Last night Candied Jansen and I had a serious discussion. Unfortunately, it took place over many text messages, but the topic came up and we weren’t together so we discussed with promises to continue the topic when we were together next. And I say unfortunately, but really, it wasn’t too bad. We both could read our words to make sure we were saying what we were thinking so there was a lot of typing and erasing and retyping going on. The topic…well it started out a little narrow and broadened as we went along and then narrowed into something else. Isn’t that how most arguments go? And just for the record this was nothing like an argument, but it reminded me of one in the way it morphed into something completely different.
Our first topic was health, namely Candied Jansen’s health. If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you know she is an athlete. She loves to work out and participate in various types of race challenges. When we started dating at the end of January, she had just completed a half marathon and was actively riding her bike to prepare for the MS150 from Houston to Austin in April. She missed a few of her early morning weekend rides because of our relationship blossoming (read: we “slept” in), but it wasn’t a huge deal at the time because those tender moments were so necessary. Despite missing a few prep rides, she was still race ready when the time came, and she rocked that race like a champ! Candied Jansen was also getting up early and working out at the gym at her office before office hours started. Many days she would also work out in the afternoon before heading home. She loved the way those workouts made her look and feel. She was preparing a big healthy meal on Sundays to use for her lunches all week and eating a sandwich for dinner every night. She had a chart on her bathroom mirror that reflected her goals as well as weight and inches lost and muscle gained. She had a calendar with multi-colored magnetic buttons to reflect good days and bad days. The biggest thing though was that she had a plan. She wanted to lose the weight that she had gained in her last relationship, and her plan was working!
Until me. I came along and totally screwed with her plan. I didn’t do it intentionally, and she doesn’t blame me at all. It was a natural thing. When you wake up next to the person that you feel you’ve waited your whole life for, it’s hard to get out of bed early to go work out. You want to rush home from work on the days you know you’ll get to see her so working out after work doesn’t happen. You go out for drinks more and eat out more because you are celebrating finding the love of your life. And we did. The exercise times slowed to a trickle. The numbers on her charts started to head back up instead of following the arrows downward like before. She got frustrated with herself. She revamped the plan and when that didn’t work she set a few new goals and started over again. I encouraged her when I thought to encourage her, but I know I wasn’t very motivating. I didn’t know how to motivate her. I never begged her to stay in bed or encouraged her to skip workouts, but I knew that because I wasn’t an athlete, what I said or thought wasn’t the right thing for her. My body positive, love yourself words weren’t helpful.
Now Candied Jansen has a new plan. One that she hasn’t really shared with me yet. I know it has to do with being an athlete. Remembering who SHE was and not trying to make it about who WE can be. She thinks that’s what was holding her back. When she dated and married her ex-husband, a big part of their relationship was built around working out and being active together. That’s what they did. After her divorce, she dated someone who said they were athletic and active but never really delivered on that promise. Candied Jansen allowed herself to be controlled by this person and ended up losing the active part of herself. She finally got frustrated enough to remember who she was so she made some changes. She started working out alone or with her brother and was taking charge of her health again. When the relationship ended a little later, Candied Jansen’s commitment to working out ended as well. She lost weight and hit her goal because she wasn’t eating, but other than a few times here and there, she wasn’t actively doing anything to promote her health. In the three years since, she’s been active off and on, but she’s had a hard time finding her groove trying to work out alone. She did a triathlon without really training for it as well as a half marathon. The last girl she dated did like to be active, but it was all competition with her which was no fun for Candied Jansen. She was stressed and very unhappy. When they broke up, she really committed to getting healthy. That is when she seemed to hit her stride. And that is what she was doing when I came along.
What she has come to realize is what she’s known all along…that she and I are different. I am not an athlete. I never played any sports in school. I never promised to run or bike with her. I did join a gym, and we went together once. She thinks that her issue is that she’s been trying to figure out what WE can do together instead of doing what SHE does best. Her active relationship with her ex-husband set the standard for her other relationships. Spending time together meant being active together. With me, she saw that all of the puzzle pieces fit together, but this one. This piece she brought from a different puzzle. This piece that she’s been trying to make fit.
Tomorrow we will have a chance to sit together and talk. Tomorrow I will see the bathroom mirror and the new plan. She warned me that it’s different. That I might not understand it. That scares me a little bit. It scares me because I know I have to make a change as well. I told her I’ve watched The Biggest Loser and other shows with similar goals in mind. I’ve seen the contestants talk about how hard it is to go home because of the temptations they face. I’ve heard them say that even though their loved ones say they are supportive, their lifestyles don’t reflect that. I don’t want to be the reason she fails. I don’t want to be the one she is fighting against. I don’t want to be the place that’s hard. I don’t want to be that person. The one who tempts her or causes her to be complacent in an area that is so important to her.
(And here’s where the conversation morphed into something else, but I want to finish my thoughts on this topic before I move on to the next one which I will address in another blog post.)
So my changes…that’s where my mind is now. Trying to figure out what to do. For me, it isn’t so much about the exercise. While I don’t know that I’ll ever be a runner or a biker, I am more than willing to go to the gym with her. I want to encourage her as much as I can. I need to encourage her. I can’t control her happiness, but I can commit to being the best me for her. Casual walks around the neighborhood, while not heart pumping, would be a way we could spend time together doing something other than eating out and watching TV. My biggest thing is the food. I am a foodie. I love to cook. The thought of fixing one meal on Sundays and eating it for lunch every day for a week almost makes me gag, but she can still do that without it changing what I eat for lunch. It’s the thought of eating a sandwich for dinner every night that sounds like torture. It isn’t who I am. And it isn’t who I want us to be. I want to share a meal together. That is important to me. The easy answer is to just cook healthier. Make dishes that are better for us. That’s fine. I can do that. But what about baking and those well loved family dishes that my kids request? They will be temptations for her.
The conclusion I’ve come to from our texts and my time thinking about it is this. I know that we will work it out. Right now, we aren’t living together. When she comes to my house, it is different than if we were living together. The foods I have in my fridge and pantry are my family’s go-to foods. I always have everything to make several different meals without having to go to the store. I keep things well stocked, and I cook what I’m used to cooking for my kids. When I am at Candied Jansen’s house, we cook much healthier. There are usually fewer things to snack on. If we want to eat it or cook it, we usually have to go buy it first. When we move in together, I think it will work itself out. Yes, there will be some temptations, but if I am making sure to stock my fridge and pantry with healthier options and cook healthy foods on a regular basis and if WE are being active on a regular basis, those temptations can be indulged in every once in a while. They shouldn’t completely derail a health plan. To quote Candied Jansen here, “We are two different people…we just need to find a way to blend our different lifestyles into a day to day life.” I look forward to the plan becoming OUR lifestyle.
And for those of you who are wondering, this isn’t a game changer. She still thinks I’m perfect for her. She loves me so much and so well. That part comes naturally and easy. And I am so grateful. So blessed. We will work this out and be just fine. I have no doubts!