Spouses' Weight Loss Journeys
Monday, January 28, 2013
I'm feeling sad for my husband Steve this morning, who has also always struggled with his weight. Both of us have gone through ups and downs in our 20 years of marriage- sometimes he does really well with his nutrition and fitness, sometimes I do and sometimes, when it's really great, we are both on board at the same time. Right now it's me who is in that "right" place, I guess you'd call it.
When it's me that's feeling motivated, I struggle with how to interact with Steve. He has a tendency to want me to really give him a hard time- kind of drill sergeant: "Come on! Stop being a baby- you can do this!" Like that. Sometimes that works. Right now, though, because of a lot of things that have happened to him professionally, he's got a bit of a broken spirit and can't seem to get motivated to start taking care of himself. I'm at a bit of a loss.
I have to admit too that there are times when I am "getting on the band wagon" that I have less patience with him about not taking care of himself. This is distinctly different from what I said above- me acting the drill sergeant with him can be what HE needs, not necessarily how I feel. What I'm talking about is how I sometimes feel- I start thinking, "why can't he get a handle on this?' I just think- come on! Get with the program- we need to do this together! I am quite sure he can feel my disapproval and, when I reflect on it, that pains me the most to admit- that on top of all the self-loathing he already feels, the last thing he needs is that from me.
I know from my own experience that until I get to that place where the motivation comes from within, there's NOBODY that can force it down my throat. It's really arrogance when it comes down to it- my own arrogance, "Oh, I've got this." Well, guess what? It might behoove me to stop and reflect how that arrogance gets thrown back in my own face when I'm the one that relapses. Which leads me to the next thought on spouses and weight loss... when I'm the one not motivated.
There was a time about 8 years ago when Steve lost about 50 lbs. He was running all the time and I, if it was possible, had a new husband. He was the thinnest and most fit he'd ever been our entire marriage. And I was the most afraid and insecure I'd ever been about our relationship. Now, I want to point out he has never done anything to justify my fear- this was all my own imaginings.
And unfortunately, for a long time throughout his journey, his own motivation had the complete opposite affect on me. I didn't want to eat well, I didn't want to exercise. It was a complete mind game I was playing in my head. I was afraid his weight would get lower than mine (he's only 5'4" to my 5'2", so not a difficult thing to do). A husband who weighs less than his wife?? How embarrassing. I started to resent him, but couldn't find it in myself to look inside.
The thing we have to watch out for with any loved one that's in a different place is how not to sabotage the other's journey to wellness, and this can be hard. Just realizing the differences in where Steve and I are here in the last 3 weeks and going through the process of exploring my feelings about it, PARTICULARLY knowing I'm committing to this journey longterm this time, I'm much more connected to my deep love and compassion for him. This has also helped me realize the compassion I have for anyone going through this journey. I see that my role is to keep myself well and moving forward on my own journey and to also be a stand and and opening for others to step onto the ride with me WHEN THEY ARE READY.
It's hard to explain, but there are people that I have come across in my life who, just being around them, without them saying a word, would just be an opening for me to be a better person- to take that scary step I might otherwise not have taken had they not been in my life. Who they are is love and compassion and standing for you to be the best person you could ever be; being with them has you doing things you never imagined you could do because they stand for you living your hopes and dreams- they see you more than you ever imagined yourself to be. That's who I am committing myself to be for Steve and for anyone I come across, not matter what their journey.
Love to all.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
I feel your frustration and I am happy to see you take time to reflect on your own feelings and how this impacts your journey. You have already taken the hard steps to a better you! I wish you and your husband the best and will keep you forward in my heart.
1456 days ago
Collaborating and uplifting one another is an important aspect of our health journey. Sometimes one or the other lags in motivation, but we should always strive to be supportive and understanding because promoting each others health is something we all desire. Good luck!
1457 days ago
I agree and understand your frustration. I believe that you can only work on yourself and hope others are inspired by you and don't try to sabotize you. At least when you feel good about yourself, you can be a better wife/friend and more understanding. He may not get on track due his own "issues" but hopefully this won't derail you from the hard work it takes to keep youself healthy (mind, body, spirit). And SP is a great place to get the kudos you deserve!
1457 days ago
I loved this blog, and can so relate on many different levels. Stand strong, and continue to be the best you can be, because if you're anything like us, sooner or later, the hubby is going to kick his own behind back into gear, get back into running, eating healthy, reach all his goals, and leave you shaking your head, as to "what was that!"
1457 days ago
ASTRA- I am a perfectionist for sure, so that may be part of what's going on. Such a great point about being more forgiving of others. It's unbelievable to me when I really stop and think about how we do that to both our loved ones and ourselves, and how much pain it causes for everyone involved. Always something to be aware of.
Dave- it's so great to get a guy's perspective! No, we definitely can't make you do anything you don't want to. It's just hard when you see someone you love hurting. I definitely don't make comments like, "Are you sure you want to eat that ___". I know how it feels when someone says that to me and it typically leads me to either literally or figuratively flip them off and eat MORE. .
SKIRNIR- you hit the nail on the head, that I just need to continue doing what I know is right for me without making judgements about him (or anyone else) OR worse, feeling like my healthy habits are making him feel bad (or making me feel distant from him), so I therefore fall back into my old unhealthy habits (as warped as that sounds).
Just have to keep on keeping on.
1457 days ago
What a great blog. I so agree that you have to be strong for yourself and a good role model, but you can't make him make healthy and good choices. You have to choose for yourself, and put the right foods and things in the house to encourage him and that is about all you can do.
Oh, and when it comes to a man weighing less than their wife. That will be my lot until the day I die. I lost 50 pounds about 2 years ago and am 5 foot 3 and 120 lbs. My husband is 5 foot 9 and about 118 on a heavy day. My son is 5 foot 6 and maybe 110 at age 15. So I have lost 50 pounds and still weigh the most in the house, even though I am by far the shortest! They can eat whatever they want and never seem to gain weight. While I, have to watch what I eat constantly in order to keep it off, which I am determined to do.
1457 days ago
Your hubby sounds like me. Us guys will NOT do things about our weight when friends and family encourage. It is demeaning regardless of how nice. Personally, I have been told many times to just "walk" or eat a little less. These are insults to somebody that has weight to lose. You are spot on when you said "...to also be a stand and and opening for others to step onto the ride with me WHEN THEY ARE READY. "
The key is ready here. We have to begin on our terms with our own initiative so we can own it ourselves. Be supportive but even little comments like "Do you really want that cake" can kill a plan and is an esteem builder. I don't know you or Steve, but I bet he's gonna try and lose his weight again sometime soon as long as you are silent about it and let him find his way. Try it.
My family and friends shut up and finally I had a long talk with myself and I'm here 2 weeks and lost and have changed.
Best to you and Steve,
1457 days ago
CJ, that is wonderful that you can now recognize that in yourself. Strangely enough, we always manage to have compassion for others in their fitness and life journeys, but almost expect a higher standard for the ones we love. In a way, it's like perfectionism. I know when I was doing well and my husband wasn't, I felt it was a bit of a reflection on me and part was resentment that he wouldn't follow my lead. As you've said, you can lead a horse to water, but you just can't make him drink unless he wants to. Hopefully, your husband will be inspired by the progress you make and that will be a catalyst for him. If not, then you have the right attitude about being ready in their own time and showing compassion in the meantime.
1457 days ago
Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.