What happened when my spouse asked me to lose weight.
About a year ago, my husband Roger asked if he could speak with me. At this time we had been married for just over 5 years. I could tell by his body language and demeanour that he was feeling anxious.
I had no idea that he was about to ask me to lose weight.
When I met Roger, I was a year out of college. We met through a mutual work colleague, and hit it off immediately. He was kind, into the same books and music that I liked, and we had chemistry. It felt good to be around him, and we quickly fell in love.
Roger was into being active - not in a forest ranger type of way, but he liked moving, be that long walks, bike rides or hikes, and we spent a lot of our free time together strolling around the city. He also worked out a few days per week, and kept an eye on his weight. His father had become obese after he retired, and I think that Roger was afraid of somehow morphing into his dad, whom he loves and is close to.
When I met Roger, I was at a weight that felt good. I was active, I liked going to the gym and working out, and I had just started streaming home workouts. I felt confident and attractive.
Work started to really pick up for me about a year into our relationship when I landed a promotion. I also got transferred to an office that was too far away to walk to. My daily walking commute to work and back was about 4-5 miles per day, and when I started having to take public transportation, or drive, I lost that movement. My workload kept expanding, and I started missing my after-work workouts, first at the gym, and then later, I stopped streaming my workouts almost all together. At some point I lost myself in the daily grind, and when I got home, I was typically just exhausted and looking to crawl into bed.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when things start to fall away, but eventually I stopped packing my lunch and would either grab something quick, or order something when the office lunch order went out. These meals were not healthy, or particularly satisfying, but they were easy choices in the midst of all the challenges my job presented to me. I also developed this type of camaraderie with the other women in the office. We would joke about getting fat, and then order a plate of nachos. I could feel myself slipping away from who I was, bit by bit, and I would have these low key panic attacks whenever something in my closet wouldn’t fit, but it was never enough to fully wake me up, there was always something more important pressing.
For the most part, Roger kept up his normal routines. There was a period of about 18 months where he largely stopped going to the gym, but after some of his friends got after him and encouraged him to come back he found his way back. Our sex slowed down to about once a week, which was a big drop from the first few years. We were both concerned, and spoke openly about it, but by the time we both got home from work, decompressed, had some dinner and watched a show, we just didn’t have it in us to make love. I often wonder now how much of that was caused by my own lethargy.
Eventually I realized that none of my clothes still fit me, I felt tired and bloated, I started having something that felt like a mix of annoyance and disgust when I looked at myself in the mirror, and I was frustrated and bitchy at work and edgy at home. While all of this was going on, my old self, the woman that I had been, that person who liked to move, who enjoyed a good sweat session, who felt at home in her body, was watching from someplace deep inside of me. I felt like I was in danger of not only losing her, but losing hope.
I was just at the stage of beginning to process this with a therapist (I had wanted to speak to someone about the chaos I was feeling inside and how ‘trapped’ I felt in the eternal grind) when Roger asked to speak with me.
I didn’t know what he was going to say, but I could sense that it was something difficult. For a second I considered all of the worst case scenarios, but before I could spin that wheel, he took my hand and looked into my eyes and the words started tumbling out.
He said “I love you, and I want you to know that I’ve never loved you as much as I do at this minute. The hairs on my neck raised and I felt an involuntary flush rise up on my chest. He continued, “I know how hard you have been working, and how much you’ve been putting in, but I’m worried that you are not taking care of yourself”. I think that I mumbled something like ‘what do you mean”, as my eyes started to fill up with tears.
“I don’t know if you know this, but I hear you sometimes, talking to yourself in the mornings when you are getting ready. It hurts me to hear yourself talk that way about yourself.” I was crying now, and holding my face in my hands. I felt his weight shift up and off the couch and he came back with some tissue. He held me. “I know things have been tough for you, but I want us to be there for each other, and part of that needs to be about taking care of ourselves so that we can be around when we are older. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I want us to both be happy and healthy together.”
I was sobbing now, gently, listening to all of this love and concern spilling out of this man that was my person. I could feel the love radiating out of him. “I’m a fat pig” were the first words out of my mouth. When I tell this story, for some reason, this part always makes me laugh now. I can see myself, raccoon eyes, slobbery, my nose running all over both of us. It seems funny now, but at the time, it was anything but.
“Noooo, nooo, nooo” he said adamantly, “you are not. Look at me” - he turned me gently to face him and gently lifted my chin. You are not. I think we can both do a better job at this, I know that I want to work on myself, and I think we can do it together, and support each other, together.”
I blinked at him through my tears, “Are you still attracted to me I asked, do you still want to fuck me?” He hadn’t said anything to indicate otherwise, and I felt his love and attraction to me in his embrace, but I guess that I just needed some reassurance and for him to help me quiet the fear that I had been holding the entire time, that he had lost the connection with the woman inside me, or more honestly, I had lost her.
We held each other, he kissed my forehead and we whispered words to each other that gently became a poetic pact of support and a renewed commitment to show up for ourselves and each other.
Over the next few weeks, we started making changes to our routines. We made a combined effort as a couple to book our workouts, to go for walks, to plan our meals. Making the commitment to our health as a couple, opened my eyes to how far I had allowed myself to slide. Interestingly, I didn’t feel guilty, just motivated to fix it. I think we both did. I had stopped caring for myself, and therefore couldn’t show up for my relationship at the same level.
We kept up with each other, and would give each other prompts not to miss our workouts. We kept our gym memberships, but also had our home workouts ready to go (which is how I found BodyRock) on days when work ran long. We also started fasting together, which we bonded over. Within 4 months of that conversation on the couch, I had lost the weight that I had gained, and thanks to the intro to strength training series, I was in the best shape of my life. I can tell you that our intimacy improved, I had more energy, and I was better at work (all true), but the most important thing that happened was that I felt like myself again. I was no longer watching the months and the years sliding by from inside, I was living again - I am living again.
My partner coming to me was the helping hand that I needed to break a cycle that was not serving me. Would I have got there on my own? I can say that I would have, but I’m not sure when that would have happened, and I’m thankful for the time in my life that it saved me. I am grateful for being awake again.
Thanks for inviting me to share this with the BodyRock community.
As many of you are now aware, we are pivoting out of selling home fitness equipment. With that in mind, we are selling out of our stock at our biggest discount of the year.
Use code BF35 to get an automatic 35% off at checkout. We don't sell magic beans, just top quality weights, dumbbells, bars, weighted vests, ropes and other old-school tried and true home fitness gear that deliver outstanding results. We are also a small, family business that supports itself by selling quality tools at fair prices. You can check out our 35% off sale here.
I REALLY loved this story. I hope Cathy writes in their full time job or at least as a hobby. If not, they’re wasting a wonderful talent. My praise and hugs of empathy and admiration. ❤ I shared this story with my partner. We appreciate you.
Awesome article. Thank you for sharing. So happy you grew stronger in all senses of the word❤️