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I'm Wed To This Lifestyle- What About You?

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Monday, August 15, 2011

I love being married.

It's a beautiful commitment, one that helps sustain me each day. It brings me a purposeful and rewarding love, a husband who I know will be next to me every single morning to share our days and support me in everything.

After Paul and I recently celebrated our two-year anniversary (July 31), I got to thinking about commitment, and the relationship we've built and strengthened already in our married years. Being married is much different than dating; marriage changes everything.

Why? Well, those who are married know this of course, but it's all about the level of commitment and a lot to do with communication (and yes, lots of "little things" about each other to deal with daily).

So, why am I blathering on about marriage? I mean, today is just a Monday, and it's not Valentine's day or anything. The reason is that as I started thinking about marriage and what makes it awesome, even through the hard work of maintaining and strengthening our relationships, I realized there are a great number of similarities to the commitment of a healthy lifestyle. *cue "Aaaahhhhh" realization here*

Okay okay, hear me out.

We've all heard it time and time again here: "It's not a DIET, it's a LIFESTYLE." Okay, well, as a lifestyle, that means we have to be dang committed. [I'd compare a DIET to a one-night stand, or maybe a post-breakup fling. Something of the like.] So it's a lifestyle.

Most of us have spent a good amount of years "fluffing around" in the diet-dating pool. We've tried a LOT of different ways to lose weight, all of which proved unsuccessful. But now we're ready to commit, right? We've found "The Way" that works? So it's time.

We say our vows [goals] at the beginning. We lay them out and make a verbal and sometimes written commitment to ourselves to keep at it.

Then there's the honeymoon phase.

[This is the odd phase I never really understood and still struggle with sometimes in relation to being married. Maybe it's that my DH and I got married when things were so uncertain and scary in our lives. Maybe it's because we had literally no money. Maybe it's because we were young, and jobless, and terrified of what was next.]

A lot of people say the "honeymoon phase" is sugar-coated and easy. It's the part right at the beginning, where you are all coochy-coo mooshy-moo with each other. Well, let's say there is SOME of that. In our healthy lifestyle parallel, this would be the "YEAH, I'M GONNA DO THIS!" and "WOO HOO! I'M GETTING HEALTHY THIS TIME FOR GOOD!" motivation stages we all need at the start to get going. We feel awesome, charged, positive, and anxious for change.

But there are ugly parts to this phase, too.

Like, in a marriage, when you realize that your partner snores. Or that you are a mega bee-yatch in the morning for no good reason. Or you're finding out for the first time that it really sucks sharing everything with another person (including shower-hair). And you have no money, and no future plans.

In our health-journey, it's the ugly struggle of resisting your favorite cookies at the grocery store for the first time. It's learning that you ARE actually addicted to sugar and caffeine, so cutting back causes jitters. It's facing the uncomfortable realization that those five pounds you thought you gained since your last Dr. appointment were actually 15 pounds. It's when you try to run for the first time and wind up panting and heaving, bent over after two lame minutes.

The honeymoon phase causes mixed emotions.

As you get to know your spouse, things get easier, but aren't always easy. You ebb and flow with each other, have good days and bad days, but through it all, you understand that you've made a commitment to each other, and there's no breaking it.

You don't leave your spouse when he forgets to unload the dishwasher. You don't call it quits when you feel like you can't express your frustration without getting "Mr. Fix-It" to chirp in when you JUST DON'T WANNA HEAR IT. You pull through, and learn to relish those moments you have together when everything is perfect, and you're completely surrounded by love.

In your healthy lifestyle, you start to develop a routine. The jitters stop, and you find yourself running 10 minutes without dying! There are still hard days when you don't want to get up with your 5 am alarm to go exercise, but somehow you manage to roll outta bed anyway. You don't always eat perfectly, but you know that there is always a new day ahead to do better.

So.... you're coasting along... and then suddenly...

Your first real fight.

You spend the night sleeping apart, and begin to question everything. You wonder how you'll ever fix this major problem between you and your spouse, and what's going to happen if you can't? You cry, you get mad, you feel helpless and sad.

In health, your first plateau.

The scale won't budge. You're doing everything right (well, maybe not EVERYthing), but still, it's stopped! What's wrong? Did you fail? The self-doubt and frustration kicks in. You lose your motivation. You skip a workout or two, and eat a triple chocolate sundae.

............

Somehow, in marriage, most fights get worked out. Somehow, we get through it.

Because of commitment.

You made a commitment to your spouse. You're going to follow through.

Why then does it seem exponentially harder to follow through with healthy-lifestyle commitments?

All to often, we let a "fight" (a plateau) kill our commitment. Or, in my case, maybe it's boredom and lack of drive that kills it. When things get routine, and you've met your goals and done what you set out to do at first, it's easy for healthy-lifestyle maintenance to become boring and unsatisfying.

The important thing to realize is that our commitment is in our control. When my marriage gets boring, it's time to spice things up. What's causing this boredom, or what led to that fight? Trouble-shoot, regroup, and make a change.

Lately, my commitment to my healthy life has been low. I've spent time trouble-shooting, and I know a great deal of it has to do with emotional issues outside of my control, and my own lack of excitement in my routine. I often feel bored with maintenance, like there's nothing super great to look forward to (I say this even as I am training for my second half marathon this fall, and continuing to push myself with strength training and improvement).

But even though I don't always feel the butterflies in my stomach when I'm with Paul (like I used to while we were dating), and I certainly don't feel the thrill of success like I first did when I finish a 3 mile run, I choose to stick to my commitments.

Marriage isn't a walk in the park. And a walk in the park isn't always easy to commit to. Each day, we make efforts to sustain our marriages, and keep ourselves healthy, EVEN WHEN it may be easier to walk out or give up.

The rewards of a meaningful, healthy marriage FAR outweigh the challenges of the relationship. Likewise, the long-term rewards of a healthy lifestyle FAR OUTWEIGH the struggles we face each day to maintain it.

I am wed to this lifestyle.

And I make the choice each day to love it, through thick and thin. *hehe, wink* ;)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • TRI-TRI-AGAIN
    wonderful blog. Thank you.
    1864 days ago
  • YINETTV
    awesome
    1867 days ago
  • SATELLITEMIND
    This blog came up on my newsfeed and really hit close to home. I hope you don't mind if I add you? :)
    1868 days ago
  • PWILLIAMS7
    Loved It!
    1869 days ago
  • FIREFLYBRIDE
    Wow, that was a wonderful analogy! Thanks so much for your always inspiring blogs!
    1869 days ago
  • USAINI
    amazing analogy. Great thoughts
    1869 days ago
  • ROSEOFSHARON51
    emoticon I appreciated the analogy and you are a good writer as another poster mentioned. DH and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary this year and I can verify that a marriage that both work at can have it's highs,lows, and everything in between, but well worth the work of which both partners must put in. Now on the right diet side (I think Spark's is it) I have not been so faithful and committed, but your writings show me how it takes the same effort to make that work,so maybe I can this time. emoticon
    1869 days ago
  • SLAYINGDRAGONS
    perfect analogy! I guess after 5+ yrs with SP, I am wed to it too!
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    1869 days ago
  • SHADY36
    WOW. I LOVE this blog. It's absolutely perfect, and so nice to get a refreshing way of looking at the lifestyle changes we are all making. Thanks for the perspective!
    emoticon
    1869 days ago
  • CASMA72
    Awesome post! Very encouraging! It's all in the way you look at things.
    1870 days ago
  • JENGIB89
    Great analogy - you are a great writer, and I need to look at weight loss like that. I've been married for 19 years, and the things you wrote are right on.
    Thank you for sharing!!
    1870 days ago
  • XXEDRA
    Great blog!
    1870 days ago
  • SHAWFAN
    Great analogy! Thank you! I really enjoyed reading this!
    1870 days ago
  • THEFITNUTLIFE
    What an incredible blog and a great way to look at this lifestyle. Thanks for writing this, I loved reading it.
    1870 days ago
  • CMHARRISON12
    Thank you Whitney! My plateu is kicking my behind and I was really feeling discouraged. I feel a little more encouraged now. You are awesome, as always! emoticon emoticon
    1870 days ago
  • SHANDIEGO
    AMAZING blog!!!I have -commitment issues- hahaha maybe that's why I'm not married or at my goal yet. Anyway, thank you for such an outstanding read :) Makes me think!
    1870 days ago
  • HS1056
    This is a "Yeah, that's RIGHT!" kind of message for me. I can so relate to the struggles you share - both the healthy lifestyle and the marriage ones. I love thinking how they have so much in common. Going on 14 yrs of marriage we sure have had our trials and tests of how strong our commitment really is. I need to remember this blog during those tough times that challenge us in life. My question to myself will be "Am I truly deep-down committed to this?" There are so many nuggets here to dig for and contemplate. Thanks for sharing!
    1870 days ago
  • JIVANA108
    incredible analogy...great post
    1870 days ago
  • RIEELAINE
    Awesome analogy! Thank you so much!
    1870 days ago
  • EVA_AISLING
    Well-written! And I definitely get where you're coming from! Some things are too important, and make us too happy, to just give up!
    1870 days ago
  • MELPHILLIPS741
    ...Seeing as I am celebrating our 10 year anniversary tomorrow and am also celebrating a year since I joined SparkPeople after the birth of our child ( Which led to a 35 lb weight-loss that I have maintained for 5 Months so far) I find this blog COMPLETELY moving. I have read your blogs before, you are a very talented writer - Thanks so much for sharing!!!
    1870 days ago
  • EMFRAPPIER
    Awesome and very true blog! Love it!
    1870 days ago
  • HAPPYJENNI
    Thanks for taking the time to write this out for all of us. Brilliant idea!

    emoticon
    1870 days ago
  • CASSIOEPIA
    What a great way to look at a healthy life style. I loved reading this.
    1870 days ago
  • BIGSLINK
    My hubby and I just celebrated our first anniversary... on July 31 as well!!

    Such an awesome analogy. I've been getting to the unmotivated lull stage recently - my Spark went to embers, but never went out. It really is a huge commitment to stick with eating well, working out and being an active member of SparkPeople.

    Thanks for the eye-opening nudge and extra motivation. Just what I needed!!
    1870 days ago
  • ELISELA2011
    Great blog, wonderful analogy, I like it! I'm stuck on one of those plateaus right now, trying to keep going when you're disheartened is rough but I'll keep trying. Thanks for sharing this!
    1870 days ago
  • REENIE131
    Fantastic analogy. I'm going to remember it when things get tough.
    1870 days ago
  • CGARR442
    Wonderful perspective! A lot of your thoughts struck home with me. I have been trying to maintain my weight for over 2 years now and you are right it is hard to keep up the motivation. I just don't feel the same thrill I did while I was reaching my weight loss goals. I am also training for my second half marathon but it just wasn't as exciting as it was with the first so instead of giving up I signed up for my first full. I am hoping this "sparks" my excitement back (my fear is sure there).
    Thanks for giving me something to think about!
    1870 days ago
  • KRISITOKAZU
    Wow - great analogies! Very well said and a powerful observation that I am going to remember!
    1870 days ago
  • SKINNYPOWELL1
    emoticon blog. For better or for worse, we are in it for the long haul.
    1870 days ago
  • NANCYLRAGS
    Thanks for sharing that. Will check out fatloser.com.
    1870 days ago
  • EJRANVILLE
    Awesome, awesome, awesome post!

    Been married 12 years over here and still very much in love and committed. I remember my priest in our wedding homily warned us that "Marriage is hard work." She was right. But it is also so worth it.

    And so is committing to this healthy lifestyle! emoticon
    1870 days ago
  • BESEVEN
    Truly outstanding analogy. This may have changed my life.

    1870 days ago
  • FRUITYCHERRY
    Awesome perspective. I think I need to rekindle the spark.
    1870 days ago
  • JUST_ALICIA
    Wow, I am blown away! You really really put down some wonderful insights!
    Thank you
    emoticon
    1870 days ago
  • SKANESSA
    What a great perspective, hank you!
    1870 days ago
  • CHANGINGSAM
    I loved reading this! It really put things into perspective for me. I appreciate you sharing this!
    1870 days ago
  • MAGGIEROSEBOWL
    Great analogy! I only hope I am as married to this new lifestyle as I am married to hubby (41 years on Sept. 4)! I'm afraid staying by his side might be easier than maintenance is however. I struggle everyday with trying to keep the food intake down. It's hard when you're at your goal weight, to deprive yourself of those carbs you crave. I need to remember all the things I want to keep doing--going places with the family, looking good in my all new wardrobe, and NOW---TEACHING! First, I have to go to class though, and even that is something I would not have attempted at 328 pounds. Heck, I probably wouldn't even have fit into the desks in the classroom--that was always a fear in a classroom setting. What kind of desks would they have, would I fit? Plus I couldn't walk--so parking blocks away on campus, which is always the case, would have been impossible. I'm so excited about the new prospects and possibilities in my life--dreams rediscovered--hopefully these will be enough to keep me motivated. I sure love my hubby as much as I love my new lifestyle, gotta work hard to keep both of them HAPPY!
    1870 days ago
  • SPARKINGCASSIE
    Great blog! This is a wonderful analogy I can use!

    Spark On!
    1870 days ago
  • JBMT08
    this is FAB! Totally needed to read this today, and SO relatable to marriage in the general sense!
    1870 days ago
  • SODZILLA
    What a great blog! Sometimes we forget that you have to work hard for the things you want in life, whether a good marriage or good health. It's not always easy but it is so worth it. Thanks for the awesome reminder!
    1870 days ago
  • ANNE007
    Excellent blog! Very good analogy. I think it's important to realize that anything important requires commitment and won't be easy.

    Love the Fat Loser course (www.fatloser.com) - this guy talks about being committed to a goal and what it takes. You can use this in your personal and professional life as well as for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    Onward and upward! Very good work, Fit-Whit!
    1870 days ago
  • DWILCZKO
    awesome analogy!
    1870 days ago
  • TAMLKING
    What an awesome way to look at it! I love being married, both to my husband and to my healthy lifestyle.
    1870 days ago
  • YIGOBUTTERFLY
    Great ideas!

    Thanks,

    Jane on Guam
    1871 days ago
  • CATHGRACE5
    Wow! What a great analogy! Very helpful! And congratulations on your fitness success! I'm inspired!

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    1871 days ago
  • 1LATTE4ME
    What a great post.

    We're celebrating 17 years of marriage this year and it's amazing: at some point, even after the relationship push-pull, it just IS and you can't imagine it any other way. Am looking forward to getting there with my dietary habits, too!
    1871 days ago
  • RESOLUTE-MOOK
    I'm coming to the party a little late today, but wanted to compliment you on the post and congratulate you on the "Popular Blog Post" achievement. Nicely done, Whitney.

    =Mook=
    emoticon
    1871 days ago
  • VIRGOLGAL
    Love love love this post!!! I should bookmark it for my blue days.
    1871 days ago
  • KLS777
    What a great post, and a timely one to help me, I have been slacking terribly! Thanks
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1871 days ago
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