Today we’re talking about a hot hot topic, when it’s your husband’s fault that you can’t lose weight. If you don’t have a husband then maybe it’s your wife’s fault, your parent’s fault, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your bestie, your co-workers, your cat’s fault. It’s somebody’s fault. Believe me, you’re not the first person to have this thought.
Most women are struggling, not because they don’t know what to eat or they don’t have the basics of nutrition or they couldn’t go for a walk. It is the other stuff, our thoughts, feelings, and mindset. I truly do believe that if weight loss was simply eating less and moving more, then we wouldn’t be talking.
Millions of women are struggling to lose weight and to keep it off. The weight loss statistics for keeping weight off are pretty awful. I think 97% of most people, men and women, will regain their lost weight.
Recently inside my free Facebook group, Food, Fitness, Fat Loss, I made a post and I was actually surprised at how many comments I got. How many people need help. I asked a lot of questions. The group is three years old, you could probably find hundreds of different questions. You know, this one seems to be a hot topic, so hot that I wanted to share some things with you.
If you have been trying to lose weight, what has been the most frustrating part of dieting for you?
That was the question I posted. Some of it was funny like I had a friend losing weight, that’s the most frustrating part. The answers are a good way to see if anything is familiar or similar to you.
- Snacking at night.
- Zero results.
- Being consistent on the weekends.
- Planning and sticking to a plan.
- The part where there’s a huge bowl of Halloween candy in the staff room.
- My old standby dropping calories and working out more doesn’t work any more seems to be going in the opposite direction.
- Losing muscle, not fat.
- Working hard and starving myself to lose half a pound.
Someone wrote f*cking everything, just being honest.
The one particular comment that is the inspiration for today’s topic, a woman wrote, “being the only one doing everything. I do all the menu planning. When I hand it over to my husband, he makes time consuming elaborate meals, way out of my dietary needs. So cleanup is a nightmare and it blows my diet. I hate cooking. And also trying to please my family. I have two elementary school aged daughters and being the one stuck holding the bag for all things food related. I made a healthy stir fry the other night and everyone hated it. But I don’t want to be the mom that eats a different meal, because that’d be even more work for me.”
Now, let me tell you with this comment, I think a lot of women probably were nodding their head to some degree. There are some very common things here. You could feel her resentment, her frustration, her people pleasing, her as a mom trying to put aside her own needs as a way to somehow make things better for her kids and her husband.
I wrote back, I think many women feel this way. And I truly do. I have so many different clients, not all of them are married, some of them are divorced, or widowed or never married, or in a relationship with a woman. Some people have kids, some don’t have kids. I have a lot of clients who do have kids, but they’re older, and they’ve moved out. I have clients who are empty nesters. I have clients who live alone. And I want to tell you, everyone is struggling with something about weight loss. So whether you are living alone, with a roommate or pets, your parents, with school aged kids, having college kids come back and forth, none of it’s easy. It’s just part of life that we have to eat and there could possibly be other people. Or maybe the lack of people is creating some problems.
What do we do when we think it’s your husband’s fault that you can’t lose weight?
What do we do with that? I know that feels heavy and it’s obviously on her mind. It might be on your mind too. So I asked her. Have you ever had a conversation with your husband about this? I am not a marriage counselor.
I am not a marriage coach. I am not necessarily the person you should come to if you’re looking for help in having healthy conversations in a marriage. I’ll be honest, I’m not a great conversationalist but I do recognize that most of our relationships start to fray and feel like a lot of work. Resentments can build up when we do not communicate.
I think what happens is that our brains make communication about;
- I have an ask,
- I have a need,
- I’m upset,
- I need to get this off my chest,
- Can I talk to you about something that’s really important to me?
That feels very dangerous to our brains. Rightly so, our brains are all about keeping the status quo.
We work all day, you come home, you’re cooking dinner, we’re all tired.
- It’s not a good time,
- The kids are there.
- When are we going to?
- What could happen?
- What if I bring something up and he doesn’t like it?
I get it. In many cases, it does feel easier to not communicate, to not say anything, to literally swallow this to eat this.
I don’t think it is good for our health. It’s like stored negative emotion. It makes mealtime not fun, not relaxing. It’s very hard to enjoy food when you have a lot of thoughts about it such as, this does not meet my dietary needs. When I asked, have you had a conversation with your husband about this, I don’t take that lightly. Believe me, as soon as I typed it, I was like, oh, boy, that’s the pot calling the kettle black. If I could identify my own Achilles heel in life it is that I’m not the greatest communicator. It’s not just in my personal relationships, I feel like people are somehow mind reader’s and they should just know. I assume a lot of things.
Communication is not a skill everyone has. Whether you like, love, or tolerate the people in your life, I think a lot can be gained by having some level of communication. It can be planned out, you can practice it. You can try different approaches. But I think it’s important. I think it does help you with your own emotional well being to be able to share and voice a concern.
Essentially, it does come down to your own personal health, your goals and even some boundaries. There’s some boundaries not being put in place, so we can feel like we are a doormat, that we don’t matter, or that everybody else matters more than us.
I continued because I have questions. I mean, that is really the key part that makes coaching valuable. I don’t want to say it makes it hard. I will say for me, as a coach, it’s been something I’ve had to learn. The old Bonnie 1.0, or even Bonnie 2.0 would be like, “Hey, girl, you know, that sounds like bullshit. You should tell your husband XYZ and you should do XYZ. And that’ll be that.” Right?
That’s where we all want to jump in the pool, so to speak. We all want to say hey, yes, you’re right. He’s wrong. It’s his fault. He’s bad. You’re good. That’s how we as women want to support each other and want to be like, Hey, I hear you and that sounds shitty.It shouldn’t happen that way.
As a coach, when I had to really evolve and be a better coach for my clients and myself, Bonnie 3.0 or whatever next version I’ve moved into, it’s about asking the questions. Sometimes clients are like, why don’t you just tell me what to do? And why are you asking me questions? Well, because I think having someone tell you what to do doesn’t necessarily solve any problems. In fact, it probably creates more problems. I think asking the questions allows each of us to figure out what is really going on here.
Our brains have created a lot of chatter, a lot of thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Sometimes we can get really consumed with that. It’s hard to zoom out and really figure out what is actually true. So I asked her, you wrote that, “you’re the only one doing everything.” And I wrote, how does that make you feel? Is it true? It sounds like your husband is actually doing something, he’s cooking, but you don’t like what he’s doing or how he’s doing it. That is creating a lot of thoughts and feelings, and is totally relatable. I think many women are nodding their heads.
I went on,
- How are the meals blowing your diet?
- Is it okay to hate cooking?
- How are you pleasing your family?
- So what if they hated your stir fry?
- Did you like it?
- Why was that a problem?
- Lots of women eat differently than their kids or husbands.
It really is not a lot of extra work, but right now, I know it feels like it’s a lot of extra work. I think that you think you should eat what everyone else eats, and that’s how you’re going to be a good mom or wife. Then I concluded with, this is a great coaching topic. I would love to help you.
The lovely woman who wrote this did not answer the questions, which is totally fine. I get it. This is a Facebook group of 5600 people, not that everybody sees everything. But I really intended to give her something that she could marinate on. Is it true that she’s the only one doing everything? Is it true?
I like to run this framework, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before. The more I repeat it, the more it will be useful to you and will be something that you can pull out when you have any type of experience that leaves you feeling like this person is doing it wrong. I wish they would do it my way. This isn’t working for me. I do everything. This is ruining my diet.
- Is it true?
- What else could be true here?
- What could I think instead?
- How does this thought help me?
- Who would I be without this thought?
- What could I think instead?
Not because any of this is bad or wrong or untrue. But when we’re in the midst of it, it all feels true. It all feels bad. I think ultimately, people want, not only to lose weight and to keep it off, but we want emotional well being. We want that calm, peace and certainty that we’re not going to get necessarily from someone else.
It’s not your husband’s job to be a mind reader.
It’s not his job to know exactly what it is you do and do not want to eat. I know we think they should know. We think they should get it. We think it should be apparent, but it’s not. How can we have grace for ourselves and grace for other people in our lives whether that is a spouse, friend, parent, or someone else you share living space with?
We have a lot of expectations yet we never share what they are because we assume a lot of things. We’re afraid and we don’t want to ruffle any feathers. Yet our feathers are constantly ruffled.
I wanted to share this because maybe you are feeling this way too. Feeling like:
- You don’t have somebody supporting you,
- Somebody who understands you,
- Somebody who’s on your side or on your team.
I want to float the idea that maybe your husband, or that other person, boyfriend, girlfriend, whoever it is. Maybe that other person is on your side and you just haven’t had that conversation. How could you make mealtime easier for both of you? How could you communicate about meals so that everybody feels like they get what they want?
Going back to body Bonnie 1.0, aka my true self. If this person was my best friend I would obviously not jump on her husband or her. I would ask, when you go out to a restaurant, is everybody ordering the same thing? Maybe they’re sharing appetizers or something like that. But by and large, if you go to a restaurant, most of us are ordering different things, or maybe sharing something.
People do have different likes and dislikes. I think it’s okay. I don’t want to say all women, but I even noticed a shift in myself, becoming a mom definitely changed me. I still eat what I want to eat at any meal. I don’t feel ever compelled to eat anything that anybody is eating. I think my family is mostly surprised if I do eat what they’re eating. I don’t think they make it mean anything. Our kids have basic needs, like macaroni, pizza, and that kind of stuff. I typically don’t eat that. Yeah, I like pizza. I might have it on the weekends. But during the week, I often make my own food or I have food delivered. I’m not huge into cooking. I like really simple things. I don’t always eat with my family, a lot of times I’m working. When I do eat with my family, I don’t eat exactly what they’re eating.
Sometimes that is just something you may not be willing to do. Maybe it’s something you just hadn’t considered, that it is possible for you to eat something different. If there’s protein and vegetables you’re having and your family’s having protein, vegetables and pasta or protein vegetables and french fries, or protein vegetables and tater tots or whatever. Your kids, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, cat, whomever. Somebody else wants to eat something else, is that a problem?
If it really is your husband’s fault that you can’t lose weight, then where is our personal power? How do we ever achieve our goals if it’s somebody else’s fault. I know that this particular woman wasn’t saying it was her husband’s fault, I was just taking it to the next level. It is easy for us to think and feel all of those things. I do like to look at this situation and sort it out.
Something else came to me because I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Sometimes we think the food my family is eating, the macaroni or the tater tots or whatever it is, we have thoughts that I can’t eat that, I don’t eat that, I just don’t like it and I don’t want it right. I throw that out there. Maybe you do like macaroni and you do like tater tots and you do like corndogs. Is that a problem?
I get it. We’re all trying to think more about nutrition and health. Get the protein and the fiber. If you do enjoy some of those things, is there a way that you can incorporate that? Sometimes we have a very rigid idea of what foods I can eat for weight loss and what foods I cannot eat for weight loss. Some of that is part of this conversation, because there is that happy medium.
Good or bad?
If we look at our primitive brains, one thing our brain does really well is automate. By that, I mean, our brain is kind of lazy, like everything is either good or bad. The food is either good or bad. You are good or bad based on what foods you choose. So the stir fry would be good, because that probably had vegetables and maybe chicken or something like that. That is more of a dieting meal. Then the elaborate dishes that the husband is cooking are bad. That’s what our brain does. It’s either good or bad. It’s for weight loss, it’s not for weight loss. I can lose weight with this, or I can’t lose weight with this.
I also want to advocate that, maybe that’s not exactly true. However, because I don’t know enough information about what is actually being made. If you are doing the food shopping list and you are part of the conversation, it sounds like there’s just one more piece to be done.
When I look at weight loss, I look at it through a couple of different lenses. I know from being a lifelong dieter, and this might ring true for you, we’re so used to thinking about weight loss as food and working out. Eat less and move more. When I really think about weight loss, I look at it more along the lines of metabolism.
This was really something interesting that happened. I’m in the Real Weight Loss Challenge right now we’re just wrapping it up. Last week, I had my friend who’s a functional medicine specialist come on. We talked about weight loss and specifically, hormone balance and weight loss. He had this brilliant outline, which was when we look at weight loss, why don’t we look at uncomplicated weight loss. Then we look at complicated weight loss. By uncomplicated meaning it is really more about enough food, enough working out, or quality of calories. It really is more of that, eating enough or over eating versus more of the complicated weight loss.
It could be metabolic issues or it could be mindset issues.
I look at weight loss more like is it a metabolic situation? Does somebody have
- Hot flashes?
- Poor sleep?
- Gut issues?
- Chronic stress?
- Chronic inflammation?
Do we have somebody who is experiencing some type of serious and real metabolic issue? That could be resulting in a thyroid issue, could be resulting in an autoimmune situation. Or is it simply that we need to dial in calories and work out? For most of my clients 40 And over, we’re pretty stressed out, and there’s something going on right to figure out.
On the flip side, if it’s not a metabolic issue, it probably is a mindset issue where we are;
under-eating all day and overeating at night,
- Stress eating,
- Emotional eating,
- Eating because we’re bored or sad or lonely or want to be alone,
- Sneaking food.
- Used to dieting,
- Have a lot of food rules,
- Are used to having to use a lot of willpower,
- Into the all or nothing thinking.
Constantly losing weight and gaining weight and losing weight and gaining weight because we’re going on these ultra strict fad quick fix diets.
That’s how I see sort of weight loss in those two camps. When I think about, it’s your husband’s fault that you can’t lose weight. How that factors in is often we look at;
- Our environment,
- Our house,
- The meals,
- Someone is bringing in food,
- Someone likes food,
- Someone wants to go out to dinner,
- Someone wants to bring in pizza,
- Someone wants to eat cupcakes,
- Someone keeps buying me chocolate,
- Someone has a lot of snacks in the house,
- Someone is skinny and doesn’t need to lose weight.
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what they are doing. Your husband, wife, parents, brother, roommate, it doesn’t matter. What they are doing, what they eat, what they like, what they don’t like. What really matters is, what you’re eating, because otherwise, we will always feel like we have no control. If our weight loss is dependent on who’s in the house and what they’re eating, that’s not going to work.
I urge you, if any of this resonated for you, obviously, let me know. I’d really like to help you. If this is something you’re struggling with, you’re not alone, it can feel very overwhelming. You could feel like a victim of circumstance. You could feel like you need help.
Having a plan and learning how to manage your mind, not in a way that is all about;
- You need more willpower,
- You need more discipline,
- You should be more aggressive,
- You should be able to stand up for yourself,
- You should be able to do it differently.
It really is just about thinking about it differently and understanding how to feel any emotion, including ones where you feel resentful, or angry or guilty for not eating the same things as your family.
ABOUT THE HOST
Bonnie Lefrak is a Life & Body Transformation Expert and Founder of Self Made, a program designed to help you tackle the physical aspects of health and weight loss as well as the beliefs and thoughts that drive our habits and behaviors. It is her goal to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities.
Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet – it is about MUCH more than that. Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on.
Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience. Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out.
By addressing both the physical and mental aspects of dieting and weight loss, she has coached thousands of women ages 30-55+ from all over and helped them ditch the mindsets that are holding them back, achieve permanent weight loss, and get the bangin’ body of their dreams.
Bonnie is an expert at Demystifying weight loss. She helps you u****k your diet brain. She is on a mission to help women love themselves, to find PEACE in the process of losing weight, taking care of themselves, and leveraging the power they do have to become who and want they want right now.
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