I spent a good part of my childhood hoping to lose weight. The only childhood memory I have of being thin is when I was about 4. Growing up in a home where rice, beans and fried plantains were staples was hard for a girl who loved food.
Food served as my comfort for years. I have to admit that even though I am now a certified health coach, food still is my comfort. I’ve just learned how to control the urge. I’ve learned how to make better choices, so I can live a longer life.
I lost the weight in my early 20s. And that experience taught me a very important life lesson: People treat you differently based on how much you weigh.
And I don’t just mean that people are happy for you and your accomplishment. I mean people genuinely act like you are another person because you shed a few pounds. That realization broke my heart.
Do you know how I feel about those people?
They get the deuces, middle finger and whatever else I can think of.
Losing weight and getting healthy doesn’t change who a person is, so it shouldn’t change how you treat that person.
But for so many people, it does.
I’ve had women express to me that they would like to lose weight for their mate. Sometimes, I get the sense that they just assume their mates want them to lose weight. But then, there are times when it seems like they’ve been made to feel like they need to lose weight. Like they aren’t good enough or worthy of love in their current state.
As women, managing body issues is nothing new. We live in a culture that somehow always makes us feel like we are missing the mark. We walk through life, wanting a flatter stomach, smaller thighs, longer legs, smaller feet, better breasts, a rounder butt and the list goes on and on.
And as if those cultural expectations aren’t enough to navigate, imagine coming home daily to a man that makes you feel bad about the skin you’re in. That sucks in every possible way. I like to think of my home as my sanctuary—my safe space. I dare anyone to make me feel “less than” in my own home. It’s just not happening.
I dream of a world where all women take the same stance, demanding love and respect in their homes instead of feeling like they need to change to please someone else—even if that someone is a spouse.
Here are five things you can do if your man thinks it’s okay to make you feel bad about your body.
Decide How YOU Feel About Your Body
This can be so hard to do, but it’s a must. You have to find a way to eliminate the noise from our culture—and from your man—so you can make your own determination about how you feel about your body.
I love my tall stature, I love my thick thighs, and I even love my stretch marks because they remind me of the miracle I experienced when I gave birth to my children.
Why? Because how you feel is what really matters. I can tell you that I am grateful for my body, and I have learned to love it. I love my tall stature, I love my thick thighs, and I even love my stretch marks because they remind me of the miracle I experienced when I gave birth to my children.
Sure, I have things I’m working on, but that’s just because we are all a work in progress. Wanting to change a few things doesn’t mean I don’t love what I have. So stop letting other people tell you what you should think about your body, and make your own decision.
Demand Comfort In Your Own Home
Anyone that knows me well knows that I don’t mess around when it comes to my home. I don’t allow anyone—and I mean anyone—to make me feel uncomfortable in my house. I just think that’s crazy.
When guests outstay their welcome, they have to go. When people want to pick fights over petty stuff, they need to calm down or leave. I am just not with the drama. And I don’t think you should be either.
Tell your mate you deserve the same respect in your home that you give him. If he is doing and saying things to make you feel bad about who you are and how you look, you have to urge him to stop. If you can’t find peace at home, where will you ever find it?
Surround Yourself with People Who Make You Feel Good
Your spouse should be your biggest cheerleader, but if he is coming up short, it is okay to turn to friends and family for the support and encouragement you need.
Your man may come around and recognize what a fool he’s been, but you don’t have to patiently sit and wait for that to happen. Surround yourself with people who understand where you are on your journey, how you got here and what you want to do, so you can reach your next destination.
Identify Your Own Wellness Goals and Take Action
That energy you’re spending being pissed off at your husband could be better spent focusing on what’s next for you.
- Do you want to lose weight?
- Do you want to get stronger?
- Do you want to make better food choices?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, my next questions is, “so what’s the plan?” I am not suggesting that getting fit and changing your lifestyle is easy stuff. It’s not. Because I DID it, I know it’s also very doable, and it requires a lot of mental and physical energy.
Don’t waste the energy you have being mad. Use that energy to change your life and do it for yourself, not for your man.
Remind Him That You Did Not Sign Up for This
Marriage is about love, support and encouragement. It’s not about criticism, kicking your mate when she’s down and passing judgment. It’s possible your man needs a reminder.
Make it very clear that you entered this union, so you can support each other, and that’s what you expect. Sure, you can choose something he’s insecure about and give him taste of his own medicine, but I don’t suggest going that route. Like First Lady Michelle Obama say, “when they go low, we go high.”
BMWK family, what do you think is the best approach when a woman’s man makes her feel bad about how she looks?