Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: I love my wife. She is 5-foot-3 and weighs 200 pounds. When we mar­ried (35 years ago) she weighed 125 pounds. She is

phys­i­cally chal­lenged be­cause of the weight.

I have sug­gested ev­ery­thing from surgery to the liq­uid diet. We tried ther­apy about eight years ago, which ended badly. We have the wed­ding of our son in about a year. She pro­fesses that she wants to lose weight but takes min­i­mal, in­ef­fec­tive steps. My un­hap­pi­ness about the sit­u­a­tion does not mat­ter to her. Help! — Frus­trated

Dear Hus­band: I’m not go­ing to di­rect your wife.

I ques­tion the wis­dom of your choice to en­ter coun­sel­ing with her, which seemed to be fo­cused on her los­ing weight. It is her body. Ob­vi­ously this has an im­pact on you, but she al­ready knows what to do. She is stay­ing fat for a rea­son. And the rea­son might be to prove to you who is in charge of her. This is spec­u­la­tion on my part, of course, but we are sur­rounded by a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar diet in­dus­try telling us how to get thin. And it is more com­pli­cated than you seem to think.

Los­ing a sub­stan­tial amount of weight is chal­leng­ing enough, but if you are com­pletely un­mo­ti­vated, it is im­pos­si­ble. Leave your per­sonal un­hap­pi­ness out of this. Your wife needs to own her own choices. You think you are en­cour­ag­ing her, but it feels like pres­sure to her. She is push­ing back.

Your wife has a dead­line and a reach­able goal if she cares enough to try to get there. Tell her you will sup­port her ef­forts. But af­ter that, don’t bring it up un­less she wants to dis­cuss it. Do not rec­om­mend any di­ets or ex­er­cise plans. She should con­sult with her doc­tor. She might also ben­e­fit from join­ing Overeaters Anony­mous, which is a fel­low­ship of peo­ple who are en­gaged in this life-al­ter­ing strug­gle (OA.org). Other peo­ple who have faced this chal­lenge might be able to un­der­stand and coach her bet­ter than you can.

Dear Amy: My 25-year-old daugh­ter rents space in some­one’s home. The home­owner is a man in his mid-30s. For her rent, she has her own bed­room, bath­room and liv­ing room. He is a nice guy, and they get along just fine.

The prob­lem is when his girl­friend is over, which is quite of­ten. His bed­room is di­rectly above my daugh­ter’s, and she can hear ev­ery sound that they make!

It makes it es­pe­cially awk­ward when they all meet at break­fast in the morn­ing!

Un­for­tu­nately, she is a fre­quent guest, and it’s re­ally start­ing to af­fect my daugh­ter’s sleep. She has tried mu­sic with head­phones but that’s not help­ful when she’s try­ing to fall asleep. She can’t wear ear plugs, be­cause she won’t hear her alarm in the morn­ing. She’s so ea­ger to fall asleep be­fore the ac­tion starts that she’s started tak­ing sleep­ing pills, which is a ter­ri­ble habit.

Other than this, she loves liv­ing there. It’s a great amount of space for the money, and it’s close to where she works. Any ad­vice? — Cu­ri­ous Mom Dear Mom: If she is shar­ing com­mon space with this cou­ple and ev­ery­one gets along well, she should feel com­fort­able enough to bring up an awk­ward (but not that un­usual) prob­lem but veil it in a way that pre­serves ev­ery­one’s pri­vacy.

Let’s say they are all hav­ing break­fast to­gether. Over toast and jam, your daugh­ter says, “Hey, have you ever thought about get­ting a rug in your bed­room? Your room is right over mine and I can hear you at night, so I was think­ing a rug would help.”

Also, if she sleeps with ear buds plugged in to her smart­phone, the alarm on the phone is such that it rings through the ear buds.

Dear Amy: I ap­pre­ci­ate that you are pro­mot­ing char­i­ta­ble giv­ing dur­ing the hol­i­days, but I was dis­turbed that you fea­tured only larger char­i­ties. There are many small char­i­ties wor­thy of men­tion! —

Dear Giver: Be­cause my col­umn is run na­tion­ally, I fea­tured mostly larger char­i­ties. My main hope is to in­spire peo­ple to give — how­ever they choose. Send ques­tions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or write to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michi­gan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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