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For Your Marriage

Josh and Stacey Noem have been married for almost 20 years and have three children in middle school and high school. They blog about parenting and their adventures as a family.

A Pair of Fatties

When we returned from early summer travels, I turned to Joshua and said, “We are a pair of fatties.” He nodded his assent.

Normally neither one of us has the habit of commenting on the other’s weight. I think Joshua, in particular, has a carefully cultivated practice of only commenting on my physical appearance when I look nice and giving me a compliment. Admittedly a prudent and wise approach for a husband.

But the time had come, and reality was too obvious to be ignored. We are soft and increasingly round. So I named it.

I know HOW we got here: at work I sit in a chair at the computer; or sit in a chair in a meeting; or sit in a chair while talking with a student. My primary opportunity to stretch my legs, besides the bike commute in and back, is walking to get coffee. Hence, I refer to my particular brand of weight gain as “Starbucks Office Butt.”

When I am home, I prioritize my time to be with the children. We take some walks, play some ball, and go on bike rides. But often we are sitting playing cards; sitting in the car on the way to some sport or activity; or sitting watching some sport or activity.

We have been moving in this direction for a while. Early on in marriage and after our first child, we were both still in pretty good athletic shape. Pounds fell off fairly easily with regular exercise and not too much attention to diet.

Then after having two more children and getting our first office job, our weights didn’t fluctuate as much. They just stayed 5-10 pounds higher than previously. Over time a regular, fairly rigorous exercise regimen was only enough to maintain our current weights without taking anything off or helping to move down a belt notch.

When we moved this spring, I had an initial moderate weight loss, thanks in part to less time for meals (not healthy). But then all the “special” dinners out when we hadn’t planned for supper at home began to add up.

And now I am faced with the realization that a more drastic change is in order. We are going to have to diet (cue loud scary music).

See, Joshua and I don’t diet. We exercise. And in all honesty, until now, we have exercised SO THAT we didn’t have to watch what we ate. We just ate whatever we wanted. Granted, “whatever I want” generally includes baking and eating sheets of chocolate chip cookies and pans of brownies once or twice a week.

But let’s be honest. That is a bit gluttonous. And, it is definitely not being the best steward of the body that God gave me.

I am not an ascetic by any means — ask anyone who has dined with me eating flourless chocolate cake. I indulge to the point of licking the plate.

But, the time has come for a change and I am SO grateful that Joshua feels exactly the same way. He even happened upon a super cool app called “Lose it!” to help us along the way. It helps to identify how many calories to eat in a given day, tracks the number of calories in each meal, and adjusts for exercise done.

I have to acknowledge that in God’s great plan for how we grow and mature, the body plays a significant role. And this is the only body I have to take me through my children’s school years, graduations, weddings or ordinations, births of grandchildren, etc…It is the only body with which I have to walk with Joshua through the changing rhythms of our shared life, to have adventures together and to care for one another.