My husband recently stepped onto the scale and told me that his Body Mass Index (BMI) was 29.1 and that he is considered overweight.
I was ecstatic! So I want to shout from the rooftops and tell everyone how proud I am of him for being overweight.
I hear the thoughts that are already jumping around in your head:
Isn’t she concerned about his health?
Doesn’t she know that a BMI of 30 is obese and that he is so close to the edge?
Won’t her husband be embarrassed by her making a big deal of him being overweight?
Don’t worry. I am already aware and concerned with all those issues. But I am thrilled, nonetheless.
Nine months ago, my husband had a BMI of 47.
That is considered morbidly obese. My husband carried around excess weight, but more than that, he was weighed down with a variety of health issues, poor sleep, and almost no energy. We have five kids (the youngest two are toddlers) so energy is kind of a requirement for this season of life.
And nine months ago my husband woke up to the reality that things would probably only get worse unless he took control and did something about it.
Now, if you knew my husband, you would not be surprised by that fact that he was industrious enough to research strategies and find a solution. My husband has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, so research, studies, and evidence communicate with him in a way that stories and anecdotal evidence do not. So he went to the library and checked out books that talked about food addiction, how the brain reacts to food, and how to rewire your brain to break these old habits.
He didn’t really tell me he was doing this. He would check out a book on audio and listen during his commute to and from work. Some were interesting, but one really connected with him. It was called Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin & Free®, by Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson. And after he listened to it, he came home and dropped a bombshell on me.
“I want to do this” he said.
And I was immediately skeptical.
Past history had shown me that his eating and weight were tied to external things.
- If I owned _______, I would lose weight.
- If you bought ______, I would eat better.
- If I joined _______, I would exercise.
Over the years we had put a lot of money into promised results that were never achieved. So my skepticism was understandable.
But this time was different. My husband patiently shared me how he had come to a place of taking personal responsibility. How in order to effect real, permanent change, he needed to view some foods like an alcoholic views liquor – as something he could no longer consume. And that in order to succeed, he would need to change his habits in a way that would rewire his brain to no longer crave these foods.
So we talked. A lot. We rearranged our kitchen and purged our pantry. We re-worked our recipe list and fashioned a system for grocery shopping. He had the biggest hurdle to overcome, but it was going to require a complete shift for our entire family. We were going to have to become a Bright Line Eating® Family.
It was challenging, especially at first. He joined an online support group which was one of the best things he could have done. You see, I don’t have the same food struggles he does, so as much as I want to understand, I simply can’t. So this online support group provided him a place to connect with people who would understand and encourage him as he shared his struggles and successes. And because he had this community, this allowed me to simply love and encourage him as his wife without requiring me to try and understand something I couldn’t.
My fears were disproved, and I can say that becoming a Bright Line Eating® Family has been a HUGE success.
In nine months, my husband has lost 135 pounds. Many of his health issues have significantly improved or gone away altogether. His energy level is increasing (though with toddlers, some days it’s hard to tell!) and there is a joy that is returning that we hadn’t even realized was gone.
So for that moment when he stepped on the scale and crossed the line from obese to overweight, we celebrate!