Wednesday, December 23, 2009

'Tis The Season For a Guest Post

If I don't start my holiday shopping soon, I'm going to be making a midnight run to Walgreen's again this year ("A Chia Snuggie? You shouldn't have!"). So, I asked my good friend Sue to blog-sit for me while I do some last-minute gift-grabbing.

So, a while back when Jack invited me to write a guest post I answered with a very fast Sure! What would you like? He said he wasn’t picky; he just wanted the best piece of writing I’d ever produced. Um, no pressure, right?

Needless to say it’s taken a while for me to give Jack this post.

Over at my place I have been telling the story of how my husband (I call him Trophy Husband) and I got engaged. It involved a few bodily functions and doesn’t come off making me look all that great (because they are MY bodily functions). But it makes my husband look like a bit of a hero, which always improves relations, if you know what I mean. Wink.

And Jack kind of liked it, too. So I thought I’d tell another Trophy Husband story. But this time I’m choosing one where he looks more like a regular joe and I don’t end up seeming like a total boob. I asked my hub if he’d mind, and he said he didn’t, even though he’d like me to mention that he prefers the ones where I do, in fact, look like a boob. He also likes just looking at boobs. So, the fact that I often do things that make me look silly and am also in possession of a pretty nice rack works in our favor most of the time.

But I digress.

Even though we have a great engagement story, we’re really just like any other couple that has been married nine years. We’ve had ups and downs. We don’t fight a lot, mostly because when we do, he stops talking (infuriating!) and I start throwing around the Why Can’t You Evers and the I’m So Sick Ofs, and new to my repertoire since our move to North Carolina, the You Promised Mes.

It’s not pretty. So we really try to keep it to a minimum, which isn’t usually that hard considering he’s the master of conflict avoidance and I’m a pretty decent biter of the tongue. Mine, that is. And we mostly just make each other laugh and are good friends. Besties, if you will.

Those things that make us fight are pretty much the same now as they ever were. I’ve talked a bit about what they boil down to for him. But I haven’t said much about what they are for me. Anyone interested?

Trophy Husband is kind of a peg in a hole kind of guy. When faced with a decision, he chooses his solution, and whether or not it’s a good fit, once that decision is made that’s the one you get. He crosses it off of his mental list, and moves on to the next thing. He decided one time years ago that he would love me forever. Check. He decided one time that the best way to help our anxiety-prone son learn to calm down is by telling him to relax. Check. He decided one time that the way he will get me in the mood for Business Time is by groping my bazooms and raising his eyebrows. Check. I like to think it’s because he spends every second of his career problem solving, planning, predicting, and managing, so those skills are just all used up by the time he gets home. I try not to get upset about it. And I try to pick up that slack.

I’m the one that, when faced with a situation, figures out the BEST way to handle it. I read the books or hit The Google or talk to my friends, and I figure out solutions. And I revisit and tweak and analyze and if at first I don’t succeed, or even if I do, I keep at it. Improving. Streamlining. Checking the fit.

Anyone see where this is heading?

Like me, Trophy Husband has the fat gene, along with an appetite for crappy processed food, beer, and a desire to lead relatively sedentary lifestyle. So my journey from Fatass to Fabulous includes him, though he’d like it noted that he’d never use the word fabulous. Like, ever. And because I’m slugging it out all the time in this battle of the bulge, he’s slugging it out, too, by default.

I choose the plan, create the recipes, weigh the food, and count the calories. I set the alarm early so we can exercise together, because his work days are long and our evenings are loud and kid-crazy. I keep the crap out of the house and make sure we have plenty of healthy snacks around because he is a snacker and I don’t think I’ll ever change that. I spend a lot of time combing books and blogs for new recipes, because he doesn’t like to eat the same things over and over.

And I do these things partly because I want to change my own body and lifestyle, and partly because it’s my job as the stay-at-home-mom and keeper of the household, and I have always been an over-achiever in terms of my work.

But I also do this because if I didn’t, he wouldn’t either. Because he decided once what GOOD FOOD is, and it’s the stuff of his childhood. Stuff from boxes and cans and drive-thru windows.

That’s a fundamental difference between the two of us, not just in terms of weight loss, but most things. I’m the do-er and he’s the do-ee. So what happens when the do-er loses her inspiration or gets burned out or even wants to just take a night off? Well, in our household, it involves eating things like Tater Tot Casserole and Hamburger Helper. Which, as both a foodie and a weight watcher, makes me cringe from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.

And if I am to be totally honest, it makes me angry. It makes me angry because we both have a weight problem. But somehow I became the Designated Dieter. The Chief of Motivation, Information, and Execution. The one that’s got to figure out how to lose my extra pounds AND his.

It makes me angry that, when he has a moment of weakness and just wants to pick up a six pack and some Chinese, he has me here saying no, making a healthy meal, and keeping us on track. But when I have a weak moment, I end up drinking a few Stellas and eating Pork Foo Yung.

It makes me angry that when he doesn’t feel like getting up to work out, he has me to nudge him out of bed and get him going. But when I don’t feel like getting up to work out I get an extra hour of sleep.

I get angry that he considers a membership at the Y a frivolous expense. I get angry that when I ask him to do the grocery shopping for the week, he sees it as an opportunity to get Good Food – not only the aforementioned Taters and Helpers, but also the chips and the cookie cereal and the things that his mom used to feed him. Grrr.

I get angry that he says we’re doing this together, but I’m doing the doing, and he’s doing the halfhearted follow. I feel pressured to get it right all the time, guilty when I don’t, and resentful that he doesn’t give me the support that I give him.

And I wonder from time to time why it’s so important to me. I mean, he’s already decided to love me forever, so who cares if I’m squishy and lethargic? I mean, right?

Trophy Husband feels invincible in terms of his health. He’s no longer big enough that he considers his weight to be a threat to himself, and he views these last 40 pounds mostly as a matter of vanity. He fits in his clothes, can shop in regular stores, doesn’t get too stressed about taking his shirt off at the beach, and can still dominate a game of basketball in the driveway with the neighborhood kids. And even though his (morbidly obese) best friend died two years ago of heart disease, he just doesn’t see that as something that could ever happen to him.

And it won’t, I suppose, as long as he’s got me. Because I have decided to keep our food clean and the alarm set for waytooearly o’clock and I keep on slugging. But I’m afraid to consider what would happen if I said I quit, I’m not doing this anymore.

So I don’t go there. It’s better if I don’t.

I guess this isn’t as funny as my Three Bodily Functions and an Engagement Ring stories, but it’s just as true. And I’m interested to hear what you, Jack’s loyal readers, have to say about your own divisions of labor with your partners in this journey. Because I’ll bet I’m not the only one who is challenged in this area, or the only one that’s feeling a bit worn out from carrying around the extra weight.


  1. Relationships can be strange that way. When I quit smoking my husband did not, nor did he in any way attempt to make my life easier by not smoking around me so much yadayada. When I decided to lose weight he reacted by making rich desserts and delicious but heavy meals. It was like he didn't want me to quit smoking or lose weight. After a while he started to scale back on the cream and butter, but it's hit and miss really. He doesn't need to lose weight (lucky bahstahd) so I don't think he realizes how hard he has made this for me. While we aren't in the same boat, we are both experiencing a lack of support with our spouses. I do not need an enabler -- chicken dijon is NOT a diet food, nor is tarte citron (11 eggs and half a pound of butter, god help me!). If there is a pound of fudge or Ferrero Rocher in my xmas gift pile I may have to cry. I hope your husband starts to take some responsibility for his actions, because they are negatively affecting you. I hope mine does too.


  2. Loved the guest post! Merry Christmas. Happy Health flowing into 2010.

  3. Have some of the same issues, but I refuse to accept responsibility for him. I do the meals and make sure I get in my exercise. It's up to him to do his exercises and to limit his snacking. I have seen him use my unavailability as an excuse to go into the good food. But he is an adult. His mother wasn't much into health food, but I am not his mother either. I don't intend to make up for her mistakes. He can do his own research, use me as an example, but it's really up to him. If I backslide, I'm responsible to myself. I know you want to do it for him, but you can't.

  4. oh wow touchy subject! LOL
    Before I get into my reply, gotta say, nice meeting ya and your engagement story nearly made me wet my pants.
    As for my marriage, wow, it's already a rocky one anyhow, and my second! It's sorta a disaster story in the making, from the get go.
    He's a big beer drinker, smoker, you name something that's bad for you, he's into it!
    He has made several attempts to lose weight and on occassion managed to lose 100 lbs, but put it right back on the next year!
    Now however, the fact that he accomplished the loss is enough for him to constantly put my weightloss down and say he can do soooo much better.
    He hates the fact that I spend money on the Y and for my WW meetings. It totally sucks and I hate it.
    Oh and did I mention that his idea of a healthy diet is not eating all day except for 1 or 2 cans of soup and finishing of the night with a six pack of beer?
    Anyhow, now he's doing his magical diet again, sorta started once I lost 30+, I'm guessing cos he's trying to keep up with me and wants to rub it in, which he does. But he is starting to realise that losing 100+ lbs at 40 ain't as easy as when he was 20.
    So I say, at least you're still getting the Look and some kind of participation and support, I'm getting nothing! :(
    Oh and when I do get the Look, I skip it, because by habit, my husband is done before I've even finished the warm up!
    Well, nice to post that! Actually enjoyed this bit of honesty in the blogworld, liberating!

  5. I love this guest post because it's, obviously, very honest.

    And because I love to throw in my two cents, I have to say that you cannot take responsibility for him. You can say no to the chinese when he says yes or go the gym when he doesn't want to.
    It's not easy or as much fun, but you can totally do it.

    I'm lucky to have an amazing support system (in addition to a boyfriend who loves the gym.) But I work out alone 99% of the time, and I make good choices in eating most of the time even when friends don't.

    So, you're putting way. way. way. too much pressure on yourself. You can't make him want it too, but if he's otherwise awesome then yay for you.

    Maybe when he sees you enjoying it, it will look more enjoyable? Or maybe he will just be stubborn and a bit heavy. Either way, congrats on doing your best for yourself.

  6. That is where I feel really lucky. My BF needed to lose a little weight (20lbs) and here I was 80+ pounds over weight- no obese! He is my rock- he is the one that always keeps me on track. I want the 6 pack and the chinese food. I wanna eat it right out of the containers like I grew up doing. He tilts his head like a dog and stares at me (he never at that way) OR laughs at me when I say I wanna get a BUCKET of KFC- something that was a regular in my household growing up and he NEVER once had. He did not believe me that YES it comes in a BUCKET! lol SO I am the person who LOVES those BAD foods and who is temped by them on a regular basis but if my rock, my BF, my BFF is close by-he helps me stay on plan. :)

    I loved this guest post!!! But then again I already loved her BEFORE this. :) STay strong my friend- and just say NO to those hamburger tater-tot casseroles! lol

  7. Great post! I feel the same way sometimes. YES we live a healthy life as a FAMILY, but darn it ITS BECAUSE OF ME. Which I guess could be something to be proud of..."im saving the family" kind of thing...

    I do wonder sometimes if I suddenly stoped striving for a healthy life what would happen. Would they continue on? Would they pick ME up?

    For now, I'm just happy I'm making positive changes.

  8. As the wife of a former alcoholic, I learned one very very very important lesson. Now this took me 15 years to learn...I had grey hair before I learned...nearly had a mental meltdown before it sunk in.
    There is only one person you can control. there is only one person you can change.
    That is you.
    If you husband wants to eat junk it's his choice.
    You don't.
    If your husband doesn't want to exercise.
    You do.
    I know it's hard when we care about someone,
    we want to save them. We want to fix them.
    But we can't.
    You can shop and cook. If you are trying to lose all the shopping and cooking cause it does affect you. You may say "But, If I don't he may get terribly fat and unhealthy".
    He may, that's his choice.
    Let me tell you....the moment you start letting people take responsibility for their own lives andyou take responsibility for yours....there is no lighter feeling than that
    Love your post Sue. As always

  9. First off, I LOVE YOU!

    Second, just know that you are not alone. Although my husband is not overweight, he said he would be eating right and exercising with me so I don't feel so alone. Well, I guess that means while I am eating properly portioned meals he is eating 2 or 3 properly portioned meals. Oh, and at work he calls to tell me he feels sick from eating so much at their pot luck the other day. If I did any of these I'm sure he would raise an eyebrow. Ugh, I think it may be a "husband" thing. I'm not sure because I'm new to the married life but it all seems suspicious that they think they are invincible!

    We gotta stick together sister! It's us level headed ladies against our supportive but not always as considerate husbands. :)



  10. Part of me thinks how lucky you are that you have a husband that will get up and exercise with you. And the other part of me feels bad for what a burden that is to carry for you - to always be the motivator, cook and designated driver on the road to healthy living.

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. I've come to realise that a lot of what I just what *I* want. I make healthy food and work out early and try and keep the junk from the house. My husband is generally good that's more the other 9 zillion chores of the day that stress me out.
    In the end I realise taht if it bothers me and it's not getting done? I jsut do it or ask him to. If it doesn't really matter? doesn't.
    I look after myself now because it matters to me. And that's why it's actually working :)

  12. The female Jack Sh*t! You have the exact same writing style - excellent. Now I have to read the Engagement post.

    As for my DH, he could stand to lose 20 or so, but the weight issues are overwhelmingly MINE. So it is all me, all the time. He does not cook, does not shop, does not plan. My job.

    He also does not shop for or wrap Christmas gifts....which is why I need to make this brief.

    I sometimes resent doing all the home-related stuff, but...I have never touched a snow blower, I would have no idea how to build and maintain an ice rink in our backyard, I only take out the trash about once a year, etc. The division of labor is not always fair, but it works (mostly).

  13. Wow I am impressed at the managing two weight loss programs!

    I get annoyed at my fella, who is normal weighted, when he doesn't want to eat meals at the same time as me because he isn't hungry. Balancing when two people should eat a main meal is something which is harder than it looks.

  14. I used to get annoyed because Hubby, a former athlete blessed with great genetics, didn't have a weight problem. So any attempts by me to make household changes were, well, for me. And there was no one to nudge me at all, at least not in any positive, constructive manner. (He was good at the negative, unconstructive stuff.)

    But then he needed to get in shape for health reasons. So he starts working out and losing weight and looking great. His feedback and nudging got a bit more constructive, but now, I get annoyed because everything I've ever tried to introduce over the last 18 years is suddenly newfound revelation and the smartest thing since the can opener, now that he's discovered it. And that he's shedding weight like dogs shed hair and I'm still struggling.

    At least now, I can cook brown rice and serve a meatless dish or two without remorse. And we occasionally work out together. Guess it doesn't matter how you get there, if you get there. (I still need some constructive nudging, though.)

  15. Awesome guest post! I'll have to find your blog pronto!

    I'd invite you (and of course others) to read a recent blog entry of mine:


  16. My husband's food pyramid is: pizza, hamburgers/hotdogs/bratwurst, chicken wings, fried fish & chips. ribeye steak and spaghetti with meatballs and Italian sausage. Seriously. I was just complaining to someone that if I don't spend my entire weekend pre-planning and cooking meals this is what I would be subjected to eating in a non-stop rotation. Because when left up to him, we definitely buy or he makes one of those things. It's maddening because he doesn't need to lose any weight, and his cholcsterol, etc. are perfect. So, I spend a lot of time planning in self defense. I feel for you, I really do.

  17. Wow! Sue... support your cause! Not because I have the same problem, but really because my trophy husband has those issues with me. He doesn't care about losing weight, but has seen me and he helps keep me motivated... because there are way too many days that I say forget it! So, as the opposite side of this... don't give up! Us do-ee's need you doers! And we love you doers, because we can't do it ourselves. Oh...and thank you for pushing him so hard! (Perhaps I should thank my trophy for his effort!) ;)

  18. I enjoyed your post and could relate to many of your thoughts. I am the DD here at my house for sure!

  19. Great post. My hubby & I are different in a lot of ways & when I was young & stupid, it was not pretty. BUT, after 26 years, we have worked it all out! After that many years, if you have not, well, NOT GOOD! :-)

    PS: My hubby has learned to agree with me a lot too! :-0

  20. I think we're leading the same life. LOL YES, I'm the one who takes care of all planning and exercise and motivation, etc. But, in fairness, he goes to work so I can stay home and do all of this. I guess we just both have our positions to fill and mine is Executive Dieter.

  21. Great guest post!!! I really enjoyed this a lot. As for the whole hubby thing I've found I can fix the food healthier and he will most of the time eat it but when it comes to the exercise or eating what he wants he's his own man. He's dropped 60 lbs though and kept that off a year now. He could afford to lose at least another 75-100 but it's in his hands. He has changed in a lot of ways though. He doesn't bring junk in the house without asking anymore. Him and the kids do live it up whenever I go out of town though lol. But I know that is their little thing and I don't say much about it. I think we've come to a happy medium with it all. Would I like him to be more ambitious about losing weight, sure but I know he has to want it for himself it's not something I can do for him (like everything else I seem to do like even dress him lol).

  22. That was wonderful story to share. It's like that with me and my boyfriend. So I can definitely relate.


  23. Oh my goodness, that engagement story was hilarious.

    And I feel you on this story, too. Not necessarily with the weight loss, because it's not like I'm having to work hard at that right now. But kind of with the life stuff in general. I'm the one who has to do most of it and the boyfriend comes along for the ride. He'll help out and all that, but I'm the instigator. I worry about what would happen if I just stopped caring. Actually, I've tried that a couple times, for short periods, and what happens is the house gets so bad that I'd be embarrassed to have people over. Yeeaah. So I just deal, and I live my role.

  24. Id rant here but the amazing Fatass hath been on the receiving end of some frustrated missives (ok DMS I just like the word missive) about this already :)

    so I shall just say that I LOVED seeing her here.

    two of my fave writers together in one place!

    Now, Jacksh*t, Im compelled to ask where yer video is?

    of you rapping on of your self-penned pieces of fabulousity?

    if you are so moved...just drop it off :)

  25. do I deal with my bf's bad eating and no exercise habits? I dumped him the week before Thanksgiving. :)

  26. That's tricky. Very tricky.

    My Tod rarely "Exercises." Instead, he incorporates exercise into everyday life, by taking stairs instead of elevators and the like. He's blessed with a naturally high metabolism. This will eventually change, because he eats out a minimum of 8-10 times per week when he's out of town for work.

    He's been amazingly supportive on this journey, though. He cheers me on and encourages me if my resolve wavers. He also goes walking with me anytime I ask. He enjoys the fact that we're eating meals on a regular schedule when he's home. Although I'm limiting carbs, I'll cook him a small amount and usually manage not to cheat. He's ok with not having carbs with every meal.

    I'm trying to encourage him to make better choices when he eats out, though. Sure, right now he's only 33 and thin, but eating the high amounts of fat and sodium in restaurant food WILL eventually catch up with him.

  27. Sue, your post clearly struck a chord with so many! Even those who *aren't* in your situation can relate, in one way or another.

    My DH does not need to lose weight, but he did. When he was overweight, he decided to stop eating so much and start exercising, so he did. And he lost 45 pounds. That was it for him - it was just a decision to make, like any other.

    My frustration with DH is that he doesn't really GET IT when I say, "It's not that simple, hon." And it's not, for me. It's not simple enough that I can just "decide" like I decide to go to Costco or watch a movie. For me, this is an emotional journey as well as a physical one.

    So anyways. Thanks for sharing and for being honest. And keep up the Executive Dieter work. Remember every time that it gets to be too heavy a burden to bear that you're doing it for you and your future, and that you're worth it.



Related Posts with Thumbnails