How to Deal When Your Husband (or Boyfriend) is Overweight

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Stop ignoring the problem and start fixing it! Read on for tips from the pros.

Ditch the denial. If you've been silently steaming about his beer belly or buffalo wing addiction, now is the time to change your ways. Studies show more conflict and relationship problems among mixed-weight couples—when one partner is overweight and the other isn't—than in couples who are in similar shape.

Be supportive. If pinching your partner's love handles or saying, “You're going to eat that?!" is your idea of getting them to lose weight, think again. “You can't force, coerce or guilt your partner into losing weight," says relationship expert Julia de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW. “The best thing you can do is be supportive."

End the food fights. Instead of battling it out every time he eats a Philly cheesesteak, slowly integrate some new healthy dishes and ingredients into meals to help change his eating habits. Also, help him lighten up some of his favorites (think mustard instead of mayo on that turkey sandwich) so he doesn't feel deprived, suggests Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, author of Feed the Belly.

Take care of yourself. Focus on what you can do to improve your own health so you can be a source of inspiration, says Hanks. Instead of nagging your partner to exercise, just go do it yourself. Invite your guy to join you but don't fuss if he doesn't. Suggest outings that are active and fun instead of just “exercise"—go to a ballgame instead of watching one on TV, do a charity walk or bike to a concert in the park.

Play the sex card. Couples who exercise together have better sex lives—a fact you can use to help motivate him. If he can start linking that sweaty spinning workout with steamy sex later, chances are he'll be more enthusiastic about getting healthy, says Largeman-Roth. And you'll be more excited about helping him get there!