In the first 5 years of my marriage, I gained 65 pounds, and none of it was muscle.
My wife, on the other hand, gained nothing. (In fact, we’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary next year and she just keeps looking better and better.)
Me? Well… there was just more of me to love, right?
When I was overweight, I always liked to make little jokes like that. But are they jokes… or are they excuses?
When my friend Craig Gross posted a video interview the comments began pouring in. Countless people were offended, claiming Craig and his wife were focusing on the external instead of the internal.
Really? Think about it. Because I know most of you have seen both extremes.
On one hand we’ve all seen that person who becomes obsessive about their appearance (or maybe you’ve been that person!). They look in the mirror and are overwhelmed with being too fat, too short, too pale… you name it. They look at the models on magazine covers or the celebrities on the red carpet and feel like there is no way they’ll ever measure up. They let their looks become their identity. This isn’t only mentally unhealthy, it’s spiritually unhealthy. Few would argue this.
On the other hand, we’ve also seen what happens when someone “lets themselves go” physically. The list of consequences is large, the biggest being weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. (You can read more on that here) It’s not easy to talk about this kind of indulgence, but the Bible does: it condemns a lack of self-control and gluttony, sins which tend to get ignored in the church.
And what about in the bedroom?
Who’s going to bring that up? (Oh… someone did last week, and they got drilled!)
I wonder how many spouses want to bring it up but never do?
A Wake-Up Call
My dad had a heart attack a few years ago, and so we all decided to lose some weight together. I lost 30 pounds and even got rid of a bunch of my “fat clothes.” My wife was overjoyed. In the middle of an intimate moment in the bedroom she reached her arms around me and began feeling some of my muscles. She said, “Wow. I can reach around your body!” (She didn’t really mean for the words to come out like that… but they did.) We both began laughing, but it provoked a candid conversation. I begged her to be honest with me, and after some coaxing and cajoling, she shared that it was much easier for her to be intimate when she was turned on physically. She assured me she never loved me any less when I was big… but let’s be honest. Abs are more attractive than blubber.
On our wedding day we said the words “for better or worse,” but she kept getting better while I got worse.
How is that fair?
Before you get offended at my wife, or me, please consider God’s design. My guess is that Adam and Eve probably weren’t flabby.
This is where someone always chimes in with, “Well, I’m just big boned.” I remember hearing a comedian making fun of that phrase. He jested, “Where are all these big boned people when they die? Have you ever seen a fat skeleton?”
For me, it all came down to discipline. I gained weight because of two things: bad diet and lack of exercise. Sure, I had a ton of good excuses: I was working hard in ministry, I was raising my kids, I was trying to be a good husband… a good chubby husband. But what good is an employee who is messing up the health plan with his diabetes? What help can a dad be when he dies at age 52? What kind of character does a husband reflect when he figures his wife should just love him for who he has “grown to be”?
Last year I messed up my shoulder and had to get rotator cuff surgery. Two things happened: I had to stop my favorite forms of exercise (and didn’t do the forms that were available to me), and I ate whatever I wanted. After all, I was depressed from the injury and lack of exercise.
I lost muscle and gained weight.
In January, my wife and I had a heart-to-heart conversation. She asked me, “Jonathan, please lose the weight. I love you and I don’t want you to be unhealthy.”
A noble request.
I vowed to her, “Lori, I’m going to change my diet and exercise until I get to the ‘healthy’ zone on my doctor’s weight chart (a zone I hadn’t seen in over 20 years). This time I won’t stop at 10 pounds overweight. This time I’ll keep it off.” She almost did a back flip.
I called up my dad and asked him, “Do you wanna join Weight Watchers with me?” He said, “Yes! I was just waiting for someone to do it with me.”
We signed up and have been dropping pounds since. Last week I worked out five different days (three of them on the road). I’ve lost almost 15 pounds as I write this, and I’ve got 17 to go to hit my goal. (I’ve got abs under this layer of chunky… I just know it!)
Are you an overweight lover?
Are you convincing yourself, “it’s fine!”
Who do you need to call?