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How much is too much?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

OK, this is a little bit of a rant. I don't usually do this, but it bothered me and I don't want to stew on it.

My DW wanted to pick me up and take me to lunch today. I had been planning on swimming over lunch and I had already eaten my PB&J sandwich. But, I said OK, and we ended up at Panera.

I mentioned that I didn't need two lunches and a skipped work out, a bit tongue in cheek. She said that she thought I was spending too much time thinking about diet, working out, thinking about working out, and on SP.

I replied that when I don't think about it, my weight creeps up until I am well over 200. Since I have been on SP (and active on it), I lost over 20 lbs and have kept it off for about 6 months now. (And I am in pretty good shape, which feels kinda nice).

I don't think she is trying to sabotage my weight/health/fitness effort. But she doesn't see the point. And for some reason, it bothers her. It is like a fester that annoys her for some reason. I don't know what the real issue is.

I know when I trained for the Lincoln, NE marathon in 2008, she was expecting and did not like me going on long training runs, because I was being "too selfish". I tried to schedule the workouts to fit into family time better or take our oldest out in the jogger to relieve my DW a bit (I think my oldest daughter has a few hundred miles in the stroller...). It was enough of a strain, that I have kept away from marathon training for a while.

Earlier this week, I had a long day at work and really needed to get the physical and mental release from a good hard run. I was trying to finish a draft for my adviser by 4 pm so I could get a 5 mile run in and make it home before 5 to get dinner going. It took longer than I thought it would, and I ended up leaving at 4:30 and getting home at 5:15. I guess she had a hard day with the kids acting up and was mad that I didn't go straight home (the shortest route home is 2 miles, but when I run, I like to take a detour of 5 or more miles).

Anyway, I think that this will continue to cause tension. I do not want to give up the gains that I have made, I do not want to cut back on fitness, and I get a lot out of the SP community (and hopefully give back to it as well).

Gripe over.

(Oh, and I had a chicken cobb salad (570 calories) at Panera and still went to the pool and did a mile.)

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    My best friend and I have recently lost a lot of weight and we talk about it a lot. We were discussing that maybe we talk too much about it. Most of my friends like fitness and nutrition so they are part of the conversation, but tbh I get your wife. If you don't struggle with food, you can't really understand all the effort it takes to stay on track every single day.

    I consider myself an addict; if it was drugs or alcohol people would be more supportive because they consider it life-threatening. Overeating is a more light addiction and people tend to ignore its significance.

    You can remind to your wife how these changes improved your life and the life of your family. And maybe you can organize family events so they can all participate to your fitness sessions.
    1869 days ago
    Our kids are grown up and out the door and my DH complains at times too. He says I talk about running too much and complains that I am on Spark too much. Have the time I am tracking food and so I tell him when I am. I read him some of the cool blogs or replies to my blogs. I think it helps when he knows what spark is about and I am not leaving him out.

    I have learned not to talk about running toouch to him. I save it for here and my running buddies.

    With that being said, I was a stay-at-home Mom for eight years. I would often feel that my DH had more "free time". It can be very isolating. Why don't you put a schedule together with her do she can fit in something she wants to do on her own?
    1869 days ago
    Tough one, and you've already gotten lots of good advice. I would just add that if I suggest to DH to have lunch, I'd kinda like him to act enthusiastic about it...that it would be a "special treat" for both of us to enjoy some private time as 2 human beings who love each other. Or if it doesn't fit that day's schedule, I want him to be genuinely disappointed that he couldn't get away. If he couldn't do either of those, I'd be a little hurt and miffed.
    1869 days ago
    Convince her that you need to continue on Spark and running for your sanity - suggest she find an exercise she would like to give a try or a class that interests her - and make sure you allow her time away to do those. Sometimes it is hard to always feel as if you have no "You" time. My guess if you encourage her interests and have time away - she won't have issues with your time.
    1869 days ago
    A little late to the party. But, my only advice to you is to get older. I have a lot of solitary hobbies, and the DW used to resent me spending time with my exercising and other hobbies. I'd try to spend as much time as I could with her, but fell short. Now that we are in our late 60s the kids are grown and gone, she does her things and I do mine, yet we really enjoy the times we have together as well.
    I can relate to you, it's certainly a common experience you are going through. Good luck.
    1869 days ago
    My two cents is being a FT at home mom is 24/7. You get a 'break' when you are at work, and although that doesn't mean what you are doing is less stressful, there may be a little bit of resentment at the fact that you can go to the bathroom ALONE, eat ALONE, exercise ALONE, shower without an audience. Young children need a lot of attention and she seems to really want to have her time with them, which is important!
    Remember, it's a phase and maybe the distance running needs to wait another year or two until the kiddos get older. Doesn't mean to give up your activity, just shorten it?
    I complete all of my exercise while the family is still sleeping, to avoid impact as much as possible.
    No easy answer, except the kids are in different stages and it WILL get better as they get older!!
    Good luck!
    1869 days ago
    I'm late to this discussion and you've got some thoughtful suggestions already. I like Wilson's idea. I hope you can find some fitness activity that you both enjoy. Staying home with kids can be very isolating and although finding a solo activity that DW enjoys is one option, it doesn't do what some togetherness time will accomplish. Good luck finding a solution. I think it's a problem that occurs in the majority of marriages.
    1869 days ago

    When you're not at work there's

    1. Your time (when you free her to do whatever she wants)
    2. Our time (when you cooperate on goals, but don't necessarily work together in the same time and space)
    3. My time (when she frees you do what you want - like run distances)

    Can you agree on a reasonable division?
    1870 days ago
    Ask her about her goals. What does she want to accomplish as an individual? She will probably have no clue really. Probably has not given much thought to herself and her own needs since becoming a mother. We have a tendency to put everyone else before ourselves (our nurturing instinct forces this upon us) and thus lose who we are/were in the process. I get a sense that she feels some resentment to your "free time" or the fact that you have a focus outside the home which brings you so much happiness while she does not have the same? I say this, not having a clue what the real logistics are. Just a hunch.

    I do apologise for my species. We are a complex brood. We have a tendency to also lump EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM into one conversation. That's because, unlike men, our brains are like a wide open loft where every room/topic of conversation/situation/person are all open to intermingling (hence the reason we excel at multi-tasking and frustratingly so to the men, seem to jump all over the place in discussion). Our male counterparts have a unique ability to deal with each situation as though their brains were like a computer. They open one door, go in. Deal with whatever is in that room. Exit. Close that door. Proceed to the next room. Deal with whatever is in that room. Exit. and so on. You may see your work/school/family/exercise/diet as separate compartments. To us, we don't have a choice. We have to (by nature) tackle every single thing in one single bound. It's quite exhausting actually. Please remember this when you ask her ..... you will likely be opening a can of worms. Be patient. Don't fix. Just listen. When she's done spilling.... then ask her "What could I do that will help said situation for you?". Also ... warning ... don't ask this question if you aren't prepared to move mountains to commit to what the answer to this might ask of you!

    Yeah ... I could go on .. this is alot of blah blah blah ... but .. my one major thought .... anything that comes out of a person's mouth/actions is not about you .... it's a direct correlation to what that person is experiencing within themselves .. aka .. it's about her, not you. She has something she's dealing with and might be holding an expectation of you (possibly justly or unjustly so) which she feels you are not understanding. .....

    God gave us two ears and one mouth ... to listen twice as much as we speak. Remember to listen ... and listening does not always require you to fix it ..... it's her responsibility to ask for help or fix what she finds not working for herself.

    You're a good man and a good example to your family. Do not stop!!!
    1870 days ago
    I used to be like your wife. During my first marriage, when my kids were little, my whole existence was kids, homework, managing school activities, housework and my job.

    My ex worked a rotating shift so he was either working, sleeping, mountain biking or other social activities with friends. I felt burned out and insignificant. After we were divorced, he got got into working out and training for marathons. I was resentful about his lack of time to devote to the kids.

    Now that I have developed a healthy lifestyle, I can see now that my resentment was all about my lack of self-worth. Back then, I didn't understand that feeling of accomplishment. I just knew I was left out and holding down the fort.

    I'm not saying either of you is right or wrong. This just happens and you both need to talk honestly about how you feel, what is important to you both and figure out some compromises. Look into some family activities once in a while so you are all spending quality time together and everyone is getting active.

    I hope this works out for all of you!

    1870 days ago
    I can't add much to the previous comments. I had a wife who had problems with my doing just about anything regularly that wasn't her idea; that's part of how I learned to eat for entertainment. It was the one thing I could do that I wouldn't get punished for. The cure for that situation was more drastic than you probably want to consider for your situation.

    Fortunately, most relationship issues with time management aren't as severe as mine was. I'll add my voice to the others saying to try to figure out how to create me time for your wife, and we time for the two of you. Make that time sacred, but don't allow it to be so big that it squeezes out your exercise.

    Good luck finding a workable balance!
    1870 days ago
    From your additional comment, it sounds like this may be an issue with her body image. I get that because my DH and I run together a lot and are lucky to share a passion for fitness. But he is in much better shape than I am. 6 pack abs, very low body fat %. And while this may sound great to a lot of women, it can be intimidating. My abs look like mom abs. Sometimes I get annoyed when he says he's going to lift and then I have to wonder why that annoys me. It's about ME, not him.
    Maybe things will change when she can be more active again. In the mean time, maybe cut your 5 miler to a 4, if possible. Little gestures that you're trying often go a long way.
    1870 days ago
    Is there any activity you can do together? A hike in a national forest, for example? It may not be much exercise for you, but it would show that you care about her enough to include her in your fitness plans.

    Good luck - that is a tough dilemma...
    1870 days ago
    Ahhh, the eternal dilemma.

    Here's the deal...take it for the team and err on the side of your spouse. Be up front, be honest about your need to workout, but when she says, "let's do lunch", go with her and drink a cup of coffee or a cup of soup.

    I only say that because I work with a lot of guys that get really busy, dudes that are hardcore men of action....I tell each one of them work hard, do their best, but if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy
    1870 days ago
    I guess I'm lucky that I was dramatically overweight before. I think Judith would put up with a lot more of my obsessiveness about working out before she would risk my reversing course. I'm guessing you have been in reasonable shape all along so your love doesn't see how how imperative your program is to you. At least she's not treating you to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. :)

    Edit: Maybe I should have read all the other comments before I added mine.
    1870 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/7/2013 8:38:47 PM
    Sounds to me like DW needs some "me" time and perhaps "we" time. I absolutely respect your need to make sure that you get your workout in. But maybe, just maybe you can make the sacrifice and change your schedule. IF, IF she is in need of something that day for herself. Whether it is "me" or "we", she deserves and needs to do something that he finds enjoyable and relaxing.
    Honestly, we have come too far to go back and one day is not going to send us back. I think that sometimes we are just obsessed with what we need to do. The fear of going backwards can be a real stinker.
    I am selfish about my fitness. If I don't make sure that I get my workouts in, who will? But I do have to be careful that I don't make my relationship suffer because "I have to do this". I have learned that sometimes I have to do what is good for us not just me. It is a fine line and I will not go back to where I was. NEVER. I will fight for me, but I will also fight for we.
    1870 days ago
    I tend to agree with Vixsterlu. If I were in your DW's shoes, SAHM to four kiddos, I would be drained. Maybe some sort of recurring function that she could look forward to, similar to you looking forward to your exercising, is just the ticket.
    1870 days ago
  • JESSIKA_56
    Sorry she isn't seeing eye to eye with you. Will it help to have a sit-down talk with her about how healthy living has to be a priority so that you will be around longer for her? emoticon
    1870 days ago
    1870 days ago
    Staying at home all day with the kids is draining, any parent will likely agree. Not a bad think, just tough. That said, I agree with the comments here and I will add one more. Does she go out and do things for HERSELF? Maybe arrange a 'date' for her with one or a few of her friends? Something simple like coffee or a lunch date. I know when my hubby makes that kind of effort, it releases some of the strain on us. That said, I wish he would do that more, lol. Good luck and happy running :)
    1870 days ago
    My hubby also gets a little miffed because of the time I spend at the gym. As a teacher I need some sort of stress relief at the end of the day. Throwing, lifting, and sprinting are those perfect releases. I also find that if I don't weigh myself and track every day, weight creeps up and I am not happy. I also enjoy chatting with like minded people about fitness and healthy topics.

    Are there activities that you can do as a whole family? I know your wife is awaiting surgery, but is there any way that you can do things together. Or maybe after you work out she gets a breather, to just do whatever she wants for an hour each day. It must be challenging staying at home all day, and I am sure she would appreciate a break.
    1870 days ago
    A few additional comments, based on some of the initial feedback.

    Jill was super active when I met her, hiking, skiing and mountain biking. We have been married for 7 years and have 4 kids, one every other year since we were married. So she has been pregnant or nursing for most of those years. A few years ago she broke her big toe and it developed arthritis. She can get surgery to fix it, but not until she is done nursing our littlest. The pain in her toe makes running, hiking, or extensive walking painful. She has been going to the Y to use the elliptical and other machines while the kids are in Y childwatch. She has managed to lose most of her pregnancy weight, but not really her pre pregnancy weight. I think she looks great, she does not though. I think all she really sees when she looks at herself in the mirror is a squishy tummy where a flat one used to be.

    Being a stay at home mom is challenging. She is with the kids all the time and doesn't get much relief. When I do something for me for "fun" (like running) when I could be at home, she resents that. It isn't like I am not doing my share, with cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and laundry.

    SKIRNIR asked if talking about it helps. I have tried, but it doesn't really go anywhere. When I bring something like that up, she clams up and it becomes a one way conversation and I cannot get her to open up.

    Thanks for the supportive comments and thoughts! Maybe we will get to the point where she gets it, like KA_JUN said, and sends me out running instead of resenting me for it.
    1870 days ago
  • KA_JUN
    Vent away, that said, I like what other folks mentioned, offer to include her sometimes, it's easier when you're both pulling in the same direction (at least regarding fitness/health) and explain why you do it and what it means.

    When my DW GOT it, regarding my cycling, specifically, she would send me out to ride so I'd be easier, so to speak.

    I feel for you, always difficult to make that life/work balance function properly. Taking the kiddos out to run around and work them out, too, isn't a bad thing.
    1870 days ago
    My hubby, at times, sounds very similar to your wife. It was pointed out to me that maybe he felt left out. So I started walking with him and offering to change up a few work-outs so we could do something together. It lasted about 2.5 weeks.

    Now, I get "just go and get back". No fuss, no muss.
    1870 days ago
    Have you thought about including her in the exercise. It seems like she wants to spend some time with you. Maybe the whole family could go out for a long walk or run. Taking care of two children all day is exhausting. I remember counting the minutes till my husband got home so I could pass the kids off to him just for a little while.
    1870 days ago
  • CARI2012
    It sounds like your wife just wants to spend time with you! Despite your obvious time constraints, this is not a bad thing. Maybe you could talk with her and figure out some kind of schedule? It sounds like you were still able to get home at a reasonable time after your run earlier this week but she was also probably waiting, watching the clock for you to come home. I have no doubt that your family is a priority to you, as is your commitment to getting fit and running. Balancing all of the demands on your time is a delicate thing! I hope you are able to find the balance that works for ALL of you. Best of luck!
    1870 days ago
    I wonder if talking it all out with her might help or not. Don't know myself. I do feel the tension sometimes. I know there are times my hubby just wants to cuddle or some such, but I need to get in my daily 40 minutes of exercise to maintain my weight loss.
    1870 days ago
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