According to the Keebler-Frosting model, there are five stages of weight loss and related grief, and nearly all of these stages are initiated by the female in a relationship. (Truthfully, men don’t have five stages to anything. Heck, even a football game only has four quarters.)
Anyway, the first stage in the weight loss process is the old classic:
Denial. You’re not fat, right? They just make clothes different than they used to, right? Right. But there are other clues besides clothes which may be hinting at your bulkiness. The way the jukebox suddenly cuts off when you walk into the diner. The way the clothing store clerk points you towards the “big ol’ gal” section. The way your husband gently covers your hand as you reach for that third piece of pound cake. Haha. Just kidding. These, of course, are all preposterous examples designed to add some humor to your dire situation. Geez, lighten up, will ya?
But you can’t lighten up. That is, after all, the problem to begin with. So to quiet the voices in your head, you go to that one person in your life that can settle this once and for all – your husband. Now, most husbands adopt an epicurean view of marriage – “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die”. Like the character Dorian Gray from the novel of the same name, they look in the mirror and always see the same thing, the 170 pound person they were in high school. Husbands may hear distant rumblings of discontent in their house, but they are basically as oblivious as the sunbather on the beach that does not see the tidal wave approaching on the horizon. Suddenly, their view is blocked and they are swept up by a powerful and dangerous force – their wife asking: “Honey, do these pants make me look fat?”
Now, an experienced husband would rather be drowned by a tidal wave than deal with this question. “Speak and don’t think after you marry, and today you will die.” He knows that there is no right answer, but he also knows that a slow answer is equally deadly. Frantic, he says the first thing that comes to his mind – “Sweetie, you’re blocking the TV, I can’t see the game”. This leads to the second stage of weight loss – Rage.
Acceptance. The third stage of weight loss is acceptance, and the start of this stage is usually signaled by the female making the following statement: “Honey, I think we need to eat better”. With this statement, she is admitting that she is, indeed, fat, and that she knows that her husband knows that she knows that she is fat. She has forgiven him, but you better believe that he is going to be on the same weight loss train that she is about to travel on. Relieved to still be alive after the fat question, the husband initially agrees to a weight loss program.
Choosing a program. But what program should a couple choose? There are many out there, from Weight Watchers to Jenny Craig to Nutrasystem. The South Beach Diet focuses mainly on fish, while the South Kentucky Diet focuses mainly on possum. The one that gave me and my wife the most success by far is the Trim Healthy Mama program. This is more of a lifestyle change instead of a diet, complete with its own recipes, most of which are delicious. The program focuses on meats and vegetables, and minimizes starches, carbohydrates, and sugars. It also focuses on eating certain food groups at certain times of the day, and trying not to cross food groups. “S” foods are satisfying foods, keeping you full and content (but I don’t care what Snickers says, it is not an “S” food). “E” foods are energizing foods, non-fattening and giving you that boost to get through the day. “FP” foods are “fuel pull” foods. I have always been confused about this category – either they are energizing, or they pull gas out of your body, I’m not sure which. The human body, amazingly enough, knows what groups of food you are eating and when, and the type and timing of the food greatly affects the speed that you lose weight. Women understand this, but men may need an object lesson to help them see the concept. Think of the boat scene in the movie Ben Hur, when a trim Charlton Heston and the other rowers have the speed of the boat dictated to them by the drum and orders from above – battle speed, attack speed, ramming speed, and the like. Well, your body is pretty much that Roman galley, with the rowers being your fat cells, getting orders from the esophagus and the mouth. “Tenderloin speed!” “Broccoli speed!” “Whole grain speed!” Faster and faster the fat cells work, until they get whipped into shape. Occasionally, the wrong food (i.e. Krispy Kreme doughnut) is sent down, the fat cells “pull oars”, and weight loss comes to a halt.
Him Stealthy Papa. Yes, this is actually the last stage of weight loss. This is the stage which can threaten the entire process or, if it is overcome, can ensure success for a long time. The weight loss is going well – the husband and the wife are seeing noticeable results and feeling better. But, in the back of the husband’s mind, is memories of his former epicurean lifestyle. Remember, when he looks in the mirror he always sees the 170 pound high schooler. In his mind, the diet was never really necessary to begin with. Surely, sneaking a few snacks will not hurt anything, right? She can control the food in the house, but she can’t control the food at work or in the car, right? Been there, done that, bought the extra large T-shirt. Remember, the wife and the husband must see this as a lifestyle change. Food is not the end-all-be-all of everything. It is not the ultimate source of happiness. There are other things in life to enjoy. One stealthy snack leads to two stealthy snacks, and soon, the husband has abandoned the diet. This leads the wife to despair, and she seeks solace in Haagen Daazs. Then, she abandons the diet. Soon, you are sitting in from of the TV, and she comes in the room to ask if these pants make her look fat. Do you really think you can survive that question twice? I think not.
So guys, put on your big boy pants so that you and your wife can later put on smaller pants. You’ll be glad you did. And, if you are looking for a weight loss program, check out Trim Healthy Mama. It has really worked for my family.