Weighed Down

Friday, May 25, 2012

Question

I'm frightened because I think I am trapped in an unhealthy relationship. I've struggled with my weight ever since childhood. Eventually it seemed easier to just find a lover who liked plus-sized women. The fact that he liked to cook was a definite plus, since I do not enjoy being in the kitchen.

The problem is that he makes too much food. If I try to cut back on calories, he makes the menu I request but then he makes a dessert that I can't resist. I have steadily gained weight until I am looking at soon being 300 pounds. My knees are hurting, I am tired all the time, and buying clothing is a humiliating ordeal. If I was ever to get laid off at work, I don't think I could even bring myself to go to a job interview. He says not to worry, that he will support me, but I don't think the solution is for me to depend on him even more!

I used to love him, or at least I loved the way he made me feel. But my resentment has grown until I am barely civil to him. I don't know when we last had sex. I'm just not in the mood. All I can think about is how bad I feel about the way I look. But the only thing I seem able to do about it is stuff my face.

My mother says I am blaming him when this is really my problem. She says that if I want to lose weight, I will have to do it on my own. But she also seems pretty sure that I don't have what it takes to get down to a healthy weight. She has never been fat a day in her life, and I don't think she knows how hard it is to change. Deep down I feel that she will never approve of me or love me even if I do lose weight, so what is the point?

Life has to offer something better than this. What can I do?

Answer

Having a mother who is judgmental toward you on the topic of food can only make it much harder for you to have a good level of self-esteem and a healthy relationship with your own body. While I applaud your thinking in finding a lover who thought you were sexy just the way you were, I share your concern that he has moved from being a supporter to being an enabler. It sounds like he is refusing to listen to your reasonable health concerns, and he is sabotaging your efforts to make positive changes.

An addiction to food is one of the hardest things to change. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol eventually realize (if they are going to get better) that they cannot go near mind-altering substances. They can't drink or get high by other means, at all. But you can't stop eating. You need to find a the right variety and quantity of food, which is kind of like asking an alcoholic to find the right type of cocktail.

That is not to say, however, that it can't be done. I recommend that you see a nutritionist and a compassionate doctor. They can help you to set reasonable goals and work toward them. Support groups like Overeaters Anonymous are free and have helped many people to figure out how to eat without hurting themselves.

Withdrawing from physical activity is also a facet of gaining weight for many people. This can go along with becoming isolated and giving up on the hopes or dreams that make life seem interesting and rewarding. Losing weight involves a lot more than watching the numbers on a scale. It can be a chance to transform yourself on all kinds of levels. You can wind up with a much better way of life, one that will help you to keep the focus off food.

You already know that reaching for food doesn't make you feel better in the long run. I hope you can successfully connect with people who want a happier way of life for you. You may find that issues related to sexuality have become entwined with a sedentary way of life or using food as a way to numb out. Feeling disappointed in or betrayed by your current lover has to be especially painful given this background. But I can promise you that as you become a healthier person, you will draw more sane and kind people into your life. And some of them will have a twinkle in their eye for you.

 

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