Monday, September 24, 2012

"I Didn't Sign Up For This": My First Reaction to Chris' Lifestyle Change

When Chris first came home and told me that he was going to join the gym and get in shape so he could get his black belt I thought it was great.  I thought he would feel better and be able to do more and be excited about his new journey.  This was true.

What I didn't expect was that I wouldn't like his new passion as much as he did.  I wasn't ready to join him on his journey because I was in school full-time and working full-time and often fell asleep on the couch before dinner and stayed asleep until morning.  It was a miserable time.

As Chris became more excited about fitness and increasing his ability I became more frustrated with Chris.  He tracked every calorie and planned every meal and that took time.  Not to mention he didn't appreciate that I was eating whatever I wanted in front of him (ie. bringing home cinnamon buns) and I don't blame him. But, I didn't sign up for this weight loss goal - he did.  I did enjoy our healthy dinner challenges like our 1 week dinner salad challenge where we ate only salad for dinner and took turns making new ones (tuna and pine nuts on endive scoops, Waldorf salad, Greek salad, caramelized pear and toasted walnut salad, etc.)

Then I began to hate Chris' time away to do fitness.  I was exhausted from work and school and Chris was exhausted from work and school, but he was able to go to the gym everyday, hockey several times a week, and karate several times a week.  I, however, felt like I had no time and that things around the house were not getting done.  I felt like I was carrying the household (this was not true - just seemed that way because I was jealous Chris had free time to do his fitness and sport stuff and I did not have time for me).  I wanted Chris home and although I thought it was great he was so committed to his goal I did not care.  Deep down I wanted him to quit.  I didn't sign up for a relationship where my husband was at the gym for several hours a day.  That was not the kind of person I wanted to spend my day with (or not spend my day with since he was at the gym).

Then Chris finally met his weight goal (or surpassed I should say).  He was so low in weight that he looked sickly - literally.  You should look at our wedding photo and the before and after photos below to see the difference.
Chris back when I met him.  All cute and cuddly. 225lbs

Chris at our wedding. 155lbs

Chris looking super sexy now. 165lbs

This was a super hard time because Chris didn't think he was too thin.  He wasn't eating enough and he was working out a lot.  I didn't know what to do with myself.  Now I was married to this thin man who looked nothing like the man I fell in love with and I was still my overweight self.  I felt like we were an odd couple pairing as we no longer matched in looks and lifestyle.  So I started my weight-loss journey (half-heartedly) and thought to myself and expressed to Chris that "I didn't sign up for this".  I wanted my movie-watching, couch sitting, restaurant eating partner back.  I had to start changing my mindset.

But then things settled down and Chris was home more and I was home more and fitness became part of his life, but not the center of his life.  He was able to go to the gym for less time once he reached his goal and eat a lot more - this also took effort on his part and a lot of convincing on mine.  Things were much better.

Now, I'm actually committed to my own fitness journey.  I'm seeing the results and I'm doing more.  I never wanted to be a fitnessy-type person.  I don't want to be better at sports-type things.  I just want to feel better.  Things are getting easier and I'm having to do more to get that feeling of accomplishment and that feeling of working out hard.  I never thought I would be setting fitness challenges for myself.  I never thought my body would tell me it has to do something active because it misses it.  And, now I think to myself "I didn't sign up for this, but thank God I did".


  1. Now that is bare bones honesty. Well Done!

  2. Amber I have been thinking about this post all day. I admire your honesty and raw emotion. This is beautifully written and I adore the ending. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Glad everyone is enjoying. A lot of people have been telling me how much they appreciate my candidness when it comes to fitness and how Chris and I survive through the changes it brings. It's not all good times, but that is what makes the good times better. We learn and grow from the rough patches.
    Amber (via Chris' computer because my legs are too tired to get up and get my computer after an 18km bike ride that doubled my usual distance).

  4. Amber, this is an incredible post. I have to admit, I would have felt the same way you did. What is really great though is you realized the change you wanted had to come from within you. I always knew you were a strong woman, I just had no idea how strong. Can't find words to say how impressed I am.

  5. You're a good writer, Amber.

    It is interesting how everything has pros and cons. I'm pretty sure that my husband felt the same way when I went extremely gung ho into fitness. I was often too tired for other family things, and all of the gym time took a lot of time all week. I had to learn to find balance somehow. I no longer go to the gym every morning, but still LOVE!!! (like a total fitness freak) my weekend time at the gym. But my kids need me in the morning and a person can only do so much.

    Also, you two haven't been married so many years. Honestly, after 10 years or so, you two really won't care if the other one spends a whole month away! But, in the early years, it's not like that. In the early years of our marriage, I remember that I felt like you do, Amber.

    I'm writing this late, but I hope you are doing well.

    :-) Marion