I yelled at my hubby last night.
We didn’t get into a fight. (You need two people to do that and I was the one making all the noise.) He didn’t do anything wrong, not really. He’s not a bad person. He didn’t screw something up or do something malicious to hurt me. I yelled at him because I’m scared and frustrated and I want to see my husband alive and healthy for a long time. I yelled at him because I love him and I’m afraid of heart disease and strokes. I yelled at him because the very thought of diabetes freaks me out and cancer is worse than any horror movie clown. I yelled at him because I want the two of us to grow old together. I want us to be like the cute couples I see when the senior bus rolls up to the grocery store. I want the two of us to live long enough to become one of those gray haired couples, holding hands, toddling around, arguing about the cost of milk.
That’s what I want.
Instead, I see us as we are.
We’ve both put on some excess weight. My husband is on medication for his blood pressure and cholesterol. And we’re both starting to feel…old. Really old. I like the handles on that casket and that’s a beautiful headstone—What the heck am I thinking? I’m NOT ready to die just yet!—kind of old. We’re in our middle years, in our forties, so we aren’t THAT old. But I’m starting to feel old, and I know we’d both feel better if we dropped a few pounds.
My husband goes to a good doctor, the kind of doctor who has staff privileges at three different hospitals, has his own private practice, and gets a new crop of eager intern puppies to follow him around each year like on that TV show, Grey’s Anatomy. This is a good thing. You want the kind of doctor that teaches and trains the other doctors. He’s well known and respected in his field. Plus, thanks to the interns following him around all the time, it’s like you’re getting a team of doctors for the price of one. When my husband’s doctor is in teacher mode, the doctor asks his interns questions, they answer, and when he feels they’re ready, they get turned loose on his patients—with supervision.
Anyway, hubby got one of the young intern pups on his last check up, with follow-up care from his primary doctor. The intern made a big deal about the extra weight my hubby has put on. He spent a long time discussing things like cutting sugar, energy drinks, and processed foods from his diet.
But my husband rarely drinks pop or energy drinks, and we don’t eat a lot of processed food. We shop the perimeter of the grocery store. We don’t buy easy to prepare, boxed food. We buy ingredients. We buy stuff that will spoil because our food is NOT laced with preservatives.
We’re both putting on weight, but I don’t think our diet is the main culprit. Maybe portion size? Maybe not enough activity? I wish it were something easy. I wish we could both give up pop and lose the weight. But we hardly ever buy pop. We consider it a treat, like cake, something to be enjoyed on rare occasions.
I got on the scale this morning. I’m 184.6 lbs, my NEW highest weight. I’ve gained 20 lbs in the past two years. I suppose I should feel lucky. I’ve gained it across my entire body, not just in one place. I have an hourglass figure, so I still have a waist that dips inward. I’m still wearing the same size pants, a size 14, which is fairly average. My pants don’t fit skin tight on me.
Marilyn Monroe wore a size 12. I’m about the same height as Miss Monroe—maybe a hair taller. I have curves and muscle. I’m comfortable with my body. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a fat girl. I see a woman with feminine curves. If I never stepped on a scale, I would be okay with the way that I look. But when I get on a scale, I become concerned. I’m carrying extra weight and I know that’s extra pressure on my knees and joints. My bathroom mirror says I’m doing okay. The bathroom scale says I’m putting my body at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and joint injuries
The intern wants my husband to lose 30 lbs in the next 3 months. That’s great! He needs to lose the weight for his health. I would LOVE to lose weight, too. I would love to lose weight with him. We could both lose 30 lbs together—60 lbs gone. I think we’d both feel better. That’s like losing the weight of 3 bags of kitty litter and a bag of cat food. Each! That would be amazing!
The problem is, I know why we’re putting on weight and it’s NOT an easy fix. My husband and I are recovering adrenaline junkies. Up until a few years ago, we were the people who worked, and worked, and worked some more. We never saw each other or our kiddo. We worked! We were stressed out all the time. We worked through lunches and had insane deadlines. But no problem, because that’s what coffee is for, right?
We survived on stress and caffeine.
And it was killing us.
But over the past couple of years, we changed careers. We stepped back. We’re not working as hard. We’re not stressed out all the time. We learned to live with less. We spend more time together. We spend more time with our kiddo. I cut back on my caffeine intake. I’m doing more to help others. My mental health has improved. I stay away from the things that bring me back to my former levels of stress. When social media makes me feel like the world is falling apart, I’m not afraid to unplug myself from the collective. Not anymore. I don’t even feel guilty about it. For awhile, I was only checking my Facebook account once a week. And do you know what happened? It was fine. It felt good to take a break.
My husband and I are still active. We still work, but not in the crazy adrenaline-rushed way we did before. We take our time. We’ve slowed down. We’ve gained weight.
So last night, when my hubby made treats—healthish, low-sugar, peanut butter treats with flaxseed, and chia seeds, and other squirrel food mixed inside—I freaked out. I yelled at him. Why? Because I look at food and gain weight. I’m eating fruits and vegetables and still gaining weight. I lower my portion size and put on extra pounds. I go walking and bicycling and tone up but can’t seem to shake off the extra baggage.
We can’t go back to the way we lived before. That lifestyle was killing me. It was killing my husband. It was killing my family. But the fallout from living a stressed out life for all those years is also killing us.
When I think about losing 30 lbs in 3 months, it seems like an impossible task. The intern might have asked us to pick out which color Rolls Royce we’d like to purchase. The odds of us owning a Rolls Royce in 3 months or being 30 lbs lighter feel roughly the same. Not necessarily impossible, but not exactly realistic.
Skippy the Intern—who’s roughly half our age—suggeted my husband get a gym membership. He seems to think we can get a membership for only $10 a month. There is a gym with this offer, but it’s too far away. There’s a gym near our home, but it costs three times this amount. I don’t know how practical this is long term. We have bike trails and walking trails less than a block away and a sidewalk outside our front door, and we have trouble finding time to use these.
I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s not going to be a quick fix and it’s frustrating. If anybody knows a long-term solution, I’m listening.
Have a great day!