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How To Speak To An Overweight Girlfriend About Losing Weight

Published November 2, 2014


Widely known as the finest dating and romance coach on the West Coast, M. Rudolph Katzenberg has been helping single men and women find love since 2003. He is a professor of sexual psychology at Santa Marino College.

Dr. Katzenberg,

I have been dating my girlfriend for over a year.  It’s starting to get more serious but I’m concerned about her  weight gain.  When we started dating she was in fairly good shape, but since then she has gained a lot of weight, maybe as much as 20 pounds.

I know how sensitive women can be about their weight.  How do I convey to her that I would like for her to lose weight without triggering a negative response?  Its not just for me but also for her health.



Dear Crushed,

This is a more common problem than you might think, and I’ve counseled many men in your position before.  You are not alone.  As I see it, men in your position have three options: (1) live with the fat, (2) leave the fat or (3) do something about the fat and risk losing your girlfriend.  If you think strategically – as you always should – before you resort to number 2, you might as well try number 3.  A key to a successful intervention is not to appear as though you are intervening.  Think of all the ways that you can force her to lose weight without directly asking her. 

My favorite method involves using her innate psychological predisposition in your favor.  Many women have latent eating issues, and this could be the one time in your life that you leverage a womans neuroses in your favor.  If she has a history of anorexia, you can trigger a mild recurrence by making her feel guilty about eating.  Anorexia is driven by guilt more than anything else.  Try saying something like, “Did you hear about the famine hitting Biafra?  We are too fortunate to have so much food.”  Or tell her that money is becoming tight and you need to cut back on your food budget to avoid missing your rent payments.  If this method works too well and she becomes underweight, you might need to consult a physician.

If your girlfriend does not have any preexisting eating issues, try a more conventional approach: bribery.  Tell that if you both can back on your food consumption, you can afford to buy her that designer purse or pair of shoes she has been eying.  If being healthy is not enough incentive for her to be thin, status may be.

Another approach is avoidance: keeping food away from her.  If she buys food for herself, eat it when she is away.  Keep your own food locked and out of view.  Purchase a cooler that you can padlock and store in your garage.

Remember, be creative but never tell her what you are doing.  I once played the old The Smiths song “You’re the One For Me, Fatty” during an evening at home with a fat girlfriend.  Subliminally, she got the message. She lost 10 pounds in one month.