Let’s begin with an awkward moment:
I’m picking up my six-year-old son from his nana’s house and while walking out of the door, she says something to the effect of “That boyfriend of yours is doing something to you, girl, you’re really putting on weight.”
“Uhhh yeah… thank you,” I replied.
First of all, I really didn’t need my son’s elderly mother-figure informing me that I’ve gained weight. I realized this myself several months ago when most of my jeans wouldn’t come up past my knees and my full-length shirts had suddenly morphed into crop tops. Being unable to fit into two-thirds of my winter wardrobe was an illuminating surprise.
So, let’s rewind, shall we?
I started dating my boyfriend in December 2012. It was a love story that began with two of my favorite things: coffee and clothes.
I was sitting in an indie coffee shop, alone and eager to start a conversation with someone. I glanced across the room stopping at a pair of green loafers, size 10.5 (give or take). My eyes traveled up to see the rest of the well-dressed gentleman who couldn’t have been but a few years older than me.
“Hey, I like your shoes,” I said.
“Thanks, I like your glasses,” he replied, referring to my signature red specs.
And that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Now, fast forward a little over 12 months of adventurous date nights, meaningful quality time, life-changing conversations, copious amounts of PDA…. and over 30 pounds of body mass that I cannot account for.
OK, I’m lying -- I know what happened to me is what Urban Dictionary calls “boyfriend weight” -- gaining weight while with your significant other due to non-stop eating binges for anniversaries, birthday celebrations or simple nights in. This includes but is not limited to: buffet dinners, lunch value meals, breakfasts in bed and everything in between.
But, I love food! And what’s more satisfying than sharing something you love with someone you love? Nothing!
But I do have a couple of problems.
First, I don’t make enough money freelancing to constantly beef up my wardrobe on the account of hot fudge brownie sundaes, grease-soaked pizza and the like. Second, being a more self-confident, happy and most importantly healthy individual is a part of relationship survival. Thus, I have began to implement some simple lifestyle alterations that can be done with my boyfriend by my side:
Working Out -- I got my first gym membership the summer of 2007. A couple months later, I found out I was pregnant and never entered a gym again. I mean, why work out when you’re going to gain weight anyway, right?
Since then, my exercise regimen consisted of however long I had to walk from my parking space to my destination. More recently though, I’ve picked up an exercise routine and since my boyfriend is a licensed personal trainer, this has easily become a bonding activity of sorts. Granted, I’ve been exposed to a drill sergeant element of his personality that I could live without, it’s built a new level of trust in our relationship. It’s gratifying to be with someone who I know cares as much about my push-ups as pushing me toward my goals in life.
And I’ve even taken up working out on my own some mornings. I allot 30 minutes -- which usually ends up being 15 minutes -- for a little push-up-sit-up-squat routine while watching the last half hour of Good Morning America. I have to say it’s quite an invigorating way to start my day.
Bike Riding -- Along with working out, it has been a very, very long time since my butt has touched a bicycle seat. But again, my boyfriend is a bike advocate so cycling was bound to enter my life. One day, I woke up with two bicycles and a bikeshare fob, so I figured I may as well use them.
As I strive to become a daily rider, getting back into the swing of things is not as fun and recreational as I remember when I was a kid. Riding as an adult (an out-of-shape adult, at that), is definitely more tasking, but it has been an adventure of its own. Other than being cost efficient and great exercise, riding has heightened my sense of freedom and exploration. It’s an opportunity to notice the unique people, places and things that the city has to offer -- things I ordinarily would have ignored cooped up in my car.
Riding with my partner has been great. Not only does he not mind my water breaks every half mile, being with someone makes rides less tough and distances seem less long.
Like my workout routine, I also venture out via bike on my own some mornings. While I only usually go as far as a mile to the closest coffee shop, the ability to be in my body, thrown into the environment is a trip worth taking.
Healthy Snacks -- So, I have a plastic leopard lunch bag that I carry everywhere that’s filled with snacks on snacks on snacks! Becoming more health conscious though, I’ve dropped the Snickers and cookies for plantain chips, bananas, nuts and fruit smoothies. And surprisingly, there are healthy snacks that actually taste yummy (hello, Bolthouse Farms’ Blue Goodness!).
As a hopeless romantic who hasn’t managed to stay in a relationship more than four months before this one, the journey has been interesting. I’ve gained a few pounds, but also a best friend to share my new love handles. And while my boyfriend is totally accepting of my new size (luckily one of his favorite songs is “Don’t Change” by Musiq Soulchild), it's less about the weight and more about self-care.
Whether I put on or lose pounds isn’t the issue. It’s about loving what I see when I look in the mirror and being comfortable in my own skin. And my new weight has come out of a place of love and passion, which makes it ultimately not so bad.