Q: When I got married, I was a slim 6’2”, but I’ve gained a lot of weight. My wife gained about 20 pounds but recently lost that and more. I’ve been as high as 265, but I’m now at 238 and losing about a pound a week, which isn’t fast enough for my wife. When I contemplate going on a stricter diet, what comes to mind is feeling angry, tired, and hungry at my high-stress job. My wife said that I obviously love food more than her, and that if I won’t lose weight for her, maybe I’ll do it for our boys. She considers me self-centered and narcissistic because I’m not losing enough weight, and I consider her self-centered and narcissistic for framing every argument in terms of what she wants and isn’t getting. What do you think? Does being overweight mean you don’t love your significant other?
A: Some women just can’t appreciate their husband’s collections: comic books, shot glasses, broken-down cars, chins.
There’s your wife, wagging a carrot stick at you, telling you that if you loved her you’d be surviving on iceberg lettuce sandwiches or going on the Drink Your Own Urine Diet — whatever it takes to drop flab fast. Probably because weight loss seems easier for her, she assumes you’re lazy and self-indulgent. She’s now trying to guilt-ivate you into losing weight (“Picture your children fatherless…Doritobreath”), which is more helpful than voicing the other thing she’s probably thinking: “I don’t want to have sex with you; I want to harpoon you.”
Chances are, the problem isn’t that your diet isn’t “strict enough” — as in, you should be sniffing celery sticks instead of eating them — but that you’ve been following the obesity-causing dietary “science” promoted by the government and much of the medical establishment. The “weight loss” diet they advise — high-carb, low-fat — is actually a weight-gain diet. Also, as Dr. Mary Dan Eades, co-author of “The Protein Power Lifeplan,” writes, “Study after study has shown the low fat diet to be a failure in treating obesity, in solving diabetes, in reducing blood pressure or in decreasing heart disease risk.”
Investigative science journalist Gary Taubes spent more than a decade digging through the body of research on diet. As he writes in “Why We Get Fat,” the evidence shows that it is carbohydrates — from sugar, flour, easily digested starchy vegetables like potatoes, and juice and beer — that cause the insulin secretion that puts on fat. So, if you want to drop pounds — and not just one a week but like they’re stones falling off a truck — eat low-carb/high-fat foods like cheeseburgers. Even bacon cheeseburgers. (Just see that you feed the bun to the pigeons.)
Unfortunately, it seems your love handles have become resentment handles. Some of the ill will between you may melt away as you lose the gut that Ding Dongs and Mountain Dew built, but it points to a bad pattern. You don’t win marital arguments by clinging to how right you are and how wrong your spouse is; you win by working together to make things as right as you can for both of you (“us first” instead of “me first”). Some problems aren’t solvable, but you’ll be more able to shrug off an impasse if you’re consistently putting yourselves in each other’s place. That’s the spirit that keeps you from striking out in revenge — for example, by insisting you’re on the Zone diet (but not mentioning that it’s the zone from the outermost wall of Dunkin’ Donuts to the outermost wall of Cinnabon).
Q: I’m trying to start a relationship with a woman, but I can’t stop thinking about my last girlfriend. I want a family (eventually), so I couldn’t marry her. She already has two children, which is a dealbreaker for me, and has other baggage: debt and baby daddy drama. But, we developed a deep love, and I’m having a hard time getting over her.
A: It was the best of times, it was the best of times. And it’s called selective remembering. Your mental projector keeps playing this loop of your ex trying on lingerie. There are never any misty shots of the repo man or your ex emerging from the mist to chase the baby daddy with a big cleaver. And where are the little mind movies of her children? Or as you call them, “dealbreakers,” not “dealbenders.” Keeping this woman as your fantasy girlfriend will be a wedge between you and any woman you’re with in real life. To move on, harness the power of negative thinking. Sure, go ahead and indulge. Take that walk down memory lane with your ex. Just be sure you ask the cameraman to pull out to reveal the stroller you’re pushing with some other guy’s screaming kids in it.