Well, of course, I couldn’t write the SDP if I didn’t have the support and patience of my dear husband. My buddy for more than 20 years and the frontline support for my own weight loss efforts (every single one, every time, several times a year), my attitude coach for workouts, and my chief sympathizer when stuff doesn’t work, he’s been with me and helping me all along the way.
He has endured the slow devolution of our regular mealtimes, my morning workout absences, the lack of snack substances in the house, and the time I devote to this post.
So, it had to happen.
He lost weight.
Poor baby, deprived of the food he loves, his regular mealtimes, inundated with propaganda, he had to try it.
And it worked. Well, he worked hard, got his blood sugar under control through a higher-protein, lower carb diet, and over the past several months he has dropped a significant amount of weight and several jeans sizes.
I thought that was pretty sensational, but at the beginning of the summer, he decided to take up running again. Equipped with new shoes after much cajoling (not understanding why he shouldn’t use the pair he ran in when I met him, in 1980. I’m betting they were already 10 years old), he’s getting out on the road nearly every day, and also playing a little tennis each week.
He’s fit, fabulous, feels better, sleeps better. Stomach aches and acid reflux are gone. He doesn’t snore any more. (Insists he never did, but I have tapes.)
And on Friday, he got the okay from his Dr. to try going off his blood pressure meds. (We’ll check his pressure every week or so, watching carefully, and will hop back on the meds if his pressure creeps up again, absolutely.) Right now we feel like celebrating.
And we are celebrating, with nuts and water, fish and salad.
We put on our weight together, earning our big bellies through bad eating habits, dangerous dieting techniques, and low-energy lifestyles. Our bodies’ difficulties in managing blood sugar helped make the situation even worse during the past several years.
There are moments when I miss our bellies. With my weak eyes, holding my husband 15-20 inches closer makes it much harder to focus on his sweet face. We both have hard edges to our hips and knees where there once was nothing but softness. He used to have a sizeable belly ledge upon which I could rest my head to watch the late shows, and where our cats used to curl up.
But when I miss anything about our old shapes, well HIS old shape, I remember that these changes mean we’re more likely to be together in this world longer and in a healthier state. He’s warded off stroke, dodged heart disease bullets, side-stepped diabetes by making these changes. I get to keep him longer.
And though now he hardly remembers how difficult it was, I recall he really didn’t have an easy time losing the weight. He’s a creature of old habits, and learning to eat differently at this stage of his game was/is hard. But he felt so much better so quickly, that after a couple of weeks of getting used to the idea, he found he could live this new way after all. It’s not really very difficult to learn to recognize and control carbs and calories. It’s just very out of the ordinary. But it’s logical to eat 5-6 tiny meals each day. We were not put on this planet with boxes of breakfast cereal coming up from the ground. We were made to graze.
He’s learned to snack on nuts instead of chips, choose protein smoothies over ice cream. Get moving. Not eat so much at night (still the hardest part for both of us).
So. My buddy. The Skinny Man. Lean and loving. I’m so pleased I could pop. But I won’t, because my blood pressure is low now too.
Dieting together can be hard. It’s too easy to stop dieting together. It’s harder for one person to be the rock when you’re both feeling weak. I think somehow it worked out better that he took this up after I had lost my weight. We focused on my weight loss when it was my turn, and his when it was his turn. Each of us taking responsibility for our own decision to lose weight, and asking the other for help when we needed it.
Maintaining together is a vast improvement over trying to maintain alone. By eating the same foods in the same ways, and exploring new recipies together, it feels much the way it did when we first started out, finding out our likes and dislikes all over again.
How about you and yours? Is there a significant other whose health could improve through an overhaul of diet or exercise programs, or both? A buddy or friend who is just starting now? Be encouraging but not overbearing. Share what you’ve learned, point out resources. Invest in new shoes. Celebrate successes.
Here’s hoping you and yours have more time together as a result.
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