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Wife wont exercise or eat better. What can I do?

bcpryo73 Member Posts: 2
edited August 2022 in Working on Your Fitness

Hi everyone! My wife was diagnosed with triple negative stage 2A breast cancer in February. She completed chemo followed by a bilateral mastectomy without any major side effects or decrease in quality of life. After surgery, which confirmed the cancer was not in her lymph nodes, she was done with treatment and cleared to return to daily life.

I feel like she (and I) have been given a second chance to clean up our less-than-ideal habits and do everything we can--while enjoying our lives--to decrease the chance of a recurrence (and to decrease our chances of any other cancer diagnoses). I have taken steps to eat better and to exercise more while still making room for an occasional indulgence. But she will not exercise at all or stop eating fast food almost daily.

I adore my wife. She is my ideal complement, my better half. I cannot imagine life without her. I fear that she is not doing enough to decrease her chances of a recurrence. We often argue about this. She tells me she wants to do better, but in the end she doesn't. And, she has no excuses: We are financially stable and can afford nutritious meals and exercise equipment. We have no work, child care, or elder care responsibilities that would keep her from having the time to exercise. And, I do all meal planning and prepping (she refuses to participate in these), so all she has to do is eat the meals prepared for her.

I am at a loss as to how to motivate her to follow her doctors' admonishments that she lead a healthier lifestyle. And, I would love input from those of you who might have faced a similar dilemma, especially from the perspective of the patient/survivor. What can I do to encourage my wife to do more to prevent a recurrence?


  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,932
    edited January 2021

    My advice is BACK OFF. Do not try to manage your wife (or anyone else unless they are your employee). You may claim to adore your wife, but you are treating her like property. She went through a totally crap situation during the worst possible year to have a medical issue, and now you want her to follow your orders to do what YOU've decided for her? No. Just no. If she wants to live on Twinkies for a while, she can be the damn Twinkie Queen of the Universe and she does not need your permission or disapproval.

  • ninetwelve
    ninetwelve Member Posts: 328
    edited January 2021

    You can't make her take care of herself. All you can do is continue your healthy ways. If she wants to join you, she will. Read up on codependency to make sure you are not trying to get inside her head to make her change. Don't humor her bad eating habits, don't mock them, don't try to bribe her or tease her. Stop commenting on them. She already knows how you feel.

    Don't let this poison your feelings for her. Enjoy your time with her. She might come around to enjoying your cooking and joining you for an evening stroll if you stop putting pressure on her to change.

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited January 2021

    I will be very honest with you. You can't.

    Men always want to '“fix" things because it gives them some semblance of a feeling of control. I understand you love your wife very much and want her to continue to be with you. Here's the thing, you are not her daddy. You just joined here, so you have no idea of how many thin, fit, healthy eating marathon runners are members here and got cancer anyway. If you wan't to ruin your marriage, keep trying to shame her in to being perfect enough to not get cancer again. It is no different than people who think they can “fix" alcoholics or fat people. You will do nothing but cause her to intensely resent you. She is an adult. If she feels the need to make changes, she wil She needs to do that on her own instead of because she feels she is being guilted into it.

    For the record, there is no perfect. There are equally valid studies showing that vegetarian or vegan diets and high fat keto or low carb diets could be of benefit. There is no magic bullet

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited January 2021

    We spend a lot of time here reassuring women who agonize over every tiny detail of their lives that it is not their fault they got cancer and that, for the most part it is just the crappy luck of the draw. Essentially, after a hellish year, you are telling her it is her own damn fault she got cancer and you are going to fix her. .

  • bcpryo73
    bcpryo73 Member Posts: 2
    edited January 2021

    I just want to dispel a few misunderstandings and a few erroneous conclusions.

    First, I am not a man. I am not trying to fix anyone because I am a man. My wife and I are both females.

    Second, I am not trying to be in control, nor am I codependent. I am not treating her like property or ordering her around. She is free to drive to McDonald's as many times as she wants. She is free to not use our elliptical. She is free to drink all the Coca Cola.

    Third, I am fully aware that even if my wife made every possible positive change the cancer could come back. Which is why my message repeatedly refers to reducing the chance of a recurrence.

    I would welcome any messages from any breast cancer survivors or caregivers who have faced a similar situation and were able to find any strategies that helped their loved ones make better choices. Or even if you found there was nothing you could do, feel free to post that as well.

    If you are going to post to criticize me or reach conclusions about my gender, intents, or actions, please refrain from posting.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,626
    edited January 2021

    I agree with all that's been said. While it seems clear that you love your wife, you maternal attitude will accomplish little to nothing.

    I am not overweight, eat a healthy diet 90% of the time and am physically active. I was still diagnosed with stage IV bc. My sister, who lived a totally “clean" lifestyle since college, developed a uterine sarcoma and passed away within four months of her diagnosis. Now, I am not suggesting that exercise and nutrition are not important but they guarantee nothing. My younger dd took on the role of nutrition enforcer when I was first dx'ed. She had the best of loving intentions but it was not her job to “manage" my lifestyle and we just ended up arguing, a lot! I still eat healthy 90% of the time and if an “bad" food provides brief comfort or pleasure, I am fine with that. BTW, after my daughter realized that I get to make choices about my life and health and I, as an adult, do not need an authority figure to manage me. I am happy to report that our relationship is fine now! Although my situation with my daughter is not the same as yours, there are some similarities and the solution, particularly in terms of our maintaining a good relationship, was for her to just back off.

    Your heart is in a good place but pushing what you believe to be the correct path will only create stress and tension. Keep cooking and doing what you think is healthy for you but understand that you cannot and should not manage another adults life

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,681
    edited January 2021

    You are coming from a place of love, which is always a good thing. Often when we come across as lecturing, those we want to change will either consciously, or unconsciously, dig in their heels. My advice is to continue on your healthy lifestyle improvements and invite her (with no lectures) to join in. Since you do the cooking, that part should be easy, but find yummy new recipes that are both healthy AND taste good. As far as exercise goes, park a little further out if you are going someplace, invite her along if you go for a walk, find some places that would be interesting to explore (we have found that state parks are awesome & uncrowded, especially during the week). With Covid restrictions it may not be the time to join a gym or take an in-person exercise class, but if you are a 'class' person, they are a fun way to get exercise and socialize both. There are also Zoom exercise classes, all sorts of exercises on utube etc., start doing some yourself and maybe she will join you (maybe not, as you know you can't make anyone do anything). Get a Fitbit or another exercise/step tracking device for yourself. Maybe if you have one and use it, she will get curious and want one too. If she is just recently done with treatment, it's good to keep in mind that she will need time to sort out all that has happened, and it take time to heal both physically and physiologically. When you are done with treatment, it doesn't mean you are done with cancer. Would coming to BCO be something that she would want to do? And/or is there a local cancer support group she would be willing to be a part of. It really, really does help to talk to people who have been through the same experience. Have you ever thought of getting a dog? A dog a wonderful source of companionship, comfort, fun and they MAKE you exercise! All my best to you both.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,626
    edited January 2021


    I read your post after I wrote my previous post. Yes, some assumptions were made, which often happens when all of the facts are not apparent. Thank you for filling in the blanks. Regardless, most of what was posted still rings true. The bottom line is that you can’t do much, if anything, to make people change their lifestyle habits. Only they can do that. Setting a good example is helpful, but pushing it can be destructive to to your relationship (see my previous post re: relationship with my dd). Please support her with what she needs and wants. Some folks do make decisions to change nutrition and exercise habits but some don’t.

  • illimae
    illimae Member Posts: 5,505
    edited January 2021

    bcpryo, it’s absolutely true that too much encouragement, regardless of how gentle it is will often be interpreted as nagging, which gets you nowhere, however, I’ve found the following helpful when trying to support healthier habits with friends and family who ask or clearly want to make changes.

    1. Identify favorite meals and tweak them slightly at first to make them healthier but still delicious. I do this by swapping potatoes for mashed or roasted cauliflower but do not overhaul an entire meal, this is best done gradually.

    2. Keep desserts and treats but have better easy options, like a batch of fruit salad, that’s quick, easy and readily available.

    3. Use her fast food favorites as inspiration for takeout at home, like a burger night or make your own pizza night. In this way, she may enjoy participating in the cooking and prep or want to add some healthier toppings. The point here is not necessarily to sacrifice flavor but to make home cooked meals more fun and appealing.

    4. If the subject of exercise comes up, see if she’d be interested in a “Wednesday night walk”, this requires very little commitment from her and would be an easy 1st step.

    Final note, she is likely experiencing emotions that you can’t imagine and the worry alone is enough to cause anger, depression and grief. Just because a doctor says you can get back to normal doesn’t make it so. She may need more time to find her footing. There is no such thing as normal after cancer, people can adapt well and some very quickly but it’s always there and it’s a mindfuck.

    Good luck and be prepared to be very patient.

  • MEM127
    MEM127 Member Posts: 18
    edited January 2021

    I am just starting on this path, so I don't have any practical advice to add. But, I could tell from your original post that you love your wife very much and just want to help, after a year of likely feeling very powerless to help her feel any better. I'm so glad she is on the road to recovery and has you with her. The cancer plus a pandemic has even the most energetic of us feeling more lethargic. So just continue what you are doing, try hard not to suggest stuff (which you know she will take as nagging even if it's not meant that way!), and I bet once the weather improves and the pandemic restrictions lift, you both will want to get out the house more. Personally, I love fast food, I'd take McDonalds any day of the week. Maybe start by expanding the takeout rotation, add in a few sandwich places vs the drive thru. Make it less of a whole "lifestyle" change and more meeting her where she is at. Good luck!

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
    edited January 2021

    MEM127 just made a comment about feeling powerless. Your wife, very likely, feels even more powerless than you do. For the last year she gave over control to both cancer and her medical team. They told her what to do, and she did it. What choice did she have?

    Now she has you telling her what to do. Whether or not you are phrasing things as commands or directives, she may read them that way. When does she get to assert control over what she does? When does she get to assert control over her body? Those are 2 things she had NONE of last year. So what does she have now? She has control. She gets to decide what she eats and whether she exercises. YAY her!! Let her. PLEASE LET HER be in control, without interference. She deserves it.

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited January 2021

    I am a person who, like you, bcpyro73, believes in doing what I can to be healthy. And yet I have times when I am so very tired of doing what I am supposed to do and just want to rebel and surf the internet all day while I eat the whole bag of chocolates. It's like a protest against how unfair cancer is. As others have noted, your wife has been through a tough time of doing all sorts of yucky things she was supposed to do. Maybe after a break she will find herself wanting to improve her lifestyle. If/when she does, baby steps! Even with all the motivation in the world, it can take time to make changes. When first diagnosed, I started with a goal of walking maybe twice a week, and gradually increased from there. I tweaked my (already pretty good) shopping, menu planning, and diet over the course of months.

    People want to believe that they can do things to keep cancer away. While there are indeed helpful things that may give us a few more points, the appalling truth is that cancer is random and evil. And our futures are uncertain. So instead of focusing on diet and exercise quite so much, I say focus on living in today and getting all the joy you can. I have family members who won't pay attention to some basic healthy behaviors, which worries and frustrates me. I've had to let go and simply enjoy these people and hope some influence that is not me will nudge them to do better.

    By the way, I notice that diet is often a focus, but exercise has more data to back it up.

    Saying a person can prevent recurrence implies maybe they could have prevented it in the first place, which can seem like victim-blaming. It is not that simple, which I know you know.

    You have been though a trauma too, and I wish you peace!

  • buttonsmachine
    buttonsmachine Member Posts: 339
    edited January 2021

    bcpyro73, I can offer a slightly different perspective on this. I understand that you are coming from a place of caring about your wife, however, I want to caution you about the "tyranny of positivity" and the "illusion of control" that can sometimes follow people after a cancer diagnosis.

    What do I mean? There can be an attitude, that if you are healthy enough, well adjusted enough, mindful enough, happy enough, etc., etc., etc., that somehow you can outrun cancer. The reality is that there are many people who do everything right, but still get cancer and still have recurrences.

    My advice about lifestyle factors is this: just do your best and don't worry. It may or may not change anything, but don't let it add to your stress or take away from your happiness.

  • navy1305
    navy1305 Member Posts: 6
    edited January 2021


    I have a lot of trouble communicating at work so my boss recommended that I check out the book "Crucial Conversations". The information in that book has been really helpful to me for being able to get people to buy in to my ideas rather than me just coming off as confrontational when that was totally not my intention at all. Maybe you could try reading it and use the information to help you with your situation with your wife. She is very lucky to have you as a life partner because you obviously are very concerned about her. I don't want to assume anything, but I was wondering if you have considered if she might be depressed? Being depressed makes it very difficult for people to be motivated. I don't know if you have considered this possibility, but it might be worth asking your wife if she would be open to talking to a psychologist/other licensed therapist and/or seeking help from a psychiatrist if that is in fact a problem for her.

    Before I had breast cancer, I was pretty fat (worst was ~209 lbs on a 5' 4" frame), but since around July 2019 I have managed to lose about 30-35 lbs so far. Obviously I am still working on my weight, but I didn't gain it all overnight so I am not concerned that it's not coming off overnight. The important thing is that I am making progress and not beating myself up over any perceived "failures" in the weight loss department.

    One of the things I learned from my oncologist is that estrogen is naturally produced by your body from fat cells. I see that your wife's cancer was triple negative, so the fat to estrogen thing is probably less of a thing in your situation, but just wanted to mention it anyways.

  • elainetherese
    elainetherese Member Posts: 1,624
    edited January 2021

    Hi bcpyro73!

    As someone who is trying to change her eating/exercising practices, I'll say that you're already being a big help to your wife. You are setting an example. I know that might not feel like much, but it is. After I finished chemo in 2014, I was prescribed Aromasin + Zoladex, which are designed to suck the estrogen out of my body. (My cancer was fed by estrogen.) Since I started this regimen, I have gained 20 pounds! It's been very discouraging.

    In the past five years, my husband has made significant changes to his diet and he looks awesome (even though he's nine years older than me). (He's always been a champion exerciser.) In the past two years or so, I've been trying to follow his example. I eat a salad for lunch and try to eat more veggies throughout the day. I exercise more, and have cut back on my drinking. I'm still not close to losing that 20 pounds, but I feel better. I've also started making meals with less meat and more veggies -- he seems to enjoy them more.

    Don't give up on your wife; maybe, just be a bit more subtle.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,932
    edited January 2021

    After I had a lumpectomy and radiation, plus surgery for another cancer the same year, I gained quite a bit of weight because to me, every meal was a celebration and I wanted to savor it all. I eventually got past that and I've been losing weight in the last several months. Give your wife time to do what she needs for herself and get past the mental recovery time, however long it takes for her. We're all different.

    BTW, I did not misgender you in my first post. My husband was very supportive and non-judgmental throughout, including my weight gain after the physical medical crap was over. It was my sister who implied I'd brought disease on myself due to what she thought were bad choices - just because they were not her choices.

  • redkitty815
    redkitty815 Member Posts: 18
    edited January 2021

    I didn’t have a very good lifestyle before my diagnosis. I drank a LOT of wine and ate a lot of cheese, pasta and yes, frequent fast food. I am just over 5’11” and weighed 210 lbs. I have made a number lifestyle changes and lost just over 30 lbs, which is a healthy BMI. My husband has done a few things that have been hugely supportive: 1) we walk to town to get coffee a few times a week. It’s a lovely way for us to spend an hour together and I get a latte in the deal, 2) He’s started experimenting in the kitchen and with what he will eat. You sound like you already eat healthy, but one of my biggest struggles was trying to find healthy things my whole family would eat so having him be more adventurous is great and 3) He backs off when I need him to. Some nights, I want a glass of wine or a burger and if he made a stink, I would be resentful.

    I also did a survivorship class and have an ongoing group that was led by my oncologist and based on the principles set forth by Beth Frates. You may want to check out some of her workbooks and videos. My group shares ideas and cheers each other on, but we’re all in different places in our wellness practices. As others have said, you can’t want this more than your wife does so she needs to come to a place where she wants to change in her own time. For now, maybe just ask her what she needs from you and how you can best support her.

  • Sherry2019
    Sherry2019 Member Posts: 7
    edited January 2021

    I want to know anyone same like me, since chemo and surgery I was not eating healthy sometimes I even eat fast food especially when I was tired to cook during my current target therapy , my husband is a caregiver, he helped me with our child , cleaning stuffs and etc but he said he can't help me with cooking because he hate cooking so much, ,he never cooked in his entire life so I understand anyone is same as me, eating not that healthy sometimes?

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
    edited January 2021

    bcpryo, I had a great lifestyle before this cancer dx--truly. Very clean eating, work out hard 6 days a week etc. etc. etc. Didn't matter. I still got dx'd with breast cancer.

    I'm incredibly sympathetic to where you are and what you want to do. I have the same urge only toward my husband. I had to shut up and back off for years before he decided on his own and in his own time that hey, now's the time to make a permanent change. And he did. But I was prepared for him never to do that.

    Good luck with you and your wife, truly. I hope even if she doesn't make the lifestyle changes you mentioned that you do <3

  • JMM1216
    JMM1216 Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2021

    I haven’t been diagnosed and hope that I don’t, but I had an abnormal mammogram in December and just had my biopsy done on Thursday so I’ve had plenty of time to research and think while I’m playing this waiting game. I decided to make better choices during the pandemic and following a good diet and exercise, I lost 40 lbs. Fast forward to 12/21, my abnormal mammogram, and I’ve gained 12 lbs in leas than a month. Call it stress, emotional eating, you name it. I’m fully aware that if I am diagnosed eating like this is not going to help, but my mind is not there. My mind wants to eat my problems and concerns. As simple as that. She just went through a horrible experience and while you were there with her and lived through it with her, I don’t think is the same and sounds like you know that. I think she’ll get there, give her time and continue loving her. Also, I think eating better and exercise makes the BC journey, and life in general better and easier, but form what I’ve read doesn’t necessarily avoid BC but I could be wrong. Good luck!

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,681
    edited January 2021

    Sherry, I often don't eat healthy; luckily I like to exercise and rarely miss a day. The biggest non-medical thing we can do to lower the risk of recurrence is exercise. Plus muscle weighs more than fat so you will look and feel better, and be healthier, whatever your weight is. There is a fun thread on this Forum called 'Lets Post Our Daily Exercise'; both edj3 and I post there often. Come join us if you want some exercise buddies!

  • rollercoaster451
    rollercoaster451 Member Posts: 9
    edited January 2021

    First of all, its obvious you love your wife and you are posting out of concern and love. I would be doing the same exact thing if it were my husband. I understand!! My advice is to be really subtle about it and not push her at all but instead create a super healthful environment where the easiest choice is to be healthy. The last thing you want to do is make this a thing where only her life needs to change because she got cancer. I"m sure you wouldn't do this but you don't want to make it feel like it's punishment. Sorry you got cancer so you can't have a donut but I can. You can be really subtle about this and start small. Try one new thing each week that you both do. You have to be 100% in as well. One thing to try is a nightly or morning walk that you can do together. Maybe try the intermittent fasting diet where you give your body a 12 - 16 hour rest between meals. It's super easy to do and you can see great results quickly. You can also just start as small as replacing soda with Lacroix or incorporate a salad into each meal. I find that I have more success with small changes that I can stick to.Good luck to both of you!!

  • WC3
    WC3 Member Posts: 658
    edited January 2021

    Hi bcpryo73:

    I'm a convential exercise person. I like going to the gym and doing my routine, and walking for the sake of walking, but some people are not. But exercise can come in different forms. I realize it might be difficult due to the pandemic but maybe your wife will be more agreeable to exercise if it's framed as outings to places that require walking around, or activities.

  • 2019whatayear
    2019whatayear Member Posts: 463
    edited January 2021

    The thing is that she could do all sorts of diet and exercise and still wind up with a recurrence. There is no proven path to avoid future cancer. What you can do-- what you have control over is to work on yourself. I would say if you have not already considered it, consider therapy for yourself to work through the fears of losing your wife because what I am seeing as an outsider is your fears of losing her are being projected onto her and her choices. She has been through the shit and you have had to sit and watch it. So much trauma for both of you.

    I honestly think you owe to yourself to talk to a mental health professional to work through your anxieties and fears.

    As someone who is married, I only have so much bandwidth to deal with my spouse's fears. I can't carry that weight along with w/my own anxieties and fears about cancer coming back. Your spouse may feel like this and it may be fueling some of the resistance to your suggestions.

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited January 2021

    OP, I'm gonna be the person to encourage you to keep trying, but in different ways. I agree you can't make anyone do it, but you can help and I do think it's worth it.

    No, there are no guarantees. But exercise, normal BMI, and possibly green tea, are linked to lower recurrence risk for triple negs. I started a thread on this myself before my metastatic recurrence.

    Now some will point to me and say see, it didn't work! But the fact that there are some who do everything right and still develop disease doesn't mean there aren't modifiable risk factors..

    So anyway. I think what you're doing is important. I think you need to reconsider your approach. And in the end, she might make different choices and you'll have to accept that but you'll know you did what you could.

    I think this might be something to explore with a therapist.

  • norcals
    norcals Member Posts: 206
    edited January 2021

    Hi Bcpryo73.

    I was diagnosed with stage 3c Triple Negative breast cancer in June 2019. It was tough getting through chemo, surgery, radiation, then more chemo. I understand where you’re coming from because my significant other and I are afraid that I will get a recurrence. Pretty much every doctor we’ve dealt with assume that I will have a recurrence, so I know that the fear can be a constant in the relationship. For those dealing with triple negative, it doesn’t feel like you can exhale until that five year mark. For me, it helps to take daily walks together. It’s become a very relaxing activity. I don’t even think of it as exercise anymore and wewalk several miles a day every day. It’s just become “quality time” for us. As for our diet, we are on a very low carb diet. We don’t always eat the same thing, but we always eat our dinner together. When we plan out our meals, especially during the weekend, we tend to eat healthier. If you’re very stressed about the exercise and food choices, it may be too much for her to handle right now. If you can convince your wife to start out slow with exercise, i.e. walk around the block together, she may actually enjoy it. As for her diet, it’s really difficult to change her diet if she doesn’t want to. I think the fact that you’re eating healthier may influence her choices later if she decides to change her diet, but it doesn’t sound like she’s at a point where she wants to make that change.

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,540
    edited January 2021

    2019whatayear said it far more eloquently than I was trying to do last night, before I deleted my response. When treatment ends and both the patient and carer are dumped out the other side, there can be a lot of desire to put that structure and control into life that the medical establishment provided. It comes up often on here.

    Furthermore, because there are no guarantees, its easy to throw in the towel and figure well, what difference does it make? But cancer isn't necessarily the only evil out there - there are benefits for a range of things including heart disease, or keeping a strong body so in case something does happen then the body has the strength to carry through. I try to keep those aspects in mind, to keep the louder voice of "well, you were working out 4 times a week on top of walking 2 hours a day and here you are, so who cares - let it go"

    Finally - rollercoaster had a good point about intermittent fasting. Losing weight is very difficult for me - I can't just exercise a few times a week and it falls off. It has to be a coordinated effort of significant calorie and food restriction on top of exercise. Its tough and miserable and I tossed that out the window this first year to focus on being able to walk again and regaining my strength and not catching covid. However, intermittent fasting is something I CAN do and it has worked quite well, helping me to take off a few pounds rather easily. The only rule is don't eat between 7pm and noon, but within the eating window I let myself have what I want. Soon enough the cookies looked less appealing, because I knew they weren't forbidden, I could have them when I wanted. Slowly portion sizes got smaller too, and I found myself ensuring a supply of cut up vegetables in the fridge (labelled so they are in my face). Those types of baby steps are a lot easier to manage and change behavior for the long term than massive life overhaul.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,932
    edited January 2021


    I've been doing the intermittent fasting, which my primary doctor recommended. She said just 12 hours, so if I stop eating at 9 p.m., I can have breakfast at 9 a.m. I started last June, and even not sticking to it religiously, I've lost almost 25 pounds, my blood pressure has gone down, and my A1c, which had crept up, is down nearly a full point. I don't think I could do the more restrictive version you're on. I haven't really eliminated any foods, still enjoying desserts and chocolate and everything else, just not late at night.

  • badger
    badger Member Posts: 24,938
    edited January 2021

    Hi bcpyro73, you've gotten some great suggestions about little nudges so I won't repeat them. Being the non-diagnosed partner is hard. ((hugs))

  • Yuuki
    Yuuki Member Posts: 17
    edited February 2021


    Wow. A lot of emotion here and some good advice as well. Having been through this twice with the same husband in 20 years, and keeping in mind that you and I are strangers: just a few suggestions.

    First, no one knows either of you better than you know each other, so keep that in mind on these boards. This is a good and very supportive group and everyone is trying to be helpful, but we all bring our own experiences to this and some of it won't bear on either you or your wife.

    Second...realize that our minds process information in a way that makes us feel the most secure. The first time I was diagnosed, I understood right away that some tough decisions had to be made, but it was a far lighter case. The second time, it took me quite literally months to admit to myself I was even ill and things were going to change, a lot. It may be that the first step for your wife is coming to terms with something awful having happened in her life. She is probably still a bit numb on some levels, perhaps many. There is comfort in routine and habits, even bad ones. The most important thing is to help her understand you are there for her no matter what happens, and that you will get the support you need so she can lean on you. Trust me on this one - it's pure gold.

    Third, sixteen years elapsed between my first diagnosis and my second. When the second one came I was in the best shape of my life and following a healthy diet. Of course you feel better when you eat well and you're fit, but it's not a magic bullet. The change won't come from fear of recurrence, and it shouldn't. It should be driven by wanting to feel better, and it will come from her when she's ready. Good for you for being willing to support her because, beware - it may become a passion (think 10-hour a week gym habit).

    Lastly, there are nutritionists who work with oncology patients who can help with small changes. Go to see onewith her for the “free" advice (ie, what can you do to make some changes for yourself) but let the nutritionist give the guidance. It takes the pressure off you. Then, lead by example. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

    Your wife is lucky to have your support. All the best to both of you,