When broaching the topic of weight, one should always remain sensitive and empathetic over how their words will make a partner feel.
Concerns over a loved one’s weight can be valid to have however sometimes the issue can be handled in a way that will only make the person feel worse.
Emma Murphy, a health professional who specialises in emotional and binge eating, of Eating Freely has urged that it is vital to communicate concerns over someone’s health and not their weight.
‘You can be a size 14, 15 and size 20 and can be healthy, you can be fit and relatively well,’ she said.
‘On the other hand, you could be a size 8 and on death’s doorstep because you’re not doing it the right way.
Speaking to Dermot and Dave on TodayFM, she said that there must be a separation from ‘weight from health and understand they’re two very different things.’
‘If they share a bed, you can bring up if there’s snoring or waking up in the middle of the night — they are indications that someone is overweight.’
Other indications that someone is not healthy is high colouring in the face and running out of breath while walking.
The health expert then said to open the conversation with yourself (‘Jesus I’ve noticed I haven’t been able to stop eating crisps’ or ‘I’m really not happy, I’ve put on weight’) which normalises the conversation and may help your partner open up’.
Another way is to suggest exercising a couple of times a week together.
Ms Murphy stressed that binge eating is ‘rarely about food’ and usually about how someone is feeling.
She said it is important to start understanding ‘why you’re eating the way you’re eating’.
‘Some people have temporarily gained weight over lockdown but those people are going to find it very easy to get back on track.
‘Other people emotionally eat which is a completely different thing — using food as a way to calm yourself down,’ she said, stressing the importance of developing other coping strategies over food.
She said mindfulness is important in tackling emotional eating — ‘if you reach for a bar of chocolate, ask yourself — will this actually nourish me or punish me?’.
‘How are you going to feel about yourself when you go to bed that night.’