A Man Who Loves You Through Thick and Thin (Literally) Is a Keeper

Full figureCall the law. Somebody—I don’t know who would’ve pulled such a mean trick but somebody—broke into my apartment, crept into my bedroom, went through my closet, and shrunk all my clothes. My jeans, skirts, slacks, even track jackets and party dresses, all vandalized, zapped down to junior’s department size. 

OK, so the chances that some criminal with nothing better to do in the big city than hatch a diabolical plan to annihilate the wardrobe of a random freelance writer are pretty slim. I, alas, am not. I’ve put on some weight over the last few years, though I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started packing on all of these extra pounds. But I do know the factors that have conspired to make me Ms. Fatty McButterpants: being sociable, which always includes food; sitting through long meetings, where snacks are always a welcome distraction; and being able to burn a little bit in the kitchen myself. 


While I’ve been caught up in the rapture of my long-running love affair with food, however, I’ve also maintained a less than enthusiastic commitment to working out. I don’t mind exercising as long as it’s fun. I would shrivel up from boredom on a treadmill, but my seldom seen competitive spirit comes out in zumba and kickboxing classes, so I have to plan my workout schedule around them. If I make a pit stop at home beforehand or, even more dangerous, rest my weary bones on the sofa for a few minutes, it’s a wrap. Might as well toe tag the exercise plan for that day. And that happens more often than I can shake a breadstick at.

Historically, I have never been thin. After I outgrew the children’s department, I completely skipped sizes 0-4, stopped briefly at 6, hovered at 8 for a while when I was in college and settled comfortably at a 10. I was always on the thick side, even when I ran track back in high school. Now here I am, one Chick-Fil-A trip away from being an Ashley Stewart shopper. But in a genuine show of unconditional love, it matters not a bit to my boyfriend. In fact, he’s seen pictures of me in my more svelte, less curvy days and made it quite clear that he has no desire for me to recreate that look, though his running joke, “so long as I can get my arms around you when we hug, you’re OK with me,” gives me a little too much leeway.

I got comfortable in my chubbiness, partly because I wasn’t paying much attention to my beefy thighs or the love handles—I call them “kickstands”—rolling up on my sides, little by little, then lots by lots. Because African-American aesthetics make it totally acceptable to have some padding on your package, and plenty black men don’t mind if you have a little extra meat on your bones, I haven’t felt pressured. I’ve appreciated that, particularly when it comes from The Man. I know a lot of women whose beaus make snide comments, even the ever-so-subtle ones, if they start putting on a few pounds. His support means I can knock off the amount of weight I want to lose without feeling scrutinized or critiqued. Which, I must say, is only right since I don’t scrutinize or critique him.

Now when we go out, he’ll suggest healthier foods in honor of my mission and try to steer me away from my own self-destructive adoration of all things Jack Daniels at TGI Friday’s or making a super late night stop in the McDonald’s 24-hour drive thru for my standard fries and strawberry shake. He bought a bike to ride to work; I walk at least three miles a day rather than hopping in the car, especially considering gas is $4 a friggin’ gallon. Slowly, we’re both changing our lifestyles and it’s nice to know whether I’m on a wheat germ and tofu-only restriction (please God, let that never, ever happen) or an all-fried foods polooza (and that probably shouldn’t happen either), he’s ready to cheerlead me to my best shape.

Have you and your significant other made getting healthy a couple activity?


Image via BigGirlBlue/Flickr

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