You’ve gained weight

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Annie Lane

I need help fig­ur­ing out how to ad­dress a touchy sub­ject. Over the past few years, my lovely wife — let’s call her “Deb” — has grad­u­ally gained some weight. I’ve tried to pin­point when ex­actly it started, and I think it was some time around when our youngest left for col­lege, three years ago. Deb was (and still is) sad about the empty nest, and ice cream be­came her nightly com­fort food. She also snacks on po­tato chips when we watch TV, and she al­ways or­ders dessert when we go out to eat. I can be bad about snack­ing, too, but I’ve al­ways had a good me­tab­o­lism, and it’s been easy for me to stay thin.

Deb has no­ticed that some of her clothes don’t quite fit any­more but says she must have shrunk them in the dryer. She has men­tioned want­ing to be more ac­tive but never ac­tu­ally fol­lows through on ex­er­cis­ing. It’s as if she’s kind of aware of her weight gain but she would rather just sweep it un­der the rug and not think about it. She’s beau­ti­ful, and I love her no mat­ter what, of course, but I worry about her long-term health, es­pe­cially if she keeps gain­ing weight. — Hold­ing My


Spouses hold a lot of sway over each other’s ex­er­cise rou­tine. Start work­ing out and there’s a good chance your wife will, too. Per­haps you could even sug­gest an ac­tiv­ity you two can do to­gether, such as ten­nis or bike rid­ing. That would be to your ben­e­fit, as well, be­cause no mat­ter how blessed you are with a fast me­tab­o­lism, ex­er­cise is es­sen­tial to good health.

If your wife is still re­luc­tant to get mov­ing, have a talk with her, but keep the fo­cus on her over­all health and well-be­ing, not the num­ber on the scale. Check in with her about how she’s feel­ing emo­tion­ally and men­tally. It’s im­por­tant that she stay ac­tive, spend time with friends and em­brace this new chap­ter in her life rather than con­tinue to mourn the empty nest.

As an avid reader of your col­umn and a re­tired ed­u­ca­tor, I couldn’t help re­spond­ing to the mother of the school­child­ren who be­stow end-of-the-schoolyear gifts on their teach­ers. She was up­set that the in­struc­tors don’t send thank-you notes to her chil­dren for their thank-you gifts. It seems to me that would be a “thank you” for a “thank you,” and that is un­nec­es­sary.

Has she con­sid­ered how these gifts make the stu­dents whose par­ents can’t af­ford gifts feel? Has she con­sid­ered how bad teach­ers feel when their col­leagues have a pile of gifts on their desks and they re­ceived noth­ing? Her gifts might well be a gen­uine ex­pres­sion of sin­cere grat­i­tude, but other par­ents may then one-up her for the sole pur­pose of try­ing to im­press.

The best way to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion to teach­ers is to make sure home­work is com­pleted and turned in on time, pay your school lunch bill, send your chil­dren to school with their sup­plies, well-rested and clean, and sup­port the rules of the dis­trict and class­rooms. I’m cer­tain the teach­ers gave her chil­dren hugs and big ver­bal thank-yous when they re­ceived the gifts.

— A Wy­oming Teacher

If your wife is still re­luc­tant to get mov­ing, have a talk with her, but keep the fo­cus on her over­all health and well-be­ing, not the num­ber on the scale.

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