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(BananaStock/Getty Images/BananaStock RF)

I put my chubby hubby on a secret holiday diet Add to ...

Every day this week, David Eddie will be solving your holiday dilemmas. Read Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's questions.

The question

My husband finally had a physical and it turns out he's got high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I love the guy, but he doesn't see this as a wake-up call. So I've put him on a secret diet – surreptitiously cutting back on sodium, hiding treats, cooking more fish, etc. But now that it's the season of gluttony, he's onto me. He's stuffing his pie-hole with shortbread and basically going the opposite direction just to spite me.

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The answer

I’m like your husband, I’m afraid.

After years of stalling, I work up the courage to see the doctor, and he/she (I go so infrequently it’s always someone different) stares in disbelief at the blood-pressure numbers, then says something like: “Dave, you’ve got to make some changes.”

So I’m a good boy for a while: exercise, eat right, drink only water, and so on. But after a while I get bored of all that friggin’ brown rice, and at that point: Let The Great Backslide begin!

Viewed from a certain angle, my whole life has been a battle: brown rice and the gym vs. booze and burgers. Which will triumph?

It sounds like your husband has said to himself (spraying shortbread crumbs everywhere): “What the hell, I’m gonna pull the ripcord and just let myself go!”

Bad plan! He has to keep fighting the fight, even if it’s a losing battle

Still, you need to come clean about your “surreptitious” strategies. Too sneaky and underhanded, and they don’t seem to be working, anyway.

And it lets him off the hook too much. He’s your husband, not your son. He has to take responsibility for his own health.

But sometimes men have to be goosed, or even Tasered, into it. You have a few options:

You could tell him you love him and want his company and if he dies prematurely you’ll be furious. (My wife, Pam, practically threatens to dig me up and reanimate my corpse if I die prematurely from poor lifestyle choices, just so she can kill me all over again).

Or, if you have kids, you could explain to him how selfish he’s being. “They need a dad!”

These are perfectly valid options. But what’s the best, most powerful tool you can use to persuade a man to do something? Hint: It’s not money.

Right! Sex. Of course we men care about being dads. Of course we’re afraid of dying.

But these concerns just seem so … abstract next to sex. Convince your chunky monkey it’s not a good look for him to be waddling around with a spare tire, crumbs all over his shirt – that you and, therefore most other women, find it un-sexy.

That should get his attention. It’s tough, I know, but it’s your best bet to get him to put down the shortbread and pick up the brown rice and barbells.

Admittedly, it’s the holidays. So you can cut him some slack. But come the new year, explain to him (perhaps wearing your sexiest outfit), you want to see some changes – or “slack” is about all he’s going to get.

I've made a huge mistake

Have you created any damage that needs controlling? Send your dilemmas to damage@globeandmail.com. and include your hometown and a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

 

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