How to stay supportive?
(Spokane, WA, USA)
Hi, first of all I love my wife, we've been married for four years now and have a 2 year old little girl.
For some time after Lilli was born my wife said that she really wanted to loose weight and get in shape in order to be a good role model for Lilli and achieve a better quality of life overall. My wife isn't overweight, she just wants the baby weight gone.
I will support her through any endeavor she sets off to, so she started going to the gym in the evenings and was doing really well with her diet, but after the first week and a half she was disappointed that she wasn't seeing results. We talked and I said to her that gym results don't happen overnight and just like everything else in life you get out of it what you put in. I encouraged her to continue going and to continue her diet, and she did for the most part. But there were whole weeks where she wouldn't go and complain about not seeing results and she should just quit. Granted her job (2nd grade teacher) makes finding a good work/life balance and I can't blame her for wanting to be at home with our baby.
Eventually she quit going and went back to her old habits, drinking wine every night, eating really poorly, or sometimes not eating at all until dinner and then binging on chips since most of the time she didn't feel like cooking or didn't feel like eating what I had cooked, at the same time complaining that she didn't like the way she looked and her clothing was tight etc.
Fast forward to now, the cycle has been going on and off since then, gym memberships and diets have come and gone, and she keeps apologizing for gaining weight. I have been as supportive as I could be, encouraging her at every step of the way, even getting her a personal trainer to guide her. We both work full time jobs, Lilli is at daycare now and
in her toddler years so family time is super precious and I understand that after baby goes to bed the last thing you want to do is pick up and go to the gym rather than crash on the couch with wine and read or watch a show. Neither one of us smoke or do drugs, I don't like to drink alcohol so any that ends up in our house she drinks.
But I'm starting to find it difficult to be supportive, I don't know how to say that some things don't happen overnight and that the result will be equal to the effort. She just purchased another gym membership and a weight loss diet plan with videos and such two weeks ago, but has yet to start following the plan or going to the gym. We bought the food types the plan instructs to eat, they are going south in our fridge because she didn't like eating them after the first time. She's the kind of person who wears her heart on her sleeve and is easily hurt. I don't know what to say anymore when she says that she hates what she looks like, and wants to go to the gym but doesn't want to go in the evening and be away from home nearly all day. I understand that, I wouldn't want to go either. But with my wife I just don't know how to respond in a loving supportive way when she starts to complain about her weight and not going to the gym and seeing results right away. We've done diet plans and exercise programs together in the past but she drops out after two or three weeks which is discouraging.
With all this said, I don't claim to be the image of good diet and exercise, there is a gym at my work that I use daily at lunch, keeps me in good enough shape to chase a toddler around, my eating habits could be better and I'm working it for my wife and daughter.
What should I do? Where should I start?
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist