Sunday, November 08, 2009
If you were to ask my husband to name a few of the highlights in his life, he would be most likely to mention 2 things:
The first being that football tackle he made in high school -- you know the one. The one that almost won the game that time.
The second would be the after effects of the first time he tried Kashi. "Man Honey, you had to be there. Cory family record"! Somehow, I feel grateful I wasn't there...
If you continue to stare at him long enough, he might be pressed to add "Oh yeah, the birth of my kids and of course when I married Joanne".
I don't tell you about these things to make my husband sound like an insensitive fool. When it comes to foot in mouth, he has no trouble with that on his own. He's a male. That being said, I'm not trying to bash the whole male population either. But the species male are different creatures from the species female -- ask any woman who co-habitates with one.
It is said that when she becomes pregnant, a woman starts eating for two. I actually think that starts when she first moves into the same living space with a husband or male significant other. He's in the mood for pizza and beer. You go eat pizza and beer. He doesn't like eggs -- you can't remember the last time you had a slice of quiche. The freezer that used to hold frozen blueberries and frozen yogurt now houses buffalo wings and fudgesicles.
When you do start having kids the "eating for" number increases. I found myself eating for five. I think my oldest son's first word was "McDonalds"! My middle child refused to eat anything that touched an onion. My daughter, the sweet child, the compliant child, inherited her father's love of chocolate.
I figured out early on that being the parent -- the adult, by rights gave me some control over the content of my children's diet. I strived to strike a balance and cater to some tastes while encouraging healthy choices. That lasted until the teen years when a driver's license and an after school job bought them more freedom of choice.
But the husband. That was a different story. First there is the whole king of the castle thing. Isn't the home a man's sanctuary. The place where he can kick off his shoes and enjoy life. Make rude bodily noises and nobody chastises him? Eat greasy popcorn and wipe his hands on his jeans -- better than the couch -- unless he yells "Honey, bring me a napkin" first?
And why not? He works hard and brings home a paycheck that pays for the groceries.
And just like a DJ scratching the record -- ERRRRRRNT the thought hit me....
Wait a minute. I work too! I not only contribute financially to the grocery cart, I put them in the cart, purchase them, load them in the car, carry them in the house, put them away, AND cook them. For the stay at home mothers and homemakers, except for the official paycheck, I bet you do all that too. That's not to say my husband won't ever go to the grocery store with me and help. He loves to go. It's his chance to make a date with his mistress--
Little Debbie. Sometimes it's easier AND cheaper to go by myself.
So I wondered. Is it easier for me to complain to my friends and Weight Watcher group that it's so hard to diet when I get no support??? To make him my ultimate excuse for not taking responsibility for my own choices? The last of my children left the nest for college and marriage so it was just my husband and me. I decided to have the heart to heart talk with him and find out really just how supportive he would be if I really made up my mind to get busy and get the weight off.
I started out with the worst thing a woman can say to her husband and get taken seriously.
"Dear, do you think I'm fat"? Appropriately he assumed that deer in the headlights look and replied that line he summoned out of his testosterone memory bank:
"It doesn't matter - I love you no matter what you weigh".
Hmm - let me restart this conversation....
My husband actually was very receptive to my plan to lose weight and get healthy. No, he wouldn't promise to always do it with me. He wasn't at that level of commitment. But at his near normal weight, he didn't need to be. He did agree to eat whatever I cooked and not complain. He agreed that joining a gym was a good idea and didn't mind eating supper a little later so I could go right after work. He even volunteered to start dinner if I had a recipe available.
True to his word, he did what he could to help. He ate at healthier restaurants with me, he kept his stash of candy bars and Little Debbie cakes in the back of the cupboard out of sight and tried not to eat them in front of me. He tried new foods willingly , although I caught him once poking around the layers of a casserole with his fork -- checking for hidden black beans.
It wasn't always easy. Change. Radical change can be difficult -- almost threatening. As I mentioned in prior blogs, when I lost weight I literally transformed myself. I got contacts, changed my hair, stopped dressing dowdy. With the new look and cute figure, the male attention paid to me increased ten fold. I didn't put two and two together until my husband started backsliding on his prior fantastic support.
The complaints started: "Chicken again? Don't we eat beef in this house anymore?" "I think you're becoming obsessional about all this weight loss stuff!" "You're spending too much time at the gym, don't you think?"
When I met one of my husbands co-workers, Scott, for the first time, he purred, "Jim, your wife is beautiful!" What does my husband say? "Joanne"? I swatted him and replied "Noooo, he means YOUR OTHER WIFE apparently". Later, in an attempt to smooth the damage, my husband admitted to a certain jealousy. Something he had NEVER been prone to. Never needed to. Oh for goodness sake, I told him. Get a grip! Scott is married -- to Michael!
Finally he admitted the whole idea of a thin, pretty wife scared the heck out of him. He didn't know quite how to cope. I reminded him that he married a young, thin, pretty woman. She just came back. Yeah, but he was young then too, and thinner, AND with hair. He worried there were Greek god looking guys at the gym on the prowl. I wasn't wearing my wedding ring because I had waited until I got to my goal and stayed there a little while before having it sized down. The jeweler had said the last time they couldn't keep changing it without thinning the band too much and risk breaking it. That un-nerved him. After reminding him that I loved him with or without a full head of hair, I invited him to join the Y with me and check it out for himself. He did and went a few times -- long enough to discover that the only Greek god look-a-likes were young enough to be our son. After 2 months of non participation, I took him back off the membership and his foray into the jealousy arena seemed to fade away.
We still have our ups and downs. I'm still changing along my road to self discovery and the psychological impact of it surprises me let alone the innocent bystander - my husband. But he's trying. I took him with me a few weeks ago to shop for a new bathing suit appropriate for swimming lessons -- my latest venture. I had to explain to him that the tannkini from Victoria's Secret that I already owned wouldn't work because the built in "miracle bra" would only serve as a flotation device and Hello! I'm suppose to swim, not float! I found a nice suit that was black with a white panel in the center of the front. Thinking the vertical lines and black sides would look slimming, I opened the dressing room door. Ta Da! What did he think?
He blurted out "You look like a penguin"! I stared at him silently for a full minute before slowly shutting the door in his face. Recovering, I hear him shout over the door, "A THIN penquin! A down right skinny penguin! A definitely HOT looking penguin -- wait do penguins get hot?"...
Yeah, he's trying...