My girlfriend of 5 years went through a rough patch a few months ago and she used food as a source of comfort. She has put on a lot of weight and I really feel like I am not physically attracted to her anymore. How do I get her to workout and drop the extra pounds? She seems comfortable as she is and I’m afraid that she will just keep getting fatter.

The scenario above is fiction, but it’s a very real situation for many men at least at some point in their relationship.


Guys can feel shallow or pretty low for caring about this, and may not talk about the issue with anyone because it’s taboo. But the truth is that males are visual creatures, so naturally place a lot of emphasis on the way their partner looks.

Most guys will push the issue to the back of their mind and just try to deal with it internally, because of society’s pressure to focus on the person that’s within. However, if you don’t address something that’s bothering you, it can balloon to be a real problem, and even destroy your relationship.

So what do you do when your partner starts to put on some weight and you are not as physically attracted to them because of it? If it’s impacting your intimate life, it needs to be addressed.

Here are some practical tips for how to do it the correct way, written by a female.

Have Realistic Expectations

The average girlfriend or wife is not a supermodel. She may never have the body of a supermodel, even if she works out 10 hours a day. It may also not be realistic to expect your partner to be unhealthily thin (please realize that many models seen in advertising may actually be quite underweight, which is also unhealthy).

Not every woman can look like this. It’s not our fault.

It’s important to realize this, and where appropriate, cut your partner some slack.

If you’re in a somewhat healthy relationship, you are with her for the person she is, not just her body. And if you plan on growing older with this person, it’s inevitable that the body is going to age (and grow less attractive).

Hey, it will happen to you too, buddy. So give her some leeway where it’s due and don’t expect her to have the same body she did when you met forever.

Focus on Aspects You Do Like

If a waning physical attraction is the problem, then practice focusing and appreciating aspects of her body that you do like.

I don’t care how overweight she might be, there’s always bound to be at least some small feature that you can enjoy, like her eyes, her hair, her smile, or her skin, for example.

Compliment her constantly and sincerely on these qualities – it will make her feel attractive and appreciated. If she’s anything like me, that in itself will inspire her to try and make her body awesome for you to enjoy.

So how do you really inspire someone to work out or eat better so that they can drop that extra weight?

There are a few things that you might be able to do to help your partner, but the first thing you must realize is that….

You Cannot Make Someone Change If They Don’t Want To

They have to want to make the change themselves, otherwise they won’t stick to it or do what is necessary to make the change happen. Even the best of intentions cannot be forced.

However, there are two tools you can use to motivate someone:

  1. Pain (negative reinforcement)
  2. Pleasure (positive reinforcement)

Your goal here is to subtly help your partner associate pain to being overweight and not taking care of her body, while at the same time associate massive pleasure to exercising, eating well and being fit and healthy.

The problem is that most people associate pain to losing weight. Let’s face it: exercise may not be fun, and dieting is an obvious form of torture. Only when the perceived pain of these two activities is less than the perceived pain of being fat and unhealthy will your girl change her actions.

Sometimes we get caught up in unhealthy pleasurable activities (regular couch potato cornchip eating) which can lead to painful situations (being overweight).

With this fundamental concept in mind, let’s take a look at some practical steps you can do that may help your partner want to change:

Do’s and Don’t For Supporting Your Partner to Change


  • Treat her with respect

She’s a person, and just because she may have put on a few pounds doesn’t mean she deserves any less respect. Treat her as well as you did when you first got together. It will make her self-esteem soar and be more receptive to making changes to improve herself for you.


  • Focus on health, not aesthetics

Exercise and eat well because it makes you feel good and your body healthier (Of course, the pleasant side effect is often looking good as well!). If you only workout for the sole purpose of looking good, you’ve already lost. Time stops for no-one; your body will eventually age.



  • Work on your own health/fitness

This is a form of practicing what you preach. You can’t expect her to look great for you if you yourself have let yourself go over the years. If she sees you working on your own health and fitness, it can often inspire her to do the same for herself.


  • Use positive reinforcement

Complement her often. Praise her when she eats well, or does a workout – but be sincere. Some examples might be: ‘I love the way you look in that dress‘, ‘You look hot today!‘, ‘I can’t believe you ran 2 miles, that’s more that I could!‘, ‘You’re so good at saying no to chocolate!‘, ‘Your butt looks amazing in those jeans‘.


  • Change your eating habits – together     

Dieting sucks, but making small changes in your grocery choices can make a big difference. Don’t pig out and expect her to just eat a salad – you’re in this together. Stock the fridge and pantry with only healthy foods. Try cooking together. As a female, I love getting help from my man in the kitchen, and you can both create a healthy meal together instead of getting greasy takeaway.


  • Suggest joint commitments/activities/goals

If you yourself could stand to lose some weight, then why not try setting common goals? Have a joint commitment to exercise a set amount of times during the week. Or find an activity that she enjoys and commit to doing it with her, like swing or salsa dancing. It may seem a little out of your comfort zone, but chicks dig guys who can dance.




  • Continually bring up the topic

Only talk about the issue once (and only then if you think it will actually be constructive). No one likes a nagger, and continuously hinting that she’s overweight will make her feel lousy and be counterproductive getting her motivated to look good.


  • Buy her exercise equipment

Don’t make this mistake, unless she has specifically requested some equipment and you know for a fact that she wants it. Gifting her a thighmaster is like the equivalent of saying ‘you’re a fat pig and need to exercise‘ (in her mind, anyway).


  • Use negative reinforcement

Don’t tell her she’s fat. Don’t point out how she’s become unattractive or let herself go. If she does try to eat healthy, don’t make her feel bad if she has a bad day and binges on junk food. Ignore all the things she’s doing wrong and only use praise (positive reinforcement).


  • Try to make her jealous

This is a huge no-no. Don’t put up posters of scantily clad bikini models, or let her catch you looking at other more attractive women. Don’t talk about how hot chicks at the gym are.


  • Guilt trip her

Avoid comments like ‘you used to be really hot‘ and the like. Don’t say things like ‘I find it hard to be motivated to look good for you‘. Reverse psychology rarely works in this situation.


  • Erode her self esteem

A woman with a crumbled self-esteem is not going to want to try and be healthy, she’s going to want to turn to food or other unhealthy habits to seek comfort. Never make her feel bad, it’s not conducive to your end goals of improving her health. Don’t let her ‘accidentally’ stumble upon you reading articles like this.



  • Give her an ultimatum

Trying to shock her into action doesn’t typically work, or if it does, it’s a temporary fix at best. An ultimatum of ‘if you don’t do something about your weight it’s over‘ is risky, so don’t say something like this unless you really mean it. This would have to be an absolute last resort, used only after you have tried everything but really can’t deal with the issues at hand.

To Bring It Up, Or Not?

Many guys are not sure about if they should blatantly try to talk about the issue at hand with their woman in a logical way.

My advice here is to remember that females aren’t always the most logical creatures ;), so tread with extreme caution. It will depend on your partner’s personality, how sensitive they are about the issue, and your precise wording and even past actions that she might have drawn some un-implied meaning from about how you feel about her body.

My suggestion is to try implementing some of the Do’s and Don’ts before you breach the topic. Who knows, she may change on her own from these! However, if you try these and it’s still not working, then it may be a good time to sit down and have a chat.

Do yourself a favor and don’t mention words like ‘overweight’, ‘not attractive’, etc. Keep the discussion purely related to the health aspects of the issue. If you’ve both gotten a little plump, make it about both of you – tell her you need to improve your own health and you’d like help/support and would appreciate if she joined you on the journey.

If she blows up or it doesn’t end well then don’t breach the topic again. Just keep trying to implement the Do’s and Don’ts, and remember that she will only change when the pain she experiences from being overweight and unhealthy outweighs the pain of exercising and eating right.


You can’t force someone to change, but you can help them to adjust their pain/pleasure drivers so that they make healthy choices and are more inclined to work out and eat well.

There is a right way and a wrong way to go about trying to get your partner to work out more.

Positive reinforcement is always the key, as is knowing how to approach the subject in the right way. Making your girlfriend or wife feel bad about her body is rarely going to give a good result.

Above all, remember to be realistic. It’s not fair to expect someone to always be beautiful forever, and just because your partner starts working out doesn’t mean she’ll automatically look like a model. Focus on the benefits of being healthy rather than the aesthetics.


If you’ve found yourself in this situation before, please drop me a comment below! As a female, I’d be happy to answer any questions that I can.

How To Get Your Girlfriend/Wife To Workout: Tips From A Female

8 thoughts on “How To Get Your Girlfriend/Wife To Workout: Tips From A Female

  • September 30, 2015 at 4:51 am

    This is a great article for men to read who want to help their wife or girlfriend lose weight without eroding her self esteem or giving her an ultimatum. Positive reinforcement is the key. It also goes for the reverse too – if your husband or boyfriend has been putting on the pounds, wives and girlfriends also need to be encouraging. Develop a workout plan together and become a team in the exercise regimen. The two of you can work together on losing weight. Go the gym together and start eating healthy together. It will strengthen the bond and you both will begin to look and feel great.

    • September 30, 2015 at 11:17 am

      Thanks for the feedback Steph, I hope I’ve got it right here! I agree that it works the opposite way for women trying to convince their men to get fitter. There might be slight differences in the way you can approach a male, but the underlying concepts are the same.

  • September 30, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Hi Jolie

    Haha no wonder this is such a great article! I see at the bottom of the article you are a woman :)

    When I first saw the topic of your article I got annoyed already so this reallyis a touchy subject isn’t it. It triggered my bad vibes mode big time.

    Then when you said women are not the most logical creatures I started giggling.

    This is well written, covers everything in a great way and I think your points are spot on!

    Any man that wants to get his lady to lose a little must read this and take note every word here. We are very sensitive creatures and when it comes to any aspect of our bodies, tread carefully because it is a risky business.

    • September 30, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hi Lynne, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m very glad that you agree with the points given :)

      I agree that it is totally a very sensitive topic, but can also feel a little sorry for the guys that have to put up with our funny moods sometimes. I think it really is true that the majority males do think differently than females. They tend to be a lot more logical and not driven by emotional thinking, so I hope this article helps anyone in this situation.

  • September 30, 2015 at 10:20 am


    I really like your post, it has a lot of methods I could use to get my girlfriend to workout with me in the future.

    As someone who advocates barbell training, how can I get my girlfriend to follow my routine.

    Also, what are your thoughts on females doing weight lifting exercises.

    • September 30, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Hey Ryan,

      I honestly think weight lifting is the best way for a female to get into shape! If you can get your girlfriend lifting with you that’s awesome. She will probably see more drastic results, faster, in her physique by lifting heavy than doing cardio or other low-intensity work like yoga etc.

      The question is how to get her interested. Some women can be a bit scared of lifting heavy weights because they feel they might become overly muscly (never really going to happen to the average woman, due to naturally having a lower amount of testosterone). Perhaps you could point out that gaining muscle improves your metabolism, allowing you to eat more freely without gaining weight.

      You’d probably need to test the waters by seeing if she has any interest in barbell training. Try to point out the fun aspects of it, tell her why you enjoy it and see if she shows any interest. Mention if there are already a few female lifters at the gym so she knows it’s fair game for both sexes.

      However, I’d suggest looking at a more female-friendly routine for her. Not sure about your routine, but guys tend to focus on the upper body, whereas females like to work more on lower body (legs and butt). If you do get her interested in lifting, she might like the routines in Strong Curves as they are specifically designed for female bodies. Good luck!

  • October 25, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    WOW! I’m totally blown away by this piece Jollie. I think this is by far one of your best articles thus far. It is so well written, factual and highlights so many salient points that women who are trying to loose weight may face. Although the article doesn’t directly resonate with myself I know countless women who have gained a few unwanted pounds (post pregnancy) and felt their partner took the wrong approach to aid their weight loss journey. The women I encountered said they felt were body shamed and filled with emotions of guilt for “loosing control of their weight”. For health reasons alone I think it is extremely important to be proactive and eat healthy, however I do appreciate how arduous that can be at times.

    • October 29, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks for the lovely feedback Charlene! I’m so glad to hear this feedback, so thank you for taking the time to comment :)

      Definitely agree with focusing on the health reasons – and I think your blog recipes definitely help with making healthy food choices here!


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