How do I tell my spouse to lose weight?

You want what's best for your spouse. Regardless of how they look or what job they have, you want your partner to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. A huge part of that equation means you want your partner to be eating right and taking care of their physical and mental health. If you see that your partner is starting to veer over to the unhealthy side, and you want to help, you need to ask yourself a few questions before you dive immediately into trying to tell your partner to lose weight. 

More often than not, there's no need to flat out tell your partner they need to lose weight. In fact, it can really harm your marriage if you do (via Psychology Today).

Why are you asking them to lose weight?

If your partner doesn't look the same as they did on their wedding day, especially if you've had kids since, then you need to be aware that this is a normal part of aging. It's common knowledge that you're likely to gain weight as you get older for a lot of reasons (via Everyday Health). Trying to change that isn't going to work, and it can really hurt your partner's feelings if it seems like you're unhappy with how they look (via Psychology Today). 

If you really feel the need to tell your partner to lose weight, you need to reevaluate why you're in a relationship with this person in the first place — and why you feel like it's your place to tell them to do so. It shouldn't matter what they look like, simply because love isn't only skin-deep. If you're feeling that their appearance has something to do with your status or how you feel about yourself, then you might have some deeper issues going on (via Men's Health).

What if there's a major health issue that's going on?

If you feel your partner has a medical problem that's being compounded by their weight, you might be convinced that telling them to drop pounds is totally OK — however, that may not be a cool thing to do, either. Essentially, health issues aren't always going to be solved by losing weight. More often than not, adopting a healthier lifestyle — like eating well and exercising often — might result in some weight loss, but it also might not, and that's okay (via ABC Australia). If you're concerned with your partner's lifestyle habits and you're worried about them not having a quality life, then that's different than wanting your partner to lose weight. 

Paul Hokemeyer, a Ph.D. and psychotherapist who specializes in relationship and family therapy, told Men's Health that the best way to approach these kinds of situations is to make sure your partner knows where you're coming from. "The best way to encourage others to adopt healthier habits is to adopt them yourself," Hokemeyer said. "Avoid judging them for the setbacks that are inherent in these stages and as best you can join them as a partner, not an expert, coach or parent."

The best thing you can do for your partner is to make sure they feel loved and supported, regardless of how they look, and leave the delicate work to the professionals.