Thursday, July 26, 2012
Gender "Rolls" of Dieting
Have any of you ever dieted with a man?
If you have, you already know that you really need to be a strong woman to do so, especially if your man is as hard core about dieting and exercise as mine has become. Make no mistake - I am extremely overjoyed and proud that my husband agreeably hopped on board the weight loss train with me and has embraced it whole-heartedly. When we began this particular weight loss effort back in late May/early June, he was rounding out at a dangerous 324 lbs and wanted to lose about as much as I did - roughly 100 - 110 lbs. When our goals are met, we'll still be more than 100 lbs different in our weights, but with him measuring nearly 6'4" and me being 5'0", that seems about right - give or take. In my mind, as we started our journey to better health, I figured we'd both be doing the slow and steady wins the race approach. You know, 2 lbs a week....doable, and most importantly, maintainable in the long run. Nothing too overzealous. My biggest concern was being all hyped up in the beginning and then burning out a few weeks later.
WELL....Over the course of the last couple of months, my better half has become a calorie-counting and exercise-obsessed freakazoid (I mean this in the best possible way) and is now down to about 265 lbs, which means he has blown the doors off of the 50 lbs mark and is staring nearly 60 lbs down right in the fat freaking eye. As for myself, since May 30, I have lost a modest 17.75 lbs (as of this morning's weight-check)...not shabby, but not 60 lbs either.
I bring this up today for the simple reason that although dieting with a partner is easier than doing it without, when you diet with a man you can get easily discouraged at the drastic difference in weight loss - hence the 41.75 lb difference between what the two of us have lost thus far. I'll be the first to admit that I am nowhere near as rigid or strict as he is about eating and exercise. While I have made a true concerted effort to change my lifestyle and my eating habits, I still believe that life is meant to be lived and that life does call for chocolate cake every now and again (despite the fact I have not had any cake since the end of May) and martinis even more regularly. Even with my occasional "indulgences" I AM making progress - and it is what I would consider to be good progress - IF I don't compare myself to my husband's success. So I do my best not to.
And I know, I know, I KNOW that men and women lose weight differently. This isn't new news to me at all. And it's why I am not crying a big blubbery river or feeling like I have failed in some way because at the end of the day, I know I haven't. I do get that being 40 and having a uterus are two strikes against me for this road to slim and trim to be considered "easy". I know it won't be. But then again, nothing worth fighting for ever is. I just need to focus on my own thing and be a cheerleader to my husband as he focuses on his own thing, too.
In the end, this journey is not only about me losing weight. It has taken me quite a while to really figure that out. It is also about challenging myself to do things I have never done before and also learn how to stop comparing myself with others and their successes or failures. I am genuinely thrilled that my husband has taken command of his health and is doing it in a way that he is comfortable with and hopefully can maintain. When I married him I knew that we were complete opposites in most ways, so it make sense that even in the game of weight loss, we approach it differently. Hey, opposites attract, right?
In many ways, Josh acts as a true motivator for me. If it weren't for him, I know I would not be inclined to train to run a 5K. But I was tired of sitting by while he ran, thinking about how I wished I could do it too. Well, duh - I can do it. And I am. So now when he runs, I don't have to face the green-eyed monster anymore. I know that I have the power to build up my stamina and run, too. And while that may not be my most favorite form of exercise (I think I cuss a lot under my breath as I am doing it), at least I know that the choice is mine. It isn't someone else's. I can't be pissed at my husband for choosing to run when I have two able legs and feet to do it for myself.
Today my trainer had me do a grueling upper body workout, rounded out by two reps of push ups to the point of muscle failure. I don't know how many of you have ever done anything to the point of muscle failure (let alone twice) but let me tell you what an ugly, scary and yet, awesome feeling it is. I felt completely spent. It was as if I was having my own Biggest Loser moment as I collapsed on myself on the push up mat, sweat dripping from my face. My trainer told me that it was "really, really great" and that she was very impressed with how hard I pushed myself. I wasn't so sure how dropping on my face could be really, really great, but she's the professional so I'll take her word for it.
I'm telling you this, because even though I'm losing slowly while my partner plows ahead, I know that I am going to be OK. My pace is working for me. I feel stronger and happier and prouder than I have in a long time. I know that my husband and I are going to benefit tremendously from what we are both doing. He supports me, as I do him. We lift each other up. This is a partnership in its truest sense. I am one very lucky woman.