T Nation

Overcoming the Proximity Bias

OK, folks got a question for ya. My wife, who just had our first child (YAAAY!) a few weeks ago is talking about needing to get back into shape. I desperately want to help her. The problem is the dreaded proximity bias- whenever we worked out together before, she would get very upset at me when I would try to correct her form, or when I was trying to get her to do things (like pullups) because she would get so discouraged that she could barely do one. I know it would be like that all over again if I tried this time around.

Her diet is also a debacle. I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s supposed to eat (just eat what I do, honey), but would rather eat some processed carb-in-a-box like Rice-A-Roni than vegetables with our steak and chicken because “it tastes better”

I recognize that only SHE can make these decisions, and I’m far from someone who is going to sit and monitor every thing that goes in her mouth, and get upset when she doesn’t work out. I only want to HELP, because I know she is down in the dumps about how she looks. Other than printing out all things T-Vixen related, and offering support, what else can I do? I’m actually contemplating (shudder) finding a personal trainer for her to teach her how to do a good squat or deadlift, and more importantly, explain WHY she should do those. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea where to try to find someone like that though. Anyone have any ideas about any of this? Thanks so much in advance for your help!

I know exactly what you mean. Except the problem I have is with my dad. He’s extremely overweight and has asked me a few times to help him with his diet and exercise. Every time I tried to help him, it has pretty much failed. Two times I have gotten him to lose around 50 pounds, but he gained it back both times. I don’t know if it’s because I’m his son(youngest at that), but he doesn’t seem to listen to my advise. We usually end up in an argument or something. I think it has a lot to do with the desire of the other person that you are trying to train. If they want it, then they can achieve it.

I’ve got the same problem with all my family members. Hopefully when I become an R.D., it will change.

Not all trainers are bad and that will solve the proximity problem.

If she just had a baby then she has carb needs, there’s energy to be passed on. Incidentally, she’ll be doing more lifting than you in a day in the course of mothering. It’s hard work as I’m sure you know. Perhaps you should wait until she knows what she wants to do and then carefully volunteer your knowledge for exercise.

Diet on the other hand is easier to dial in and will lead to tremendous gains.

You can never be a prophet in your own town. Try to bring in a 3rd party expert who your wife will respect. They just need to hear it from a stranger instead of you.

Strange phenomenon!

"I know it would be like that all over again if I tried this time around.

Her diet is also a debacle. I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s supposed to eat…"

It sounds to me as if you don’t have much faith in your wife if you’re already convinced things aren’t going to change. Try showing a little more faith in her and maybe her attitude will change.

And, why does she get mad at you when you try to correct her form and suggest she do pullups? Yes, it can be very discouraging for a woman to attempt pullups but you can spot her, have her do negatives to build her strength, or use a Gravitron-type assistance machine if your gym has one.

Forget about a personal trainer. Most of them are dildos.

Ultimately, you’re correct: the motivation must come from within herself. And the motivation to change her eating habits and train hard will happen only when she hates her body enough. And nothing reshapes a woman’s body like hard training.

Good luck.

Here’s my advice for both of you… Don’t expect them to be a fanatic despite the fact that you may be. You’re expecting amazing results while the average person isn’t. They’re not going to work out as hard as you do and they’re not going to watch every thing that goes in their mouth. They don’t have to get the job done to their satisfactiong. Give them a diet plan that is manageable for the average person. Same with a workout plan. Something that the average person will enjoy and be able to stick to.

TrenchDawg speaks wisely.

Thanks for the advice, you guys. Pretty much along the lines of what I figured. MD, I’m not sure WHY she gets so upset. And believe me, I’m being as non-judgmental and nice as possible when I try to help. Who knows. I know she needs to eat differently while breast feeding, so I’m not at all trying to preach how to eat during this time, I’m just looking down the road a bit.

Anyway, I’m hoping all the T-Vixen articles will help. I’d love to avoid the trainer as much as possible- aside from the fact that many are lost in space, the fact that I would have to pay someone to say and do the same things I would just sticks in my ass. Thanks everyone!

I am sure the Vixens here in the forum would be able to help in some way.

Have your wife send me a PM.
I had two babies in a two year time frame and waited too long to get my act together. I wish I had someone that cared enough to lend me a hand…someone that had been there, done that.

and an FYI for the men that only want to help by teaching their wives/GF anything…women are usually not receptive to help or instruction from our partners if at any time in the past they have ridiculed us …or the possiblity of being ridiculed, made to feel stupid exists. You might not even be aware that you are doing it, but one wrong word spoken in the wrong tone and an insecure woman can be crushed.

Your wife is very vulnerable now and quite understandably self conscious regarding the changes in her body. I am sure you know this…but be sure to reinforce her self esteem by complimenting her as often as you can…find something…anything. Thanking her for giving you a healthy beautiful baby and telling her what a great mother she is would be a perfect start.

I am happy that you are willing to be by her side when she is finally ready for you to be there. I remember asking my EX to run with me when I first started getting back into shape and his response was: “Why?, you would never be able to keep up with me.” I know you are MUCH smarter than this.

Again, I am willing to help if she would like.

Congrats on that baby. Enjoy each and every minute.

Thanks, Iron Maiden. I too would be interested to hear from some T-Vixens on what I can do to help/encourage/etc. in the best manner…