Ask Amy: Heavy husband refuses to go to the doctor because he ‘needs to lose weight first’

Ask Amy: Heavy husband refuses to go to the doctor because he ‘needs to lose weight first’

Scale (crop)

Husband doesn’t want to see a doctor until he loses some weight, but his health issues have gone unchecked for years. Getty Images. John Moore/Getty Images

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for nine years.

When we were newly married, we had the luxury of running after work and hiking on the weekends. We did not have a lot of stress.

Fast-forward to two kids, a home, careers, and a life out of balance – and my husband has gained about 60 pounds. I am not judging him, as I completely understand the problem of stress eating, aging, and having too little time to work out. I’ll love him no matter what.

My issue is his health. I’m terrified of him having a heart attack or a stroke.

He is a smart guy and knows he needs to lose weight, but the problem is that he won’t try.

He eats bags of cookies, brownies, and fast food. He refuses to go to the doctor because he says he “needs to lose weight first,” but he won’t make the effort to do so. He hasn’t had a physical in more than seven years.

I cannot bring myself to tell him that he really needs to lose weight, as I don’t want to make him feel worse than I know he already does.

I’m guessing it’s partially an emotional issue.

It’s getting to the point where something has to change.

How do I address this with him without making him feel ashamed or judged?

– Worried About Wellness Wife

Dear Worried: Your husband knows that he has an eating and weight problem. He has expressed as much to you, because he says that he is avoiding getting a checkup because of the dreaded scale at the doctor’s office (anyone can decline to be weighed by the doctor, by the way).

So first, you should urge your husband to see his doctor and ask not to be weighed, if being weighed makes him uncomfortable.

People sometimes overeat for a variety of complicated reasons, and if a person is committed to diving in and decoding these reasons and triggers, it can help them to regain a sense of control. A nutritionist can help to reset some of these behaviors through education and coaching; a therapist can help by talking about stress and offering coping techniques.

You could open this up as a topic, if he is willing to discuss it.

Assure him that you love him, that you’ve got his back, and that you will make space for him to pursue any endeavors that might help him to regain his good health. If he doesn’t want to discuss it, leave the topic alone. He’ll get there when he’s ready.

You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

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