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 How to Get My Husband to Lose Weight

This is a question that I got from someone who identifies herself as “Angela”, asking how to deal with being turned off by her husband’s weight gain. I choose this question, because this is a concern I get from a number of folks about their spouse.

Angel says:

This is not quite a comment, but more another question about the same issue. I am not attracted to my partner anymore, but most of it is due to the physical attraction part of it. We have been married 34 yrs. We are getting old and are both showing it. He has become overweight, and his appearance, both his face and body, have changed very much from the time we met when I was sexually attracted to him. I believe he does care somewhat about his weight but still does not watch his diet like I do, and does not exercise to loose the extra weight. Even if he DID, his face has changed so much, I wouldn’t put him through all that dieting just to find out it didn’t matter much to me. He could never get back to what he used to be, he has tried in the past. I am just not physically attracted to him. It’s only love when we DO IT! I wish it were different, but that’s the case with me. He does not WHAT IT THAT WAY!!!!!!!!! I wish there was something I could do, because that KIND of desire is just not there for me. I feel extremely guilty about this!!! Is there something I can do, (a plan of action that could be met) that would work better for ME? Thanks for listening.



Hi Angela,

First of all, I would sit down with my partner and tell him what’s on your mind and then I would ask him what he would like that would motivate him to “work with you” on this issue. Getting your partner to change is all about motivation.  My therapy joke is:

 Why does it take 20 boy scouts to get a little  old lady across the street?” answer “because she doesn’t want to go”. 

 The point here is what is in it for him, from his perspective.  Find out what he would like, that would make him want to work on loosing weight.  Is he motivated by having more sex? Does he want you to buy tickets to a sporting event or a concert?  Does he want you not to mention anything to him, does he feel nagged?

 Angela, there are many things I can suggest, but first we want to find out what would “inspire” to him relate to this issue.  We can leap tall buildings if we are motivated, but we won’t even get off of the couch if we’re not.  Please send me privately an email about this conversation, so you don’t have to be embarrassed about what he says or doesn’t say.  

The key here is to do this with him not to him.

If we can’t get him on board nothing will work.

Once we know what he wants we can talk about an action plan that will use his motivation, to make him both more attractive to you and healthier, so the two of you can live a longer more rewarding life together.

 In addition, to that to learn more about what motivates folks, a good book to read would be “Carrot and Sticks” by Ian Ayres,  which I will be reviewing in my next blog.

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