The Drevitches, Week 9: The New Normal

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

When you lose weight, you learn a lot about yourself and the people close to you.

What am I learning about myself? Most important, that I could do it. As my weight increased over the past six or seven years, it bothered me -- it's no fun shopping for bigger pants or feeling uncomfortable sitting with one's legs crossed -- but I convinced myself that losing it was something I'd get around to when the time was right. Like writing a novel or cleaning out the closet.

But, unlike the novel, I couldn't put it off forever. And unlike spring cleaning, it required a true change of outlook.

My wife, Lynn, had been dropping hints over the past couple of years that it was time for me to get around to dieting. She hadn't started writing FATTY backwards in lipstick on my bathroom door, "Shining" style, but I think we were getting close.

And while I'd convinced myself that there were no "issues" behind my eating, it had occurred to me that when I combined Diet Coke and chocolate at my desk to plow through work deadlines, or when I ate a gigantic helping of pasta like mom used to make whenever I was home alone for dinner, maybe something was going on.

Gary Drevitch picture

Lunchtimes are sometimes spent at the gym, not behind a sandwich. Credit: courtesy of Gary Drevitch

Now I've dropped 20 pounds since Labor Day, which gives some credence to my belief that I could do it if I tried. But I admit that, if I'd tried to do it before I truly realized what a problem it had become, it wouldn't have worked. And without the support of experts like my trainer and nutritionist, it definitely would not be going so smoothly as it has so far.

I'm thrilled that with five months to go in the Healthy Families Challenge, I will have the time and support to figure out how to maintain my weight loss -- that is, after I hopefully lose a final seven or eight pounds. I need to take this time to make sure the changes in the way I eat and exercise become permanent. Right now, there's still novelty in passing on a sandwich for a salad. That mindset needs to change. (I'm also happy to continue to share my experts' advice with you in this space.)

A big part of keeping the pounds off is routinizing workouts, something I'm still struggling with around my work and family schedule. This week I took my first lunchtime spinning class at the gym. I tried spinning once, maybe 14 years ago, and it wasn't for me. Too intense, too much instructor yelling, and too little opportunity to cheat and make it easy. But now I recognize that as a short, intense workout, it's just the thing I need to maintain the hard work already put in at the gym.

So, that's what I've learned about myself. What am I learning about other people? Well, there are supporters and then there are what the rap stars call "playa hatas." Lynn isn't one of those. She has been incredibly supportive, praising the good steps and never once saying, "Why are you eating that? I thought you were on a diet." The other day, she grabbed me around the waist and said, "There's so much less of you right here!"

The kids -- Benjamin, 9; Natalie, 7; and Adam, 4 -- were unmoved by her excitement at that moment. They've been quiet about the weight loss, but I know they've noticed. During our drive to Boston to visit family after Thanksgiving, we made a traditional stop at a Dunkin' Donuts to buy Munchkins. With a bag of 15 in the car, they all started the mental calculations as to how many everyone would get when they were divided up. But this time, Benjamin asked, "Daddy, you're not having any, right?" He was right, and while I know he was asking because he knew it'd mean more for him, I was quietly pleased that Daddy not eating Munchkins had become the new normal.

The playa hatas -- in my case usually older relatives -- see weight loss and can only speculate about how it will eventually fail. "Well, now you'll have to see if you can keep it off," they say. "Making sure you don't put it back on is the hardest part." "You know, I read that most of those 'Biggest Loser' people put it right back on after the show."

To them, I can only say: We'll see. I've been careful not to exult about the weight loss. I'm not bragging, and that's partly from the knowledge that there is, in fact, hard work ahead.

The playa hatas may yet be right. But I'm planning to prove them wrong.

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.