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Yeah…Immaeatthat

Jul 15

“Is your husband supportive of the way you are able to accept your body at any size?”

I got a question in the comment section that asked, “This may be too personal of a question, but is your husband supportive of the way you are able to accept your body at any size?”

A large part of what I want this blog to be is a documentation of a person’s life after they recover from their eating disorder. The journey of a person who continues to choose health and recovery, and reject a diet mentality, for the rest of her life. One doesn’t recover from disordered eating to a life of ease, so I thought this would be a good question to address. Also, I liked the realness and rawness of the question and I like writing a blog that is honest.

Andrew and I met in Calculus class in high school senior year. We went to separate colleges, me in Texas and him in Colorado, before moving back to where we grew up and getting married. We have now been married nearly 7 years and have two children. In that time there’s been many life changes and life stages we’ve gone through together.

(12 years ago!)

When I first considered this question, ultimately I felt that I have to feel good about how I’m taking care of myself and who I am regardless of what anyone else thinks, but since we don’t recover from disordered eating alone in a vacuum I thought this would make for an interesting conversation and helpful blog post. For the past few years, since recovering, I’ve reasoned and found comfort in that fact that if Andrew has an issue with my body size that is more of his issue than mine. My job is to take care of myself, not to choose a body size for myself. It’s an unreasonable ask to want someone to stop caring for themselves in an attempt to change their body.

Another thing that came up for me when I read the question and it said, “the way you are able to accept your body at any size” was that it’s not easy to accept myself at any size. It takes work and commitment to prioritizing health over aesthetics and a promise to listen to what my body is asking for and needing and giving it those things. I hypothesized that sometimes Andrew accepting fat on my body might be similar to me accepting fat on my body, in that it doesn’t come naturally, takes effort to do, and takes thought on priorities in our life.

So last Saturday afternoon I sat Andrew down and had a conversation with him about it. Well, I prepared questions so it was more of an interview I blindsided him with. I had mentioned the question to him when I got the comment and he’d said he’d be up for talking about it, but wasn’t expecting like a planned out interview. Here’s the transcript of our talk. The convo ended up being a bit too personal to share the audio, plus it involved 10 mins of a screaming child who was supposed to be taking a nap and a whining dog.

The conversation:

Kylie: Are you supportive of the way I work to accept my body at any size?
Andrew: (*laughs) Yes. I’m supportive of that. If you’re not accepting your body size you’re rejecting yourself. Why would you support someone in rejecting themselves? I accept your body.
Kylie: Do you wish it looked different?
Andrew: You’re already my wife.
Kylie: Yes, but if there was a body size you’re most attracted to it might not be mine.
Andrew: Sex and body appeal isn’t as important as stability and how you raise our kids and how we’re able to do that together and the unit we form.
Kylie: Do you feel like you or I need a particular body size to do all those things?
Andrew: It’s helpful to have functionality. Like doing bath time and being down on the ground for that, but that’s not a big thing because you can just do a shower or find another way or we could together shift what we’re doing as a family, so functionality isn’t everything either, but I think it’s a better focus than aesthetics.


Kylie: Okay, second question.
Andrew: Geez you prepared for this?
Kylie: Oh, yeah. You mentioned at one point thinking that since I was a runner I’d always be thin, but after being married to me for 7 years, what do you think now?
Andrew: As far as recalling that thought, I remember it being a passive thought, not an “oh, thank God” moment. I was also more interested in body size back then. When you get older and more mature and realize life has so many different facets and it’s much more important to be in a relationship with someone you like not on a physical basis, but because they are your partner to go through all the shit with and it doesn’t help if you like how they look and want to have sex with them because that doesn’t help you get through things.
Kylie: I feel like I’ve seen that in you too, like how you cared for your body in college to now stepping away from lifting weights as much since us having kids.
Andrew: Yeah, but even in college I never got bent out of shape about exercise or food. It was something to do. It never was who I was. I was a skinny kid and then I got some positive feedback with weight lifting and then continued it. As you know, I rotate through all my hobbies on a bi-annual basis and working out is just one of those hobbies that sometimes I enjoy more than other times.
Kylie: Like you always knew you’d be okay without a certain level of musculature.
Andrew: Yes.


Kylie: Next question. After I gave birth to Jojo I remember you seeming in awe of me and saying something along the lines of “that is what it means to be a woman?” You were pretty overwhelmed and I was half out of it. We had been up all night and I didn’t get an epidural with her and it was just a lot of an experience. I always really appreciated that statement because it was nothing to do with body size or getting an epidural or not, it was just about bringing forth life.
Andrew: Yeah that was a formative experience.
Kylie: In what ways?
Andrew: In the ways that it is. Childbirth is a formative experience. In what ways!!? In the way that you pushed a human out of your vagina!
Kylie: (*laughing.) Okay, okay. Do you feel like that shifted things for you? Like how my body looks and this body is built for more than just aesthetics.
Andrew: Yeah. Yes. This body is built for making milk and carrying babies around and growing babies, in addition to many other things of course, but talking specifically about babies and family life here, and those are things I value because I want the babies too, but you’re the one who’s body has to go through so much.


Kylie: There was a time after having Ella I was having a hard time feeling like this body was mine and you said something like…
Andrew: (*chuckles)
Kylie: …do you know what I’m about to say?
Andrew: No. I have no idea! How have you documented all these things? (*laughs.)
Kylie: Okay well welcome to my thoughts. You said “sometimes you’ve gotta get down with the thickness?” Do you remember saying that?
Andrew: Oh yeah, okay, I remember saying that.
Kylie: Why’d you say that?
Andrew: Because I feel like you look good. I was gonna say still good, but I don’t know if I need to say still…I’m still attracted to you. In some ways you look better to me. You know, it’s like Kanye says, “we like girls that ain’t on tv, because they have mo’ ass than the models.”
Kylie: (*laughs.) Thanks for that. Oh nothing quite like the wisdom of Kanye. It’d be the worst to work in fashion and not be able to find your natural body size and have to live in a full blown or, at least, a subclinical eating disorder for your entire life…but I digress.


Kylie: We also were talking recently about days I have bad body image days and how you support me in that. Do you remember what you were saying?
Andrew: Yeah. That you look the same. You don’t look different when you have good or bad body image days, you look the same. If I’m having a bad body image day and feeling bloated, soft and blobby…that gets me down, but what did I say? That gets me down, but like…
Kylie: …like how what my body looks like doesn’t make you feel bad and vice versa.
Andrew: Yeah. How we’re all just influencing ourselves. Our perception of our body only influences our day, not another person’s day.
Kylie: And we were also saying how we each think more about our body than the other person’s body. Which I think is true as I think about my body and have opinions on it way more than I think about and have opinions on your body.
Andrew: Yeah, I agree. I feel like that’s what you wanted me to say.
Kylie: Hmm, no that’s just the conclusion I’ve come to before we had this conversation. For the past several years that’s what I thought because this isn’t something we discuss on a regular basis, but I’d still be thinking about it. You’ve influenced and supported and been part of my recovery process for sure, but we’ve never really talked about what you think about the actual body changes.
Andrew: Is that the question? What do I think about the body changes?
Kylie: Yeah.
Andrew: I don’t know. It’s weird how I don’t really remember, like you were smaller generally, but I don’t remember a whole lot about your body from before.
(This progressed into a personal conversation about sex. I’d love to write a post on how body image can adversely affect sex within a marriage, but that’s for another post. If you are a Christian sex therapist and would be interested in collaborating on this post with me, please email me!)


Kylie: Do you feel like you have any expectations of where you want my body to end up?
Andrew: (*silence. makes grimace face)
Kylie: Do you feel like that’s a lose-lose question. Maybe not expectations, but hopes?
Andrew: Do you?
Kylie: I guess I’m curious to see if my body changes as I continue to take care of myself. Body changes like physically or functionally. I don’t know if I have hopes. I have curiosities if my belly does change, will it still be saggy. I feel like there’s still quite a bit of scar tissue from the stretch marks, I guess, so I wonder if that will ever change and the skin will be smooth again or if this is what it is. But I don’t feel like I need it to change to be loved by you or take care of the girls well. And I know I don’t need it to change to be healthy or more functional…I mean I would like my upper ab to rib connection to not hurt anymore. Anyways, I don’t need my belly to change to be more functional. And from what we talked about here it sounds like you’re okay with a prioritization of function over aesthetics.
Andrew: I guess the word expectation means there is going to be disappointment and there was a failure if it isn’t achieved, which I don’t agree with. I think it’s so good what you do and what other people do where body size is not the focus, where the focus is taking care of yourself and moving and doing the things you want to do to live a happy life.


Now this is just a conversation between me and my husband. Take it for what it is. The main goal in sharing this is that it may open up a conversation for you and your partner. We have a marriage…with love, acceptance, resentment, frustration, seasons of ease, seasons of stress, annoyance, and needing space. I love being married to Andrew and he is the greatest source of joy and safeness in my life. The only thing that I’ve found that makes the take-my-breath-away thought that our girls are going to grow up and move out and have their own lives separate from me less sting-like feeling is that they will get to find their Andrew. I want that joy for them. We don’t have everything figured out. There are times Andrew says the most perfect, supportive helpful thing…and other times where I’m like wtf that is not what I need at all right now…why would you say that to me?! Each person’s marriage is unique and we’re all imperfect people married to imperfect people. I hope you enjoyed this new post format as this isn’t something I’d done before!

Alright, and now an untimely photo of my new haircut, since some of you asked to see it! I got a lob and really like it. It helped out my curls a lot!

36 comments on ““Is your husband supportive of the way you are able to accept your body at any size?””

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot and I’ve started having conversations with my partner, but it’s so hard and vulnerable. 

  2. You are so generous with your posts and your sharing Kylie, thank you. Love the hair

  3. Thank you for sharing a very personal and vulnerable conversation.. there are so many great, wise and profound reflections on body image throughout. And a lot of conversation / focus on body image can be female-centered, so it is helpful to get a male perspective as well.

    One quote that I really resonated with is “he is the greatest source of joy and safeness” – I’ve always felt that “safety” is a really important part of a relationship, and is often overlooked, but my partner and I often refer to each other as “our safe space” in this crazy world.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I have a lot of conversations like this with my husband, mostly coming from fears related to my body changing over time. I say that because I have come very far in accepting my body, but I know that when children come along, there are going to be some significant changes. Like you, my husband says a lot of supportive things on the body image front…and I believe him. I’m grateful that he loves me for more than my appearance…and I need to remember that my insecurities have more to do with ME than with him, though I sometimes am tempted to project those insecurities onto him by fearing that he sees me the way I do on my bad body image days. (He doesn’t.)

    PS…your hair looks beautiful! It’s so fun to make a change.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this!!! I want to welcome a child hopefully next year if I am able, and I am working on accepting the body changes now. I already have developed a few more stretch marks last year without a significant change in my body size, so I know that if more form, I’d like to be at peace with that. I want to also know that my husband will be supportive. We’ve dated each other for 15 years, so to have gone from a 17 year old to now a 32 year old, a lot has changed and will change. We won’t stay the same. I love your hair!! I decided to grow out my pixie after almost seven years of wearing it, and I think a shaggy lob is my goal.

  6. Love this post! I used to have disordered eating patterns, and it’s been really enlightening having a partner that never went through that. Whenever I talked to my husband about food and body, he was always so perplexed about how complicated I made things. He’d just be like: eat the cookie, don’t go to the gym if you don’t want to, etc. I couldn’t believe it was so simple for him. Now that I’ve stopped having “food rules,” I think I’m a lot more fun in our relationship. Now we can be a lot more impulsive (well, post-covid at least) about food or going out to eat. I pay less attention to how my body looks and more about how it feels. I enjoy having more brain space for other things.

    • SO relatable – when I try to explain disordered thoughts or patterns my boyfriend is like… well just don’t do what you don’t want to do, just eat what you’d like??
      I’m thankful to be with someone who has never gone through it, and can’t even imagine what must run through his mind instead. He makes it seem so simple!

    • That shift from focusing on how I look to how I feel was so nice for me. Not always easy, but it worked wonders for me in the arena of body trust. Thanks for mentioning that and for commenting, Hilary!

    • Thank you so much for sharing such a personal conversation. You and Andrew are real relationship role models for me. (Obviously I don’t know your relationship, but that’s what it seems to me when I read your posts.)

  7. Man! Your blog is so real and open and vulnerable. Reading about real people in real relationships in real recovery soothed my soul today. Thank you for writing, and Andrew for being brave enough to let you share his thoughts, too!

  8. I love this post. Thank you and Andrew for sharing such a vulnerable conversation. It is very clear that you as a couple have had a lot of practice in difficult conversations and I think that is a skill we often are afraid to develop (or at least developing it earlier on in a relationship would save a lot of heartache and resentment and ‘undoing’ later on). I often remind myself that if I define my own value by physical appearance (anything from my weight to finding stray grey hairs on my head) I’m setting myself up for disappointment because my body will always change. Thank you again!

  9. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to be married to a critical spouse….we are blessed! ❤️ your hair!

  10. Wow I loved reading through this. My boyfriend has been so supportive through my recovery, and knowing that other couples talk about this stuff, and how to talk about it, is incredibly helpful. Thank you!!

  11. Loved this post, thank you for sharing! 

  12. Best post ever.  Incredibly moving, funny, authentic, and over and over I just thought, “YES!” when you spoke.  Thank you (and Andrew!!) so much for sharing and your willingness to be vulnerable about such a personal and sensitive topic.  

    And love the hair!!!

  13. I so appreciate how REAL you are on your blog. This was a beautiful conversation & I love your hair!

  14. This was really helpful! When I started this journey to live outside of the pressures of diet culture, my biggest hang up was if/how it would change my relationship with my husband. Thank you for sharing your unique perspective on this!

  15. This is an interesting topic! My husband has always been insanely supportive of my body, but I think a lot of that comes from him being a “bigger” person. He has never been “skinny” or the ideal body type and I think he knows what it means to feel insecure in a body. I feel like maybe a lot of men can’t relate to that type of thought process just because of the way our society is.

  16. Thank you for this post! It’s something I think about with some regularity and it was really helpful to read a candid conversation about it. My husband and I got married when I was 21. I was the thinnest I’ve ever been and was very proud of that. While I never had a diagnosed eating disorder and wasn’t clinically underweight, I had all sorts of disordered eating habits and wasn’t having periods. I gained weight once I got married thanks to a dramatic shift in lifestyle from single, stressed college student to happily married to a husband who expected me to eat normal quantities of normal foods and not exercise obsessively. The frustration of gaining weight and failed attempts to lose is is what led me to intuitive eating and your blog. While I’ve known that my health has improved from gaining weight and that my husband loves me unconditionally and is attracted to me, I’ve wondered if he misses my old body. I’ve asked him in passing about this before and he’s always said that he doesn’t, but your post has prompted me to want to have a more in depth conversation about it. Thank you for writing your blog. It’s helped me so much and I’m a happier, healthier person because of it. 

  17. I love this conversation and will be sharing it with my husband. I love when Andrew said “Our perception of our body only influences our day, not another person’s day.” That was powerful for me and reminds me that no one else cares about my body as much as I do. Thanks to both of you for sharing this.

    • Really enjoyed this post and getting your husband’s perspective! I’d be definitely interested in a sex/intimacy post relating to body changes and body image. :)

  18. This could have easily been a conversation between my husband and me. Thanks for that affirmation! My body is different from when we got together 18 years ago, and he tells me all the time that I look exactly the same. He never saw me as a certain weight or body shape, despite how I saw myself. And if someone’s husband does have those level of expectations, I would venture to say he is probably struggling with his own body image more than anything.

  19. This is such a great post. Thank you! Not exactly the point of the post but one of the things I appreciated is Andrew noting he rotates through all of his hobbies bi-annually (even if it was a joke!)…it really goes with HAES in my mind, like every version of your life will demand a different you. Every season will have different hobbies…and it’s all ok!

  20. This was such an insightful, refreshing and encouraging post! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I really appreciated the Kanye and ‘thickness’ references too haha I pray we all find ‘our Andrew’s someday.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this conversation with your husband! I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot, especially lately, and it was refreshing encouraging to hear both of your thoughts. Also, love your haircut! It looks fabulous :)

  22. Really appreciated this, Kylie. Thank you so much for sharing.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing! 

  24. Your authenticity is still so inspiring and I love your haircut. <3

  25. Thank you so much to you both for the honesty and vunerability! I started dating my husband our senior year of high school and now 10 years later I am 8 months pregnant with our first child. Needless to say my body has changed a ton and in the past it has been a huge insecurity I have brought to our relationship. Your blog has always so helpful and refreshing!

  26. Thanks for posting about this topic and sharing such a personal convo (I’d love a post on body image and sex after babies by the way!). After having a baby almost two years ago and with another one on the way, a lot things are different, including my body. When I find myself being unnecessarily hard on myself I always come back to your blog. It also helps me to “zoom out” and realize that BOTH our bodies have changed over the last 10 years. Although my husband an I are in a good state of health, we are never going to look like we did in our early 20s (and I’m not willing to take away good food I enjoy with my family, energy, and time to try to achieve that ideal). As we move into our mid 30s, of course our bodies have changed! I wonder if a lot of men also wonder how their wives feel about their body. Somehow I think women worry about it a lot more than men!

  27. Thank you and Andrew for sharing your thoughts and being so open! This post really encouraged me to keep talking about my body thoughts etc. with my partner (which is difficult sometimes and then I avoid it, but nothing good comes out of avoidance ;) ).

  28. This was one of my favorite blog posts I have ever read – by anyone! So deep, honest and raw. You can really see the depth of your marriage throughout – so cool and meaningful to read. You are both very lucky – cheers to you and body acceptance on most days :)

  29. Thank you so much for sharing this. Yes, if I thought bad body image days were hard when I was single, I had no idea how much harder it is with the added element of a partner. But yes,if your partner truly loves you and wants you to be happy and healthy, I feel like they will react in just the way Andrew did. With love and compassion and the acceptance that neither of you is or will be perfect, and that’s beautiful.
    And I would love a post on sex. <3

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