BY DANICE AKIYOSHI, N.D.
Dear Dr. Akiyoshi:
In the past few years my weight has gone out of control. I need help! My husband makes it really hard for me to resist when he brings snacks to bed when we watch TV at night. He brings, pie, ice cream, popcorn, nuts, and even cocktails. I admit I have always loved this snack time, but I told him I am trying to lose weight. He sees me exercising and walking 4 days a week. He has a normal weight and eats everything. I feel like he is sabotaging me. I struggle to stay on my diet even when I’m cooking meals for my family. I do have some will power, but I need his cooperation so it’s not so hard. How can I get through to him?
-Kim from Azusa
I really feel for you. Excess weight is one of the hardest issues to deal with. In all of my years as a Naturopathic Doctor, I have found that getting a patient to change their eating habits is a very hard thing to do. Popular theory is the calories in/calories out concept. Obviously this is failing for many people. Different bodies gain weight for different reasons, and in different ways. I know a woman who ate 800 calories a day for two weeks, eating only rice cakes and peanut butter. Her scale didn’t budge. Her body couldn’t manage the carbohydrates would be my guess. I know people who eat three times the amount of food I eat on a continual basis and they don’t have an extra pound on their bodies, and it’s not because they’re involved in vigorous exercise. I am not fortunate in this way either, so I truly do understand your struggle.
However, it is a mistake to blame your husband for your situation or for your discomfort when he eats things in front of you that are not on your eating plan. He has the right to his own choices, even when they seem insensitive to you. You have a right to your choices as well. So let’s take a look at you taking a little personal responsibility for achieving your goal. It seems to me that doing the family cooking is working against your health and weight goals, so perhaps your husband can take that over for you. You wouldn’t ask him to make the cocktails at a party if he were trying to cut back or quit drinking, right? You would be supportive and allow him to keep some distance until he became stable and accomplished what he set out to do. As for the late night snacking in front of the TV, I think it would be a better idea if you spent your time doing something else until he is finished with his snack fest. Maybe read, or watch TV in a different room or step out for a bit. I’m sure you enjoy spending time with your husband, but for now, adjustments need to be made. It’s not a good idea to ignore this situation, as it won’t be long before you become resentful. Or perhaps he will, if he is forced to change his eating habits to suit your needs.
Sacrifice yourself, or save yourself. The choice is clear. People with certain personality types often make choices that don’t serve them well personally, and/or physically, in order to do what they think is best for the whole family. I hope you will try to balance this out as you work on your physical well being. Body weight issues are very complex, and can be addressed in a variety of ways. I wish you well in finding the path that feels right for you, and I hope you work out a plan to be true to yourself and your needs. Take care, Kim.
-Danice Akiyoshi, N.D.
Danice Akiyoshi is a Naturopathic Doctor and the head of Candid Coaching Service. She offers personal coaching services relating to all types of issues and concerns. This is a letter she received from an anonymous reader. To send a question to Danice, email her at email@example.com. You can also visit her website at http://www.candidcoachingservices.com.