Role Reversal

Last night, my husband said he was feeling fat. Yes, he did.

My husband, who has lost 51 pounds, can’t even wear the clothes he was wearing in the spring, and looks completely different, was feeling fat.

My initial response to this, in my head was “Are you kidding me, Sparky? We just bought you two suits that you couldn’t have squeezed into this Spring, you have lost 51 freakin’ pounds, are lifting heavy weights at Crossfit, can run 19 kilometres, and you think you are FAT? Bitch, please… If you are fat then I am the *@#%$ Queen of England.”

But I didn’t say that. I don’t think that would have been helpful. Heh.

I just muttered “You aren’t fat.” and went back to my Facebook game. I thought about it for a moment more, when he was still pensively staring down at his belly, slouched on the couch and looking like a hang-dog puppy who has lost his favorite squeaky toy.

Seriously, He looked morose, folks. At that point he could’ve asked me to go on a boys-only trip to Tahiti, or buy a new car and I would have said yes. My heart broke. the Facebook game could wait.

So I added “Seriously honey, you aren’t. You just bought suits you couldn’t have fit into in Spring. You are working out hard, and you are eating well. Be proud of that. Everyone notices how different you look, and you feel good, right?” He nodded, and I think it helped when I spent some time telling him I thought he looked good, fed his need for affirmation and the need to know his wife thought he was hot (read: Ummm… Duh?).

I forget sometimes he needs to be told he’s a good looking guy. He pretends to be this big, bold dude, but he’s actually quite sensitive and sweet and sometimes needs those  superfluous-yet-important compliments we forget to give out every day. Conversely, I don’t need to be coddled and told every day that I am a gorgeous wonderful woman who deserves the riches of the world (including a kitted out Mustang, a pony, and a vinyard in California). In fact, I find that kind of stuff annoying and fake-sounding. I prefer being told simply “Looks great” or “Yup, no bulges, you’re good to go!” or “Sexy!”.  I also don’t need it every day, thanks. Once in awhile is enough. Too often and I might, just might, think you are being patronizing, or want something.

Yep, I am suspicious like that. *narrows eyes*

Can you tell I was raised predominantly by a man who really wasn’t that forthcoming in the feelings and emotions department? Yeah… Flowery stuff really doesn’t suit me. I prefer straightforward, to-the-point compliments, or actions that show you care. You want to tell me I am beautiful? Great! Say that… I will love it. Then move on. I don’t need flowers, messy kisses, or creatively poetic diatribes. Ugh. (Note: flowers are nice now and then though. I love me some Tulips and Roses, and Black-Eyed Susans that are picked from the side of the road and handed to me in a tumble by a little boy with a runny nose.) Instead, remember to take my sports bras out of the wash and hang them up to dry, or buy my favorite apples when you zip out for essentials. (Yes, he does that.)

So when my husband goes looking for me to lift him up, I realize my own simple needs have superceded his, and I have not been holding up my end of the bargain. Oops.

I think we all struggle with his feelings from last night as we lose physical weight. I know I do. Heck, I looked at a video with me in it last night and cringed with an “Oh wow, my face is fat” thought, even though it is NOT.

But, he still feels fat sometimes, and is having trouble reconciling this new body to the one he had not so long ago. The one he still sees sometimes when he looks in the mirror, the one he got used to dealing with, and now has to re-wire his brain because that dude is gone. He is still beating the mental fat-guy with a big stick when he has to pull out all the stops to pass the McDonalds instead of going in, or wants to cook a Gordon Ramsay-inspired calorie-laden dinner because dammit he loves to cook and eat!

Let’s not even get into his kryptonite: potato chips. He eats them, feels guilty. He doesn’t buy them, he pines for them. Rinse, repeat. For me, insert chocolate where potato chips are and you have mine. We enable one another too… Eh-heh. Bad, that.

I sometimes get jealous of my hubs for losing all the weight he has lost so quickly. Sometimes I get discouraged by his success because it suddenly feels like I am not trying hard enough, I should be doing better. Sometimes I want to be mad at him for being so much better than me.

But his journey has been just as hard as mine. His journey has been as emotional as mine, just in a different way. he is not better than me, he and I are a team in this. Sure it may take me longer, and sure he may excel at running faster/further/stronger than me. But we are both running, we are both exercising, we are both eating better. Everybody wins, including our children who get happier, healthier parents.

He supports me 100%, and last night, I tried my best to support him 100%. I hope it was enough.

I swear though, if he asks me if his butt looks big in his new suit as we dress for our  party tomorrow night, I might just throttle him with the hanger. ♥

 

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3 thoughts on “Role Reversal

  1. LMAO at the last comment. We all need to be told we look hot from time to time, men and women alike. Anyway, who said that negative body image was just a female thing. Great job to the both of you! Allyson

  2. I’ve heard that there’s a physiological reason that women have a harder time losing weight. Totally unfair, if you ask me. But still, you’re right, that doesn’t mean we should belittle the men in our lives for their efforts. We all need recognition sometimes.

    As for me, my husband has the opposite issue. He can’t keep weight on to save his life. I’ll admit that I have a hard time being patient and kind when he grabs his belly and says it looks big, and he weighs less than I do.

  3. Since he said that the other night, I have been doing a little curious googling of male weight issues. They get overlooked so often, and their body dysmorphia can be as potent as ours in society. They are under just as much pressure to be all muscled and cut and wide shouldered, narrow hipped and swarthy, as we are lean and lithe and flat tummied. I have made a mental reminder to remember to tell him he looks good more often.

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