Husband is fat and has health problems

colorcrazySeptember 3, 2011

Compared to other postings, I guess this is minor, but I am getting really fed up. My husband is about 40 pounds overweight and it has a negative impact on our marriage. He is on blood pressure meds, he snores, he has low energy. In addition (not known to be related to the weight) he has all kinds of allergies and recently developed asthma. He is 51.

He does not eat sweets or junk foods, he just eats large portions of everything and rarely exercises. He can't exercise outside because of his allergies. We belong to a gym, but he doesn't go.

He also does not seem to care if he makes a mess. I have to keep after him to put things away. He would never think of cleaning anything other than the dishes if I didn't ask him. Funny how he can be so dedicated at work and so casual at home.

I love him, and I know he loves me very much, but he seems to think that it will be impossible for him to lose weight. I work hard at keeping the weight off. I am "normal" sized (medium) at 140 lbs and 5'6" I exercise several times each week and would like to lose five pounds but have kept my weight within my target for the past 25 years. Admittedly, my physiology is different from his. That is why I don't know what to say to him. I tried nagging and know that doesn't work. I tried telling him it worries me. That doesn't work.

Any suggestions?

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I would leave him alone unless this is something new that came on suddenly. As for being overweight, I am probably 40 lbs over my normal weight. It's nobody's business but mine not even my husband's if he was still here. He loved me for who I was not for what I looked like. By the way, when I left my home yesterday, I saw the HOA gardener working a couple of houses down. I pulled over to tell him good morning. He looked at me smiling and said, "you look beautiful this morning". My reply was I feel beautiful today. I think you should find something else to worry about.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 5:27PM
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Do you like to do things together? Go to the movies, grocery shopping, play cards?
I feel for you. My husband and I both try to stay active and we are both within normal weight range. We make an effort to take walks, go out etc.
You and your husband need to feel close again. You say you love him and he loves you. Start suggesting being a couple. Your husband might also be depressed. Has he had a good physical lately?
There are people (my sister for one) who are over weight yet actively involved with no health issues. So, really it is the health issue and the fact that he isn't participating that make this worrisome.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 8:32PM
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I think it is important not to focus on the weight issue.

It would be better you both approached the issue from a health perspective. It is easy to keep fit. Eat the right food, exercise for half an hour a day etc. Lots of info about it.

If I were you I would emphasize that both of you could do this healthy lifestyle approach together. The excuse that he can't go out for a walk because of his allergies is lame. Stress that you love him and you want him to be healthy not travelling down the road to chronic disease issues which will drastically impact on both your lives.

Form the habit of walking everyday, it takes a bit of committment but really pays off.

Open your kitchen pantry and freezer and discard all the fake food you have in there, I bet you do !

Take the fresh food option, always, no processed food. Gee he has high blood pressure, he needs to address that issue. He could end up having a stroke.

So my advice is try doing it all together, as a team, you will have fun.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 11:54PM
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I was just wondering might your husband have sleep apnea?only you have described my ex,overweight,snoring ,no energy and apparent allergies,we think they are having a good night sleep because they are always snoring but with sleep apnea they acctually are not getting a restfull night, which leads to the feeling tired and no motivation all the time,when he snores does he ever stop breathing for a short while and then let out a huge snore?Its just a thought.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 12:30PM
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I agree with those who say drop this--don't make it the issue your marriage ends over.

My theory is that in years to come, the medical community is going to realize that EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT--that many 'standard numbers' they've been tied to for years (weight, cholesterol numbers, etc) may NOT be absolutes, that some people can be healthy even if they fall outside the current norm.

One case in point--for 20 years, I was watched and treated for high occular pressure. Then, about 5 years ago, the medical community discovered that eye pressure alone isn't the only measurement needed to determine if someone has (or is at danger for getting) glaucoma. Now that more is known about the condition in general and my eyes in particular, we know that having eye pressures that are 30% higher than the general public is NORMAL for me, and my eyes are EXTREMELY healthy.

I just think, at your ages, you need to focus on the positive aspects of your marriage.

Here's a challenge for you--in your post above you listed at least 6-8 different criticisms of your husband. If you come back to read the responses here, can you list as many of his good attributes? Things you love about him, that you'd miss if he wasn't in your life?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 8:16AM
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Azzalea, that's just it; his current situation could cause him to have a heart attack or a stroke at any time. I would be devastated. Popi, we eat vegetarian, fruits and veggies, no desserts. The only processed foods we have are whole wheat pasta, spaghetti sauce (low sodium/sugar) and salad dressing. I've asked him to cut back on the salad dressing, but he loves the spices.

Tracey, yes, he has sleep apnea. He has the CPAP, but because of his allergies and asthma it made it too hard for him to breathe, so he doesn't use it. That is why I make him sleep in the other room. I know that sounds mean, but if he isn't trying to fix his health, I at least need a good night's sleep.

We did have a "heart to heart" and he is trying harder. We have a Nordic track and he is using that. (He takes one skiing trip each winter.) I am hoping that he will keep it up. Thanks for all of the feedback.

Note to Vala and Azzalea, this is not about you. This is about my relationship with my husband. It distresses me when he does not take care of his health. That's all.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 6:06PM
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When I read their posts too, I also thought what you just wrote,Im thinking they are fat themselves and are quite defensive.It is about your relationship and there is nothing worse when you are active and want to do things together, but he just wants to slob about.I hated it,My Ex excuse was because he has been to work all week,I used to answer "your bone idle"It caused many a row.I couldnt sleep in the same room either, then when he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and given one of those breathing masks There was a drastic improvement,he had bags more energy and wasnt so moody,but they are so noisy and uncomfotable he didnt always use it.I didnt realize you could actually die form it ,its really serious,I feel for you ,it really can get you down.Your problem may seem minor to other people but when you live in that situation ,it really can become a problem and get you down.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 4:25AM
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Thank you so much, Tracy. I appreciate the kind words.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 11:33PM
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I know this is not about me, but I also know if someone nagged me about my health and weight I would tell him to stop and if he did not I would tell that person to get out and leave me alone. My sister's husband left her because she called him on everything, his weight, smoking, take your vitamins, go to church. The root of the problem was her nagging made her husband feel like he was good enough for her the way he was. He found someone who appreciated him for what he was, someone who made him feel good.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 7:30PM
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Ah, but Vala, I don't nag my husband about anything except for this, and I don't mention it every day or even every week. We are a very good fit in every way, and his family says he is so much happier with me than they ever saw him before we met 22 years ago. He knows that the reason I am concerned about his weight is because I don't want him to die and he isn't doing anything about it.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 8:52PM
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If you are vegetarian, and don't eat much processed food, then why is he fat, do you think ? He must be taking in more calories than he is burning up.

I would really analyse what you both eat. Do you think he is eating enough at a meal to sustain him to the next meal?

I have been down the vegetarian road, and have come to the conclusion that it is very difficult to get enough iron in my diet, so I now eat meat (always good quality and organic if possible). Perhaps your hubbie is iron deficient, perhaps blood test might be needed. This would make him tired and sluggish.

I have become more fit since I got rid of my car and use public transport. But that may not be an option for you. But my point is, in my daily life I HAVE to walk everywhere, to the shops, to work, to the bus stop etc etc. A lifestyle change that has been good for me.

I have an ap on my phone that tells me how far I have walked and the route taken. It is a lot of fun, to see how far I have gone by the end of the week. Some weeks it adds up to 20ks which is amazing !

I wish you well.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 10:20PM
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Hi, Popi

He eats very fast, and large quantities. There are studies showing that people who eat fast weigh more because they aren't giving their inner "I'm full" sensors time to kick in. We eat beans three - four times/week, I thought they contain iron; I will look it up.

He used to do a lot of walking before his allergies got so bad. Between the asthma and the allergies, he can get really uncomfortable. He had a vitamin D deficiency last year, which is what caused the asthma. Never heard of that happening.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 9:07AM
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Colorcrazy, I can see there is a problem with eating fast. I have researched diet for years because my son was overweight as a child, which really floored me. So my whole family drastically changed how we did things from exercise to eating. Does your hubbie know he needs to slow down his eating ?

Another thing that I noticed when my hubbie eats is that, because he works from home, he can come down and eat the meal in front of him, at a fast rate, and not even know what he has eaten ! So "mindful eating" is my mantra now (I say this to myself).

My DH also has alergies, he is allergic to dust mite, so this time of year (in Australia - spring) is terrible for him. But he does take medication for it. He also has skin problems.

I have eaten beans too, love them, but did you know you must eat them with a carbohydrate, like rice, tacos etc ? They do have iron in them, but maybe you could check about how they compare to lean red meat.

One step at a time, I guess, for you. He just needs to slow down that eating. Can you work on that ?

Perhaps get him cooking, too.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 12:49AM
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Why can he not walk? I don't know what his allergies are, but can't he premedicate with something like Claritan? Even if he winds up sniffling when he walks - the payoff (healthier) will outweigh the allergy hassles. And asthma - I have it also, but if I use my controller medications, I rarely have symptoms - really only when I have chest colds. He could also use his rescue inhaler before he walks - some people do that routinely (I don't need to). I have *never* heard of anyone who used inhalers correctly and was unable to do outside activity. If that is the case with him, he needs to see his asthma specialist for help.

Isn't there something fun you could do together as an activity? Go swimming, lift weights - an active type hobby, you know. That way you wouldn't be pestering him about it...

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 12:54PM
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This problem will not go away until HE decides to change it.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 7:50AM
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Peyton, you are absolutely right! It is just hard to understand why he isn't motivated to get fit. I am doing my best to set a good example (exercising, etc.) and suggesting more outings on the weekend so he isn't sitting around. On our vacation this week, we went to the hotel gym every day where they had one, and took long walks when we were in a place with no gym. Will be interesting to see what happens this week when we go back to work.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 7:30PM
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I understand your frustrations. I'm in the same boat with my overweight husband. He always has to eat bad food - fatty foods - bacon cheeseburgers, tons of condiments, french fries, etc. whenever we go out to eat. There are plenty of healthy options, but he can never compromise and it's frustrating. The worst part is, he'll eat bad, and then I get the blame, "why did you let me eat that?" and yet I feel like a nagging wife if we are out somewhere and I'm trying to get him to eat a healthy alternative instead.

I bought a huge tub of peanut butter to make suet for birds in the winter. He eats it like it's a meal. He eats honey out of the jar like it's a meal. It frustrates me that he doesn't care. All he wants to do is sit around, eat, watch movies, or go out to eat. I did not grow up in a family who spends their lives in front of the television, so it's really frustrating to me to live such a sedentary lifestyle. I can't even get him to walk the dogs with me at times because he's always "too tired" and if he does, within a half an hour he's complaining for one reason or another and just wants to head home to lay in bed and watch t.v.

The thing is, eating disorders run in his family. The grandmother has already shoved food in my mouth when I was sleeping one day, "Here, try this" as she shoves food in my mouth. And if you don't stuff yourself, they nag you, "You didn't eat enough" or "you are too skinny" and this constant pressure to eat food that you aren't hungry for. Then if you give in to their pressure and eat a slice of pie, well a slice is actually one quarter of the entire pie. It's ridiculous. And they are always pushing bad sugar filled foods. My family rarely ate dessert after dinner - his family does consistently.

I've tried a dietician, and that works for only so long and then he falls off the wagon. He goes on all these "fad" diets, but then he pressures me to eat like him though I don't have to. Not that I eat bad food choices, but I don't have his metabolism so why should I have to modify my diet too? He also projects his insecurities onto me. No matter how fit I am, he'd make comments to me that I need to work out. I couldn't figure it out at first, until I began to realize he was just projecting.

I've tried getting him to do various activities with me - if I ask him to rollerblade, he says I'm too slow and I can't keep up. If I ask him to take martial arts classes with me right up the block, that place isn't good enough and he'd rather go to a place across town (that I know we will be less likely to go because of the distance). If I ask him to walk the dogs with me, he's too tired.

In fact, weekend or weekday, once 5:00 rolls around, he's down for the count. He sits on his ass for the rest of the evening and shuts down.

Yeah, I totally understand your frustration.

My next course of action is to try to get him to see a doctor for an actual eating disorder. Bad foods mean less energy and that all ties in with how we feel about ourselves. When you are married, it affects the entire marriage for obvious reasons and the limitations it creates.

Start feeding him vitamins.

In terms of allergies, they CAN make you very tired. I've been afflicted my entire life -- there are weekends that my allergies are so bad that I just want to sleep. Many people don't realize that effect of having allergies. The bad thing is, there are side effects with all medications, and sometimes the decongestant and antihistamine combination create insomnia. The antihistamine alone makes me jittery. So, it's a horse a piece.

Good luck. I feel for you.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 3:41PM
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I Kmow by experience that what you eat is what you are,eat great ,you will feel great,eat shite you will feel shite.its true,food is so important.I was bulimic,lack of food really made me ,not myself,the right food is essential

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 4:08AM
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I tell my fiancee he needs to lose weight for health reasons. He has resisted eating good foods and exercise. Lately I have said, I guess you will just drop dead on me one day. He responded with one of us needs to go first.

I feel your pain. He is morbidly obese and needs to just get a little more active outside of his work, eat a McDonald's, Burger King less, and eat less in general. Also, eat good foods.

Hope you and your husband work it out.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Why on earth would you contemplate entering a lifetime commitment with someone who is not only morbidly obese, eats crap food and more importantly shows no desire to change these things? Sounds like you are willingly setting yourself up for one hell of a ride....

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 1:40PM
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