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Saturday, January 23, 2010

If you and your spouse can't communicate about the weight issue- by 'Elizabeth'

I am a marriage counselor and psychotherapist and I have heard this story before. I have a patient who met with his wife's therapist with his wife about 5-10 years ago and complained about her weight and was reprimanded. The wife ended up losing weight anyway and they are still married but having other problems. I think it's terrible that the former counselor told my patient that he was out of line for commenting on his wife's weight. I don't know how fat she was exactly, but she is normal size, not skinny, now. Of course, my patient has had his own problems; he had a drug problem for a long time but is now in recovery.
For weight problems I recommend either Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous. Everyone I know who has gone to Weight Watchers has lost weight, anywhere from 7 to 100 lbs. I've heard fewer success stories from OA but I think that's because OA addresses compulsive behavior rather than portion control.
If you and your spouse can't communicate about the weight issue, I suggest marital counseling.

I don't see a lot of obese people in my practice because I am located in Manhattan. People here have to walk to get around, even if they own cars, and there is a heavy (no pun intended) emphasis on fashion, looks and style.

In most cases of obesity, unless there is a medical complication such as polycystic ovary syndrome, the obesity is an addiction just like any other addiction. It's essential for any addict to take responsibility for their behavior. That's what the 12-step program is focused on. I think overeating is a difficult addiction though because the original 12-step programs were based on complete abstinence. Addicts in general have difficulty taking responsibility for their behavior. At heart the problem is characterological. Many addicts have personality traits of passivity and entitlement. That's why they often aren't sympathetic to others.For the spouse, I noticed that somewhere on this site there is an ad for the book "Fat is a Family Affair" which I highly recommend. It's possible the spouse is engaged in some type of co-dependent behavior. Also, if the obesity didn't exist at all before the marriage, it's possible that unspoken resentments, sexual issues and other problems are contributing.

Elizabeth wrote this for the My Fat Spouse Forum

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