Gift buying can be especially treacherous if the love-of-your-life struggles with weight. You don't have to say it; she doesn't have to own it (yet). Let's just internally acknowledge it and buy accordingly.

Avoid clothing unless she specifically said she wanted THAT item in THAT size. Anything with a size will kill you. If you guessed too small, they won't fit - she'll cry. If you guessed too large, she thinks YOU think "she's that big" - she'll cry. If they fit, she'll still cry - now she can't deny the number.

Another land mine is anything fitness related - gift cards for training sessions, scales, treadmills, etc. I know this sounds obvious, but some of you guys still make the mistake!

She might have said, "I'm thinking about joining a gym," but don't fall for it. She might want a treadmill, but not as a Christmas present. I know. We are tricky.

Cookbooks, food magazines, baking utensils, cookware, appliances? Watch out. If she said things in passing about that stuff, tread lightly. She opens a salad spinner. You get accused of pushing salad on her because you think she's fat. She opens a juicer - fat. She opens new cookie sheets - careful here - she's trying to lose weight and THIS is how you support her? Fat.

What's a loving guy to do? Easy. Pay attention to something important to her - a hobby, a dream, secret aspiration. Buy her something that supports it. Does she dream of writing the all-American novel? A bound, blank notebook and nice pens. Does she love sewing, knitting, crochet? There are gadgets galore for that. Scrapbooking? Fashion? Photography? Engine repair? She dreams of something. Help her get there.

You might even help her discover her passion, and the weight eventually disappears - off her radar and off her body. Who knows?

• NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit

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