Your spouse’s health is very important to you, so of course you’re going to worry when they start overeating. Or maybe the problem isn’t their health, but they’re becoming greedy ? Is it causing relationship problems ?
This article will focus on how to help your spouse eat less, when they need to eat less. But do realize that you can’t make anyone do anything unless they want to.
So this will require your spouse’s consent, and you to bring some good reasons for why they should stop eating so much.
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So what can you do when your spouse eats too much ?
As we said above, overeating can’t be solved just because you want it to. Your spouse must want to stop overeating as well. But if they’re overeating, how are they going to know they need to lay off the burgers ?
Well, there are several things you can try, and we’ll get into them right now.
1. Figure out why it’s bothering you
Maybe their overeating habit is a legitimate reason for a fight – they always eat all the food, so you’re stuck with continuously cooking.
The kids are made at your spouse for not leaving any candy for them as well. And you’re making more trips to the grocery store than your wallet would like.
Or, maybe it’s a health concern. Your spouse has gained a significant amount of weight in a short time and you’re very worried.
The thing is that it will be fairly hard to talk to your spouse about their eating habits if you don’t know what the problem is.
So make your introspection ans figure out what the reason is. Even if it ends up being an aesthetic reason, own up to it and accept it, since it bothers you.
If it bothers you how your spouse looks when they let loose and devour that meal and eye some more food, that’s your thing and you need to own up to it.
Just know exactly what the problem is, so you don’t scramble for words when you start that talk with your loved one.
2. Is it you or is it them ?
Keep in mind that some things will be very subjective to you. Maybe your spouse eating too much is just you opinion. Let us explain.
There might be differences between your plates usually, but think about whether you’re not the one undereating a bit. And if this overlaps with your spouse overeating a bit, then it will look like a big difference. Do you get where we’re going with this ?
Be reasonable and try looking at things from a distance. Ask your friends and family to give their opinion on this as well, see what they have to say.
Another thing to remember, there are clear differences between how much food a man and a woman need. Accounting for differences in weight, height, build, daily activity, and metabolic rate. The differences can even get to double, in the more contrasting cases.
For example a fairly short woman, with a low impact job and sedentary lifestyle will need much less food than a tall man who trains every day, aside from being a firefighter.
These are extreme examples, but they’re meant just to paint a very clear picture.
3. Talk to your spouse about it, reach a commitment together
Now that you know for sure what the problem is with your spouse overeating, let’s sit down for a talk. Tell your spouse in very clear and plain words what is bothering you, and why.
Keep in mind that this is not an easy talk, and your partner might not see your point of view. If they’ve always had their meals with extra servings, and you’ve never said a word about it until now, it will sound odd.
So make sure that you put everything into clear context – why it bothers, how it came to bother, and how you still love them but would like to work on this together.
Bring your spouse benefits for eating less than they currently do, like possibly health benefits, or relationship improvement if this is something you’ve argued over.
Do expect your spouse to be a bit hostile and unhappy with this topic. After all, you’re asking them to eat less of what they like. Who would like that ?
Be gentle but clear in this talk, and don’t expect it to go completely your way. After all, this is something you’ve thought about before. But it might be something your spouse never thought of before, so they might not reach your conclusion as easily.
They might agree to eating less just to not cause a fight, but make sure to check up with them regularly after the first talk, see how they’re feeling.
4. Have patience, this will take time
Remember that what you’re asking your partner to do must have some deep roots. If they’ve always been used to eating a lot, and were greedy as kids, unlearning that as an adult will take time.
It will not be easy. Some fights might come your way, until they see for themselves why what you’ve asked them is to their benefit.
During this time, be considerate of them. Offer support, talk to them about it when you catch them eyeing a second helping. Always thank them when you notice them doing something that helps unlearn this habit.
Have patience with yourself as well, since you will be under some stress as well. Your relationship might get a bit rocky, but that’s where the support and talks come in, to pinpoint what is wrong and how to fix it.
Even after your spouse manages to eat normal quantities of food, continue focusing on a healthy lifestyle and eating habits.
5. Visit a doctor to rule out anything medical
Often times drastic changes in our eating patterns point to a possible medical problem.
Talk to your spouse, telling them that you’re concerned for their health, and want to know that there’s nothing wrong on the inside.
If it does turn out to be a medical problem, then your doctor will be able to help you in that direction. Along with the medicine and diet they would prescribe, it would lead to your spouse not overeating anymore.
However if it’s not a medical problem, and the tests come out alright, then this means it’s time to look at what can lead to overeating, and how you can help your partner with that.
6. Take a look at your spouse’s habits to find the trigger
Everything has a reason, and a trigger. Even if your spouse has been overeating as a child and is now overweight, there is still a trigger for this.
For example your spouse could be eating too much when they come from work, because they keep skipping meals there because of a harsh work schedule. SO at work they eat just snacks and much on something, and home binge on the cooked meals.
Maybe your spouse has a tendency to overeat especially when there’s dessert involved ? Then try mixing up the desserts, alternate between fruits and sweets, find the combination that seems to make them want more food.
Then, remove said trigger. Or, tinker with the recipe or quantity, so your spouse will still like it but have less chances of asking for more.
Another thing to try, is offering something else they like. For example “honey please don’t put so much on your plate, put that turkey leg back.” doesn’t sound very friendly, even if it’s something they should definitely do.
Try aiming for something more like “honey I know you love that food, and I’m glad you do. But if you put that turkey leg back, we could watch that movie you wanted and cuddled for a bit.”. The whole point of it is that you’re offering something they like in trade of something they like.
You’re making it sound much friendlier and to their benefit when phrased like this. Your spouse might insist on keeping the food on their plate.
That’s when you need to be firm and remind them of the health problems they’re headed for, or how their relationship to food is ruining the one your two have.
7. Keep in mind that it might be emotional eating
Some people get very very attached to food. Either as a coping mechanism, or as an escape method, people can abuse food like they do alcohol.
This usually happens with junk food and sweets, which are the tastiest things for our brains. We need glucose for our brains to function properly – we get that from carbs and sugar. But we tend to eat way too much of it.
So if your spouse is overeating when they’re feeling sad, or when they’re celebrating, when help them out. Be there with them, take the food out of their hands, and talk to them about it.
Remind them of what overeating can do to the body, and how it’s affected them so far. Have some very clear examples, otherwise your ideas might get brushed off.
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8. Take a close look at what your partner is eating
It might be that your partner is not eating enough of the right nutrients.
This is because most of the time the food we eat does not ‘last’ us very long. For this we need food right in fibers, good fats, and lean protein.
The fibers in our food help the stomach digest better, and the guts do their job properly. Fibers can be found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits.
We can find lean protein in chicken breast and thighs, and fish. Other meats are alright too, but they are a bit harder to digest.
And finally, the good fats. Many people shy away from fats for fear of gaining weight, but there good types of fat help us keep our weight in check actually.
That’s the Omega 3 and 9 fats that we find in fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, and they all lower cholesterol levels.
So a few examples of meals that will keep your partner well fed and not need a lot of extra food could be:
- porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast, with whatever toppings they like
- steak with broccoli and garlic
- beans/legumes with rice and chicken – something mexican if your like
- wholegrain pasta with legumes and protein
- mashed sweet potato with string beans and turkey
- risotto with grilled mushrooms and steak, with a side of salad
- creamed pumpkin soup with croutons
Once your partner starts eating whole foods, they will have less need for more quantities of food. The main benefit of whole foods is that they retain their macronutrients (protein, carbs, fibers, fats) so they are more filling and better for the body in general.
Your spouse might even have the added benefit of a bit of weight loss if they eat more whole foods.
9. Stock the house with healthy foods
We’ve never seen anyone binge on whole broccoli heads, or banana chips. Whole foods keep you fed much longer, yes, but why is that ?
In short, heavily processed foods, pre-made foods, frozen meals, they all have a lot of fibers stripped from them to preserve them better. The downside is that there’s also added carbohydrates and sugars, which can get addictive for humans.
So if you bring only alternative foods for your spouse, they will have a harder time overeating. This can go south, so be prepared for this.
Your spouse must agree to this, otherwise it will seem rude and intrusive to them. Slowly start changing the snacks around the house, to give them time to adjust to the idea. It might take a few weeks, or a few months, but they will get used to it.
A large part of their initial discontent is that they’re used to the unhealthy yet tasty food. But they can unlearn that, and your must give them time.
10. You must follow these tips and rules as well
No point in asking your spouse to lay off the fries if you’re on your second helping as well. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, or are in any health danger, you need to be an example for your spouse.
This is because they will always compare themselves to you, even if they’re not aware of it. So do you.
So if you’re asking them to eat less and take better care of themselves, but you’re not doing that, then how will they take into account what you ask ?
Another important part is that the habits of one partner rub off on the other as well. So if you take care or yourself then your partner will have a higher chance of taking care of themselves as well.
This will benefit your relationship as well since you’re both keeping yourselves healthy.
Changing anything about your spouse is not easy, and probably not the best idea anyway. Your spouse must always agree to whatever change that happens. After all, if you work together in that direction then it will be much easier for both of you.
So we hope this article was helpful to you, and you’ll find a lot of useful information on what to do when your spouse eats too much. Stay healthy !