“We’re Partners in Health”
When Peggy Skaggs decided to take control of her weight, her husband followed suit. Now fitness is a family affair
Jeff and I have been married for more than 20 years, and for most of that time, eating was our favorite hobby–and it showed. We’d easily polish off almost 3 pounds of beef at dinner! I was busy being a mom to our teenage son–I didn’t think my weight (185 pounds) was worth worrying about. So when my friend Marcy begged me to go with her to a personal trainer, I thought she was joking. I was almost 40, and I’d never done anything athletic in my life.
Fat Was Not My Fate!
But I agreed to go–for her. I dreaded every minute of it. My husband, who hadn’t exercised since playing baseball in college 22 years before, just laughed. Then, one day Marcy couldn’t make it. I was so relieved–but I went anyway. That’s when I realized I was doing this for myself. I didn’t like working out, but I loved how I felt after. And I was seeing results: I could do a sit-up and jog three whole blocks.
Food for Thought
I wasn’t losing weight, though, and so my trainer suggested I follow the USDA’s food pyramid–lots of produce and whole grains, not as much meat and dairy, and few sweets and oils. I wrote down everything I ate and let her review it weekly.
Over the next 8 months, I steadily dropped pounds–about 1 to 2 per week. Jeff encouraged me but never joined in. Then, a year and a half after I began exercising, it hit him that even a walk around the block was painful. Thanks to arthritis, old injuries, and his weight, the athlete I’d married could barely walk a quarter mile.
The Comeback Hubby
Jeff asked if my trainer could review his diet, too. I was shocked! He’d been mindlessly eating 5,000 calories a day for years–now our grocery bills plummeted. Five months later and 50 pounds lighter, Jeff walked 1 mile, slowly. Within weeks he’d worked up to a brisk 12-minute-mile. One evening while our family was out, Jeff broke into a sprint. Our son grabbed me and said, “Mom, did you see that? Dad just ran!” Through my son’s eyes, I realized that the transformation Jeff and I shared was a victory for our whole family.
Eat fewer sweets. I realized that I’d eaten enough pie for a lifetime. It’s okay to sometimes skip dessert.
Master the menu. I eat out a lot, so learning how to order healthy dishes (such as grilled chicken, lean beef, and fish) helped me succeed.
Challenge yourself. I exercised for the first time in my life! Now, I do weights, the elliptical or treadmill, and more.
Know when to stop. My mantra was, “I can eat whatever I want, but I can never eat all that I want.” Actually, Jeff came up with that one, but I love it.
Enjoy your energy. We’d always been couch potatoes. Now we spend our evenings planning all the stuff we finally feel good enough to do: travel, go camping, hike, and host parties.
Appreciate your new health. My weight loss helped me overcome thyroid cancer. I was diagnosed 2 years after I slimmed down. Had I still been heavy going into my surgery, I’d have been at a much higher risk of complications.
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