I was having a conversation with my boyfriend last night, and in the midst of trying to take out the garbage, put tape over the mysterious hole that popped up on my blow-up mattress (it didn’t help), and holding the phone at my ear at the same time, he told me a very interesting story that we both thought would be good to share for debate. It went something like this:
While having a conversation at work with his colleague, said colleague told my boyfriend that while watching Olympic coverage of women’s beach volleyball with his girlfriend, he became impressed with the frames of the ladies playing. They were bikini clad, sweaty, and in his eyes, HOT. In a moment of admiration, while sitting next to his lady mind you, he said, “Those girls look shapely.” For the most part, these stout yet lean athletes trounce around in a bikini where the most coverage they get clothing wise comes in the form of the sunglasses they put on to avoid getting sand in their eyes. Even when they play covered up, everything is as tight as tight can be. They have strong thighs, abs, and for a man, they’re women jumping around and up and down on TV–can you say jackpot???
Well, it was for homeboy, but not for his girlfriend. Instead of shrugging his comment off or agreeing with him, she took it as a slight on her appearance, an appearance that included a waistline, which had allegedly increased over a span of nine months in their nearly two year relationship. In response, she said something to the effect of, “Well, maybe you should go be with one of them then…” Since then this colleague has been getting crap from his girlfriend about the comment, though he claims the statement wasn’t directed at her, nor had he made any comments to her about her size in the past. But as one of those guys who consistently hits the gym to keep his frame lean and sculpted, that didn’t mean he hadn’t noticed her weight gain though. And clearly she had too.
It was obvious that this man’s girlfriend had her own insecurities about her weight, that’s why any comment that had to do with another woman’s shape in a more than favorable way had this young woman tightly wound and ready to cut her eyes, huff and puff and remind him of his “egregious” comment every time he thought she had forgot. Clearly, the “I didn’t mean it like that” response just wasn’t going to cut it this time around.
My boyfriend tried to do his best to offer advice to the confused fella, and as we went over the conversation, in my head, all I could think of was how messy that small situation had turned out to be. All of a sudden we were debating the best way for this man to say something to his girlfriend about her weight gain, and in reality, there didn’t seem to be a good way at all.
I don’t know what it is about it, but these days, when it comes to a woman’s size, unless she’s uncomfortably obese to a point that she’s ill and needs an A&E-type intervention, the best way to get a woman to do something about her weight is to let her come to the realization that she needs to on her own. As someone whose gone through the up and down positive and negative feelings about myself after battling massive weight gain post-college, I can say the only way to really commit to being active and trying to live and eat better is to come to the conclusion that you want better. It becomes ten times easier to do so when you know that other people will support you. Seriously, it’s something that just needs to bother a woman enough to make her want to change on her own.
Having a conversation with yourself about your body is a lot different from a man, a mother, whoever, pointing out the extra roll of fat around your waist or the increasing width of your a**. Instead of getting you motivated to hit the nearest Bally Total Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, Crunch, Gold’s Gym or whatever is in your area, when the man you love tells you that you need to do something about your weight, it more or less makes you want to retreat back into the kitchen to drown your sorrows in a bowl of Edy’s cookies and cream. Okay, okay, a whole carton if you’re really feeling bad. Motivation isn’t what you get, instead you take on added insecurities as you wonder how he sees you, if you look good enough, if he’s looking at other women often and more. And that insecurity can just make the relationship a paranoid, easily irritated, walking-on-eggshells tumultuous one that nobody will be happy in.
If I could offer any advice to my boyfriend’s co-worker, I would tell him to just apologize for the fact that she took his words as a hit on her looks, and to remind her that at almost two years together, he’s clearly not worried about anyone else, nor does he want anyone else but her. Follow that up with some kisses, hugs, and maybe a roll in the hay. But if he really does find himself with big issues when it comes to her even bigger weight, he better be ready to hit the gym with her and be as supportive as possible. Instead of coming outright and making her feel like the Pillsbury Dough girl, he needs to find a way to encourage her to work out with him, and they both need to eat better together. Keyword, together. Because simply saying, “I mean, I’m just saying, you’ve gained a little weight” won’t help her, or get him anywhere but possibly alone. Or better yet, alone in a kitchen covering a bruised eye with a bag of vegetables and his best steak…
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