How to sustain a fit and healthy marriage...

This week my husband and I have a milestone to celebrate; 15 years of unfit marital bliss? 


Here's the thing...

After almost four years of marriage and as I approached my 30th birthday, I began to rapidly gain weight. Up to that point, I never had to exercise and could eat whatever I wanted. The realization that I had to make a change was not a fun discovery.

My husband and I decided to check out a fitness center that was close to where we lived at the time. While we were there my husband asked me, “If we get this membership, are you going to workout with me?” “Sure”, I suppose that’s what I said. We stopped by to get some prices, walked out with “sucker” stamp on our foreheads and a three-year membership. 

From the first day going together and by the end of our workout I was not feeling it. I did not like my husband AT ALL at the gym. I often thought we weren’t going to make it if we had to workout together. I didn’t like him correcting my form. I didn’t like him telling me what to do, and I didn’t want to stay there for more than an hour. I was often found waiting for him out front while reading a book. When I stopped going, it became a sore spot in our relationship.

To keep the peace and avoid the “wasted money” conversation, I started going on my own. He would ask, “Did you go to the gym today?” and I would growl in my response. I didn’t like him asking me or telling me ANYTHING about working out. I gained more weight and stopped exercising. He got his fitness in at work and after while, neither one of us was using the three-year membership and couldn’t cancel it without a penalty.

By the time I decided to join Weight Watchers, I had gained almost forty pounds in five years a marriage. Yikes! I’ve never seen that in writing. I joined the Y close to my job and in 8 months of hard work, I lost 29 pounds (a one-time success). To date, with the exception of being pregnant with Christopher, I have never been that heavy again. Now at age 41, the not so fun discovery is that I can’t take breaks. I HAVE TO, for the rest of my healthy life, eat right and maintain an exercise routine.

Last week I wrote about how we started the Insanity workout. I’ll tell you, it’s tough. This past weekend I felt like I had been in a car accident; and that’s an understatement. 

When my husband retired this year, he joined me for some of my morning walks. Fresh off of retirement, he was in great shape and wanted to run or ride bikes way faster than I could. Once Spring (with pollen attached) was here, I couldn’t do anything outside. After pollen season was over, it was too hot, and then school was out. All great excuses to quit altogether. 

Weeks later I wondered why I was the one gaining weight in his retirement. My entire schedule was thrown out of whack once he and Christopher were home. My order became disorder, and the disorganization left me very inactive with writing, exercise, eating healthy etc. When I whined to my mom about how my lack of alone time was affecting me, she said, “Everything will be fine. You’ll find your groove.”

She was right. 

When my husband asked me weeks ago if I would try the Insanity workout with him I said, “Sure”, in an unconvincing tone. I had flashbacks about wondering if our marriage would survive working out together. I joined him for seven minutes on his Day Two and managed to hang in there the day after that.  

He’s not the boss of this workout. I can do stuff he can’t do and he can do stuff I can’t do. I’m looking forward to our growth as we take on this insane challenge together. 

Just in time to celebrate 15 years together, we decided to start the workout routine over. We took the Fitness Test and recorded our measurements. Last week I wasn’t feeling knowing my body measurements or weight. The knowing is easier for me to accept when I am on a path to change.

Today the body measurements on his 6ft/slender frame and my 5’5/fluffy frame are almost exactly two inches apart from our biceps to our calves   Our body types are different.  Our bodies respond differently to foods and exercise routines. He has to exercise to GAIN weight and build muscle. He can eat fried foods and a hunk of cake before going to bed. He gets his fruits and veggies in the form of juicing. I have to exercise to burn fat and I have to eat right to lose weight. My body responds better to whole fruits and vegetables, eating early in the evening, and getting a full nights sleep.

This has been our battle of misunderstanding for years in trying to do things together in the same way. Working out to Insanity, we will never match each other rep for rep or in intensity and it doesn’t feel like a competition. 

Here’s the thing... It has taken a bit of a sacrifice and discipline to learn how to do things separately - together.  

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement for Insanity Fitness or Weight Watchers, and has been written by someone in love who no longer feels like a train wreck. 

Kenya G. Johnson