Sunday, March 22, 2009

This Fabulous Married Life

A wonderful thing has happened. My wife has taken control of her personal life and health after too many years of being a victim of selfless momhood. She has chosen cycling as her primary form of exercise outside of the gym.

I have gone to gyms and have been a guy who "works out" off and on since before high school. I even tried to talk myself into being a runner in college. I've had many dry spells in which I have let myself slip into lethargy and poor health. So far I have managed to come out of it reasonably well. I am in a good phase of health currently, and I plan to keep it that way. I have been as much as thirty pounds heavier than I weigh now. And that wasn't thirty pounds of muscle. It's always on my mind when I exercise, this past self who laid down for about three years. I excused myself into every pound of it, too.

So my wife has really done it this time. I was expecting the usual ritual. We buy a piece of so-called exercise equipment only to have it languish in stasis until it eventually migrates to Goodwill. But this time is different. She has attached something new to the resolve- a promise to cycle for our daughter. Failures in the old cycle were limited in effect. Now failure is on par with letting your children down. What a simple and brilliant psychological maneuver. Since doing it for yourself has never been good enough, announce that you'll do it for others. And now with the success that surely breeds success, she is doing it for personal improvement and actual enjoyment. It feels good to exercise and eat well.

The biggest sign of truth for me? There is a case of Pepsi in the garage that has been there for weeks now, nearly full. Pepsi was like a little devil on my wife's shoulder. It was a crutch and a huge health roadblock. I won't make too much of it, but dropping the Pepsi as a regular beverage has affected a net caloric loss that would be hard to match through exercise alone. It's a victory that can be measured in numbers, but one that is also symbolic. It represents a personal weakness that has been conquered.

I'm looking into the kitchen and I see bright and colorful fresh fruits and vegetables. We are eating them, too. Very little gets thrown out. We are eating wonderful food and not missing a thing. The kids are better off for it, and are now less likely to have bad food habits to struggle with later in life. Anything can happen, I know, but habits do form in childhood. We are not denying our kids what they want. Why stock the house with bad options to begin with? They see us drinking water or other healthy choices. They follow our example. We don't have to trick or bribe them to eat good food. They ask for it.

What else has better family health brought? How about a happier family? Everyone has energy enough to get things done, and then energy still left over for fun. It's like the old joke says, "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Mama is much happier now since exercise and better nutrition have become the norm.

I have always thought my wife is beautiful, but women are always more attractive when they feel good about themselves. The best is when the good feeling is intrinsic, rather than something fleeting that might come from a new outfit or hair style. With our twentieth high school reunion coming soon, my wife looks and feels better than she has for a long time. It's a change that I believe will become a lasting one.

I am loving the changes, and couldn't be more proud of the woman I married for becoming dedicated to health and all of its benefits. Life is beautiful.

Live well.