A few years ago, my husband Jeff came home with a new pair of pants. “They’re a little snug,” he said, as he tried to tuck his thumb into the waistline. “I think I have to take them back for the next size up.”
“Why not just change your body so that you can fit into them?” I said half-jokingly.
Some people might consider my comment snide, even downright mean. And some men may have used it as an excuse to indulge in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s that night. But for my husband Jeff, it was the kick in the pants (literally) that he needed to start getting into shape.
Like many men, Jeff had gained weight over the years. And like most people, he gained it so slowly that it was easy to overlook the changes. Five pounds one year. Seven the next. Before he knew it, he was 30 pounds overweight.
To get back into shape, Jeff started riding the stationary bicycle, a lonely endeavor he performed in our basement on a bike seat called Spongy Wonders. A friend convinced him to sign up to walk the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s marathon at Disney. He also ditched his daily habit of noshing on trail mix and started making his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on smaller bread. He upped his intake of fruits and veggies and scaled back on portions. In other words, he did everything that you’re supposed to do to lose weight.
By the time the marathon rolled around, Jeff had lost 20 pounds. The following year, he ran a half marathon. And while he hasn’t run a marathon now in five years, he is still a runner, who routinely sets goals for himself. His current goal? To run 1,000 miles in 2010.
Today, he weighs 165 pounds, which on his 6-foot frame is a body mass index of 22.4 and considered healthy. He wears a waist size of 32 inches – and the pants are often a little loose.
The other day, Jeff shared his weight loss story with a furniture salesman and mentioned that it was my comment that spurred him on. So while I certainly can’t take credit for all the hours he has spent pounding the pavement or all the changes he has made in his eating habits, I am thrilled that he gives me credit for getting the ball rolling.
As much as I joke about him resembling George Clooney’s running-obsessed character in “Burn After Reading,” I am immensely proud of Jeff for his commitment to good health. It isn’t easy in this day and age when there are so many other things clamoring for our time and attention.
So here’s to you honey. Now stop fighting with the kids over Pop Tarts.