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My Dude Went On An Anti-Diet — And Lost 40 Pounds

Since meeting my husband more than a decade ago (holy cow), his relationship with working out has been spotty. We worked out together in our early days — and a lot of our early run-ins before officially dating involved a community workout program in Lawrence, Kan. After we became an item, his workout dedication waxed and waned. He’d be gung-ho for months at a time, and then a work deadline would get in the way, and he’d go awhile without working out. He’d put on a little weight over the years, but it was gradual and up and down, and at almost 6’3″, he hid any extra poundage well. Lucky dude.

When I coaxed him into doing the Tough Mudder with me last fall it was for two reasons. First of all, I wanted someone — needed someone — to go through it with me. There was no way I wanted to face mud and fire and electric shocks by myself. And really, in the Tough Mudder, you need at least a partner (and preferably a group) to make it through. My second reason was that I knew he wouldn’t be able to do it without training properly, which I knew he would, and I was hoping that the workout habit would stick once the race was complete.

Fast forward almost a year later, and my gamble has paid off. After seeing what he could accomplish with the race, he was hooked. Not wanting to give up on his progress, he maintained his workouts. We both kept running, and we finally bore the benefits of having a partner in workout crime. When one of us wasn’t motivated, the other would plan to head to the gym anyway — and no man ever wants to be left behind on a trip to the gym. Plus, it became our weekend date: the kids in the gym’s child center and us on treadmills. He doesn’t work out nearly as frequently now as when we were training for the race, but he consistently works out two to three times a week — and for someone who has had such an off/on relationship with exercise, that’s huge. He can still go out and run four miles or so, no problem.

In the habit of working out and a few pounds down, he started to tweak his eating habits a bit. He realized that his frequent lunches out with co-workers often resulted in much-too-large meals, so he started tweaking those meals. More soups and salads, fewer sandwiches and fries. He started to realize he was satisfied on less — and didn’t have to give up on splurges and what some would call “guilty pleasures;” he just had to eat slightly less of them, less frequently. He ate more soups at his work cafeteria — so many that he’s proudly on his fifth soup punch card of the year. He started to pay attention to his nightly snacking choices, and skip that second or third snack of the evening when he’d realize he wasn’t actually hungry.

In short, my hubby went on an anti-diet. And he’s lost almost 40 pounds. (The after shot is his “Seriously, I know you’re trying to sneak an ‘after’ shot of me” face.)

It really was what we call a “health spiral” in our book. You commit to one tweak, one healthy habit, and slowly add in more of them. There is no panic about having to “be healthy,” or avoid certain things, it’s about small changes that add up big time. His experience has reaffirmed a couple of things for me. 1) All of the things I preach here have finally sunk in for him! and, 2) You don’t need an entire lifestyle overhaul or drastic measures to make a huge difference in your health and fitness. He doesn’t feel deprived; he doesn’t feel like he went on a diet. Yet he’s certainly getting more veggies and healthier foods into his body without even really noticing. He’s moving more. And he feels way better and more energized. The other day he cranked out a number of pull-ups after not having worked on them in ages. He couldn’t believe it, but turns out losing 40 pounds makes pull-ups way easier, even if you’re a little out of pull-up practice!

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