ALEX PRAGER, artist and filmmaker whose intriguing, voyeuristic photographs are sought-after by collectors and the likes of Vogue, W, and The New York Times. Her work resides in the collections of the Whitney, LACMA, and MOMA; and has been exhibited in some of the world’s leading galleries. Her film series Touch of Evil, commissioned by The New York Times Magazine, won a 2012 Emmy award.
My wife has gained quite a bit of weight in the last few years since we have been married. I never would want to make her feel bad about it… what would be the best way to approach this in a way that is helpful and caring and not shaming? – Anonymous
I think first and foremost it’s important to remember that people come in all different shapes and sizes, which is a beautiful thing. And our bodies change over the course of our lives. Maybe we were rail thin as a teenager and got curvier or bigger with age and hormones. To me, diet and exercise are something to focus on to ensure you’re healthy inside and out, and not solely for vanity sake. Also who’s to say what makes someone feel beautiful? Health is always the top priority.
Typically when you’re in a couple you tend to have similar habits, so it’s always great to exercise for yourself with the added benefit of setting an example! I know I personally can’t just sit on my ass and watch my husband as he does his boxing. I feel compelled in those moments to call a friend to go play tennis with me, or go hiking—anything to not feel like I’m doing nothing, as he always looks brighter and happier after he works out; it reminds me that I, too, want that feeling.
If this is about health, an easy fix is cooking healthy and keeping whole foods around the house, maybe even starting an organic backyard garden. We started one at our house at the beginning of Covid and the amount of delicious healthy meals we’ve made with the food we grow is so invigorating. It makes us feel not only healthy, but also gives us an understanding of exactly what’s in our food, which is always better for keeping healthy. If you eat out you’re almost guaranteed to be eating 10-15 extra ingredients and preservatives your meal doesn’t need.
If you can’t grow your own food, then starting conversations with farmers at the farmers market to get more in touch with how your food is grown is a great alternative; and it’s helped us set up an innate urge to eat healthier. Increasing your understanding up in that area can make it more interesting and more fun. We also subscribe to a couple CSA produce box delivery services. Anyway, this is a long way of saying don’t make it about the weight gain because that’s the superficial part, and if there’s a real urge there to make your wife thinner just for the sake of it then maybe there’s something else that you need to address before you start heckling her about a few pounds.