, self-loathing, you know the drill). Lately (especially after finding you, Sarah) I have been working loving myself and being kind to myself, actively seeking ways to care for my body that don’t feel like punishments. Knowing that he is legitimately not attracted to me physically hurts so bad, and I vacillate between wanting to change so he is happy and wanting to kick him to the curb. I know you can’t help what attracts you, but sometimes it feels SOOOO superficial. But thank you, Sarah, for posting this today. As always, super helpful!

    • Camille

      No, just no. That is so disrespectful of your husband.

    • Serioiusly, go to counselling with him. That’s not acceptable, and you need to figure out if that’s how he’s going to continue believing the world should be of if he’s capable of growth. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this without a partner’s support. Get him on your side.

    • Sarah

      Molly, I think what Camille means is HELL NO. Have you listened to the real-talk series? (https://sarahjenks.com/realtalk/) Brooke talks about this in I THINK the third video (lowest point). Physical attraction is important, but it doesn’t have to have anything to do with weight.

      I am so proud of you for taking care of and being more kind to your body. xo

  • Jan B

    perfectly said. thank you for this post.

  • Jessi

    I feel like this every time I am at the doctor when they say I am overweight…it’s not like I don’t already know and I know that’s part of their job but it’s the look that goes along with it and the lack of understanding. Weight can be caused by so many issues, from mental to physical. Instead of focusing on the negative, it would be more helpful if they put a positive and encouraging spin on things. The tone in which it is usually said automatically sends me in to the defeated mode as you so accurately described above. I love the affirmation you list to focus on instead–these are the types of words that help empower and heal! xoxo

    • Oh, yes! I commented about my husband, but forgot about the doctor! They always say lose weight, lose weight, lose weight. But there is no prescription for that! As we know from here, it’s not as simple as “diet and exercise”. So frustrating. Also – my blood pressure and blood panels are great, so why all the focus on my weight all the time?

    • Liesl

      YES, exactly Jessi! I actually don’t go to the doctor as often as I should because I hate the shame and lecture I get on my weight. I’m aware I’m overweight, but that doesn’t give them an excuse to berate me. It’s so hard to deal with those comments and demeanor.

      • I now tell my nurse before the doctor comes in about my past binge eating disorder and that he/she is not allowed to comment on my weight/diet etc. I also got a list from the ED clinic of doctors who work specifically well with people who’ve had eating disorders and are sensitive to the fact that their words have power. Even if you don’t have an eating disorder, you have the right to speak up about the type of care you’d like to receive. It’s your body and you’re the one who feels the effect of their careless words.

    • Sarah

      Hi ladies, I think this frustration is so common, and you can totally apply these same steps to your doctor. Remember that you have a voice in this and you deserve all the respect in the world.

  • I just had my best friend tell me that I needed to loose weight for “health” reasons (which tends to be the opinion of the most offensive, disrespectful people I find). I just said, your right I want to loose weight. But your opinion and thoughts on the subject are unsolicited; so kindly shut the fuck up xo

  • Oh. My. Gosh. We used to have this problem ALL THE TIME. Less often now, but still pops up now and then. My husband is pretty clueless about how and what he is saying in general, and especially in regards to this topic. It’s the worst. I’ve had lots of “you meant it this way, but I heard it and felt it this way conversations.” I hadn’t thought to just remove permission for any talk on weight, body, diet, food, exercise all together – that’s a great idea!

    • Sarah

      Good, I’m so glad the post was helpful. Let us know how taking that route changes things for you, Sarah.

  • I LOVE the way you dealt with this. I am going through a challenging period in my life, and this has included some significant weight gain. Some comments have been really hurtful, even those coming from those with good intentions. But seriously, do they really think I don’t know I’ve gained weight and that I don’t look or feel my best? “My body is my business” is now my new default response and mantra as I navigate (and heal) my issues, my body and my self-esteem for myself. Thank you!

    • Sarah

      Exactly, Johanna. You’re so welcome, and I’m wishing you all the best!

  • Monique

    I had to have this exact conversation with my mother a few years ago. She thought “I just want you to be healthy,” should allow her to say anything. Um, no. I felt guilty about drawing that line in the sand but I’m so glad I did. Our relationship has gotten so much better.

    • Sarah

      Thank you for sharing, Monique! It’s good to hear the positive effects you experienced from drawing a boundary.

  • My husband will not point this stuff out to me. I think it’s because he knows how much I stuggled to lose 73 pounds AND that I am hard enough on myself. He is pretty damn amazing.

  • Lenore

    mmmm….If I react so strongly to a situation, it’s an an indicator that I have a button that is still pushable and I’m going to look at that. Being pregnant is a tough time for a lot of us, so more grace is needed. Love, peace and REST to you.

    • Sarah

      Thank you, Lenore. I’ve received similar comments, so I will think on that.

  • Gwen

    Growing up my dad lovingly called me “fatty lumpkin”. Fat lump. That was my nickname. I grew up in a house where my weight was everyones business and topic of conversataion. Back in the day when everyone was getting the personal VHS recorders and making home videos my family got one and my uncle thought it would be funny to record me eatting at a family dinner and make pig noises over the video. He then played this video to the family who proceeded to laugh at me. When I met my husband I shared with him how I grew up. He was very loving in his response and as soon as he met my family he became my protector. While I don’t need him to set boundaries for me with my family he is very clear that under no circumstance while he is present is any ever to comment on my weight. I think I would be crushed if he ever said anything about my weight. I love this article, it gives a wonderful example of how to set boudaries with anyone.

    • Sarah

      Oh, Gwen. I’m glad you know that such behavior from your family was NOT okay. Even more importantly, I am so happy to hear that you have a much better support system in place, now.
      All the best,
      Sarah

  • Irene

    It’s funny (and sad) how guys simply don’t get how sensitive we are about this. It affects in so many levels and yet they can casually throw around the words “fat”, “diet”, “gym” like it’s nothing. I am not sure why the male population is still unaware that a female body is their business but if I ever have a son, I will make a point in teaching him that.

    • There are PLENTY of women engaging in the same behaviors. It’s not men, it’s people.

    • Sarah

      Hi Irene, I love your intention to raise your children with understanding around this sensitive topic.

  • Thank you. I have been dealing with food and weight critics all my life. Thank you for giving me an articulate way to express myself and let people know that what they’re doing is NOT okay.

  • Great post! My grandmother is always commenting on my weight. She’ll send me “weightloss” cookbooks for Christmas and my birthdays, while my little brother would get something actually useful. I know she’s trying to help, but it hurts so much. I need to set boundaries with her (about many things – she also thinks it’s ok to talk about why I’m still single at 35) but it’s really hard – I’ve just become grateful I don’t see her often. Which is terrible.

    • Sarah

      That sounds tough, Carmen. Sometimes it’s healthiest to distance ourselves from certain people or situations. But, if you are wishing you could see your grandmother more, maybe you could work on taking some steps to create those boundaries. You (and your relationships) are worth it!

  • Amber Strong

    While I understand your reaction and feelings to his comment, I have a very different perspective… My husband is my #1 supporter. He knows how badly I want to stay in shape, and take good care of my body, but he also knows it is a lifelong struggle for me and I often backslide. He sees the difference in me physically, emotionally, and spiritually when I AM taking care of myself, so of course he is going to encourage me to keep taking care of myself! He has been totally honest with me and told me that he will ALWAYS love me, no matter what I weigh or look like, so I know that his comments are never coming from a place of what HE wants. His comments come from him wanting to see me HAPPY and HEALTHY. So, I have given my husband full permission to speak up. Gently and lovingly remind me how much better I feel when I work out. Kindly mention that certain foods might not be the best choice. Help me to stay on schedule with workouts by encouraging me, motivating me, or working out with me. You see, at the end of the day, it may be MY body, but he also has to live with me. And if I am unhappy because I’m in a slump and not taking care of myself, then I fully appreciate that he will speak up and help me get back on track. We are a team, and we support each other. Sometimes a team has to support each other with constructive criticism. I appreciate that my husband is willing to do that for me! And, now that I am also pregnant, I also reserve the right to occasionally say “meh, I don’t care… I want ice cream!” To which my hubby would just smile and give me a bowl of ice cream. 🙂

    • Sarah

      Amber, I am totally on board with you taking really great care of yourself, and I’m glad your husband supports that as well. P.S. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    • Trina

      I was sort of thinking along the same lines. My doctor has asked me to restrict carbs, so it is helpful for me to be able to talk to my family about this so that they understand when I turn down certain things. When I graduated college last weekend my mom and sister threw the party and asked me for input on snacks. I wasn’t the only one graduating & being celebrated and of course they got cake & ice cream and no one commented when I had some – along with some low carb snacks. I need to be able to discuss food choices with my husband and family since I do not do all of the shopping and cooking.
      I do like how this is focused on supporting habits you know make you feel good. I still think the advice is very important about setting boundaries around things that make you feel bad.
      The people at my doctor’s office have seen me lose and regain 135 pounds. They have always been understanding and supportive. I appreciate that my doctor calls my excuses out as BS. He encourages me and reminds me that it is up to me.
      I love Sarah’s program for encouraging us to live our best lives now. That definitely includes standing up for ourselves.

  • Linda A

    Sarah, I am not in a relationship now but in my most recent one I would get comments about not ordering something I was thinking of on a menu and it made me mad but more so defiant like a child that wanted to act out and do something just to proof I could do whatever I wanted. Not a very productive way to handle the situation
    Thank you for brining this topic up!
    I love your sulution! That is going in my LMWL bag of tricks! Thank you for bringing this to light Hugs to you beautiful!

  • Heather

    I did. I was 20 years old and just getting through a very difficult time. the summer before my father had a heart transplant and I pretty much lived at work or the hospital. My diet consisted of bottles of pop and vending machine bags of twirlers and m&m’s. I was down to 110lbs. For me even though I’m short I look healthier when I’m in the 120s. Fast forward 6 months and I was at a healthy weight of 117 but my then boyfriend told me that I should go to the gym and tone up. Maybe I should go tanning and that would help cheer me up. I got pissed because I knew I was healthy and still looked good. I tore into him telling him I would never go tanning because it causes cancer and so what if I had a little bit of a belly. My body was meant to bear kids and what did he think was going to happen after pregnancy. I felt incredibly proud of myself in the moment. Unfortunately through the years his words would continue to haunt me. Later I learned he was probably more upset with himself than with me. I still fight to overcome the feelings that came from such a personal attack. Yet I know I’m strong and beautiful. I have a husband who adores me no matter my size. I pity my ex and pray that he’s found the peace within himself.

    • Sarah

      You are strong and beautiful, Heather. I’m glad you were able to make some peace with that situation, and I know your healing will continue. Thanks for opening up with us.

  • Courtney

    I have been in this exact position with my fiancé more than once – one time he made a comment that I was grabbing a root beer of the fridge, and I totally melted down, crying, the whole bit, yelling that I didn’t appreciate him calling me fat (he didn’t) – to which he replied, “I was actually going to ask if you would share it with me”.

    ….Oh. The more secure we feel with ourselves, the less this harmless comments will matter! Girl power & all that!

  • Marilyn

    Wow. Great blog post! I totally felt this post in my bones…and my stomach, my thighs, and my arms. I have had this happen to me multiple times in my life. I go back to feeling like the little round girl who’s told (by family) “you have such a pretty face…if only you could lose a few pounds you’d be so beautiful”. I remember being pulled in front of every Oprah, Donahue, Sally Jesse, etc. episode about weight loss programs. The little girl who thought at 11 years old she “should ask” for Deal-A-Meal for her birthday so she could change and make herself more accepted and loved.
    When I was dating my husband, one of the things that we did together was go on Sugar Busters together. I felt like I was supposed to at least seem interested in being on a diet to be worthy of love. Whenever I tried a diet, I felt like I had to announce it to my family and friends to again project this sense of “I know I’m fat, and need to lose weight, so I’m trying to do something about it”.
    My husband in his “meaning well” and more “statements of fact” will say some things that just bristle me. I can’t remember the context right now, but it happened just this last Sunday at Costco. I didn’t say anything as when I do it totally changes the entire tone of our day. Sunday being the first Mother’s day since his mom died I decided not to say anything. I just took the tension within myself and let it ride. I know though that it will come up again. He’ll make a statement as to how much weight a certain item can bear. He will immediately follow it up to include himself in this scenario since he has weight to lose as well…but it still rubs me wrong. Even now remembering it, that rub comes back. I don’t need reminders of how much weight something may or may not be able to take. I’ve been obese for more than half my life, and overweight all of it. I think about all of the pounds every time I get onto an elevator, especially when it’s full. I start sizing everyone up and trying to figure out if it’s me that will send us over that limit. Even if there are heavy people, I think about what I’m doing to make it go over.
    The other person, or people rather, that trigger that shame response are my mother and grandmother. My grandmother is very old and I don’t correct her, but I get the “pretty face” comment. There’ just something about my mother saying something about weight that makes me feel like I’m wearing a bullseye.
    I will definitely be remembering this blog post the next time a comment comes up and “go through the steps” including setting a boundary. It’s hard when you have someone that makes a comment to you about your weight when they are “heavy” themselves. There seems to be a blurrier line of ‘allowance’ since they’re in the same boat. In fact, as I write this I am thinking of what I even do with my younger brother, who also has an obesity issue like I do. There are times that he looks so uncomfortable and possibly has gained more weight, and I’ll ask him “how he is” but I think he knows I’m asking how his health is due to his weight. He’s had some heart-related “scares”. Is this the same thing? I don’t want to do to him or make him feel like I do when the statements are made?

    • Sarah

      Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Marilyn. You are a great communicator. If a person makes a comment to someone regarding something he/she his/herself struggles with, it is often projection. I don’t necessarily think there are factors that make one person’s comments more allowable or excusable than another’s.

      Use your best discretion. Though the conversation may go differently when a person is at serious risk of hurting herself or others, often times that individual is completely aware of her condition and its effects, and feelings get hurt just as they would in the type of scenario I described in the post. Similarly, even if you are expressing genuine concern, what matters is what the other person -from his/her perspective- is receiving. Does that make sense? What do you think?

  • faith

    Approximately a year ago I was injured at work and have been unable to maintain my regular fitness routine. Another result of this injury is that I have been forced to take a temporary leave until it has completely healed which has left me depressed and being the over achieving person that I am, I dove full force into depression and emotional eating as a result. Here I am 1 year later with all of my physical gains lost, I’m heavier than I’ve ever been and very self conscious. I frequently talk about trying a low/no impact activity like pilates or TRX but when my husband mentioned the other day that maybe I should go sign up for the introductory Pilates class I was devastated. I honestly don’t believe he meant it in a terribly negative way but I sure took it that way. I know my depression and weight gain have had an effect on the entire family and that’s one more thing to add to my guilt salad. He said that I was never happier than when I was working out regularly and had that outlet and time for myself. He was emphasizing the emotional/psychological side of things but to me all i heard was Charlie Brown’s teacher telling me I was a fat, no good, lazy, quitter. He would never actually SAY those things to me but I think his even mentioning it in that way was his hint that things are out of control.

    I retreated quickly to the shower where no one could hear or see me cry. I, unfortunately, had to see my overweight, out of shape, closing on 50 body when I was finished and that just reinforced the pain. Later that evening, after I had given myself time to really figure out my own feelings about the situation, I sat down and talked with him. He seemed hurt that I would believe he would ever intentionally speak to me or insult me in such a manner. We discussed the way his words made me feel and I realized that I am just as guilty (if not moreso) of “fat shaming” because I constantly refer to myself as the “fat girl”. We agreed that NEITHER of us would speak in such a demeaning way and that we would think twice about the adjectives we use or the suggestions and motivation we utilize in our daily lives. Instead of a “swear jar” in our house, we are going to implement an “insult jar”. Same concept, different words.

    • This is really really beautiful Faith. I admire your openness to deal with your feelings and admit your part in this painful situation. Wonderful job.
      I am sending you tons of love and support on your journey to joy and happiness. Sarah is an amazing role model in that matter. <3

    • Sarah

      Wow Faith, I think an “insult” jar for negative self-talk would be really eye-opening for so many of us! Thank you SO much for vulnerably sharing not only your serious struggle but the action you took to bring change, to do things differently in the future. I’m so so proud of you, and I hope that this is the beginning of some positive shifts for you. Please continue to reach out in this community, as we want to be here for you in any way we can. P.S. I love that you are still able to have a sense of humor around these sensitive topics. xo

  • Yup, I get this Sarah!!
    I can’t remember a time when my mother & I were NOT being criticized by my father for our weight struggles. Couldn’t eat right, ate too much, wore the wrong clothes, didn’t behave ‘feminine’ enough – that’s how I remember my childhood, never pretty enough, thin enough, quiet enough, good enough, not measuring up to his ‘ideal’ of what his daughter ought to be.
    Finally in my early 30’s I blew my lid with him and said “NEVER EVER again are you allowed to mention 1 word on the subject of food & my weight EVER AGAIN. Do you understand?” He said he was just trying to help me, so that I don’t get sick like my mother and lose my life early (she passed from pancreatic cancer that he believes was due to her weight struggles). “BULL___T Dad” as I called his bluff. Actions are a greater influence than constant nagging words. If my father was an example of health & wellness, I could believe that his intentions were motivated by love. But he remains to be both emotionally & physically unhealthy – overweight and chooses to eat a very poor diet.
    After many years of work and working still, I know his criticism of my choices & me is his shame & fear and has nothing to do with me. My father is bound still by his shame, getting in his ‘food jabs’ by mentioning how this or that woman is ‘fat as ever’ or ‘as big as a house’. I think this is a combination of his hatred of himself as well as the lie he believes that a woman’s worth is based upon her outward appearance. I learned shame, self-hatred and the belief that I would never be lovable b/c of my ‘lack of outward beauty’ from him. But, I am healing the shame that has bound & wounded me through loving myself and accepting myself in my present space regardless of how I fit or don’t fit the mold of what a woman ‘ought’ to look like physically and behave like in her femininity. The greatest gift I have given myself is allowing me the BECOMING my heart has desired since I was a little girl. My blossoming is what the world has begged of me since I was born and doing so is a gorgeous freedom.
    Thank you for your honesty & vulnerability and of your followers, for I draw strength from you all, I am not alone on my island.
    May we all love ourselves well.

    • Sarah

      That is really rough, Kim. But, it sounds like you have a done a ton of work and experienced healing in this area, and I applaud you. I hope you continue to trust yourself because you are a bright, intuitive, beautiful woman. Thank you for sharing, and yes, may we all love ourselves well. 🙂

    • Rebekka

      Oh, Kim. You have a way with words my dear. Thank you for sharing your story and spelling out your heart. It’s beautiful …and I think you just helped heal something in me.

  • Sherry

    I feel this is a conversation I need to have with my mother. She can be chatting away in an email to me, about all sorts of random family news, etc., but she often slips in comments like “Get out there and go for a walk today!” or “Make sure to find time to get some exercise” or other sorts of “instruction”-type comments that trigger all the feelings you talk about (and then some). It immediately makes me feel like she’s saying I’m not good enough, not healthy / in shape enough, not thin enough, not doing enough (lazy, etc.). And like any trigger would affect a person, I immediately feel myself tense up, grit my teeth, breathe harder, feel stressed, and start thinking negatively about myself, my body, my behaviors, my abilities, all of it. From one relatively innocuous comment about how I should get outside or take better care of myself.

    But there’s so much history tied to comments like that, that they feel like judgment and pointed instruction where I don’t need it. So yes, I definitely feel like the conversation you had with your husband is one I need to have with my mom. I know she loves me, I know she’d do anything for me if she could, I know she just wants me to be healthy and happy, and her comments may come from a different place within her own head and I’m hearing it a different way than she intended, but… her comments trigger so much negativity within me about how I feel about myself. I continue to work on that in therapy, but there may come a point where I will need to sit down with her and say, “This is off limits. You can’t talk about this with me anymore. No matter what your underlying intention for your comments, they still hurt me and cause harm within me, and I can’t take it anymore. I can’t keep absorbing those negative messages and that’s what stirs up when you say such things.” In therapy I’ve been talking a lot about boundaries lately, and I get the feeling this conversation is one I’m going to have to find a way to have, sooner rather than later.

    I admire you for setting a boundary about this with your husband, instead of absorbing the hurt feelings and letting them fester. Thank you for your example. 🙂

    It’s a hard, hard conversation to have.

    • Sarah

      Yes, pay attention to those physical cues from your body! There is a lot of wisdom in your comment; I think that if you said something similar to your mom as you did in your second paragraph here, it would help her to understand how her comments make you feel and the history behind them. It is a hard conversation, but one worth having. Let us know how it goes, Sherry. xo

  • ¡Beutiful Sarah! stablish healthy boundaries espacially when we are pregnant make our life´s easier. Now with 27 weeks, I feel very vulnarable and I did ask to my partner to consider specific comments and be extra cautious.

    • Sarah

      Absolutely. It’s always helpful when we can give them a head’s up.

  • It sounds like you handled it perfectly. Thank you for this post. I’d love to know what his reaction was.

  • I love how you felt everything and didn’t resist the feelings. I can totally relate to it because I had (as many many many of us) a torturous relationship with my body for many years and every comment even so slightly pointing in the direction of my weight was like a stab in my heart.
    If I may add my humble two cents, I believe that everybody is just a mirror for us. I do not believe in setting boundaries (and feeling actually almost allergic to this word). As a student and teacher of A Course In Miracles I regard every button pushed as a direction where more healing is needed. So if I tell people never ever to tell me certain things, it’s like guarding this button and not wanting to deal with it.
    I admire your for your willingness to see the other person’s site. You are so so right that your husband never thought of hurting you by any stretch of imagination and I do believe that you two have a wonderful and open relationship so he knows your journey.
    Universe delivers opportunities for us to heal and if we don’t take them in that form, they will come up in another.
    I absolutely love and admire you, gorgeous woman. You are one of the very few that I continue to follow since the beginning of my journey 3 years ago. (Even unsubscribed from Danielle LaPorte long time ago) I truly honor your growth and development into womanhood and your openness about it.
    Hope, you understand what I am talking about and that I do not by any chance mean that you are not dealing with your feelings or anything like that. I am just always questioning the term boundaries. For me, these are buttons that are being pushed and that I want to take a closer look at until they are healed and don’t touch me anymore.
    Sending you all my love and appreciation,
    Alla

    • Sarah

      Hi Alla, This is an interesting alternate perspective. I appreciate you sharing it and will weigh it carefully. It reminds me of “Don’t Take Anything Personally” in the Four Agreements. I’m happy you can appreciate my thoughts and growth and that we can all learn from each other. Sending love your way, too.

  • Jennifer

    I’m inspired by how courageously you dealt with this. I’m glad to know I’m not alone – it’s these seemingly little things that seem like they don’t happen to anyone else that can be heartbreaking. Thank you for being so open and honest!

    • Sarah

      Jennifer, you are so welcome and not at all alone!

  • Ouch! Back in high school I had a boyfriend who was in great shape (he was a Merchant Marine and had quite the 6 pack). One day his mother, who was a thin woman and seemed to be in great shape, reached for some cake and he said, “Do you think you should be eating that?” and commented on her weight or fat or some such nonsense. I was absolutely horrified by what he said and wondered what he’d have the balls to say to me if we continued to date (I’m pretty sure I actually weighed more than his mom, who had more of a lean boyish build than I do). I broke up with him a few weeks later. I guess you could say my boundaries are like Fort Knox in this area.

    Later on in life, I got to experience the other side of the fence. My ex husband, who is a doctor (yep, sometimes they can sound a bit insensitive), commented often (and negatively) on my healthy eating habits. Despite the fact that I cleaned up my eating, healed my digestive issues, and felt great, he and his family would make a comment about my “restrictive” (I don’t eat meat) eating. Apparently, I “didn’t know how to have fun” and I should “lay off the diet.” I was actually never on a diet. I just cared about what I put in my mouth. Whenever I passed on cake or fried food, I got “the look.” At first it annoyed me but then I just let it go. It’s my body and it feels good, so who the hell cares what anyone says? After a while I actually had fun with it and would bring vegan casseroles over to my in-laws house for the holidays. I owned it and sat proudly at their table. I never thought that something so simple as food choices would cause problems/fights, but they did in my relationship. I’m unclear as to why anyone needs to comment on anyone else’s eating and/or exercise habits. My ex used to take all sorts of supplements and ate protein bars loaded with preservatives (not to mention fast food) and I never said a word. Not my business. After the divorce I lost some weight (I ate a bit sloppier when I was married, so living on my own again resulted in healthier food and losing weight without trying) and when we got together to have lunch and sign some papers, he took one look at me and said, “You’re way too thin.” I simply smiled and said, “I’m happy with the way I look and feel.”

    I love the 4 steps you’ve included here. Great advice! Speaking of great — you’re perfect just as you are.

    • Sarah

      Great perspective, D. It can definitely go both ways, and I don’t think you’re alone in your experience. Owning it is absolutely key, and we could all learn a lot from you! Thank you for sharing and for your sweet words.

  • Shannon

    Hi ladies,
    This can be such an awful experience…My husband and I were in the States for the past 8 months because of the Ebola issues here in West Africa. I was super stressed out and emotional about the entire situation going on with our people in Liberia, and my period had come back after being gone for a year and I put on quite a bit of weight…my husband said it was around 30 lbs. He loved the extra weight and so did everyone else…which made me angry. I felt like ‘seriously, do I have to be huge and squishy to have a baby?” I danced my whole life and I am used to a lean and strong body…so to have these many changes and to be in an emotional eating space was really hard…especially with all of my nutrition and deep tissue cleansing training and experience. Well, I started taking better care of my body but when I returned to Africa, I knew what was going to happen…they would call me fat. It’s not that they’re insulting me, they are just making an observation, like they do in Latin America. Just as I expected, my first day back at our little branch at Church, everyone, and I mean everyone, was of course celebrating our return and so happy we were back, but then immdiately followed up with, ‘wow, you got so fat!” In my imagination I was growing with each comment. My husband asked me if it was hard for me…I admitted that it was a little weird. Someone who has struggled with eating disorders and body image issues in the past hearing from everyone around her that she was now fat…well, it really could have destroyed me. But they were looking at me in admiration and fascination at my new body. I decided in that moment to embrace me…myself and my body. What made me feel so sad was how the weight happened…emotional eating and addiction of sugary foods while in the states…so while I embraced my body and felt compassion towards myself, I decided that my body deserved to have the best care possible and the most love possible. If my body was going to be thicker, I wanted it to be because of pure health and nourishment and love, not because of a sugar addiction or emotional eating. So, I decided to translate that word ‘fat’ to ‘PHAT…yes you know, from the 80’s, ‘Pretty Hot And Tempting! I’m continuing to take care of my body and be kind, but steering clear of the sugar and emotional eating, filling my life with joy and self care and pleasure so that food isn’t a need for comfort or fun. Thanks for sharing Sarah!

    • Sarah

      Shannon, I am blown away by your comment. Thank you for sharing your experience. Bravo! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the appropriateness of taking these steps with the people in your community. How do you handle that cultural/societal difference (regarding comments about weight)?

      • Lisa

        Yes, the cultural aspect of it is interesting! I live in Latin America where it is not a cultural taboo to describe or even nickname someone, like ‘Fatty’ or ‘Skinny’.Not only are the nicknames common, but they are meant as terms of endearment, so there really is a completely different angle! I think in the US/Canada comments on body size are more likely to happen in a relationship, not as often just by some random guy at the market or acquaintances at church, etc.
        I’m glad to hear that you made it back to Liberia Shannon, and you’ve shared some really powerful words about taking care of yourself and being kind. Thank you!

  • Liana

    I really really really really needed to read this article! Thank you so much Sarah. I have a lot of conversations revolving around my weight and lifestyle with my partner. I’ve thought maybe it was just me being sensitive, but it is really comforting to know that it is okay to be sensitive! And that it is nothing to do with him anymore, and certainly nothing that he is allowed to comment on. Thank you! You’ve given me a much much needed boost to help me make my stand!

    • Sarah

      Liana, yes it is okay! I’m so so glad this was helpful for you, and best of luck with your future conversations around this topic. x

  • This really struck a chord with me. I used to ask my husband to keep me on track with my countless diets and we got into bad patterns. I now know better – no more diets – and he knows better than to comment (after many blow ups from me!!). I know he was coming from a place of love, he wants me to be fit and healthy…and he was raised in a family that really value thinness. He does mention occasionally that he’s being really restrained at not saying anything these days which still makes me feel a little sad. Yes it’s great he doesn’t make those comments any more but I feel really sad that he’s still thinking them, and just not saying them. It would be amazing to feel that he loves me at any weight and genuinely doesn’t care what I look like. Does this even exist?

    • Sarah

      Michelle, I’m glad you and your husband are now clear on your boundaries. Feel free to read the second paragraph in my response to Amanda (a few posts down); it briefly covers what you’re asking here. What do you think?

  • crystal

    Oh, Sarah. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I have had a very similar experience coming from my beloved very well intended husband. Thank you for helping me see its okay to feel pissed (and all the other emotions) and that that shit is my business.

    • crystal

      Also, this made me realize that vocalizing the dislike and other negative feelings about my body to my husband did not help this situation. This has given me so much to think about 🙂

    • Sarah

      Crystal,

      Awesome. You are soo welcome, and you make a great point!

  • Sage

    I want to talk through this a little because I would probably have the same reaction you had while you were on a plane. I’m slightly critical of your thought process but I want to preface it with two points. 1. I have (do) struggle with my own weight and 2. I am a huge fan and really respect you and all the women who read your blog. So here goes… I know the logic that “Weight has been an ongoing struggle so how could someone talk to ME about MY weight (even indirectly) if I know they couldn’t understand any part of what a struggle Living More and Weighing Less means to ME?” I think the fact that weight is SO taboo to talk about is part of societies issues. So maybe we all shouldn’t walk around saying “you look like you gained a few pounds this winter” to each other but if our husbands can’t say “I want to help you make your priorities remain priorities” in a loving, non judgmental way then we are living in the darkness of body image. If your husband had bad breath for a few weeks would you tell him? I would want someone to say to me “hey babe are you brushing and flossing enough?” well before it became a medical problem. I am (lovingly and non judgmentally I swear!) surprised that you are so open with your struggles on the public blog but want to have a topic that is 100% off limit limits with the one person you should be able to share anything with. I think you should have a rule that Jonathan should never make you feel attacked, shamed, or embarrassed BUT I don’t think making body image taboo is the way to achieve that. Obviously, the easiest way would be if you were in a position where comments like his yoga comment wouldn’t make you feel all those negative emotions but my recommendation is to let him help you carry some of that burden and work on it together. Bottom line, scary things hide in the darkness. Shine some light on them and watch them dissolve. Your fear that Jonathan wants a trophy wife or thinks of you as fat/lazy lives in that darkness. Set a boundary but instead of being topic based (your weight) make it be emotional based (making you feel bad about yourself). To make a rule that he can never talk about this again is scary to me and likely him. What if you were in a great routine, at your goal weight, loving your body, pregnant with your 3rd child, and Jonathan noticed you weren’t making time for yoga? Wouldn’t you want him to remind you then instead of 3 months later when you notice yourself because you start to feel those sad feelings of inadequate woman? Lots of love xoxo

    • Sarah

      Sage,

      First, I completely agree that getting vulnerable around our bodies, our struggles, and our feelings should not be taboo (Have you seen my Real Talk Series?:). I think this looks different depending on the type of relationship you have with the person you’re conversing with, the setting (safe space), context, etc.

      For me, the topic of my weight is a very personal, sensitive, and emotional issue. What my husband can do to best support me is to be positive and considerate, and that includes being sensitive to my history with and feelings around my body image.

      To make the distinction, similar to what you’ve said, it might be helpful to ask: Does this comment/conversation make me feel heard/supported/encouraged/included or does it make me feel shameful/attacked/small/worthless?

      And again, we can all do work to be stronger and more self-accepting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t set some healthy boundaries. Looking back at your comment, I think we’re more on the same page than you might think. 🙂

      xo,
      Sarah

    • Kristina

      This comment brings up something that a relative once told me that I have never forgotten. She said that it’s socially acceptable and usually invited to comment to someone about their appearance if it’s something wrong with them that can be changed it a moment, but not to say anything to someone about how they look if it’s something that cannot be changed in a moment. So– telling my man that his breath is stinky or that his hair needs a brushing are things he can just go fix in the bathroom. Telling him that his teeth are crooked and unattractive or that he’s balding and should think about follicular micrografts are not things I should just say. Not everyone may agree with me but I find this advice to be very wise. If my husband told me a skirt didn’t flatter my butt (while I’m still at home and can fix it in a moment’s notice), I wouldn’t care much. If he told me my butt didn’t flatter my body, I’d tell him where to shove his lil comment.
      It’s important to be honest in an intimate relationship but it’s also important to be sensitive to issues that aren’t easily fixable. When I open my mouth to say something, I have to ask myself “Does he already know this about himself? Is my comment necessary?” Spinach in the teeth– yes it’s necessary. Fat on the thighs– not necessary. A person knows when they don’t look perfect in some way. They know their spouse wishes they looked more perfect in this area. They really don’t need to be told anything– they are already hardest on themselves. If it’s affecting my attraction to my man, I need to ask myself how to look past it. How do I get more rose-coloring in my glasses? What am I hating about myself that makes me so affected by his appearance that I feel I have to bring it up? What will I do with this lesson about love that the universe has presented to me?
      Now– there is something I thinkI do have the right to say and to hear from him– “You aren’t showing up to this relationship”. And I don’t mean that in the “You are a fatty now and you know i don’t like fatties” way of not showing up in this relationship. I mean it in the– “There’s something about the way you feel about yourself or the way you think I feel about you that is preventing you from showing up for this relationship. You no longer seem comfortable wanting or having sex or nonsexual touch, and whatever is causing that is hurting our love. What’s going on?” It’s one thing to feel insulted by our spouse, it’s another to use our self-image or fear of their opinion as an excuse to shut down intimacy. But when he opens up (or we open up to him), it’s so important to reassure him that he’s attractive; “Yes, you’re balding. Well, my thighs are expanding. Neither of us are 25 anymore. But I still see a hundred handsome things about you every time I look at you, and I still see the love of my life. You are and will always be enough.” And hopefully that’s what he needs to hear but if it’s not, he’s not off the hook. He still has to find a way back to me, however he does it, and whatever that means to him. And vice versa.
      My man and I are going through these issues now. I worry about looking thin enough and he worries about some other BS. Thanks for your wise advice and for this article.

      • You are so welcome, Kristina! I love your reflections on comments and how there is a difference between what can be changed in the moment and what is a more sensitive topic. Thank you. xo

  • Amanda

    I’m torn about this. I’m sure I’ll get stoned for saying this, but so be it.

    On one hand, I agree: it’s my body and everyone else should STFU about it. That said, if your husband married a size 2 woman and you’re now a size 16, it doesn’t seem completely unreasonable for him to have a problem with it. Looks aren’t everything, but we all know they matter. In the same way, if you married a 180 lbs man who’s now pushing 300 lbs, you’d probably have a problem with it, too. You’d still love him, but likely not be as attracted to him. I think women, in particular, are guilty of the bait-and-switch: get slim and fit to snag a man, get married, fall into complacency and pack on the pounds.

    Obviously, from some of the comments, there are a lot of men who are horse’s asses about it. Berating you in public or in front of friends and family is completely inappropriate. Really, berating you, period, is. But I guess I’d rather have a comment on my weight gain than have him bite his tongue and find a side-piece who DOES keep herself up.

    I’m not totally siding with the men here, though I know it sounds that way. I’m just saying, I can see, in some cases, where they’re coming from.

    • Sarah

      Amanda, you are always welcome to disagree and share your perspective. 🙂 As women, our bodies are going to experience A LOT of changes; we will never be exactly the same as when we got married. Likewise, people in general constantly change and grow. So, I’m not sure that it’s fair to compare oneself or one’s partner to a past version of her/his self or have expectations that the person remain the same.

      That being said, I agree: being physically attracted to one’s partner matters. However, I’d like to shift the notion that physical attraction has to be based on weight. Both a size 2 and a size 16 woman can be attractive, and there are so many factors that play into this. One of which (to address something else you said) is self care. I too wish that women, after marriage, will continue to take care of, pay attention to, and cherish themselves; this will look different for everyone.

      Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and insight.

  • Not to veer to off topic but if you are open to it, you can speak to him in the spirit world. Literally have a conversation and or write a letter. He knows how much he hurt you and by you allowing yourself to express the hurt, it actually helps his soul evolve. Express and then forgive.

    Hope that helps,
    Sweta

  • Naomi

    Thanks Sarah for this post… It’s ”nice’, (in a sense) to know that its not just me who deals with this… I followed a program a year ago to lose the rest of the baby weight (my husband was the last to notice) but recently with winter and moving to France my weight has crept back up… My husband is constantly making comments about what I eat and making jokes about my diet… It really hurts but I have trouble communicating to him how I feel cause I don’t want to become a blubbering mess in front of him…
    Thanks so much for sharing your story, it gives me confidance to stand-up to my husband so that we can have a happier marriage.

    • Sarah

      Naomi,

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you were able to come away with more confidence in having this conversation with your husband. I hope the steps I laid out give you a clearer idea of how to communicate your thoughts/feelings. I know what you mean about not wanting to be a “blubbering mess,” but it’s an emotional topic! Let your husband see how this truly affects you, and don’t beat yourself up.

      Love, Sarah

  • This is a conversation I’ve needed to have many times. But it’s like my tongue disappears. Especially with people in my life who feel they have the right to tell me what my body should be (frequently with indirect, condescending veiled-rhetorical statements), ironically, without being plugged into my life and what’s going on first. What your piece drives home for me is that no matter how plugged in anyone is to my life, my body is a domain that has been given to me. I need to respect it and require that same respect from those around me. Thanks Sarah.

    • Sarah

      Well said, Krystle. Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

  • Annie

    Thank you and the powers in the universe for allowing me to find this blog post! I am thin and I have always been thin. I don’t have body issues for me, but I have not always been as kind to my husband. Reading your article Sarah, and all the wonderful and poignant comments, I did what you suggested and felt shame and embarrassment at my behavior. I have made those seemingly innocent comments about portion size or exercise in the hopes it would get my husband to lose some of his extra 50 pounds. We have had some tough times in the marriage and he was able to lose the weight, but there was another woman so the fact that he gained it all back is sometimes a hurtful reminder. Still, going forward I am not going to make any comment about his body again, unless it is to tell him how good he looks!

    • Sarah

      Annie,
      I’m so glad you were able to come away with that piece of wisdom. I hope that it can help both heal past struggles and and guide you and your husband toward a happier future. We’re here for you.
      Love, Sarah

  • Hi there, this weekend is fastidious in support of me, as this tijme
    i am reading this enormous educational post herde at my residence.

    • Sarah Jenks

      Awesome! I’d love to hear what you learned from this article, Seremolyn.

  • “Do you really think you should eat that second donut?”

    HELL NO BUDDY – never say that to a pregnant woman.

  • Tracie

    I feel that way with my parents all of the time. My earliest memories are about my parents dieting and judging their bodies. And that eventually passed on to my body as well. I have struggled with anorexia and then being over weight to try and let go of the control. Either way they often make comments about food choices I should make and/or work outs I should or shouldn’t do. And every time they make a comment I respond emotionally and also beat myself up emotionally. I like the idea of saying it’s a boundary and making it clear to them that regardless of what their opinion is about my reactions, it does hurt and I don’t want to hear the comments.

  • Elysia hansel

    Phil,

    I didn’t have any energy to argue last night. I hung up on you. I took a time out, and counted 70 slow breaths until I could go to sleep. I should have communicated that I needed to be by myself to cry it out. You texted me that you were joking.

    It will never be a joke to me to mention that “using too much oil” fight. Should I cancel dinner with my parents plans tonight? You are probably annoyed with me now and I don’t really want to eat spicy potatoes and falafel fried in oil in front of you. A few weeks ago I wrote you about how serious my diet and body issues are, but you never responded to that incredibly long and vulnerable email, so I’ll just include a copy of that email at the end of this one.

    I can hear your voice in my head from that night that you “want to be able to say how you feel and be honest with me about your opinions of my diet and being overweight and how that is part of coupleship/partnership that we better each other.”
    I tried to eliminate you watching me cook for a while by saying that from now on for the next month, you would be cooking every dinner and leading by example how little oil to cook with. A couple pizzas later, you are out of money and you don’t really have time to cook for me and you, we work different hours, I need to eat by 8:00pm and we often pull the pizza out at 9:30pm. I still find it confusing that you are often concerned with being polite to people and treating even the lowest of our society with respect and kindness. I do not think that it was polite to tell me I was cooking wrong/unhealthy and that if I cook like that, you don’t want to eat it. I don’t think it’s kind that you blame mostly my oil usage as a major factor of my overweightness. You don’t invite me to go on bike rides to do fun free things or go on dates. I don’t think it’s kind that you ask me to get you beer for a “finder’s fee” of 3 broken appliances that I paid $40 for and then tease me that I haven’t lifted it out of my truck by myself. I don’t think it’s kind that when I tell you how old my parents act in this elevation after weeks of no exercise up in MN winters you compare them to me and bring up The “Too much oil” fight.
    I am honestly telling you: if you tease me again about my midwestern oil using, use jokes to bring up our worst fight, or tell me what to do or how I should be eating, I will leave this relationship and be perfectly content to continue looking for a real man who will treat me with respect and loving kindness. I went to Triangle L bed & breakfast after The
    “Too Much Oil, I don’t want to eat it”
    fight and stayed away from you to clear my head. I needed to think about my life and friends and previous unhealthy relationships I’ve had. I wanna share my life with you and grow together and get healthy in a fun way.

    • Elysia hansel

      This is the email I wrote today after dealing with this very issue. Thanks For Focusing on this issue.

    • Hi Elysia. Thank you for sharing this and I’m sending you the biggest hug ever. I am SO proud of you for how you stood up for yourself and so openly shared with your partner what is and is not acceptable.

      Please keep me posted on how things go. I hope that this establishes some boundaries and some things start to shift in your relationship. xo

  • Jenna

    Thank you for your courage and words of wisdom. My husband just called me fat yesterday. I am a size 4 with a body mass index of 23. He is obsessed with every milligram I gain. He does not understand that with my schedule of working 110 hours a week to pay for his lifestyle because he quit his job to sit at home all day, that I don’t have time to exercise. I am working to pay for his extravagance. I am 48, not 18. Being a size 4 in this situation is pretty good, I think. Regardless he has made me feel small. I have not eaten a bite for 36 hours. I feel that I have to starve myself to get down to 70 pounds to get him off my case. I cried all night over his repeated comments that I am so fat. I have put on 2 pounds in 8 years. I really like what you said. You are a very strong woman. Keep writing. We need you to fight against all these people who want to take us down and destroy our self esteem.

  • Kristen

    In the past 7 months I’ve lost a total of almost 30lbs. My highest weight was 198 and currently am fluctuating between 170-174lbs. Today my husband tells me that I look the same. That I don’t look any different than before. I was completely hurt, in shock, angry…I wanted to run away and hide myself for what he told me. I couldn’t believe what I heard. I was just starting to feel better about myself and I feel like he robbed me of my accomplishments.

    Let me just say in the past, my weight has been brought up before but eventually never was discussed again because I was always so emotions with this subject. I find it degrading that a person can be so bold, without realizing the harshness they give off. I seem to cover myself and hide in my clothes. I can’t fully be happy with who I am now because the person I am with doesn’t even make me feel worth worshiping over.

    We have a son together (he will be 2 in March) and if it wasn’t for our boy, I want to leave. I feel so deeply that I’m not happy but I’m also strickened with pain for the love I do feel for my husband. Am I just so freakin stupid and blind? I must be.

    Also let me add, he cheated on me 7 years ago and currently been together for 8. I know this irrelevant to the topic but I REALLY need some encouraging words here. I AM PAINED.

    Thank you,

    Kristen

    • Hi Kristen. First, I want to talk about you how YOU feel in your body. Let me know and we can start there. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this in your relationship right now. Have you tried having a conversation like I discussed in this article with your husband about your body/weight? If not, try it. It might be hard, but I know what you’re experiencing right now is really hard too.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for these words. It’s terrible so many women are made to feel this way. I am among you. Something similar happened to me, though my weight gain is due to an injury that has prohibited me from running the 30 miles I was running a week. I had to change workouts…now I do crossfit 4 times a week, yoga twice a week, and rock climb once a week. Though active, I don’t have the lean body I had as a runner. Hearing my fiance tell me multiple times that I shouldn’t eat every time I’m hungry or that I need to workout more if I’m not seeing results really pissed me off. I’m doing the best that I can. I stopped eating all refined grains and only get carbs from fruits and vegetables – I’ve been paleo for 4 months.

    What was said on several occasions made me question if he would be there for me in good times and bad, sickness and health. What happens when I keep baby weight after kids for some time or if my body doesn’t go back to the way it was? I don’t want to live my life knowing that love is conditional from the person who is supposed to be my best friend. What about those wrinkles and grey hairs I’m going to get? When all other aspects of a healthy relationship is there is this worth ending it? Saying talking about my body is off limits isnt an option. He believes there are no off limit topics in marriage. And even if he didn’t say anything ever again, I’m going to be self conscious every time I eat around him. That’s no life to live. If anyone has insights, I would love to hear your comments. It’s now 5 months before our wedding.

    • Hi Rachel,

      I think you need to have a really open and honest conversation about this. Is it going to be hard? Yes. But, you both need to be on the same page with this. If you can’t take the conversation off the table, at least make it known to him how you feel. A lot of times men don’t realize the impact it has on us, and they don’t always understand how much our weight can fluctuate based on our stage of life no matter how active we are. The focus should be on health and it sounds like you are taking really great care of yourself.

    • Tazia

      This is exactly my same situation ongoing through

  • Victoria

    Thank you so much for making this post. I have been fighting with my boyfriend because he keeps insisting I work out. I am 110 pounds and 5 foot 8. Not over weight by any means. I tell him it hurts being told I should work out to look better for him like he does for me.He tells me I am being closed minded or lazy. I really love him a lot but in my mind this is unexceptable. I am not sure what I should do or if I am in fault for not working out more. I go on walks do crunches and squats everyday but for him I guess it’s not enough.

  • Hello Sarah my name is Tazia my mind is so cloudy and confused I’m 24years old I am really tall 179cms and weigh75kgs I’m a size 10-12 and my weight does go up and down due to polystic ovaries I stay between75-80and I’m a very curvey women. I have been with my fiancé for 4years and since I have meet him he has been super concerned about his own body and that he is never muscular enough even though he he big muscles but he tells me that I need to lose weight for 4 years he has told me this and I have said to him it has nothing to do with him but he disagrees and says that it has everything to do with him and that if I don’t lose weight and don’t look good for him he won’t marry me I feel so hurt and sad and fat and I know I could lose a little bit of weight but I don’t know what to do anymore how to approach this situation anymore please any advice

  • Sarah

    Hey! I love this article
    As for me, I’m a confident woman I never had any eating disorder.
    I gained weight due to school stress years ago and I was able to lose half of it but I’m still overweight very healthy but still overweight.
    My boyfriend whose obese we were once out and I wanted to get dessert so I asked the waiter for a cake and my boyfriend said no to the waiter I didn’t understand what happened! I asked why he said cause I want you to lose weight I was in shock! I didn’t reply and he said see that dress you like you need to lose weight for. I didn’t say much.
    I was once wearing a big sweater and when I walked in front of him he said “don’t you wanna go back to your previous weight” cause I was an athlete right before college.
    I showed him a dress once and he said he doesn’t like it and I shouldn’t get it and when I asked why?! He said the dress is ugly and please don’t be mad but it will only look good on a skinny girl.
    And the worst of them all when he said your sister is so skinny she looks like a model.
    He is a guy who pursed me for over a year when I was a lot heavier than I am now, and always told I was pretty and way out of his league, I felt like I’m his project and not someone he cares about. I don’t think I can forgive him I still from time to time remember these incidents. The situation is do humiliating. .. Sorry for typos

  • Lessie

    Last night, my boyfriend said to me ‘your beautiful but if you lost just ten pounds you would be so much hotter’ … literally he said that. I was in shock and literally felt numb. I then had every comment about my weight from my past resurface in my head and was overcome with anger and sadness. I wanted to kick him out of my apartment right there but I didn’t. Instead he saw how upset I was and I said how he’s never allowed to comment about my weight EVER, and that in a million years I would never say something like that to him. Then he told me he was just making a joke (pretty sure just backpeddling) and that he was sorry and didn’t mean it. He said he would never say something like that again. The issue is that now he said that. Its out there and i’m still thinking about it and now the tears are starting to come. Even though we ‘talked it out’ right after it happened i’m still having the worst feelings. I always told myself that if a man ever said anything like that to me that I would break up with him on the spot. And now that I’m in the situation I can’t tell if it’s weak to accept something that I deemed a dealbreaker or if it’s something I should take at face value. He said it was a ‘joke’ and apologized a lot. I don’t know what to do and I feel so lost.

    • Hi Lessie. I hear you. I think the question to think about is how you feel in your body right now. The more confidence you project, the more secure you will feel when a comment is made like this by anyone. You are beautiful and perfect just as you are. Big hugs!

  • Joyce

    You’re right. What your husband said isn’t that bad but can still be offensive when taken the wrong way.
    My boyfriend told me to lose more weight because his type is “skinny”. I am 5″1″ and I weigh 96 lbs. My bf wanted me to lose 3 more lbs so I’d be 93 lbs. I thought it was the most unreasonable request in the world! No actually, it was more like a command. At that moment I realized that I’m dating a douchebag and decided I’d lose about 200 lbs of unwanted weight if I dropped him.
    A woman’s weight should not be any guy’s concern and what matters most is that you are happy with your own body.

  • This just happened to me last night. I don’t understand why I feel sooo bad when he didn’t intend to hurt me and I’m responsible for what I eat?

    We were cooking last night and I was complaining about getting older and how I would like to have a chemical peel or something. He responded “Gaining weight makes you look older”. His intent was actually to ease my frustration by indicating that I had an easy less invasive option to my problem. Almost immediately he regretted it. He apologized for being incentive. I cried a significant portion of our evening and even today. I can’t look in the mirror.

    • Hi Liz. I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling like this. I want to encourage you to think about what you can do for yourself this week to make you feel beautiful. Maybe it’s wearing one of your favorite outfits or maybe it’s getting your nails done.

  • Elizabeth

    I know this is an old post but my husband made a comment last night and me being how I am, I did a google search about it. Your piece made me feel better about my own emotions, that I wasn’t over-reacting. We were eating dinner at home and trying to get our three year old to try different foods. He eats the typical little kid diet of mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, pb&j and gets fruits and veggies through organic pouches. He’s picky. My husband made a comment to him about having healthy eating habits so he doesn’t wind up “fat and out of shape like us.” I immediately wanted to go upstairs and cry but I kept it together. I didn’t say anything to him and haven’t yet. I am a size 18 and have always been bigger but reached my biggest size after my husband and I started dating. I’ve had conversations with him about how I don’t feel like he compliments me enough and usually that results in a comment the following day but nothing later. I’ve been feeling especially unhappy about my appearance lately and I know I’m fat. It’s not even borderline. Anyone who saw me would think I’m fat. But to hear my husband say it (granted not in him directly saying to me “you’re fat”) hurt. I felt/feel embarrassed and hurt. I waited until I went to bed (before my husband) and sobbed. Just as you said, anyone who has ever said anything about my weight my whole life (which really has only been a few-including my grandmother!) came back to me and all were justified. As unattractive as I have felt I at least felt attractive to him (or tried to feel that way when I wasn’t getting the compliments). But now that is all out the window with that one comment. I was considering not addressing it which I tend to do but your piece may just give me the motivation to say something…

    • Hi Elizabeth. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. How did things go when you shared your feelings with your husband?

  • Yes, no one has the right to judge your body. Ones body is ones business. My boyfriend has just upset me. I’ve just joined Slimming World. I am 13.10 pounds. My goal is 12 stone in 12 weeks. A mountain time climb. He says, “When you get to 12 you can keep going?” I feel so upset, angry and ring his mother to help calm me down. I was pregnant. last year. Got to 40.1 weeks with a seemingly healthy pregnancy but our baby died on that day, due to Gestational Diabetes. So I didn’t breast feed and haven’t lost the baby weight. So depressed and feel trapped xxc

    • I’m so sorry for your loss Charly, but know you aren’t alone. We all have different experiences post-baby and the best way I’ve found to start releasing the weight is to focus on what brings us joy and starting there will help support us in taking better care of ourselves and our bodies. Sending you the biggest virtual hug. Love, Sarah

  • Ella

    I’m glad I foound this page! Now I don’t feel so alone about getting comments about my weight. People have always said mean comments about my weight. The worst was from my own mother, telling my youngest to not get as fat as me. My youngest sister wsa 4 years old at the time and it was around my birthday. Strangers has yelled “you need to lose weight!” in the streets, sisters always poking comments like “you have a beautiful face but it doesn’t match your body”.
    Need less to say that I’m antisocial because if it now. Even writing about this, brings tears to my eyes *sigh* I wish I was as courage as you Sarah, and tell people how I feel.
    I’m talking to a guy who keeps saying “eat healthy, go to the gym and know that I’m always by your side”…Like huh? What some people doesn’t know is that I suffer from PCOS which makes it harder for me to lose weight no matter what diet I’m on or how much I exercise. It’s exhausting to constantly being reminded about my weight *cries*

    Thanks for a great personal post!

  • Melanie

    I’ve been dating this guy for about a month and we are both overweight. We both want to live healthier lifestyles but he’s a bit more dedicated than I am right now. We got into a heated argument this week because of some comments he made that really truly hurt my feelings.

    We were at dinner and I decided to get dessert after and he says “Wow you always get dessert.”

    He criticized my going for the elevator vs the stairs when we were making our way to the movies.

    When we were relaxing together, I put my feet up in his lap and he made a comment about how my ankles looked swollen.

    I’m honestly surprised I didn’t burst into tears and dump him right then and there. Even reading this I can’t believe he was so insensitive.

    He says he didn’t mean any harm by his comments – but that he wants to be with someone who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle. I do too but on my own terms. I’m still so hurt by the things he said – I don’t feel comfortable to even pick up a fork around him now.

    • Hi Melanie, do you think you can have a conversation with him about it and share how you feel and explain to him what moving towards the healthy lifestyle you want looks like for you so he can understand your approach too?

  • Ashley

    Hi, I found your essay because I just experienced this…yesterday. Nothing makes you feel smaller. My partner is not very eloquent, so the way he expressed himself made him seem insensitive and mean. Though he didn’t mean to be, I cannot stop replaying the words he chose at that moment. I am embarrassed and feel very unattractive. I’m not sure how you move on from this, but thank you for sharing your story and advice. I’m definitely taking it to heart.

    • I’m so sorry to hear you’re feeling this way and experiencing this Ashley. I’m glad this post is resonating with you and I hope it’s inspiring you to work through this.

  • bythebayov

    My husband says I am not as desirable to him and asks me to lose weight all the time. He says we no longer have sex as frequently due to this. I find it hurtful and though I eat healthy I am worried I will never be the size 6 girl he married (Im a size 8 now, and have gained 18 lbs since we met 5 years ago). I could work out more and need to set the goal for myself, but It makes me so angry and feel so undesirable when he says things like this. I have fairly high self esteem but live in a very body conscious city. He also works out 5 days a week and is very concerned about his body and his looks. I feel like a failure at times because I cant keep up with his regimen. He’s now telling me that Im ruining our marriage by not losing the weight. I feel so angry, hurt and disappointed. Thanks for the advice, it’s good to hear that there are other women that struggle with this issue.

  • This site was helpful to me this morning. Morning ritual with my husband and I is that we have breakfast and he blesses our meal. This particular morning, after a night of me experiencing hip, back and shoulder pain, he includes in the ‘blessing of the food’ that I need to commit more to taking better care of my body and exercise more and get in better shape. Then he wonders why I am crying by the time she finishes ‘blessing the food’ Mind you he has been a wonderful partner and make I could ask for no better, but this comment after several insinuations crushed me. He once said he needs to workout more so if I were to fall or pass out he could pick me up…I could not believe my ears. How do I handle this? I am crushed. Any words of wisdom or advise would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi PJ, I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this. I encourage you to share your feelings with him about how this made you feel. Many times our partners may not realize what they are saying impacts us so much. Then, I want you to establish some boundaries around this topic and also share with him how you plan to better take care of yourself if you’re feeling like you’re lacking in this area. If there are ways for him to support you in doing that, let him know what is and is not acceptable. I hope that helps. Big hugs!

  • rachel castillo

    Hi my nameis Rachel. Two years ago my daughter was born and ever since my future husband Brandon keeptelling me on how i need to lose weight and grabing my fat. He would told me to eat healthy foods. I’m so sick and tired hearing him tell me that. Sometime when our daughter is a sleep i go to thebathroom and cry. I know he did’t mean to hurt my feelings. I know hejust want me to be healthy, but I don’t need to be reminded that i need to loose weight. Plus I am trying to loose weight. I try to exercies, eat right and I took weight lose pills. I want your advice on what should I do to tell him to back off without getting another arguement with him. Thank you. congrates on your baby.

    • Hi, Rachel. Thank you for sharing here; I am sorry to hear you have been experiencing this in your life. A good place to begin when you are ready is to let your husband know how his words are making you feel even if what he says comes from a place of love. Oftentimes our partners and family don’t know that what and how they say things affects us. Next, I would encourage you to think of small actionable steps of self-care you can take for yourself- which it sounds like you are willing to do, and let him know how he can support you around this in a way that is and is not ok for you. I hope this helps. Many hugs.

  • Jacqueline Pacheco

    Thank you!
    I am literally sitting in the locked bathroom crying right now as I just got told my stomach was getting bigger & that maybe I should ride a bike.
    I appreciate your advice of finding the inner strong woman.
    I’m Always weak when he makes comments like that I turn into little girl crying in a corner.
    I loved your advice it made me feel calm & strong 🙂

    • Jackie- Thank you for opening up and I am glad this post helped bring you calm and strength. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with those comments from someone. I just want you to know you are a strong woman and you have this! When you are ready I encourage you to step into your power, take a deep breath, and let him know how his words are making you feel and that it is not ok. Let me know how I can best support you.

  • Dawn

    I have had three major abdominal surgeries in less than two years. This has caused me to put on at least, 40-45 pounds. I am the heaviest I have ever been. My husband has been constantly asking me if I want to take a walk, pump some weight, etc.. He’s pretty obvious with what he wants. Tonight, he actually said the words, I need to lose weight! I have been so self conscious about my weight, but to hear him actually say the words was very hurtful and embarrassing! I’m sleeping on the couch and am feeling VERY depressed! I’m 55, a grandmother of three, don’t have a lot of time on my own as I watch my 7 year old grand daughter, who by the way has made comments that I need to exercise! Coached no less! It’s very hurtful. Please, someone help me! I don’t have friends and am very lonely and depressed.

    • Hi Dawn, Thank you for sharing your story and reaching out. I am sorry to hear you have been experiencing so much in your life, but know you are not alone. A good place to begin when you are ready is to let your husband know how his words are making you feel even if he doesn’t mean to hurt your feelings. Oftentimes our close friends, family, and partners have no idea that what and how they say things affects us. Next, I would encourage you to think of something you can do for your own self-care – read a book at night, take a relaxing bubble bath, or buy yourself some flowers. Let your partner know how he can support you around this in a way that is and is not ok for you. I hope this helps. Many many hugs.

  • Kristy

    My boyfriend is constantly tell me I workout “wrong”. Or for my body type I should be doing this, not that. I like to do light cardio (30 minutes), and the rest of the time I really enjoy lifting weights, the heavier the better. But to him because I am short and somewhat muscular, I am just encouraging my body to be stout, and if I want to be slim and lean I need to do….”blah blah blah”. Recently I told him to switch things up I was going to try Cross Fit with a friend, and he went nuts about how bad that would be for “my” body type. It went on for days. I am so hurt and I have told him this but his response is snarky and that he knows more than me about working out and I am stubborn. He also suggested I follow this girl he knows that has had 4 kids, and work out the way he thinks I should. I don’t want to! I have had 2 kids. I am not her. I am not her body. I am just very hurt.

    • Hi Kristy, I know it must be incredibly frustrating when you have already expressed how you feel- I’m so sorry. I would encourage you to continue to do the things that feel good to YOU- that light you up and inspire you. Maybe you could even look into trying his approach a few times to see how it feels to you and if you don’t like it, then you don’t have to do it, but you could say you tried. I think you have a great sense that each person and body is different and no one way works for everyone. Sending you hugs!

  • christina

    I honestly was searching for some post like this to know that I’m not the only one whose experienced things like this.I married my now husband thinking we had gotten past these issues but apparently that’s not the case. His response to the “it’s my body” thing is “why are you so sensitive?” “why can’t I tell you that you need to get in shape/have a flatter stomach/lose weight?” We’ve gone over this so many times it’s like beating a dead horse – I recognize I’m sensitive to this subject but my doctor tells me I’m healthy and I have nothing to worry about, and that I’m doing all the right things. I’m struggling with what to do now because I can’t keep feeling these feelings – especially when I do my best to stay strong and stay healthy. Thank you for the post – It’s encouraging to know that I can get in control of this situation, now I just have to figure out how.

    • Christina, I’m glad you can find this space and we can talk about it. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with those comments from your husband. I definitely encourage you to set some boundaries around this topic for him when you are ready. In the meantime, what is one fun thing you can do for yourself? Let me know how I can best support you! xo

  • Niveen

    Wow reading your post and a lot of the comments here brought up SO many feelings for me! I have been a quiet lurker receiving your emails for a while seeing photos on Instagram and thinking this is for pretty white girls not for a brown girl like me. However reading all these comments today made me realize more viscerally how universal body shaming is! Sometimes we end up being a mix of genes that was unexpected and people think that they can shame you for that your whole life. I have a big curvy butt, and I’ve vacillated between hating it, wanting to tear it off my body and at best pretending it doesn’t exist and dressing to hide it. All of the Beyoncé songs about her ‘jelly’ all of the red carpet press on j-lo and Kim kardashian could not make up for the fact that whenever I met/meet my family they tell me some variation of “you know you’re really not that fat you just need to lose those big hips!” They “helpfully”tell me about exercises specifically targeted to hips, from the age of 13/14 until now in my early 30s this is all that they have ever talked to me about. I am nothing beyond my body shape to them and the thing is in my culture your family isn’t just your immediate family, it’s your 75 cousins and aunts and uncles, how do you set such boundaries at such a large scale? How do I insulate myself from so many voices that resonate in my head years later telling me to hate my butt? When your family is like a small village telling you that all your amazing accomplishments don’t matter because you don’t have the ‘right’ body type where do you find that endless river of confidence to drown out that many voices?

    • Hi Niveen- Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I know it’s painful for you; sorry to hear you have been dealing with this for so long. I think it is super important for you to let your family know how this is affecting you despite their intentions. I would also encourage you to start dissolving those old thoughts and voices by saying new kind and forgiving thoughts to yourself. Try- “thank you for being here for me, I love you, I appreciate you” or whatever may resonate with you. You can write it down or say it aloud- I would do both. Most importantly- practice the “F” word- forgiveness. We can be so hard on ourselves- so try forgiving yourself for saying mean things and allowing space for the kindness. I believe in you and know you are beautiful! xo

  • Natalie

    My boyfriend of two years recently told me that I’ve put on weight and he then asked “what’s up?”

    I’m in recovery from having an eating disorder and I’ve explained this to him during the beginning of our relationship.

    The fact that he brought up my weight gain makes me feel so horrible. I don’t want to be naked around him and I feel that he isn’t attracted to me. I explained my feelings and he told me that he only brought it up because he cares about me and loves me.

    I can’t help my feelings with this one… I can’t help but feel like crap! I feel unattractive and undesirable. I feel judged and uncomfortable now…

    I’m struggling big time because I’m so hurt that looks are so important to some people. 🙁

    • Hi Natalie- I wish you didn’t have to hear these types of things and then be expected not to react. I am glad you said something to him and I would suggest When you feel ready, to bring it up and say I know you love me, but this is how you can support me. In the meantime, I would like you to write down how you want to feel- sexy, confident, happy and then think of some fun mini-adventures that bring that feeling. For me, I like to dance or take a walk in the park. It helps me to connect to my inner beauty and smile! What are some things you can do to add fun to your life that make you feel as beautiful as you are?

  • Barbara

    This artcile was very helpful. It is nice to listen to others who have experience similar things. My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year now and I love him to death even though he has quite a mouth sometimes. I know he does not mean to hurt me with the things he says but I am sensitive and I get rubbed the wrong way. For example, the other day after leaving the beach I am walking up the stairs in front of him( in a bathing suit) and he compliments me on my butt. Right after the compliment, he says ” hey we have been dating for a while and i was wondering, if there was anything on my body that you wished I would tone up, what would it be?” I say ” nothing, I love you the way you are” and he laughs and feels uncomfortable. Meanwhile I am sitting here starting to feel uncomfortable walking in a bathing suit. I can not help it but in those times I just push away. I do not feel loved by him or think that he thinks I am attractive. I just always think he must want some other girl. We talked about this conversation and he told me he loved my body and it came out wrong but I “should love myself more” so it would not bother me. Yea great I get it. We are human. We all have our areas that are harder than others.. He is not good at communicating or sharing his feelings. I do not like making him feel wrong or bad in these situations but I can not help but feel a little hurt and distant.

    • Hi Barbara, I’m sorry to hear you are feeling this way- it can be tough! I’m glad this post is resonating with you and I hope it’s inspiring you to find new ways of communicating and work through this.

  • Aimee

    I am just reading your article as this has just happened to me. I know my boyfriend didn’t mean to be hurtful, he just went about the conversation in the completely wrong way. But regardless, I am hurting.
    I DO want to lose weight (for me) but by him saying this I don’t even want him to touch me. I don’t want to sleep with him. And I’m really scared that this could be something that breaks us. We have always had a great relationship and I hope we can move on from this but right now I feel like my body confidence just plummeted.
    Did you have any similar instant reaction and how did you move past it?

    • Hi Aimee- I wish you weren’t experiencing this in your life, but I am glad you are reaching out. I would definitely let him know you want to lose weight but in a way that feels great for you. Also, let him know, that what he said hurt you even though he may have been saying it with good loving intentions and ways that he can support you in this. Sending you a hug!

  • BJ Lilly

    This just happened to me today , the 4th of July, I can’t tell you how upset and hurt I feel.i just want to scream at my husband. He started out saying now don’t take this wrong. But your way too heavy for your height. How am I supposed to take that ?? It felt like a complete insult. He said he was worried about my health. I’m perfectly healthy. I am 5’2, I wear a size 14, yrs I am aware I need to lose weight. Not like I try . I have tryed to get him to eat healthy but he eats like a garbage disposal. Since we got MARRIED. HE has gained 100 pounds ! He is 6’5, so it is not so apparent. I feel like saying how dare you say that to me when I have been trying to get him to eat better for years. He eats junk, and drinks beer..and I’m the fat one he’s worried about?..I just want to scream Andi can’t even talk to or look at him . He has ruined my entire day . Maybe my whole month. So upset and angry.
    BJ lilly

    • Oh how I wish you weren’t going through this right now. I understand you are hurt and angry- totally normal. I would try the steps I listed (Feel the emotions, get strong, understand what they meant, and be clear about boundaries) when you are open to that. I would love to hear any updates. Sending you a hug.

  • Elizabeth

    I could use some advice- my. Husband and a were driving home today from a weekend away celebrating our 2nd anniversary. I told him how nice it was to have “adult play time” as this was our first trip away from our 15 month-old daughter. He blurted out that he thought I was sexier when I was thinner and that he wasn’t as interested in “adult play time” because he wasn’t as attracted to me since I haven’t lost the pregnancy weight. I cried the whole drive home. Later we had a conversation about how this made me feel and he said (after telling me that I was not trying to lose weight because I didn’t work out enough) that he was attracted to my face, but “it’s just your body situation.” I told him to sleep on the couch and I don’t know how to start to process this. I have tried to set boundaries over and over and he knows this is an especially sensitive topic. I told him I was going to lose all the weight and then divorce him. Open to other suggestions…

    • Lissy, I wish you were not experiencing this right now. I completely hear you about being hurt, angry, and all the emotions- they are all valid. I would definitely invite you to try the steps I listed (Feel the emotions, get strong, understand what they meant, and be clear about boundaries) which sounds like you are willing to do. Also, get clear on what you want in this relationship- what you really want for your life. Think about all the ways you want to feel and breathe that into yourself. Now from that place, what actions are you willing to take in service of that? Listen to what your instinct is saying and give yourself time to be with the feelings. Also, reach out to your support system for additional support as you navigate this. Sending you hugs.

  • Adrian

    This seems very one sided.

    What about the situation where you choose to be with somebody, love and honour them however they continue to gain a large amount of weight over time. Its showing complete disrespect for your partner by not putting in the effort to stay in shape. By saying your long term partner is disrespectful of you by mentioning your weight is an extreme reaction as it may be coming from a place of concern regarding your health. This situation says nothing about opening lines of communication with your partner, you didn’t like what he said so you decided to read him the riot act.

    I guarantee in the future he won’t be coming to you with any positive or negative, I.e. honest feedback.

    You mention that he really was just concerned with your health, I’m sure he won’t make that mistake again.

    Either way, I doubt this comment will make it past your extremely moderated (if it doesn’t fit my view it won’t get published) blog.

    Thanks for the interesting read.

    • Hi Adrian- thank you for sharing your point of view. I appreciate you reading the post and seeing how I tried to see the situation as a place to support others who may have experienced this.

  • Roxy

    This just happened to me. I was always curvy but healthy. I used to work out a lot and I was happy! I got pregnant and was put on bed rest for most of my pregnancy. Then again a few months later got pregnant and was put on bed rest. Couldn’t even go to the bathroom without bleeding! Needless to say I gained about seventy pounds in those two pregnancies. Both ended in Csections. Now here I am, my little one will soon turn three and I’m stuck with this weight I can’t seem to lose! I’m depressed and feel like I’m in a deep dark hole. I stopped going to family events or even to the stores becaue I feel so judged at all times. My husband who over all is great just made a joke won’t my weight and I didn’t know how to react. I stormed off and cried. I know I need to lose this weight. It’s not healthy I just don’t feel like I have a support system. He works late and I have the babies in the evenings alone, i work full time and I need help better managing my time. I know that and have been making better effort these last few weeks and dropped a few LBs but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel embarrassed that my husband would even make a comment so hurtful. I’m crying as I’m typing this… Idk what to do.

    • I’m sorry to hear you are having such a challenging time right now. I encourage you to follow the steps listed in the blog and see how that shifts things. Also, see if you can work out a few days you can get some alone time and do something fun for yourself- a walk, a movie, tea with friends, etc… Keep us posted. Sending you support- xo

  • My bf of 2&1/2 years just did this to me 2 days ago and it really hurt.. I was wearing a crop top and shorts and had just got home from walking my dog when he asked me why I was wearing a small shirt, so I went to change my shirt.. We then were in the car and he said I shouldn’t wear that shirt because it makes me look pregnant and I should start to loose weight (I’m 119 lb) and should stop eating junk food. I didn’t know to react I just felt my face got red of embarrassment and kind of laughed of nervousness. He said he was just telling me this because he doesn’t want me to let myself go and that the weight is starting to become noticeable on my face(cheeks). I just looked at him and said ok.. Then he changed the convo and I kept spacing out because I was overthinking things. We have not brought it up since then but I’m so paranoid about how much I’m eating now. I especially don’t want to eat anything when I’m with him anymore. Reading what you wrote helped me in letting the tears that I’ve been holding in out. I think if he mentions it again I’ll say something. Thanks for your advice.

    • I know this hurt so much- I wish it didn’t. Take care of your heart and be sure to allow yourself to feel those emotions- maybe even write them out and move your body to get rid of some it. Then I would definitely talk to him about what happened- follow your instinct and say something. We are here supporting you!xo

  • Kitty

    My long time partner does this fairly regularly. Tonight it was suggested with malice that I need to work out more. As we don’t have any children j have no excuse not to look my best for him. We are entering our 40’s in the next year and apparently I need to nip any current and potential weight gain in the bud. I also was told that just because he doesn’t work out every day doesn’t mean I don’t have to. We run a few nights a week and I usually try and hit the gym at least once if not more. I work full time and my commute is almost 3 hours a day so honestly some nights I’m just too tired. Apparently I told him years ago he was free to remind me not to skip the gym. And it’s evolved into that is incredibly hurtful and mean spirited diatribe. Thank you for posting this, I feel less alone and less silly for being so hurt.

    • Hi Kitty- I know this is painful for you and I am sending you a hug. I would definitely let him know that the reminder is harsh as it’s more hurtful now and that it’s not ok. Maybe you can come up with a support system together instead. Follow the steps in the blog as your guide and let him know what’s going on. Sending you support, xo

  • Kelli

    My boyfriend just made me aware for the second time in a week that I have gained a few lbs. I flipped out the first time. Now I don’t know how to act. I mean, 2016 has been a rough year. I lost my good job. His family put a lot of strain on our relationshipart. I found out I have PCOS and am trying to get better. So, yes, I have put on maybe 8-10 Lbs over the last 9 months.. But it’s not like I am up 50 Lbs. I am curvy anyway but sure maybe my stomach isn’t as toned anymore or my butt. It happens! So now I feel like every single Glenda time I pop something into my mouth in front of him I will feel low or bad.

    • Whew- that can be tough. I would calmly let him know how it is affecting you and then ask him for some support instead of just random hurtful comments. Follow the tools in the blog and keep me up to date on how it goes. Sending you hugs!

  • Kelly

    Hi Sarah,

    This has literally just happened to me about an hour ago. My boyfriend told me that he thinks I am ‘in a rut’ and that I’m not taking care of myself. He said that I’d let myself go and that he doesn’t find that attractive. I was SERIOUSLY angry and told him that it is nothing to do with him and reminded him that he isn’t allowed to say these things (he has mentioned this once before, a while ago). His response seems to be that it is to do with him because we are a couple and he wants to see me be healthy. When I pressed him further to explain what he meant he said that it is nothing to do with weight and that he doesn’t care about the size of me (I am slightly curvy but certainly not way over weight! A UK size 12) and that he didn’t mean that he finds me physically unattractive – he finds that I am not active and don’t have hobbies unnatractive. He also said that when we first met I ‘had a lot more going for me’ because I had more interests and hobbies. To be fair I have had a stressful year at work and I haven’t had much time for anything else but he has actually said that he would like me to find a hobby and if I don’t that he doesn’t think he can carry on our relationship???!!! I mean seriously?! When I was trying to get to where this was coming from I asked him hypothetically (and very sarcastically) if I took up sewing would this please him, as it isn’t active, and he said yes it would… He said I t doesn’t have to be active it just needs to be something other than work. I have told him over and over that I’ll get a hobby if I want to and not to please him, to which he says that he will continue to find me lazy and unattractive and probably end the relationship. I’m not lazy!!! I’m a teacher and I work bloody hard at my job!!!! 12 hour days most days. I just feel completely confused about this 🙁 and I am currently hiding in our bedroom and googling what to do…

    • Hello Kelly! Thank you so much for being here and reaching out. I would definitely invite you to read this post again and write out what you want to say to your partner. It sounds like he really does have your health and wellness in mind, but just conveyed it in a way that wasn’t helpful. Also, sit by yourself and feel into how you want to feel and what you could do to move closer to that desire. Anything you do to move towards greater wellness, fun, and radiance is just exactly perfect and your body and soul will respond to what works for you. Keep me posted- xxo

  • Kristina

    My boyfriend and I were just drinking and I’ve been feeling fat cuz since I got with him I’ve gained 20 lbs and so has he. Anyways I brought up his company picnic he used to talk about and it happens to be this Sunday matter of fact, I said oh I can’t wear a whore dress like you wanted me to, cuz he said his little niece was going. Then he preceded to say, “I woulda told you to go on. ‘Dieta'” to which I replied what’s a Dieta!? He said a vegan diet like we been talking about. I looked up the word and it’s Spanish for diet. I’m feeling so screwed up I want to die. Am I wrong for this.
    ? Cuz after he just went to bed as I sped walked angrily abound the block then did an insanity workout and now am writing you feeling like dying. Please give me the real advice… I hate him now. And never want to have sex with him ever again

    • Hi Kristina, First try talking loving to yourself and breathing! Sit and be with yourself and touch base with how you want to feel and what your true desires are for yourself and your body. Wherever you are right now is perfect! I also invite you to try the tips I have in the blog post to set boundaries as well as establish healthy communication around this. Sending you a hug.

  • Rachel

    This had just happened to me. My boyfriend out of no where Mentioned that I should lose some weight. He said it wasn’t a “deal breaker” between us but he’d like it if I did. Of course I had been talking about how I’d like to be skinny again and he noticed that it really bothers me and that I’m very self conscious about my weight. I’m 5’2 and 153 pounds. I’m not huge, but I am over weight. I’m not confident in my body at all. I know all he was trying to do was I courage me to do this to feel better about myself. But he also said his past girlfriends did the same but they were both twice my size. So it hurt me and made me angry that he’d even say anything. Even though I want to
    Go back to the gym and eat healthy, all I can think about now is hiding out in bed and not eating or having sex with him or even getting undressed in front of him. I’m so much more ashamed of myself…

    • Hi Rachel- sending you a hug! I know this feels intense and frustrating. I would talk with him about it and let him know what your desires are with your body and how he can support you with this, but at the same time his comments or way he approached it wasn’t ok. Really sit with yourself and feel what it is you want- is it to feel more vibrant, to have more fun, feel sexy, etc… and then think of ways to do that. You’ve got this! xo

  • Rosalind

    Enjoyed your article. I’m 5 months postpartum and haven’t lost any weight since the birth. My husband has commented several times about how I need to do sit ups and lose weight and how having a baby is not an excuse for having a flabby belly. I truly feel mistreated. I’m 38 and have a 19 and 15 year old. I started over because I knew he wanted a baby. However, I feel like he doesn’t appreciate the lengths I have gone for my love for him. I have recently started dieting and fixing healthier meals and he complains because I don’t fix potatoes for every meal and the fatty foods I usually fix. I simply told him I was dieting and if he doesn’t like it fix his own supper. The next time he mentions my belly though I am going to take your advice and let him know this is my body, and none of his business! I just wish he was more supportive.

    • Yes, Rosaline! This is your body and no one knows it more intimately than you. I invite you to set these boundaries lovingly and let him know how he can best support you. Sending love your way. xo

  • Barbara Jerabek

    Hmm. I’m 59, 5’7″ and about 179. I was going to the gym twice a week, work my bootie off in a school garden five days a week and am married to a super skinny man (he swears he is the exact same weight as when we married almost 30 years ago). The other night he stood in the door way at bedtime as we were having a somewhat heated/hurt argument about his “light hearted” (ha) comments about the cheerleaders on the TV at a football game that he was glued too, the cheerleaders and then the game. I said, I will never, ever look anything like that, ever, never did, never will, sorry! He then said in a loud hurtful tone, “Well you could loose a few!”. Wow. Hurt, hurt, hurt. It’s two days later and it still hurts. I then realized why all these women my age get tans, nails, face, hair, go to they gym religiously, wear make up and try there best to be vaa vaa! To keep the hurt away and their guy somewhat happy. I was never like that! I wear fun and crazy clothes, have tattoos celebrating our mourning passages of life, have two almost out of the house kids, am a much loved teacher and someone that tries to help others smile… I don’t do makeup, would not have any idea, frequently wear my hair short and in general have been my own unique self. I feel so awful. Like he has had to force himself to love who I am all the while wishing I was someone else. How hard for him to be with me. He is super active riding bikes (easily six hours plus a weekend) and is now putting me down for not “doing something” on the weekends to match his activity. My stomach is rolling. I could loose a few for sure, I think he actually means like 20 lb. which is a tiny bit different than a few. Anyway, I need to carry on, don’t know whether to revisit this or let it go. He says it’s about my health not my looks but that was after he saw me implode with horror and hurt. Don’t trust him now, not to cheat or anything but just to be looking at me and doing things with me without having to make a big effort. Really hard to keep spirits up. Thank you for opening this up. The other comments are helpful.

    • Hi Barabra- thank you for connecting. This is definitely a supportive community and you can find some amazing tools for yourself as well as ways to set boundaries. Have you joined my challenge? It starts tomorrow and think it would be such a lift and inspiration for you: livemorechallenge.com. xxo

  • Tania

    I apologize for the length but please hear me out! I have always been dissatisfied with my appearence and have struggled with starvation diets and feelings of extreme self hate in my past. In the last few years ive overcome most of those feelings but i am still very insecure. My boyfriend gets mad when I refuse to tell him how much I weigh. I mentioned before how I had a bad history with my body and that I dont feel comfortable in the conversation but he takes it as I just “cant tell him everything” and that next time he will keep things from me in return. How do i explain to him that i am just not comfortable with the topic and that i find it extremely unfair of him to demand of me something that is still sensitive and caused me so much pain??

    • Hi Tania, I would tell him just exactly as you told me. Try and write it out and practice it beforehand and also let him know his concern is appreciated. You can do this and it will feel so much better when you do! Keep me posted! xo

  • My husband says he’s tried to be supportive before, but that it didn’t make me lose weight; it just made me think it was ok to be like this. He wants me to look like I did when we started dating. I’m 5’7″ and currently pregnant with our third child. My first is three and a half, my second is eleven months, and I’m due in February. I went from a size 4 to an 8, going from 134lbs. to 155 after my second, battling a fairly new case of hashimotos hypothyroid disease. He says he hasn’t noticed me losing any weight, just things tucking themselves back in. He thinks things will just naturally tuck themselves back in and that I do nothing to make myself better. He can’t even tell me I’m beautiful anymore. This has been a regular topic since our first child was born.

    • Hi Lis, thank you for your share! I feel it’s important right now for you to do what’s best for you in the interest of your health and vibrancy. If you have hashimoto’s, I invite you to look at various support groups and lifestyles to assist you around this. Plus you have these gorgeous babies to look after and want to feel your best exactly as you are for yourself and them. I wouldn’t wait for him to tell you are beautiful- I would start to tell yourself, because you are! Sending you hugs and support, xo

  • Sarah

    I love this!

  • Allison

    Last night I was being a weirdo and playing with my stomach by pulling my pajama pants way high over it. He looked at me funny and I thought he was just thinking of what a weirdo I am (which doesn’t bother me) but instead he said “You shouldn’t have fun doing that.” I asked him to explain which lead to him revealing he thinks I should lose a few pounds (I’ve put on maybe 10 pounds since we started dating because I was stress eating for a week between jobs) and that he had been dropping hints for me. Keep in mind, I’m a size three and bloated (thank you, mother nature). I already have horrible self-esteem. I could tell that he really wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings, but ever since he said this to me, I don’t want him touching any part of me that has fat, I don’t want to eat, and I absolutely don’t want him to see me in tight clothes that I used to think I looked good in and I REALLY don’t want him to see me naked. My weight never bothered me cause I always thought I was small. I know he wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings, but it really tore me down. I don’t even know how to act around him now. He says he still thinks I’m beautiful and that he always will, but… I don’t feel very beautiful anymore.

    • Hi Allison- Thank you for reaching out. I believe you need to go within and listen to what you want for your life- how you want to feel and look. Once you have a picture of what YOU want, you can start to take actionable steps. It will also help you determine when and if you need to talk to him about where he stands and how he can support you! Sending you a hug, xo

  • Elizabeth

    I am so thankful I just came across this as I have been up all night terribly upset about this very topic or similar situation. So much so, as drastic as it sounds, almost considered breaking up with my fiancee when he chastised me for liking my sweet tea or coke so much…referring to me as a “thick stick”. When I asked what that meant, he said….skinny legs but the rest was “thick”…this was not a compliment. Mind you, I weigh 125 pounds at 5’5. I don’t eat much at all but my only vice being from the south is sweet tea or coca cola.
    I nearly unleashed a fury like no tomorrow as I have never had anyone call me such a thing.
    This is what troubles me….I live already in the most vain world, the most vain business…entertainment in Low Angeles. I have struggled with an eating disordered, I have been the trophy wife in the past, I have been that super thin actress…I have done, seen it all. So maybe you will understand how sensitive, how quick to the draw I am to run away fast this man. I love him and he is perfect, loving in most areas but I do know looks matter to him.
    So after reading this, I am going to try it your way, leaving the rest of the night to feel what I feel. Come tomorrow, I will say piece. Bit the next time, he is a goner.
    Thank you for helping me through this.

  • Yasmin

    Hey, im sitting in bed crying. Because i have just got home from my boyfriends… just out the blue said to me “why dont u join the gym?” Other wise you will get big the way your carrying on” i was mortified. Not the first time he has said this but was years ago. I was just in shock and kept my tears back. I am 25yrs old. I am a healthy UK size 10 which is just normal. Im curvy with quite big boobs that make me look twice as big. Baring in mind i have a long term illness arthritis which affects my joints so i am limited to excerise etc. He knows this.. ?? I have been so many times before and doesnt get on with me as il be in pain sometimes. I will go swimming too, i am 9 and half stone. And 5 ft 2. Im aware i need to lose a few pounds but in my own time when i am ready. He also went on to insult me more and said “you dont wear tight cloths u wear baggy tops all the time, doesnt exactkt look attractive and sexy does it?” I was just wearing something comfy indoors, and i am into fashion alot and makeup etc and this hurttttt sooooooo effing much you dont even know. I have a body builder boyfriend of 7 years that doesnt think im sexy and thinks i need to go gym. I am literally in tears and feel awful and fat and i feel like i am not attractive when i know for a fact i am not a an ugly girl, anywsys i kinda left the his house in a hurry so i could go cry in my car.

    • Hi Yasmin- I know this hurts and I am sending you a big hug. I would definitely allow yourself some time to feel into what you desire in this moment for yourself and then let him know it’s not supportive to tell you this way. Know you are beautiful inside and out!

  • Yep, it happened to me this week and after three days of silent hurt I tackled it in full detail today in the exact same way you did. You are exactly right about the response a woman should make to a man in this situation, and exactly right about how I need to understand where they are coming from with their intentions and trying to maintain a sense of likely reality instead of hurt presumptions being allowed to stay in control.

    While of course, still making the boundary very clear about these sorts of comment for the future, because I don’t want to feel like that again and I shouldn’t have to.

  • Brittney

    I am so happy I came across this post. My boyfriend and I have been together for five years (living together for one). Last night we had a conversation about getting married and he said that when looks at our life in 20 years he wants us to be healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. He told me that since we’ve moved in together he doesn’t think I’ve been working out as much and eating as healthy (which I haven’t). I explained to him that us moving in together was a huge adjustment for me and in life, we will have tough times where we won’t feel ling working out . Leading a healthy lifestyle is important to be as well but I need to be with someone who is going to encourage me in a positive way. I could tell it really hurt him to tell me these things but I was hurt even more. You article inspired me to stand up for myself and let him know it’s not okay to judge me without taking the time to see that there might be a reason that I have been struggling. I explained to him that I want him to put himself in my shoes. Thank you so much for this read – it really helped me feel better about myself – especially reading everyone’s comments. xo

    • Hi Brittney- I am so over the moon and stars happy to read this. I am glad you were inspired to have open communication and the two of you are in conversation about how to best support one another. Beautiful work! xo

  • Rebecca

    My boyfriend is a great guy but he never has made me feel lusted for. When badgered about this issue he states that it’s “our weight” that’s an issue. I’m about 25lbs overweight and he has just admitted this issue again after a year and a half of trying to convince me that he thinks I’m perfect but not showing it in intimacy. He says what’s he supposed to do? Tell me I’m disgusting? I don’t know what to do. I want to be with someone who lists for me no matter my size as I do for him. I also don’t see how this can work when I’m going to be getting old someday. I am insecure and he gets annoyed with this and my need for validation. I try to tell him I wouldn’t need validation if his actions showed that my weight doesn’t matter. Am I wanting a fairytale relationship or is moving on to someone who can appreciate my body more the right thing to do? I haven’t even had kids yet and had to deal with pregnancy weight with him.

    • Rebecca! I am so glad you wrote in with this question. My intuitive hit is this- What is it you want? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want more romance? Do you want more fun and adventure? Feel into this and answer yourself honestly. Then try and lean towards doing things that bring you closer to that. Want more romance- then plan something romantic. Want to travel? Cut out pictures of places you want to visit and start having adventures at home that resonate with the place you want to go. When you tap into what it is you want- the rest will become more clear. Sending you hugs! xo

  • Henry

    If your spouse was gaining a lot of weight, and it was negatively impacting their health, how would you bring up your concern without hurting their feelings?

    • Hi Henry! This can be so challenging but I understand you may be coming from a place of good intention. I would let her know that you h ave something you want to talk and connect about and can you talk at a time that is good for her. Assure this is not something “bad”. When you talk with her- just say- how much you love and care for her and how beautiful you think she is. I would say you are concerned about her health and vibrancy as well as your own. Tell her your feelings around this. Once you have finished speaking your side of things, allow her to speak openly without interruption or having to change or fix anything. When she is complete, ask her for ideas on how you together can support one another best. Hope this helps!

  • Helen

    Sarah,

    Thank you so much for this article. As a result of reading it I’ve just managed a response to my usually-amazing-but-occasionally-thoughtless partner.

    I will be sharing it with friends and young women I know.

    Helen

  • Megan

    I had a baby four months ago. My body has changed. I’m still working on losing weight. Last night I was eating chocolate chips in the kitchen. Not a great diet choice. My boyfriend commented “Babe, I don’t want to roll you down the aisle when we get married .”

    I was so hurt and shocked. He continued “I’m just worried about your health.” As he sat there drinking white wine.

    I was devastated by his comment. I shut down and didn’t communicate with him most of the night. Not because I was being childish, but because I was so hurt the thought of talking about it brought me to tears. That night and again the next morning he told me that he was very sorry for what he said. Then, he criticized me for shutting down. He said I should talk with him if something is bothering me.

    Now I feel guilty for holding in my feelings.

    • Hi Megan- thank you so much for your share and getting this out! It takes a while to adjust to life as a mom and your new body and you need to let your boyfriend know you appreciate his concern but that there is a better way to support you in this. I have a few other thoughts- You can check out some blogs I wrote about “a vulnerable post to my body”- I think that would really help. I would invite you to try and take 5 minutes and write down what it is you want for yourself right now- is it to lose weight, a night out with your boyfriend, alone time, etc… and then try and think of ways you can start to lean closer towards those things. Lastly- when you feel the urge for those chocolate chips- eat them- I just ask that you put them in a cute little bowl and sit down and eat them without any distractions and just notice. Sending you a big hug!

  • I have gained weight and it is so hard to lose for the past 2 years. My fiance always mentioned how much I’ve gained weight and how great I used to look. He says I still look good but he still says I barely made a difference in the 2 years. He does not see my effort because I’m only. With him on weekends and weekends is when I treat myself sometimes. Sometimes we joke about it but sometimes it.really hits.me hard and I explode. Lol. Fellas… be more considerate of your girls feelings, especially when she’s actually trying!

    • Love this! We all need to be considerate and thoughtful before we say something that may hurt our loved ones. Sending you some love, xo

  • Marcy

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 months now and he is talking about rings and such! Which I not quite ready to make that comment! The other day he said I needed to workout! Which is true I’ve never been this much other weight! But it’s the way he said it and I feel like if you love someone you will love them for who they are! I feel like crap and I’ve already join a gym and been working out! He still says if this relationship is going to work I need to step up my game! Should I stay in this relationship or move on?

    • Hi Marcy, I invite you take some time and feel into what you want for yourself and your life. Write it down or visualize it all- be as detailed as possible. Once you have an idea of what YOU want, you can talk to your boyfriend about where he stands and how he can support you! Also- ask a few girlfriends or family for their support and love. xxo

  • cresy

    just googled about boyfriends wanting their girlfriends to lose weight,and i bumped into this beautiful article…well,i could relate myself to it.
    my boyfriend told me i should lose some weight, though he tried the best he could to convey the message in a most polite way,but i still found it heartbreaking,especially when its coming from someone i care about..he met me just the way i am,and now he said i should lose weight.i asked him the reason,he said because when he is walking with me,i feel bigger…i felt really bad.He always consider what people around will say..i’m just confused…

  • Chuck

    I, very dumbly, told my girlfriend I wanted her to be more fit the other night. Wrong, I know. My intention, or end goal, was for her to be happier with herself because it is a huge issue for her. I appreciate your article because it helps me understand where I went wrong and how I can avoid this situation in the future. Her body is her business, and I really do think she is gorgeous, I just want her to know that she is. I hope I can regain her confidence in the weeks and months to come.

    • Hi Chuck- I am so glad you shared this. I know you had good intentions! I invite you to tell her that you think she is gorgeous- this will help her so much in confidence and walking around with radiance and vitality. Also- try planning some fun adventures for the two of you- she will love this time together. Keep us posted!

  • Sahila

    I googled my situation and found your article. It gives a few insightful ideas but my situation is a little more intense. My husband told me on my face one day that “you’re morbidly obese”. It felt like a slap in the face and I just didn’t know what to say so I just cried in the bathroom. And the other day he told me that he can’t stop masturbating and watching porn because, well, “why should I?! It’s not like you’re so damn gorgeous or attractive.” This sort of broke the last straw and I’m devastated. I’ve never been so hurt in my life. I really don’t know how to handle a situation like this. I’m absolutely broken and furious. I feel disgusted with myself and I don’t want to see his face or be around him. My self-confidence is shattered, especially because it came out of someone I love the most.

    • Hello, Sahila. I am so thankful you shared your experience- it is never easy to hear hurtful things. Please know that you do not deserve to be spoken to this way. Know that you are beautiful, you are loved, and you are supported. Start with the tips I shared, but be sure and broach this conversation with him with love for yourself. Sending you so much love as you navigate this situation.

  • Sommier

    Thank you so much for sharing. It made me feel like I was not alone in this feeling and situation. I have had many conversations with my boyfriend and they have all been inadvertent. My boyfriend has a way of bringing up health and wanting us both to be healthier in our lives and life style choices together. This made me extremely defensive and question what and where he was really trying to say. I know that I always read into things, especially this. This has now grown into little tangent conversations that always make me feel that they are insinuating things about me. He talks to me about men and woman and how they feel about attraction and I do not agree with his views on it. He feels man all have the same attraction levels and a sort of a stereotype vision. I feel all men and woman have various beautiful levels of attraction and it is not a cookie cutter black and white picture for all men or all women. This causes us to fight and me to again feel like he is some how directly it inadvertently to me. He reassures me it is not but I cant help the way the talks and subjects make me feel inside. I feel this is really affecting our relationship and even though he says he loves me the way I am I feel he wants to change me or my appearance… I don’t know if I am just hearing him wrong as you stated in your story… Any advice would help, Thank you

    • Hi Sommier! This is a great question and I so appreciate you sharing your story here. I think it’s great you are having these conversations and being able to share your points of view. At this point, if you have tried the tools I suggested, I think you should trust him when he says he’s not directing this at you- maybe see what led to the conversation or remarks and try and reframe it. Also, notice how it makes you feel and if it’s because of another experience you have had in your past as oftentimes, we are triggered because of patterns we have had for so long. Use these conversations as a jumping off point to experience your healing and release of things that may no longer serve. Keep me up to date. – xo

  • Hi Sarah,
    I have been married for 7years to my 2nd husband. My first husband it was for 20 years. I have struggled with weight my adult life. I have and am having control issues with my former and current husband about my weight. When I was single I became fit and self confident and this is when I meet my 2nd husband. Unfortunately, I am now the heaviest I have ever been and can’t seem to get a handle on it. I went and still am going through depression and have gone to food for comfort. Part of me is struggling with the fact that my husband comments about my weight in ways of being discussed with me and how unfair it is to him that he is married to me. He married a fit and happy confident women and this is what he gets. I feel horrible and I want to be fit again but it seems like I purposely eat to feel like I have control of something. Or I feel like I have to eat when he’s not around because when he is he’s judging what I’m eating and how much. You sound so sure about your body, and who you are, how did you get there?

    • Hi Pam, thank you for reaching out. My journey was a long one filled with diving deep and getting real with myself. You can read about my journey here: https://sarahjenks.com/blog/weight-loss-journey/ . My invitation to you- is to start with loving yourself as you are today in this moment. Try and record a message to yourself on your phone. This message should be loving sentences to yourself- things like- you are beautiful, you are amazing, I love you, You did such a great job today, etc…. Do this for 1 minute and then play it to yourself 2-3 times a day. You can do this- I believe in you. Sending you hugs.

  • i find it odd that everywhere I look on the internet it is not ok to tell a woman she is fat, but the obverse is fine. women are hypocrites.

    • Hi Jerry, I am hoping all women can start to support one another instead- we definitely need more of that!

  • I have been with my partner for almost 4 years now and we are going to Mexico for a wedding/vacation in January. My partner recently commented, “you were doing really good with your workouts, what happened? I am still working out. Why aren’t you?” I was completely blown away by his remarks. I thought, “really, is he this oblivious? You have got to be kidding me…”
    This past year I have gone back to school to study a college program, I am enrolled full time Monday to Friday and I volunteer 2 days a week at a daycare for 8 hours a day. My schedule for the semester is exhausting and to top this off, when I get home between 5-7pm I prepare dinner, do the regular house chores, sit down to eat and then homework time for me and off to bed. When do I have time for a work out?
    I have stated, “I am comfortable in my skin and I feel good about the way I look. When I have more time I will include more daily exercise for myself.”
    Then he responds with, “you should, you looked really good when you were working out, don’t you want to look good in your bikini for Mexico?” I have wondered how my boyfriend does not see how hurtful this can be. I am working very hard to reach my goals and it appears to me that one of his expectations of me is just to look good for him. Doesn’t my inner beauty matter more than my outer beauty to him?
    When my boyfriend has asked me if I think he looks fat or could loose a few pounds I have said, “whatever makes you happy, as long as you are comfortable in your skin, and feel good.”

    We have had this conversation more than once and it tares my heart strings each time. I will be trying number four out and state my boundaries more clearly next time this topic comes up.

    Thanks!

    • Absolutely- you must state those loving boundaries out of devotion to yourself. I’m also wondering if you could delegate some of these daily tasks like cooking dinner, household stuff, etc… to him so you can move your body in a fun way for you. Keep me posted on all this! xo

  • lilly

    Wow, glad i’m not the only one that feels so hurt. my husband indirectly gave me hints and worst part is he compared me to his sister. I was beyond livid. Seething. I took the subtle hints, but then few months later I just snapped. Worst fight we have had. But i’m not sorry for shouting at him.

    • Hi Lilly- so glad you are expressing yourself and were able to set your boundaries. Thank you!

  • Caroline sanchez

    So yesterday I sent a picture of myself to my bf showing the pic I took with Santa and my dog. He said it was cute. Then he told me I was really fat and that I need to lose weight! I was soo hurt like I can’t believe he could even say that to me. I would never ever hurt him like that eve. I couldn’t even imagine saying something rude like that to him. He has flaws too I’m not gonna lie but I would never say that shit to him. And this isn’t even the first time. It’s like he only wants a girl with a perfect body. Idek if should still be with this guy,I really love him so that fact he can say that without even thinking for a second how that can hurt me really hurts my feelings.

    • Hi Caroline, Thank you for your openness- I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I think you definitely need to have a conversation with him and let him know how his comment made you feel. If you can try the steps I outlined in the post. Sending you hugs!

  • I really needed this, thank you. This same thing happened and I ended up feeling like I overreacted and that maybe I did need to start exercising more, even though I was quite happy about how everything in my life was going. Thank you, thank you, for validating my feelings.

  • Jenni

    Sarah,
    I just goggled what to do when your husband tells you to lose weight. I didn’t see the warning signs when we were dating, I was too in love. 19 years later I am asking him for a divorce. He only values me as a person if I am 115 pounds. My daughters (18 and 15) have suffered and I wasn’t strong enough, I thought he would change. Now we have a 4 year old boy and don’t want him growing up thinking it’s OK to treat anyone this way. Marriage is important to me, it always has been. But, at what cost? I am a shell of a woman I was 19 years ago. The price wasn’t worth it. His love is conditional. My heart is breaking, but I am finally breaking the cycle. We will be fine.

    • Hi Jenni- you are such a strong, beautiful, and amazing woman. Thank you for your openness and your integrity to yourself and being the example for your daughters and your son. Huge hugs!

  • Lane

    Thank you for the insight into your experience, as well as, those in the comments. I read most of them, and I think it’s important to see the underlying point although the situations vary from person to person. I have a little different of a situation, and I would be interested to hear feedback. I met someone online 2 weeks ago. This is the first time I have ever met anyone online or even attempted online dating. I have been through quite a year this past year and a half with gaining weigh, some surgeries, and depression. I started exercising again just recently, like a month ago. I posted some old pics but not all, I still was honest and true to who I am. Even in the conversations leading up to our meeting, I was honest about that I had gained about 30 lbs in the last year for some health reasons. Just for visual sake, I was 150lbs at my best, so now I’m down to 179lbs, but have been as heavy as 189…anyway, we met last week, everything was great. Chemistry was there, and he has said and acts very attracted to me. All the while, him hearing me say things like “I will get back to where I was before, I’m just now starting out being healthier and exercising. It’s been a long year…. be patient, etc.” then last week, he mentioned he would help me get a trainer. Until we found out how expensive. I worked out every day before seeing him again, ate right and even lost a few lbs this week. He told me he could tell when he saw me again this weekend. But then he tells me today after we go back to our own towns that (in a nutshell)…. “I haven’t actually said it before but I would like it if you were in better shape.” Then when we talked about this, he felt bad. So he back peddled some saying “maybe I should have said I wouldn’t mind at all if you were in better shape but even if you stay like this, you’ve got me!” I did tell him that we are all imperfect, and our beauty comes from within and that he wasn’t perfect either. He agreed and said he just wants to support me in this etc. but my thing is this….I’m already trying. He knows that. I feel like he isn’t being patient at all to see any results, and besides, isn’t it wayyyyyy too early for him to be trying to change me? I feel like he’s falling in love with either a former me or the future version of me he wants to be with. It’s very hurtful. Am I being delusional? Any thoughts on this so I can help process this or give me better words to reapproach him with in this bc even though we’ve talked about it, I still do not feel right about it. It has totally ruined my day, and talk about building insecurities right from the start!!! 🙁

    • Hi Lane- I can definitely see how this feels for you and I honor you for sharing so fully. I think it is important to approach this and all relationships with truth and with some boundaries. I would definitely let him know how this has you feeling and what your intentions are for yourself and the relationship. I also invite you to give yourself some love and gentleness. Tell yourself how amazing you are- what a great job you are doing today in this moment. Just know that you are wonderful the way you are. Sending you warm hugs.

  • Adelaide

    Wow Sarah how good it is to know that someone has felt that way.. My boyfriend has told me that I have let go of myself and that really hurt me and i also cried but yes knowing I have to lose weight I didn’t wana hear that from him I mean if he doesn’t see me sexy and attractive then who will.. Thanks ur story helped

    • Oh Adelaide- I am so glad my story helped you- it’s so wonderful to know we aren’t alone and have the support. Sending you a hug!

  • Ghost in the Stone

    I know this post isn’t new, but I found it tonight and wanted to thank you! It was so meaningful!! Would love your input on my situation, if you’re still following this thread.

    I struggled with anorexia in high school, losing so much weight in really unhealthy ways. Things improved and I got healthy, but now weight has crept up with middle age and babies. Hubby sometimes comments about my weight (lately veiled under the guise of my health), and when I fight for not discussing this, he says I’m excluding him and his feelings are hurt. Says any issues I have with my body are my own insecurities and is hurt that I don’t consider what I look like to him. He asks how he’s supposed to talk with me about this if I freak out. Ugh! Why do we have to talk about it!

    He told me in front of our daughter the other day that my “body type is ripe for a heart attack” and that he worried about my weight causing a premature death that would leave him alone with our daughter. My doctor says I’m fine, but I’ve been stewing about that one, repeating the words daily when I look in the mirror.

    I’ve have made it clear that I’m not happy discussing this issue, and will use your steps above to be more explicit moving forward. But right now, and this is crazy, I want to lose a ton of weight out of spite, get really unhealthy and say “this is what you wanted, right?!” I will not permit that, but how do I begin move past the resentful feelings around this issue? I truly believe esentment is poison for your own soul, and I don’t want to do that to myself.

    Thank you for all your help, love and good intentions in the blog!

    Hugs!

    • I completely understand how you are feeling- it can be so upsetting to hear these things from our partners and loved ones. It’s so important to love ourselves how we are and not change who we are because someone else wants that. I would invite you to use the steps in the post and write out how you are feeling and what you want your husband to know about your feelings, your journey, and how you want yourself and you daughter to have a healthy body image. As far as the resentment piece- your heart already knows the answer to this. Try a few minutes each day, calling in forgiveness and compassion and allowing that to enter your body and melt away the resentment. xo

  • Hailey

    Hi there i happened to find your blog and I never right anything like this. This last April I broke up with with my boyfriend of 5 years. We started dating when I was 17 so I was pretty young. Anyways the first year everything was great and I’m gonna say the last 4 years were hard. It started off that bad about my weight but then it got to the point where he would ask me weekly when I was going to start my diet. Now he never said I was fat but when he did ask me that it would hurt so much. He would tell me it wasn’t fair that he put in so much effort while I didn’t. Weight is something that will always be a struggle for me and I would try to explain that I wouldn’t diet until I wanted to but he never got it. I can’t count the number of fights and tears that I went through. This was great to read i wish I had found it earlier but you can’t go back in the past. From my experience and this article defiantly will help for whenever my next relationship will be so thank you:)

    • Hi Hailey~ thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. I am so glad mine served you and hope it inspires you to love who you are and maintain loving healthy boundaries for your relationships to come. xo

  • sarah

    I’m a UK size 14 I have great curves . I’m frequently complimented on my body shape by other guys . my partner however passes negative comments about me all the time

    You should go to the gym more
    I Find slimmer girls more attractive
    We should try this …meaning me

    today was particularly bad . we arranged to go on a bike ride. I have had a head cold for a few days . today I cut my ride short because my chest felt tight I had a headache and I was clearly struggling on the off road track we were on . to my horror the first thing that came out of his mouth was “why did you even bother coming ” not are you OK ?
    I returned to the car and told him I didn’t mind waiting there if he wanted to continue
    Then on the drive home I called him out on how he spoke to me and he just commented ” you are going to be a mess in 5 years . I was dumbfounded and couldn’t speak . on returning home I couldn’t even be in the same room as him I gathered my things and took my self off to the cinema for a few hours to cool off .

    My partner has never been to the gym once in our relationship
    I’ve asked him to come and do things I like like swimming he’s refused because he doesn’t like it
    When we first met he said I wasn’t eating enough because I would skip breakfast
    He wants to eat out all the time

    I love your suggestion about how to challenge this and I’m definitely going to do this . he’s the only one who makes me feel bad.I am the same size as when I met him so screw putting up with that .

    I’m starting to find him unattractive because of his behavior .

    • Hi Sarah- I am glad you are wanting to set boundaries for yourself and partner. Boundaries are a lovely way to support yourself as well as let others know what is and is not okay. Keep me posted! xo

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for writing this. My boyfriend was with me on Christmas Eve and he couldn’t talk to me all day. I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t talk to me. I tried to get him to talk with me. Finally, he told me I needed to workout more. He said I was nice but he wants to be able to have sex with someone skinny. (I’msize 10. ) i have a little extra to my bellybut am healthy and workout a few times a week. he talked about how I have perfect personality and things would be perfect if I was fit and worked out. he said every man wants a woman who looks like a model and he is just telling me how he feels and doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. my friends were very upset about this and think I should end the relationship. for the next months and rest of my life I wil lbe working out, eating smaller portions, and healthier food. I’m just not sure, I feel that his intentions were not about my health, but rather about his dream desires. I was tempted to tell him to leave me alone then and go find his dream girl. it is hard to be comfortable around him. but I love him so much I don’t want to leave. jjust afraid it will be something that will alwaysb bother him and I will be nagged all the time. I hope you see this. would appreciate your thoughts.

    • Wow, Elizabeth! I wish you weren’t hurting or experiencing this. Let’s stop a moment and lean into what it is YOU want. Think of all the things- a loving relationship, healthy vibrant body, travel and such and then see how you can lean in towards those things more. Is working out and eating smaller portions going to give you these things? I would definitely connect with yourself on this and also follow the steps laid out in the blog so you can communicate your healthy boundaries and feelings. Sending you some love. xo

  • This just happened to me too, it doesn’t feel nice at all. I’m 39 and not perfect looking, I totally agree I have gained weight but it still feels bad being asked to work harder, I don’t even know whether to reevaluate our relationship or accept that he chose me in a different shape and has every right to expect that woman back or to just try harder. Thank you for your article and your strength xx

  • Im usually good about going to the gym 4-5/week. But these past 2 weeks ive been slacking. Only went 1-2/week. Husband just left for 3 months and trying to transition with that, my new job, and maintaining the house by myself. I havent been eating well and my husband hasnt been too happy with it. Hes getting me to the point where i feel ashamed to even eat on webcam with him. I told him i didnt have time to cook today and havent grocery shopped.. yet he says dont be upset i just want you to be healthy and im looking out for you. Hes making mr feel ashamed of myself i had a long day at work was hungry and wanted to eat my meal in piece.. i got angry and we arent talking. I know he wants me to be healthy so we can try to get pregnant when he gets back but still.. it hurts..

    • Be gentle with yourself. My first instinct is for you to start tracking your cycle- different times of the month we are more outgoing and can do more physical type body movements and other times we need more relaxing, soothing movements. I would start there. Also keep in mind that this is a big transition for you while your husband is away and this could be a new transition for you. Sending you love.

  • Hey Sarah,
    You are a very strond woman and I could need your help. (ps: sorry for my bad english)
    Last week my boyfriend and I went to a spa and I told him I gained a little bit of weight (2-3kg nothing crazy). He didn’t replied like I wanted to. He said “yes, around your tights and I’m glad you noticed. Some people don’t” after this he said I just should do more cardio. He is very fit and got me into fitness. But this was too much for me. He hurt my feelings. He could of told me that he likes me how I am or something like that. I’m still angry at him but I didn’t tell him how I feel. He justs thinks I am occupied with my studies and thats why I’m wierd.
    What should I do? If I tell him I’ll be very mean to him, I know myself but I can’t hold this in me…

    • Hi Jessica- you should let him know how his comments made you feel. Take the tools I recommended and keep them in mind when you are addressing him. I know you are strong and brave and can do this! xo

  • Jess

    My husband told me a day before my 40th that he’s been super sad and unhappy for months. That he’s not attractived to me. That if I don’t lose weight (and I’m pretty over weight, so I assume he means lots) that he doesn’t want me to be suprised if he leaves at some point. But that even though he’s thought about doing something more desperate, he wanted to be super honest and try. I’m so hurt. I hate that all I do for our family and him (sahm 7& 11 girls…who are very very challenging)…all that love and effort is meaningless because I’m a size 18 not 8??? He said when I don’t take care of myself it makes him feel like I take him for granted. I can understand that. Still hard. Mostly, I am struggling to trust him since it feels like an ultimatum…

    • Wow, Jess- this is challenging and I can feel your hurt. I would definitely take some time to explore what it is you want and how you want to feel. Then, think of a few ways you can start to FEEL these ways. I invite you to think of a way to have a loving conversation around boundaries with your husband and let him know that this felt like an ultimatum. Also- ask him for ideas on how he thinks he can support you around being the most vibrant amazing you that you are. Keep me posted! xo

  • Steph

    Seriously just had a blowout with my live in bf. I’m 37 yrs old, 5’6″ and currently weigh 146 lbs. This is the most i have ever ever weighed and i am ashamed of my weight and looks and that i let it get this far. I just quit smoking about a month ago. Up until rhis winter my weight never fluctuated above 130. But i admit i do not exercise besides walking my dog. Ive always hated exercise for various self esteem-related reasons and avoided it. My bf has always disliked this about me -about how i dont exercise. He criticised me tonight immediately when i walked in the door after a 10 hr workday and a 45 min commute. He made a couple of statements upon walking out of the bathroom off the kitchen as i was putting a kettle on. (By the way, I cmae how wxhausted, and really having to pee. Since i couldnt pee bc alex was taking his post-work shit and hogging the bathroom i decided to make some tea,) about how i should walk the dog tonight bc he just got home and bc i never do it, he always does it. When i looked at him perplexed and feeling accosted i said to him, Ldo t come at me lije that”, he went on to say that i mever exercise and, “Don’t you want to exercise?”. And then i repeated, “Don’t be like that, That’s not true! Don’t talk that way”…(I mean, i still had my coat on for crying out loud). And instead of him trying to change his tune or approach, instead of saying some form of a kinder way of making his points such as, “ya know what Im sorry i know you just got in but hey please would y mind walking Julie tonight so i have time to hop in the shower before i head to bed”, he responded with, “But it’s TRUE YOU NEVER DO YOU’RE SO LAZY’. My escalating emotions of feeling hurt, offended, annoyed, and embarrassed now reached a new level. And i started to raise my voice while my mouth quivered and tears were running down my face. “I cant believe he’s being like this. He’s so mean and so immediately. What us going on we were fine yhus morning. What am i supposed to say? What should I do?”, are some of the thoughts i had. I tried telling him how he’s hurting me and how it’s not okay and that he needs to be kinder to me and i asked what was wrong and he just kept giving me the brush off or worse would say additionally hurtful things like how now im being crazy and ridiculous and im out of shape and i should want to exercise and get in shape yada yada without ever changing his tone. And i at this point was balling my eyes out while i was practically begging him to be nice and instead of letting up he starts telling me how it’s my fault for being so insecure and weird and proceeded to tell me my voice is annoying him. I cried and yelled trying to both defend myself and explain myself to no avail. And so with nowhere to go and wanting to break and punch things i grabbed my coat and my dog and leash and i left. I walked some figure eightsaroubd the neigjboring streets for about 30 mins before i didnt want to walk any more and proceeded to head home, reluctantly. First thung i did was take off my coat and lock myself un the bathroom to take a hot shower. I then retired to thebedroom and agut the door. I have not heard nor seen him since. This was about an hour ago. What do y do when not only is he right, i need to e ercise, and u am sensitive and insecure, but i am getting fat and i” sure he’s noticed. So what do i fo? This is my home! This is my life!

    Additionally, this is our relationship’s second go around. We’ve been dating for the past year after previous 5 yrs apart. We broke up the first time be he was having an affair. All these thoughts and fears are rynning around my head right now. I feel panicked.

    • Hi Steph- let’s take a breath- slowly, deeply, and fully. Send the breath through your whole beautiful body- even the parts you feel are not loveable right now in this moment. You are an amazing woman and have every right to feel that way. I would have some tea or walk in nature like you did and then write down some things you would like him to know- following the steps in this article. Know you are loved!

  • Annie

    Hi Sarah I had a similar situation with my fiancée last nite long distance he said something on those terms of losing weight by joining karate. I am 5feet 6 inches and weight about 70 kgs have a 4 year old juggling work and home. He calls me beautiful and so on this came as a shock and didn’t know how to react so didn’t msg back. It was on WhatsApp.
    I was so hurt with his comment and shocked my initial reaction was no reply.
    I read ur blog went back and dealt with him bravely. He backed off.
    I think as women we deal with so many insecurities we don’t need loved ones to feed on our insecurities. Thanks to your write up. It helped me.

    • Awesome! I am so glad to hear this was helpful medicine for you and that you were able to infuse it into your relationship. Way to go! xo

  • Cassie

    Just wow! It was like you wrote this directly at me. I’m still feeling super hurt by my partners comment but I feel like I can deal with it after reading this.
    Thankyou x

  • I always get called fat, whether it’s jokingly or seriously. But, calling me ‘fat’ on my period!!! WHEN I’M BLOATED AND LOOKING SO UGLY AND YES FAT, HURTS SO MUCH.

    &
    Yes, I just wanted to let that out.

  • Dina

    Hi Sarah!
    My husband sent me a link twice on how to lose weight using Apple cider vinegar and garcenia. I freaked out, cried and then put my big girl pants on and replied with a nasty comment. I work out constantly and intensely and am doing the best that I can for a 57 year old. He told me he wanted to see if it worked so he could get rid of his little gut. He has no gut. He is weight obsessed and I can only do so much.

    Thank you for your article. It reflected exactly as I felt!
    .

    • You are so welcome, Dina! I am so happy you told him how you felt and then it turns out it was about him the whole time. Try and come up with a few ways you two can have fun together! Hugs to you.

  • Danigarc

    Thank you so much for this. My boyfriend and I are trying to be healthier and loose weight together. He knows that I get sensitive with some comments that he makes. We love each other and want to stay together. I feel like reading this has given me a way to understand what I’m feeling and not lash out and say something hurtful in return. Instead I was able to tell him that there are nicer ways to say things. I have been over weight my whole life and have always gotten rude comments from family and that’s why I get defensive. I am trying to lose weight. I need to stop ignoring that. I also want to live a fulfilling life and I know I have to be able able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting tired to do so. Thank you, this really helped me.

    • Hi Dani! You are so welcome- I appreciate your comment and how you stood up for yourself in a loving way. Keep me posted! xo

  • Tina M.

    Sara, thank you for writing this article. I’m 4 1/2 months post partum and I met my husband when I weighted 160 im curvy but not fat if that makes sense my
    Body type is hour glass and everything is even. I got pregnant only gained 13 lbs. aside of my stretch marks I’m right back to 160. I’m looking for a job right now and I told my
    Husband I needed some new business attire because my clothes don’t really fit me the same anymore. He tell me no, I don’t think so, you need to go to the gym more often, do I need to show you a timeline? I’m so upset, ashamed, I don’t feel like I look bad :(. My back widen a little and my hips
    Widen. I go to the gym as much as I can and I watch what I eat I’ve just plateaued. This is day two and I’m more angry than I was yesterday. If I could throw a sizzling hot Pan at his face and get away with it I would. I’m so angry. All these crazy things are going through my head- like maybe he would rather watch Internet girls than be with me or anytime he tells me I’m pretty it out of putty. Idk what to do to help myself. I’m trying so hard, plus I don’t have a babysitter I run as much as I can with the jogger stroller. 🙄😒 whatever..

    • Hi Tina! I completely understand- our bodies are different all the time and especially after having a baby. The way your body has changed is not a BAD thing- it’s you, just a little different is all. I would concentrate more on having fun and doing things that inspire you- maybe walk with the baby to a park or neighborhood in town you have wanted to see. Also- take some time for just you. Have your partner watch the baby while you do something for yourself- a dance class, movie, time with your girlfriends. Also- let him know it’s not ok to say hurtful things like that (using the steps in the article). Fun is magical and can definitely change the way you see things as well as inspire you!

  • Paula

    Hello

    I was very happy to find your article. My situation is this, I married a man that is very thin. Almost too thin. His ex girlfriend was very thin. So while driving he mentions that I should do coolsculpting. I was devastated, angry and so many emotions .
    My opinion of him has changed. A very bad argument ensued of which he became physical. I am not sure what to do.

    • Hi Paula, I am so sorry to hear about this situation- please set some boundaries with him. Also, I would reach out to local groups and support around the physical stuff and get some support there to keep yourself safe and protected.

  • Marzipan Lady

    This sounds so relatable… I was first told I’m fat right before my junior prom. I put on my dress and stood in front of my grandmother who simply said “God, your thighs are huge” (she herself has a very exaggerated pear shape!). It really hurt me, in the middle of adolescence, at my weakest. Then there was my university pal who told me that if I lost about 20 pounds I would’ve been quite hot. Recently my husband started to ask if I wasn’t supposed to keep a food journal and stop snacking… I’m a stay-at-home mum to a 9-month-old and an active freelancer, food is the least of my concerns. But I do admit it did hurt me a bit. Thank you for this post, it made me feel more empowered.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences. I honestly believe our partners and family say things and they don’t intend for them the wound us, but they do. I am so glad this could empower you to shine as you are. xo

  • Bharthi Tangavelu

    Yes I have and still am. I’m trying to tone up and bf keeps asking me to workout with this friend of his who’s naturally skinny.
    I’m tired of feeling bad about my body. I’m not fat, weigh 47kgs. I’m
    Hourglass shaped n do not have an Atlantic body. I have gained weight but it is not to and obese level. My bf keeps reminding me that he can’t have a fat wife! I don’t want to be fat and won’t let myself get to that state but he is so obsessed with this whole weight issue. He even critises himself and it’s really unhealthy. I get very angry. It .

    • Hello! I want to tell you that there is nothing wrong with you and that you are beautiful just as you are. It sounds like he has some healing to do with how he views himself. I would definitely have a conversation with him using the guidelines in this article. HUgs!

  • Natalie

    Thank you for sharing this message!
    It’s crushing when our significant other comments on our bodies/appearances in a negative way. My boyfriend does compliment me, but brings up my weight/ the need for me to work out EVERY time I see him.
    It’ll be dropped into the conversation at some point casually. I don’t really do vigorous exercise, except going for nature walks/mini hikes. I’m a size small, I’m not toned, I have some flab and bumps. .
    He had shown me YouTube clips of an actress who is very fit (obviously). He said ‘look at her!’ in amazement, as if to reinforce the message he is trying to convey that I NEED to work out.
    And it’s extending into other areas now, like that I should dye my hair black so my eyes stand out. That if I’m smaller my cheek bones will show up.
    Im leaving his company feeling like a deflated balloon.
    But I haven’t told him how it feels, or to stop. And after reading this I think it’s time to say something, and let him know firmly..or I’ll reevaluate the relationship.

  • Iayisha khan

    You actually dealt with this beautifully. I grew up hearing I was fat( even when I was not). Then I was in romantic relationships in which I was called fat( when I was not). Eventually, I stopped going to places because the first comment people would make was how I got heavier or how I lost so much weight( yoyo Dieter here). I work in the public eye and my appearance is always up for discussion. I have actually changed my job because of this. After nights of crying myself to sleep. After tearing off clothing in my washroom while tears ran down my face. After starving myself. After getting dressed up and feeling beautiful, only to have someone rain on my parade by another heart breaking comment. I I have come to ONE conclusion. Anyone. I mean anyone who makes a comment about my body is out. No questions asked. Its not a discussion at this point. I am not fat. I am in my 30s and I am 150lbs. No one has the right to judge me. If they do they are OUT. Simple. Enough is enough. Making women feel ugly, unworthy, “fat” , is why women and men have eating disorders. We are more then the roles that we carry. We are not defined by them. But I’m.sorry the rest of society thinks we are. The conversation needs to change. If my health is an issue that’s one thing. However, my physical appearance is not up for discussion. Not now, now tomorrow, not ever.

  • Laura

    Hi!

    I have just been reading some of the comments on here. Made me feel better that I am not the only one going through this but makes me so sad to see that guys think it’s ok to dictate what we should be eating and what exercise regime we should be following!
    I have recently got married to my husband and we have been together for nearly 4 years now. I have had comments for the past 3 and a half years ie. I can’t believe the amount of crap you put in your mouth, you were in a better condition when we first met, and most recently you’ve hardly been to the gym the past month you should be with someone lazy.
    Over time this has knocked my confidence and I can honestly say I’m broken. I want to go and see a relationship counsellor but he doesn’t.
    Only being married 5 months and having bought a gorgeous new house i feel trapped.
    Any advice would be grateful.
    💗😢

    • Hi Laura! I would definitely have a conversation with him after using the points made in this article. You have to speak up for yourself or it will continue to bring you down, love. Let him know it is not ok and that you deserve better. Sending you hugs.

  • Nancy

    I could relate to the what to do when your husband suggest you could loose a few..

  • Thanks so much for posting this. I’ve spent all day thinking about how to handle a very similar situation once my husband comes home from work. I haven’t yet been able to put my feelings into words, but reading this was so helpful. I feel embarrassed and ashamed.. We’ve been together for five years – he’s my best friend, but I feel totally and completely betrayed. More than anyone else in this world, I should feel comfortable in my own skin when I’m around him.

    Thanks to this post, I feel much better about the conversation that we’re going to have tonight.

  • Emilee

    I am 27, a Christian, and have only been married a couple of years. My husband and I are getting ready to go on a trip to Mexico later this month. No longer comfortable in the string bikinis from when I was 20, I ordered a couple of ADORABLE pin-up style monokinis for the trip. I have gained a little weight since our marriage, but honestly not much. I am 5’6 and have slowly gone from 135-145 in the past 3 years. When the bathing suits arrived he asked me to model them, and considering they were quite expensive I agreed. When I tried them on I felt surprisingly confident! The suits fit my body appropriately for how I look now and I feel sexy in them. Upon expressing that to my husband, while I was still in a bathing suit mind you, he let me know by his look of disgust that he did not feel the same way. The dialogue that followed was deeply painful and humiliating. I go to yoga classes 3 days a week, but my husband prefers to lift weights and doesn’t consider yoga exercise. How can I trust or be intimate with a person who is unaccepting of even a little weight gain? I am well aware that my husband has his own body image issues and may be projecting them onto me, but I feel great about myself and my current weight. That is what makes this all the more disappointing. How can I expect for this person to be encouraging or supportive if I experience pregnancy weight gain?

    • Hi Emilee! You have to try and not let him and his feelings about his own issues run over into your magic bubble. Acknowledge them and then carry on with what you are doing and focus on YOU. Your feelings. Your desires. Your joys. Rock that swimsuit!

  • Hi.
    My wife and I have been married for five years.
    Last night I broached the subject of her health. I tried to approach it as best I could.
    My concern is for her health. It is not about her weight.
    She has a terrible diet and a very sedentary lifestyle. She eats sugar in excess and will do no exercise whatsoever. Of course as a by-product of this, she has put on weight. This is not the thing that bothers or concerns me. What concerns me, is that she is always ill, she can’t walk a flight of stairstairs without becoming breathless and Is constantly having aches and pains.
    When I brought it up, she immediately assumed I was calling her fat. And things have become very strained.
    Her body is her business of course. But when we are thinking of having children and living a life together , i have to be able to talk about her health surely?
    If there is anyone who could offer suggestions or advice, it’d be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Dan! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and reaching out. This is such a good question. The first thing is to be the light. What foods are you bringing in the house? How are you moving your body, sleeping, self-care, and such? How are you taking care of yourself? I find most of the time we need to be sure we are being supportive but also leading by example without preaching or being judgmental unknowingly. Second, the best way to broach it is with love. I think the first thing you have to let your wife know you love and accept her for who she is, in every way, but that you want to help her to change in an effort to help to see her vibrant and healthy. Most of the time there is an emotional component tied to the weight and body image- so maybe looking through the lens of how she can be supported in other ways- is her job stressful? Does she have fun? Does she have days to take care of herself and relax? Does she have a spiritual practice, etc…How can you bring in ways to support her (and one another) this way? Maybe you could invite her to take a romantic walk around the park or city. Maybe plan a date for you two. Bring her flowers and run her a bath. Please let me know how this helps you and her. I think it is amazing that you want to be so supportive.

  • Lorraine

    I just want to thank you for this read, it may have saved my relationship the first time around when this happened to me. Your insight meant so much during a time when this situation was still so fresh and emotions are all over the place and you can’t seem to figure out what’s a rational move in this situation. I find myself referring back to this whenever I feel hurt about something and don’t know how to communicate it. My sincerest thanks for your guidance.

    • Oh Lorraine- your note really brings me such joy- receiving it with love and how it has supported you. Thank you for sharing!

  • emilee

    i’m pregnant for the first time; in my 3rd month and finding it really difficult to be motivated to get out of bed. i tried a power yoga class as i have always been active and was hopeful to continue through the pregnancy, i ended up taking a 4hr nap afterwards. i also like my sweets. you know, 3 cookies a day type of thing. boyfriend had the nerve to tell me he wasn’t interested in being in a relationship with someone that becomes obese. in the past, when asking him what he likes about me; it’s always physical attributes .. oh, and he loves my heart. my reaction was to cry and tell him that my choices have nothing to do with him and acomment like that will be remembered forever. i wish i would have stood up and said “well you’re obviously here for superficial reasons” and just walked out of the room. instead, i just told him i needed space and haven’t been over to see him the last couple of days. it’s one thing to stick up for yourself and set boundaries; but how do you recover when you know they are superficial creatures and can’t tell you what you need to hear?

    • Hi Emilee, Thank you for sharing here. My invitation is for you to write out 50 things that you love about yourself and place it under your bed with a crystal to call in the loving energy for you to create love for yourself. Be gentle and loving with yourself and then follow the steps listed in the article, love. Keep me posted!

  • Lena

    I just googled “what if my partner thinks I’m fat”. My boyfriend told me this morning that I should go swimming today after I mentioned I had a very sugary cocktail last night. That. Was. All. I’v been a mess all day. It finally bubbled up into a sob sesh in my car.
    I have a history of bulimia and he knows this. Iv already expressed the hurt I felt during our try at the Keto diet and that I would no longer participate for the sake of my mental health. I know he means well, but I didn’t know what to do. Thank you for this article, it makes me feel better and less irrational to know that I’m not the only one who feels hurt by “good intention”.

    • Aw honey- so glad this could be of service to you. We are all different and have to do what is right for us not just because it works for someone else and that is what they want to do. Sending hugs.

  • Kallie

    Sarah, thank you for the post. I am one of those yo-yo dieters…every time I hit a plateau, it rocks my self-esteem and sends me back to a place where I have trouble believing that I even deserve to feel better about myself. All that does is make my husband frustrated. He makes comments like “You always do this to yourself” or “You don’t really want to lose weight.” Don’t get me wrong. He also tells me I’m gorgeous and beautiful. While I know he loves me and has no idea how hurtful his words are, losing weight for him is so easy that I don’t think he has any idea of what a struggle it is for me. This was helpful. I don’t know where I’m going to find the “strong me,” but I know now that I need to do so.

  • Becca

    This post made me feel so much better. I was recently diagnosed with about four different issues, one of which has severely limited my ability to exercise, until the doctors can find a solution. I use to be very active and it’s been hard that I can’t. Well, my man asked me if I was pregnant because I was eating so much and that we should cut back. It really stung. I tried to play it off like it didn’t hurt, but it still does. So I relate with this! I appreciate the advice!!

  • Bonnie

    This really broke it all down for me … I know my fiancé means best but everyday he reminds me that I’m carrying 5kilos extra by squeezing my stomach and asking me
    “what’s this?” In a playing kind of way… but it gets to me. If I get emotional towards how I look (a fleeting tear up that I’m insecure) he takes it that he can say and micromanage my food because clearly I need the help. We have had argument over argument about it, to the point where I’ve said “I do want not a single word about what I eat, do, don’t do” but now it seems I’m back to square one. It’s like he wants me to look a certain way because he knows it will make me happy and confident but it just makes me feel unattractive and like he’s marrying me for what the end result may be. I don’t know… he’s so loving and I know he would do anything for me but my showers have increased because I can’t cry infront of him without it becoming an argument.

    Now I’m trying to restrict my food portions to a couple of mouthfuls so he can’t pick on me for over eating. From his point of view he says he likes me the way I am but having a health driven partner is attractive… Which is fine but my confidence is being shattered in the mean time.

    Feeling in love, but drained and fat.

    • I am sorry to hear you are feeling this way. I would get clear on how you want to feel and then start incorporating ways that make you feel that way. Also, be sure and try the steps in the article- they help set boundaries which is super important! Sending you hugs.

  • Sidrah

    Hi Sarah thanks for sharing. Me and my boyfriend just broke up because of the same issue. I am naturally thin I have always been struggling with my weight as I eat very little and loose weight all the time. I have always been told that I don’t look or feel like a woman. That I don’t have curves or meat. That I look 15 although I am 26. At first my boyfriend told me that I look gorgeous and he loves me the way I am. After a while he changed and started commenting on me being too skinny and commenting on other girls being curvy and attractive. I told him I just can’t gain weight because I eat so little and its something about me that I can’t fix. I started to feel so damm insecure. I have always felt that way my entire life from my family friends and everyone. But it hurts so bad when it comes from the only one you want to be attractive to. I had a fight with him and as most of them say ” i am just worried about your health”. I was so angry that I said bad stuff about his body too cuz I wanted him to feel insecure and see how painful it is. He got shocked and totally believed what I was saying about his body. He felt really down, and then I broke up with him. Although I feel like I got my revenge but I feel sad that I hurt his feelings that bad. I am very disappointed right now cuz I never thought we are going to break up. We were very close but i just couldn’t handle such pressure.

    • Oh Sidrah! Thank you for sharing this experience. It’s so important for us to know that when people say negative things about our body (no mattter what size)- it’s just not ok. xo

  • Rainn

    Thank you for this! My boyfriend has started with me about food with like oh guys don’t want to see a girl eat a whole pizza, I can’t believe you just ate a whole cereal bowl of cherries and etc. when I work out 4 times a week. we have been together for years and I don’t want to become a closer eater. I’m glad I’m not alone and thank you for the advice and encouragement.

    • You are welcome, Rainn- so glad this was helpful. I invite you to use the steps in the article and let him know what is ok and not ok to say and how he can be more supportive. Sending hugs!

  • Kris

    Hi Sarah,

    I, like others in the comments I’ve read, am very appreciative of this post. My husband has a mother who has struggled with her weight for as long as he can remember – yo-yo dieting – ups and down. And currently she’s very down. So I recognize that he’s been dealing with that all of his life and seeing its negative impact. I, too, though am quite active, do struggle with my weight and definitely my body image. He has seen me struggle and I know he wants me to be happy and healthy, but he too, will make similar comments, such as this morning’s on the way to work (hence why I even searched for this article in the first place), “I may have asked you this before, but if you feel you are doing everything you can, such as diet and exercise, and still aren’t seeing the results you want, would it be worth talking to your doctor?” Mind you, I haven’t even mentioned my weight lately, especially this morning. So I knew he had been thinking about it, which just eats at me. I sort of played it off, and know I am not always doing everything I can. But his words really stick with me and make me self-conscious. I actually plan to share your article with him and let him know how when he brings these things up it really hurts my feeling, and in fact, I believe it does more harm than good.

    • Hi Kris- So glad that you will be sharing this post with him. I think it’s really important to get clear on what you want and desire and what feels good and in alignment for you. So often we allow others wants and needs to shape our own. Ask yourself what you want with your body and your vitality and then take compassionate and aligned actions from there. You are amazing and can do this! <3

  • Andie

    My boyfriend is about 80 lbs lighter than me and very active as he’s in the military. He has never made comments about my weight but openly admits he likes smaller body types. He’s never pressured me to lose weight and repeatedly tells me as long as I’m happy he is too. But again he brings up his ideal type a good bit around me and it makes me feel unworthy. However when I bring it up he responds with “but you’re my type” despite previous “I like this body”.

    One day I was talking about how frustrated I was with my weight and his response was “yeah you’re large but I love you” and I completely shut down and there’s been a rift in our relationship since then. He wants to be flirty but every time he tries I think of that comment and can’t get over it….

    • Hi Andie! This is so hard- I know. Simply be honest and let him know. Review the steps in the article and let him know how you are feeling- open communication is truly helpful instead of letting it block the energy of the relationship. Sending courage and hugs!

  • Kris

    Today I accidentally indirectly called my wife fat. I feel so horrible. I landed on this article and it has helped me, but I really just don’t even know where to begin to apologize. I apologized immediately and a couple of times since. We’ve been married almost 10 years and I Usually only compliment. My wife and I were talking about someone who seems to monitor what his wife eats and I said “he’s probably over worried that she’ll gain weight after pregnancy. You know cause that’s a struggle for a lot of women” THEN I POINTED AT MY WIFE. I immediately didn’t know what to do, I still don’t. But reading this article and the comments I think has helped me try to begin where to start.

    • Hi Kris! I am so glad this article helped. Just let her know you love her and apologize if that feels good for you. Sending support!

  • Shannon Sullivan

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is helpful and appreciated.
    I am going through this with my boyfriend. I explained to him that I grew up with my dad talking to me about my weight from the age of 13-23. It lead to me hiding food and an eating disorder until I decided to stop listening to that voice.
    I was feeling good about myself and taking care even if I wasn’t at my lightest weight, mentally I felt loved.
    Then 8 months after dating this man, I feel ugly and fat. He asks if I plan on losing weight. He knows my family history. He says That I should be able,to move past my past. Finally I told him the topic was off limits completely and that he needed to focus on himself.
    It just hurts a lot and I feel sad.
    Thanks for listening.

    • Hi Shannon, thank you for commenting. I’m sorry to hear this and agree with you placing firm boundaries. Follow the guideline tips in the article and see how it lands with you. Sending love!

  • Sarah,

    I cannot tell you how inspiring this was for me. When my husband and I first met, I was 5’2” and 145 lbs. A little chubby I suppose for a more petite frame, but he still went out with me and called me beautiful. We started dating seriously, and I started eating very healthy and exercising ex strenuously. I lost 25 lbs and managed that weight fluctuating 7 lbs throughout 8 years. Something changed in my now husband, he will very rarely compliment me, but be sure to mention if I looked like I was “gaining” weight. It’s just got so bad over the years recently he tried to take food away from me and has straight up called me chubby and fat a$$. I broke my ankle in a car accident and am still recovering, and gained 15 lbs. I am completely undesired by my husband. But your post has truly inspired me to set aside the little girl, and find my “inner woman”. I will say exactly what you said to your husband. It’s been long enough, and if he could love me then when we first fell in love, he has no reason to not love me more now, as I’m a kinder, better version of myself always finding how I can improve. Thank you for these words and your strength. Now also with God I have found mine.

    • Hi Cia, I totally support you in finding your inner woman. I’m thinking of you and sending love as you find your voice.

  • Hi
    I totally can relate to how you feel. Tonight while talking on phone with my boyfriend of 4 years, he starts in about my health and weight, how I shouldn’t weigh as much as I do, its unhealthy that I need to take my health more serious. As he talking after the 5th time he says I shouldn’t weigh this much, I feel tears going down my cheek,feel hurt and angry,that he would say this when he knows how i feel about my weight and struggle to lose weight I emotional tonight questioning our relationship with him. Thank you for your blog.

    • Hi Ali, I’ve been there and I’m sorry you’re going through this. Have you taken Live More Weigh Less? It may give you the tools you need to overcome these feelings and find happiness now, regardless of your weight. You are worthy.
      Sending love, Sarah.

  • Chelsea

    This is amazing story and advice! This really helped me feel better personally as well as know how ro communicate effectively to my boyfriend about how I was feeling with him. Thank you! So happy I found this article!!! <3

  • Sarah Jenks

    Sounds great. I hope it’s helpful for her!

  • Anonymous Guy

    I think this is a great article thank you for writing it – I’m hoping that good communication will help us through this awkward time. I just want to share my own experience with this moment from a different perspective.

    I am a guy who recently had this awkward discussion with my wife of 5 years. We are young and dont have any kids yet, but do talk about it a lot. We have a very complete and happy relationship and are active together, and enjoy experiences together, and rarely ever fight. So when she said she wanted to talk I got worried… She felt like we dont connect as closely as we used to, and I have to say that it is true that we are not as physical as we used to be. She is very vocal about struggling with her body image and always has felt pressure from society about being thinner, but in past years she has always sort of “diffused” this feeling with humor and it never seemed like such a serious topic. I have never criticized or mentioned anything about her weight because I know it is a somewhat sensitive subject and one that she doesn’t need my advice on! Everybody has weird body issues and, honestly, growing up I was very thin and would feel uncomfortable about it because of peoples comments, so I know to steer clear of this stuff. ANYWAYS we started talking about trying to connect more meaningfully, and I mentioned that we could start to be “more physical together” as in getting work-out equipment or staying active together. And then stupidly added that “we might have let ourselves go a bit.” Which I admit was totally the wrong words to use, and even as I said it I could hear it echoing ominously, but I was including myself in the comment and felt that, since we were having an honest talk to better our relationship, it would be okay. She got really quiet and asked me to clarify what I meant by “let myself go.” I immediately tried to recant, saying that I didn’t want to offend her at all, and that I wanted to make sure we were discussing this together as a couple, but could already tell those words were cemented in her memory. Now I feel like I shouldn’t have said anything at all, because she is offended and probably has every right to be. I truly wasn’t coming from a bad place at all, and I’m afraid she wont be able to look at us the same way anymore. Now we are trying to work past it – I hope that we can because I love her very much and we have a terrific relationship. I really was trying to come from a good place but ended up mucking it up all the same…

  • Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and for being so open. I completely understand how you didn’t mean it to come out the way it did. I invite you to give her loving attention and let her know you love her. If you feel you need to, apologize and let her know the way you feel, but also be forgiving with yourself. When you come from a space of love,that is what will be displayed. Best wishes- Keep me posted!

  • Lori

    Thank you so much for your story! This really helped me just tonight. My husband and I just had an argument About my weight I couldn’t make him understand how him telling me that I need to excerise or that “should you really eat that”. Or making a disgusted look on his face about what I was wearing to the beach on a 100 degree day. Then I was told, next time don’t ask me how you look! Needless to say I lost it! So I
    found your article and I read it to him. he actually listened to me when I told him how rotten that made me feel. Telling your story helped him see mine. Thank you so much for your wisdom and strength. You helped me find mine!

  • Beautiful share! I am so glad you spoke up and had this experience. Hugs!

Sarah Jenks

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