*Dear Tamara:

My husband and I have been married for four years. In those four years I have had two children and have gained quite a bit of weight. On our wedding day I was about a size 6 and now I am closer to a size 16. At first my husband didn’t complain about my weight gain, but lately he is starting to be more verbal about his disapproval. Along with his snide remarks, our sex life has changed drastically. In fact, it’s almost nonexistent. I want to lose the weight, I really do, but it has been hard with the kids and everything else I have going on. And it is even harder having to deal with my husband’s insults. How can I talk to him about this?

For Better For Worse

Dear FBFW:

While I certainly believe that there is more to love and marriage than physical attraction, I have to honestly say that I can see how it can be difficult for a spouse when their husband/wife goes through a drastic change in appearance. Especially when that change is unrelated to medical circumstances and is in fact something that can be controlled and/or changed. After all, physical attraction is one of the first ways two people connect. I am not saying this to defend or justify your husband’s behavior, just trying to get you to see where he might be frustrated.

That being said, I encourage you to sit down and talk with your husband about his feelings concerning your weight gain and any issues it may be causing in and out of the bedroom. Then share your own feelings. Let him know that you do want to lose the extra weight, and the obstacles that you feel are in your way.

Also, let him know that his insults hurt your feelings more than they motivate you to make any changes. Let him know that you need his support and not his insults. Maybe after having an honest conversation you and your husband can come up with a plan to get you back to where you want to be physically. Maybe he can handle the kids for awhile to give you an opportunity to have some time for yourself. This time could be spent walking or getting into an exercise regime. Maybe you and your husband could work out together or make it a family affair and go walking or bike riding.

But most of all you have to be honest with yourself because it is clear that you too are unhappy with your weight gain. Identify if there are other issues contributing to your weight gain. Decide if you are willing to put in the work to make the necessary changes. Then get moving. Many people struggle with their appearance and try to appease others, but they themselves are the ones unhappy. I encourage you to lose weight for yourself and for your own health.  Let your husband and children reap the benefits of you being the best you that you can be.

Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.