Husband needs to diet, but won't

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

bio | email

DEAR AMY: My husband is in his mid-40s. His doctor told him he needs to lose 100 pounds. I went with him to a weight-loss support group, but he hasn't joined. He doesn't exercise. The only way I can get him to go for a walk is if he can buy a treat. Last night at supper, when I suggested he have one hamburger instead of two, he got all defensive. He's been gaining 10 pounds a year for the past few years. He needs to take charge of his health. What else can I do for him?

--At a Loss

 

DEAR LOSS: You can't lose weight for your husband. You've led him to dieting, and he responded by ordering another hamburger.

Food addiction is like other addictions -- nothing will change until the compulsive eater chooses change.

You should convey to your husband, "I am very worried about you. I hope you'll take your doctor's advice to try to lose weight, but I know I can't control you." Continue to set the stage for a healthy lifestyle, but don't police or comment on his eating.

I like the common-sense method used by Weight Watchers, which focuses on choices, portions, personal responsibility and group support. Their online program might appeal to your husband because it's private and self-policing. You could send him a link. You might receive some insight from the literature of Al-Anon or Overeaters Anonymous, oa.org.

 

DEAR AMY: "Neighborly" wrote that she had an adjoining property owner who was "taking care" of a portion of her yard. She wanted to "get through to her without becoming enemies." You told her to be friendly and firm. "Taking care" of someone else's property is the first step in stealing it by the legal principle of adverse possession (only two years in some states!). Neighborly must start asserting her property rights immediately if she doesn't want to be a victim.

--Also a Neighbor