Written by the Wifey:
The Boy King recently discovered that he could open the front door. So I started locking it. So he figured out how to unlock it. Which led to several instances where he slipped out of my sight just quick enough to scamper down the hall, unlock and open the front door, then head out onto the front porch, then turn around and look back through the windows at me. The Beast King and I had to figure out a solution before the Boy King decided to take his adventure even further. So off we went to Lowe’s to buy an old fashioned latch to install at the top of the front door. As the Beast King stood on the ladder masterfully wielding his DeWalt automatic drill he looked at me and said “Who’s not handy now?” with a smirk.
You see, a few years ago when we were getting ready to sell our first house and buy another, I made the comment “We don’t need to buy a fixer upper because, let’s face it, we’re not handy people.” I might as well have said “you are not a real man and you are not the grandson of your grandfather and you (insert the most horrible insult ever here).” Hank’s grandfather had been a master carpenter, descended from a long line of master carpenters, and to call into question Hank’s inheritance of these skills was apparently akin to telling him he was not actually who he said he was. I had unknowingly lit a spark that would turn into a blazing passion for woodwork and household handiness. When we eventually moved into our current house Hank installed the tile floors, resurfaced the front of the fireplace, built shelves, even built our daughter’s first bed. He is currently putting together a loft bed he built for her. He has his own etsy shop where he sells pictures he makes from recycled wood…in other words he set out to embrace and proclaim his handiness with a vengeance. All because I said “we’re not handy people.”
Maybe you’re thinking, “wonderful, but what does that have to do with weight loss and transforming into the Beast of Losing Weight?” Apparently another comment I made had a big effect on Hank’s decision to take control of his weight and start doing something about losing it. It took me a great deal of courage to work up the nerve to say it to him. I knew that he did not like to discuss his weight. He was extremely uncomfortable discussing anyone’s weight (probably because he was afraid that the conversation would turn to his own issues). It was the last thing in the world he would ever want to bring up. However, one day while hanging up the clothes I noticed that a 3XL shirt had made its way into his wardrobe. I thought “well, perhaps he just liked the shirt and they didn’t have a 2XL so he bought the next size up.”
Then a week or two later some more 3XL shirts appeared.
I love my husband. We have 2 young children. He is my best friend and I can’t imagine my life without him and I absolutely didn’t want to imagine my children growing up without him.
Children with one obese parent are 50% more likely to be obese themselves. For his health, for their health, for the future of our family I felt compelled to say something. So, one night, lying in bed in the dark, I said, “I noticed that you had some 3XL shirts in the closet. I love you so much and I want you to be there for me and for our children, I don’t want you to get sick and die early because of your weight.” Honestly, right now I can’t even remember his response. I just know it had taken everything I had to say what I did because I was afraid that the consequences of not saying it would be worse than whatever hurt feelings might occur if I didn’t say anything. Within a month of this conversation Hank had decided to take control of his health, his future, and his weight. He had decided his best chance to be successful was to take his journey public, to stop avoiding what he perceived to be the shame of being overweight, to become educated about the most healthy way to lose weight and sustain that loss, and then to share all that new knowledge. I certainly never expected, as I drew up the courage to say what I did, that less than a year later I’d have a husband who was 85 lbs lighter and who was in better shape than I’d ever seen him in.
Words have power.
They carry weight.
They have the power to encourage or destroy.
Sometimes they can be hard to say.
One of my favorite quotes is “speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” Nagging someone about their weight or trying to shame or tease them into losing weight will never work. Encouraging someone because they mean the world to you, and perhaps your family, can go a lot further.
So, if you are someone who is succeeding at becoming healthy and fit encourage those around you to do the same. If you are someone who would like to be healthier and fit, find people to surround yourself with who will encourage you and give you the positive reinforcement you need to stay the course. Remember that being fit (not “skinny”, not a certain size or number) is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and those you love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!