Sex and the city: Dear fiancé, it’s not fine!

My fiancé wants me to shed some weight before the wedding. Even though I am also keen to look fitter, I am scared of these demands and of any other unrealistic demands in the future. What if I lose weight and then gain it all back later because I am quite the foodie? I have always struggled with my weight and all my determination in the past has given way to my temptations. I am getting very irritable with the thought of having to shed weight as a pre-condition for a happy relationship. I also know I’m acting like child who is feeling anxious and rebellious alternately. Should I discuss all this with my fiancé? What should I do?

Go ahead and discuss it with your fiancée. Let this conversation be the start of many subsequent discussions that underpin the decisions that you both will learn to take as a couple and also as individuals. A discussion needs to be had at a mutually convenient time with concreteness, clarity and compassion directing the tone of the conversation.

While there is certainly merit in having a fitter body for increased health and longevity, know that all these ‘demands’ that you are so weary of are going to go nowhere. The whole ‘my body is perfect as it is’ explanation can sometimes be used by people as a way to justify weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle. Sooner or later, our bodies find a way to show us the truth about our lifestyle and weight gain or weight loss has been proven by science to affect the kind of life you lead.

All demands – whether reasonable or unreasonable are the inalienable truths of our lives that we cannot alienate ourselves from. The question remains, are we willing to initiate supply to address a demand? The roles that we take on help us ascertain what needs to be done in the moment.

Society, family, spouses, children, colleagues, religions and even the local grocer will make demands of you and thus invade a small fraction of your emotional space. However, do keep in mind that you don’t have to listen to everything that is told to you and yet you need not reject everything that is said to you.

Through a process of careful discernment, use all the information you receive to help you make better decisions.

If you feel that your fiancee’s requests to lose weight are making you feel unaccepted, you should go and talk about this to him. He may not be aware of how his comments affect you. Is it possible that he may not have intended to ‘body shame’ you? It you are going to marry this man, it’s important for you to learn to give him the benefit of the doubt. Your weight may be a concern for him and not a pre-condition for marriage.

As far as being a foodie is concerned, the struggle is real. Many people have major problems with controlling their food habits and that may lead to unregulated weight gain.

If you couple this with what you say is your tendency to act anxious and rebellious, it could prove to be a recipe for disaster. Your husband has a right to desire for you to look a certain way but in stating that it is a ‘desire’ – know that this is not a compulsion on you or on the relationship for it to succeed. Try and understand why your body shape is so important to him.

  • Is your fiancee feels attracted to you only when your body is a certain way?

  • Does he generally place a premium on how well people take care of their bodies (including his own?)

  • Does he wish to present you in a certain aesthetic to people who are important to him?

Whatever the answer, it is quite possible that your fiancée is trying to make you match up to an image that he’s been nestling in his imagination. This doesn’t make him a bad man or a source of unrealistic demands towards you. Apart from parental consent, what are the reasons why you have agreed to marry him?

As with all things in a relationship, demands can be negotiated and be turned into preferences that don’t bear weight on the shoulders of a fledgling couple. If you are keen to look fitter and your fiancée is keen on you looking fitter, the first course of action would be to clean up your food habits by consulting a credible nutrition consultant and inculcating a robust workout schedule to burn off those calories. You can enjoy your favourite foods in moderation and plan social meetups around ‘cheat meals’ so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by your fitness goals.

As with all choices, irritability is also a choice. You need not force yourself to become someone you are not, but if there is value in change, then you must develop the courage and conviction to bite the bullet and take control of how you proceed towards realistic and measureable goals.

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