My girlfriend is getting fat.
Correction: she’s already become quite fat. Past tense.
How do I tell her without torching our relationship?
I’ve actually come up with 9 great tips for letting your other half know she has to lose weight without also losing her.
How to tell your girlfriend she’s getting fat
1) Proceed with extreme caution
In general, the topic of weight is obviously a very sensitive subject for many women.
Whether your girlfriend is seriously overweight or just gaining a few pounds, do not just “wing it” and tell her she’s getting huge or make a sarcastic comment.
There are a lot of jokes and mean-spirited comments and undercurrents in our popular culture about weight and they make this whole topic more difficult as well.
This includes the unrealistic depictions of skinny women in media and very judgmental attitudes in our social circles about weight.
The truth is that your girlfriend may already believe she is overweight even when she’s actually very fit and not fat at all.
But if your girlfriend is actually objectively fat or has become less attractive to you because of her weight then sometimes you do need a way to bring it up that won’t ruin the love you have.
You can’t be too careful, and if you are feeling like your girlfriend’s weight has become an issue then you should think carefully about it before bringing up that subject — or any related subject — with her.
At the same time, if this really is bothering you then you should eventually bring it up with her, or else she’ll sense your repressed uncomfortable feelings.
As relationship expert Claire Austen advises:
“There’s no such thing as being too careful here. We ladies are oh-so-sensitive to comments about physical appearance, and our significant other’s opinion matters a ton. Tell us we might benefit from more gym time, or point out our recent obsession with those super-caloric (but delicious) Starbucks seasonal lattes? You’re toast.
“You would never intend to hurt our feelings, but once a weight remark is out there, you can’t unsay it. All we’ll hear is, “I don’t find you attractive anymore.” That damage can linger.”
2) Flip the script
Another of the best ways to tell your girlfriend she is getting fat without insulting her is to stop making this about her.
Ask her what she thinks of you and your weight.
Tell her you are trying to work on your own fitness, diet, and BMI (body mass index).
By making it about you and your goals, you take the pressure off her and make this a shared effort.
Instead of making this all about what you find attractive or desirable or not, make this about what she finds attractive and ideal.
Who says you’re necessarily staying ultra-fit yourself? And who’s to say your girlfriend doesn’t have something about you that’s also not fully her cup of tea lately.
Get ready to shave that beard or stop wearing that old hoodie, because she may come in with some big asks.
As blue-eyed-blondie writes for TFM Archive, one of the best tactics is to flip the script:
“She has been waiting her whole damn life for a boyfriend success story, and this is your chance to take advantage of that. Tell her you’re self-conscious of your body, and that you would really like her help in keeping you motivated so you can look like your best self for her.
“Tell her she’s too hot for you, and that you want to be the hottest couple together. Not only will you get her in the gym, but that compliment will score you at least an HJ in the stands during a football game.”
My only addition to what she’s saying here is make sure to talk about your fitness and weight goals in an authentic and very general way, not in an obvious ploy to get her to also go to the gym or go on a diet with you.
3) What do you say when they ask if they look fat?
It’s the oldest question in the book:
What do you say if your girlfriend asks “does this dress make me look fat?”
The wrong answer has killed many relationships, but what are you supposed to say?
If you just say no she will accuse you of lying or not meaning it; if you say she’s gained some weight she may go into a breakdown.
Don’t take the bait.
Ask what they mean by the question and try to genuinely find out what they want you to provide.
If your girlfriend says she just wants to know the honest truth tell her that she may have gained a little bit of weight but she looks amazing.
The word “fat” has a lot of very negative connotations and feelings associated with it.
Even using it in a half-joking or casual way can be deeply hurtful, and telling your girlfriend she does look fat — even if it’s part of a fight or a frustrated response to this kind of “am I fat?” question — could easily spiral out into a much worse fight or situation.
Never tell your girlfriend that she “looks fat.” Find a nicer way to say it that still gets the point across.
4) Don’t remind them of what they already know
Another very important thing to remember here is that if your girlfriend is getting fat there is a very good chance she is already aware of that.
Like Leo Patrizi writes for A Healthier Michigan:
“Let me start by saying that during my 25 years of being overweight, the last thing I needed was to be informed that I was overweight. So in order not to be hurtful, please keep in mind that a person who is overweight doesn’t need to be reminded of it daily, they know it already.”
In other words, one of the best ways to for how to tell your girlfriend she is getting fat is to assume it’s already been said, at least non-verbally.
If you do bring up what she already knows then try to do it in a fairly offhand way, especially in relation to your own fitness goals, the topic of healthy living in general, trying new lean and delicious recipes, and so on.
Don’t pretend it doesn’t matter, but don’t also have the attitude that it’s all that matters. She’ll notice either extreme, so a bit of a balancing act is in order here.
5) Make it into a win-win
The best tactic for how to tell your girlfriend she’s getting fat is to make it a win-win for the long term.
The way you do this is to bring up the subject of getting in shape in general and long-term, including maybe with more activities like hiking, kayaking, going to drop-in sports, swimming, and so on.
You don’t think of — or talk about — her weight like a short-term, isolated issue that needs to be “fixed.”
It’s part of an overall lifestyle shift that you’re both embarking on that will be a win-win for your relationship — not just for your physical health.
Like dating expert Dan Bacon says:
“The best way to approach it is in a loving way and with a long-term perspective, rather than in a hateful or spiteful way with a short-term perspective…
“In terms of having a long-term perspective rather than a short-term perspective, if you plan on staying with her for life then you don’t need to rush her into losing the weight in the next couple of weeks or months.”
Having this kind of mindset is a very good idea because it takes some of the pressure off.
It also frames the entire topic and discussion in a more caring and holistic way.
This isn’t about wanting your girlfriend to “get hot again” quickly or you’ll ditch her. It’s not a shallow gambit or attempts to objectify her.
It’s a discussion of your goals — including her weight goals — in the long term.
Keep in mind that often your girlfriend will bring this topic up herself so sometimes all you need to do is be open to the discussion.
6) Suggest that you both go on a diet
One of the best ideas out there is to both go on a diet.
This can be a great opportunity to try out new recipes and become the chef of her dreams.
In addition, unless you’re a gleaming Adonis of legendary proportions, I’m guessing you also could benefit from some healthy eating.
Not only will your body thank you, your energy levels and sense of wellbeing will also skyrocket!
Dieting doesn’t have to be something crazy either, and you don’t have to go ultra hardcore and do a Kambo reset with frog poison…
You can take it a little bit easier and go for a normal diet or take turns preparing meals nightly, or together…
As Men Wit advises:
“The best way to motivate your significant other would be an active participation in her workout and other weight loss activities like the diet plan. You can have the same food that your girlfriend orders to assure her that you will also be benefited by the same diet.”
7) Subtly approach her doctor
This is not something you should do lightly, but if the topic of weight is completely verboten and has even potentially become a major issue in your relationship then you may consider it.
Sometimes there is no good idea for how to tell your girlfriend she’s getting fat.
And it can even start to affect her health or make you worried about her wellbeing but be unsure how she could improve it.
Losing weight isn’t always easy or straightforward.
It’s at this point that you could think about going behind her back and talking to her doctor.
Sometimes you just don’t have the medical expertise or insights that can really be helpful to your girlfriend, and dietary changes or fitness really aren’t what’s needed…
It could even be a medical condition in some cases that has been hard for her to discuss with her doctor or that her doctor has been hesitant or felt awkward about bringing up with her.
This is where a nudge from you can help.
This is a big gamble and you are putting a lot of trust in the doctor to be discreet and not say something stupid like “well, your boyfriend gave me a call and …”
If you can trust her doctor to broach the subject tastefully and make some headway on diet and medical issues that could be related to the obesity, however, then this can be a fruitful approach.
That’s when it’s time As Spark People staff writer Melissa Rudy puts it:
“If you have a feeling the person might not be receptive to your well-intentioned message, another option is to take the more roundabout route of expressing your concerns to your loved one’s doctor(s) and letting them take the heat.”
8) Appreciate that this isn’t a simple subject
Weight loss is not a simple subject.
If you haven’t struggled with obesity it can be easy to think it’s just about trying harder, dieting, or working out.
But obesity can often have genetic components and also be linked to mental health challenges and other struggles such as bulimia and anorexia.
It is not always as simple as just wanting to lose weight enough that you commit and it starts happening.
And if you as a boyfriend approach this in a ham-handed way you may upset your girlfriend far more than you realize:
Not by saying she’s fat, but by ignorantly and hurtfully misunderstanding why she’s fat.
As psychologist Jennifer Kromberg writes:
“Though your loved one’s weight may seem to you like a simple issue of motivation and self-control, it may not be. Your loved one may have an eating disorder or a physical condition that’s causing them to gain or lose weight, and may need professional help to assist in their path to health.
“Try to avoid appearing to assign blame and fault by instead framing your discussion in terms of support and help.”
Weight loss and obesity aren’t easy subjects to tackle and when it’s with someone you love it’s even harder.
But if you do it in the right way with sensitivity and compassion you can make some progress and reach helpful ways to improve the situation.
9) Get her a pass to the gym (and get one for yourself too)
Going to a gym is a great thing to do for your mental and physical well-being.
And one of the best approaches for how to tell your girlfriend she’s getting fat — and present a possible solution to it — is to buy you both a pass to a new gym.
Find somewhere that’s getting great reviews or that a friend recently told you about and let her know that you’re enthused about joining and trying it.
Even better, tell her about a Zumba, aqua-cise or other class at the gym that you’re planning to take and invite your girlfriend to join you.
This can make a great birthday gift or holiday present, or just something you give her when you take her out for dinner.
Getting her a personal trainer is also a great idea (just make sure he’s not too hot or else you could end up losing her in a different way than you ever expected).
Relationship advice columnist Karl Henry writes:
“Buy your girlfriend a voucher for a personal trainer. This is risky advice and is not to be taken lightly. You need to know your partner well and know that she will see this as a positive rather than a negative.
“Hearing the advice from someone outside of your usual environment can often be more powerful and have a greater impact.”
“You’re getting kind of fat lately, but I still love you!”
If you’re wondering how to tell your girlfriend she’s getting fat then I’m right there with you.
I’m wondering the exact same thing.
It’s been a few months now that my girlfriend’s weight gain has become a bit of an issue for me:
My physical attraction has decreased;
And my genuine concern whether she’s doing OK has increased.
Of course, she says she’s fine but I’m now feeling like the weight gain could be part of a bigger issue.
Up until now, I haven’t been sure at all how to bring up this whole topic.
But with the ideas above I’m planning to approach the subject compassionately and as low-key as possible.
My additional plan is to buy us both a pass to the same gym and tell her about a new yoga class I found out about that’s included with the gym membership.
Wish me luck.
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