Women and weight — not the easiest topic for couples to discuss. Still, you can’t help but wonder. One month she won’t eat meat, the next she’s only drinking a nasty lemonade concoction. Whether it’s due to simple social pressure or more complicated background histories, many women are chronic dieters, continuously trying new regimes in an effort to shed some pounds. Meanwhile, your lady’s yo-yo dieting leaves you confused, not to mention concerned. Should you be unilaterally supportive, or should you seek professional help (for her, that is)? Here, some tips on how to decode her diet and read the signs that point to potential health hazard.
It’s called the “Eat-Clean Diet,” but the promo material for bestselling author Tosca Reno’s popular regime says it “isn’t a diet at all; it’s a way of life that keeps you lean, healthy and full of energy!” If you see a copy of this book on her shelf, you needn’t worry (despite the aforementioned vomitous marketing copy), as it does in fact promote a healthy balance of lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. There are many healthy “diets,” but the point when you need to start watching is when your lady cuts out entire food groups like carbohydrates à la Atkins or solids à la Master Cleanse.
Perhaps you just proposed and now your fiancée won’t join you for Wing Wednesday at the pub. It’s normal for brides-to-be to want to shape up before their big day and if she’s doing it in a healthy way — and starting months before the long walk down the short aisle — her health is not likely to be at risk. Maybe you just got back from an all-inclusive bender in Mexico and she’s vowed to only drink juice for a week. Many people swear by juice cleanses and, again, there’s no reason to worry if it’s a one-off, or even something she does every year before, say, bikini season. If she’s doing something extreme with no end in sight, though, you should be concerned.
Is she shopping for a new wardrobe after a month? This could be a sign of a dangerous diet. The way to lose weight and keep it off is to do so slowly and steadily until reaching a realistic and healthy goal. Any diet designed to induce drastic physical change in a super-short timespans will have negative ramifications. If your woman attempts such a diet even once, you may need to advise her to seek professional help. If it’s a chronic pattern, then it’s your duty to step up and confront her.
If your lady is healthy and in good shape, make sure you tell her so. A simple, “You’re strong and beautiful” can go a long way. If you think she could do with losing some weight, help her do it in a healthy, fun way. Motivate each other to go to yoga in the morning or join a dodge ball team together. Make small changes to your shared eating habits; instead of always going to your favourite Italian eatery, explore vegetarian restaurants on date night.
Despite your best efforts, sometimes you cannot help your loved one. Many women who are a healthy weight simply don’t see themselves that way and no amount of positive reinforcement or encouragement can help. When this is the case, and bad habits persist, you may want to help her get professional advice. Visit the National Eating Disorder Information Centre online for more information on what to do. The organization offers a helpful guide on how to approach the problem.
Image courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography.