Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I wish my habits didn't rub off so much on my husband

I've been married for a long, long time - or so it seems. We've been married 20 years. Over that time, when I'm active, he gets active. When I'm inactive, he gets inactive. It's kind of strange as he is a super, duper independent fellow - like really independent minded, but when it comes to exercise (or cleaning) habits, he totally follows the leader.

At work they do a weekly weigh-in with a bunch of colleagues. They had a contest where everyone put in $100 and whoever reached goal (which they all agreed on first) would get the whole pot. No one won the first year, so they all added another $100 each to the pot. So, now there was a truly sizable kitty!  Hubby didn't join that challenge the first year, but did the second year - contributing $200 to the pot. If you know my husband, you know he doesn't throw away money. He meant to win it.  This was  when I was dropping weight like crazy and exercising like crazy. It motivated him to do more too. He got into swimming laps. He started to join me with weight training. And, little by little he lost the 25 pounds or so that he wanted to lose - winning the weight loss challenge. He looked great and was the fittest I had ever seen him.

But then I started suffering from overuse injuries. I would rest one and injure another (just thinking about it now still makes me frustrated and sad). I was slowly slipping with exercise and weight loss. My husband tried doing it on his own for awhile, but soon he stopped.

The last two months I've been walking and I have changed my eating. He weighed himself today and he's the heaviest he's been in 4 years. Now, to put that in perspective, he is NOT heavy and still within a normal range, but it's not his comfort level and he feels better when he's thinner, and he definitely feels better when he's fit.

He hasn't gone into a weigh in for months. Hmmm..... kind of like me? He's also been inactive for months and months..... kind of like me? And now that I'm getting back on track, it's motivating him to.  While I am glad for that fact, I wished it worked the other way around too - that his working out motivated me!

I do miss us working out together though. It was great couple time and it was for our health. However, I don't think I can go back to weights without addressing my neck and back issues and possibly the knee issue. Before that, I want to get a head start on walking and weight loss and not worry about the details of healing other parts of my body. I don't want to get disappointed or frustrated now, so I'm keeping to what I can do and thank goodness, I can walk!


  1. Does he notice/agree that he follows your lifestyle/activity level? If so, there seems to be a really easy solution to this. You sit down this weekend and commit, together, to support a healthy lifestyle. You make a shopping/cooking list of appropriate meals. You vow to bring lunch to work, only eat out once a month, keep each other accountable and clear of the chips & dip or dessert table at social gatherings. You make a schedule to walk together or do some yoga together or whatever activity your injuries allow you to do. You allow each other to say what needs to be said to keep you on track -- no hurt feelings when you tell him to get his head out of the refrig after dinner; no pulling the covers over your head when he wakes you up early on a Saturday to drive somewhere for a good long walk. Weight is 80% determined by diet. Exercise is great for fitness and mood but if you want to drop pounds, that choice is made in the kitchen. There is no reason at all you can't brainstorm this for an hour on Saturday morning, clean out your kitchen of foods that do not contribute to the goal, make a meal plan, go food shopping, and make a calendar of walking and other exercises (abs? etc.) you will do together for 30 minutes a day. No excuses.

  2. Um... well, that's not our story. My husband, first of all, eats very healthy and always has. He doesn't eat cookies, or crap. He doesn't have his head in the refrigerator as he doesn't snack.

    And I 100% disagree that for all people the weight loss is in the kitchen. If you eat a mostly stable amount - neither gaining or losing and that is how you eat year in and year out, then adding excercise and ONLY adding exercise will help you drop the weight. Many times in my life that has happened and that is the way it always happens for my husband.

    See, the issues with foods are if 7 days a week you eat at maintainence (which is ideal), but the 2 times a month you have a get together at work, and a birthday celebration at home... stuff like that, that is an extra 500 calories there, an extra 500 calories here. Extra calories add up. Or, if you were exercising (burning, say 500 calories a day) and maintaining and then stopped exercising, but didn't change your eating habits (yes this is the kitchen), you gain. But what should you do to fix it? Eat 500 calories less or start exercising again? I think the answer is start exercising again because it's good for your body and your health.

    And, obviously, I have a plan that is working for me. I've lost 27 pounds in 2.5 months and there is junk in the house I don't eat. We don't need a shopping list or a brainstorm. Our story simply isn't like that. I needed to make major dietary changes because I have issues with carbs/sugars. He does not. We don't need to change what we eat, etc.

    And I am exercising, but I'm not going to put him on a schedule. He's a big boy and he will find what he needs to do to help himself and I'll support that. Like, I cannot stand swimming laps. He loves it. We both love to walk, so we do that a lot on weeknights/weekends. I like Zumba, he does not. There are ways to support each other without forcing each other's habits on the other - I didn't mean "he needs to do what I do" in that sort of rubbing off. I just tend to notice that I'm the leader when it comes to getting more exercise (he always is moderate with food). And, right now I see I am rubbing off on him just by simply being more active and dropping the weight. THere is no need to do more than that for him.

  3. I so know the feeling of my husband only "doing" when I am active as well. Not in the same way as you, but in doing around the house and such. I think somehow, especially as Moms (I notice it less in my childless friends) we end up in the role of Mother Duck.

    It is NOT our responsibility to make our spouses do things - they are adults just like us and need to make their own choices. I also know that what works for me in the weight loss area is NOT what works or is practical for my husband. We enjoy different types of exercise, and our diet requirements are very different.

    Dear Anonymous - Melissa is an inspiration, and is doing wonderfully on her journey. Please think before you judge.

  4. Ah, thanks Michele.

    And I soooo agree. Moms do become the mother duck. I don't particularly like the role. :-)

    This past weekend when we were enjoying the weather, my husband says, "We should do something today." - this was Sunday. I had JUST been to the farmer's market, in the sun and I said, "Yes, we should, but maybe something not in the sun or later in the day wen the sun isn't the highest." He agreed. I then said, "But you guys decide what you want to do. I'm tired of deciding all the time." I get, "Well, I just want to walk somewhere that isn't the same place we always walk." What do I start doing? Listing places we could go... stop myself and say, "Wait, I'm deciding again. Where do you want to go." He had no ideas - just something different. In the end, again, it was me who said, "OK, well how about we walk down the Columbia's lakefront and back." His response, "OK, that sounds good."

    If I ask, "What sounds good for dinner?" As I get tired of deciding every night. I get, "Something light." or "Something without meat." but never a "Can we have X." It's just the roles we've fallen into. And especially since I've been a stay at home mom for so long. So, "family time" is usually Melissa led.