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Husband is over-involved with wife’s eating habits.

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I am super-sensitive about the issue of my weight or food intake. I occasionally binge and although I am in a “healthy” weight range, I would like to be thinner and my husband likes very slim girls.

I have always been obsessed with food and think about it a lot. I have never had an eating disorder (starving or purging) except for the binging episodes. I would like to loose about 20 lbs. I am 5’4 and currently 143lbs. I have never liked exercise but have been exercising consistently for the last 12 mos (more than I ever have in my life — about 3-4 times a week). My husband is very fitness-minded and lactose intolerant so watches what he eats very carefully. I have never worked out so much before, I have also joined weight watchers and have been losing about a lb a week for the last 7 weeks.

SO… I think I am doing well and trying a lifestyle change not a diet. The thing is my husband will bring to my attention every time he thinks I am eating something I should not. It drives me crazy and always ends up in a fight. I feel like what I choose to eat is my decision and mine alone. He thinks that if he has to hear me complain about “being fat” (which I say, yes a lot) or whatever that he has the right to talk about my eating. One time when we were at dinner the waitress asked me if I wanted dessert and he said “no she doesn’t need it,” even though I wanted it and it was really embarrassing.

I think I am overly sensitive but I just can’t help it. I don’t like having someone else talk about my eating habits since I think about my eating 24-7 as it is. It is really frustrating. He says that if my weight bothers me so much I should do more about it like eating way less and exercising way more than I am. Yesterday I made two pieces of toast with sliced tomato and goat cheese and he got home from the store with hotdogs. I hadn’t had anything to eat all day except for a half a cup of fiber one cereal with soy milk and it was 3pm. I asked him if he could make me a hotdog too (since he was making himself two dogs) and he said no since what I had was plenty and a big meal. He thinks I am overeating when I eat only 1500 to 2000 calories a day. On weightwatchers I don’t count calories only points but I estimate to only be eating abound 1300-1500 per day. He thinks a 400-500 calorie lunch is way too much. His eating and view of what is healthy is not healthy in my mind.

Honestly I just want him to support me by saying I look great and am successfully working towards my goals NOT to bring to my attention when I am overeating or even binging. I should be able to make a conscious decision to binge if I want to. HELP. I feel like I can’t talk about food at all to him since I am immediately put on the defensive and I always end in tears if we try to communicate about this issue (what I eat, or what I weigh). What should I do?

Husband is over-involved with wife’s eating habits.

Answered by on -


If I asked your husband, I’m sure he would say that he is only trying to help. What he doesn’t realize is that help that isn’t asked for is rarely helpful. His “help” has become another source of anxiety for you. Since the primary way you handle anxiety is overeating, his efforts are backfiring. This is your problem and only you can resolve it. The fact is that you have taken charge of yourself and you are making a reasonable effort to manage a long-term problem. Good for you!

The Weight Watchers program is fantastic for helping people change their relationship to food. You are losing at a responsible rate and you’ve added exercise to your life. It’s enough. You will undoubtedly slip up every now and then. Most people do. What’s important is that you get back to the program by the next meal and learn what you can from the difficult moments.

The way out of the fight with your husband is to drop your end of it. There can be no fight if you decline the invitation. The issue has become so toxic between you that it’s going to take time to turn things around. For now, look for support at WW meetings and don’t talk with him about what you’re doing. The results will speak for themselves eventually. If he comments, simply thank him for caring, calmly state that you are handling it, and change the subject. You don’t need to apologize, justify or explain. In return, refrain from commenting on his diet or eating habits. That’s his business. There are plenty of other things to talk about in life besides diet and food. Focus on the positive and find ways to enjoy your husband that don’t involve food. You’ll both feel better.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Husband is over-involved with wife’s eating habits.

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on January 20, 2008.

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Husband is over-involved with wife’s eating habits.. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 7, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 May 2019 (Originally: 20 Jan 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 May 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.