My husband body shames me

Thursday October 22 2020
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Most couples tend to become uncomfortable with one another due to change in shape.

By Kharono Lufafa

I gave birth to my first child six months ago and since then, I have put on a bit of weight. What hurts me is that my husband calls me fat all the time. I ignored it initially, but it has started to affect my self-esteem and gradually, I am developing negative feelings towards him. I am trying hard to lose the weight and I know that with time, it will go. Agnes 

Dear Agnes,
Fat shaming can be humiliating, especially if it comes from your husband or someone you love and trust. Unfortunately, it is common in long term relationships such as marriage, especially if the baseline attraction finds its root in a person’s physical appearance. It is true that partners do play a key role in supporting their partners to eat right, help them to become consistent in exercise, and stay away from unhealthy foods. It is also important to know that weight loss is a process and needs one to be focused on the right mind and attitude in order to get the results. 
Obesity cannot be cured by shaming but instead with support that involves working as a team to keep fit and healthy. In this case, I would like to encourage you not to just ignore your husband’s name-calling. Instead, find a time when both of you are in your light moments with no arguments and let him know how you feel about his comments. It is good to keep up with that which your partner appreciated about your looks. 
Remember childbearing affects people differently. For some, it makes them thinner, and others gain weight due to breastfeeding and, of course, general body change. The good news is that this is not permanent. The body is capable of returning to shape after healing well from the effects of childbirth with the right advice from a medical person and a good support system. 
Again, self-esteem should come from within. You need to come to a place where you learn your strength and weaknesses and then capitalise on your strength so that you develop self-esteem. 
Sometimes, the comments may carry some truth but context and delivery destroy it .  For now, find a calm moment within you and plan on how to lose this weight without being under pressure but to become healthier, find a support group of people who maybe like you and would like to lose their weight too. Remember, as love grows older, partners may choose to pick on each other’s weakest points as a way of winning an argument. 
It is, therefore, important to keep communication between you and your partner open and iron out issues that cause resentment in your relationship in an amicable way. Sometimes, body shaming is due to deep-seated resentment that erodes marriages as years go by and grudges accumulate. 

Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa Counseling Psychologist

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