Sex, relationships and a good laugh without the bullshit, bravado and misinformation
Friday, 10 October 2008
Something for the Ladies #23
Ladies: If there's ever been anything about men you've wanted to know but were afraid to ask, or wanted a male viewpoint on a certain relationship niggle you're going through, drop an email to us at todger dot talk @ googlemail dot com. Every week, we shall pick one out and answer it to the best of our capabilities.
This week's question..
Anonymous writes: Within the last year my boyfriend has gained a lot of weight and it has made our relationship increasingly difficult. He's gone from being an average sized bloke to obese. I still absolutely adore and love him, but I'm finding I'm less sexually attracted to him in his current state. I've hidden this as much as possible from him, but I'm pretty sure he suspects this and he's understandably hurt, and I feel like a total wench for feeling this way.
More importantly I'm extremely worried for his health. The last time he went to the doctor his cholesterol was really high and he has progressed from being an athletic guy to obese and on the road to an early grave. He was never an obsessively healthy eater, (growing up his family was never overtly into healthy eating) but he has definitely has developed an eating problem. He gets up at night to eat (I pretend to be asleep so as not to hurt his feelings), eats huge portions at meals and snacks on rubbish food throughout the day. I have also found secret stashes of food around the house. He has stopped exercising because I suspect he feels self conscious about his weight in the gym.
I have tried to gently talk to him about all this, but every time I try he becomes angry, defensive and withdrawn, and says things like "well if you are so worried, why don't you cook all my meals for me?" or starts to point out my physical flaws in an effort to hurt me. I know that there must be some psychological reason behind this eating problem, but nothing major (that I'm aware of) has happened within the last year that could trigger turning to food as a psychological comfort. Obviously I feel like the world's most inept girlfriend as he seems to be unable to confide in me and is turning to food for solace.
So, short of padlocking the fridge, monitoring every bite he ingests, and giving up my job to become his personal chef, how can I diplomatically help him towards a healthier lifestyle? And more importantly, how can I discover what the reason for his overeating is, and help him deal with it?
Sam says: I personally reckon that radical intervention is probably the only way forward. Eating this way is like an addiction – and breaking the habit is hard and painful and you need help with it. Trying to sort it out on your own would be a bit like trying to help your boyfriend sort out a drug problem without any help. Junk food is actually a like an addictive drug – the processed sugars give you a rush, making you feel great, then you quickly crash and crave more. It’s a vicious cycle that get’s worse and worse. In 1957 Dr William Coda Martin went as far to define sugar as a slow acting poison. He subsequently got the shit kicked out of him and his career wrecked by sugar-backed lobby groups, but with the current obesity and diabetes epidemic we are facing it looks like he might have been right after all.
It’s a big jump, but I’d suggest taking your boyfriend on a 7-day detox retreat. Sure, there is a lot of namby-pamby new age rot that goes along with it, but essentially what it will do is break his junk food and sugar addiction, lose some weight and give you chance to start again with his eating habits from scratch. It’s a bit pricey, but I reckon it’s cheap compared to the cost a) to his health b) to your relationship.
Unfortunately I don’t think talking is going to do a lot here. Radical action is what’s really needed.
PS this is my opinionated point of view without any particularly expertise in the area of weight or nutrition. Just the bunk I have read for interest.
‘Mr Sex’ says: Hm. From a distance, and looking at this from a strictly relationship angle (as I’m ‘Mr Sex’, not ‘Dr Sex’, after all), it seems to me like your chap is displaying extreme symptoms of Won-The-Battleness. All men go through it at some point; after exerting supreme amounts of will, effort and cash to land their partner (orany partner), it’s natural to think; ‘Cor, thank Christ I don’t have to go through all that shit any more’ and make another crisp and fish-finger sandwich whilst wearing that faded-out Undertaker t-shirt that somehow went missing during the courtship period. It’s a perfectly logical anti-honeymoon period, and it usually goes after a while. But sometimes, it doesn’t. And you discover you’ve shacked up with Stan Ogden. And that’s no fun at all.
There’s a good chance that something is really doing his head in at the moment, so I’m loath to advise you to tell him you can’t stand having it off with someone who is slowly turning into an indoor whale, for obvious reasons. What I do suggest you do is the next time he creeps downstairs for a midnight feast, you give it two minutes, go downstairs, and talk with him. About anything. Because at the moment, you lying in bed pretending to be asleep is part of the problem, I reckon. He knows he’s out of order, and he knows you know it, too; by both pretending that nothing’s wrong, you’re both leading up to a massive fall-out.
Eventually, when you do bring the subject of his weight up, definitely play up the health side and don’t mention the I-don’t-fancy-you-that-much bit at all. This is one of the few problems we’ve been asked about that really doesn’t have that much to do with sex, and loads more to do with self-confidence and other rubbishness, I fear.