The Drevitches, Week 19: Scenes From a (Healthier) Marriage

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

gary drevitch wedding picture

Wearing my wedding tux again is suddenly not so far-fetched. Courtesy: Gary Drevitch

It's Valentine's Day, so I think it's appropriate to write about a healthy (actually, healthier) marriage.

When my wife, Lynn, and I agreed to become part of the Healthy Families Challenge, she was more enthusiastic about it than I was. Maybe that's because she's by nature more optimistic and more willing to try new things. Or maybe it's because she knew how much I needed to lose weight and saw no downside in trying a new approach.

As for me, and as is often the case when my wife and I disagree about something, I lacked the imagination to see where the Challenge could take us. I looked at our familial landscape, health-wise, and saw, among other problems, a couple struggling to make time to get to the gym. In fact, we were often fighting about who would get to work out during the brief windows of opportunity offered to us as we raced our kids to and from school and activities.

I didn't envision us improving on that scenario. I feared the Challenge would only make our disputes worse.

Lynn, as usual, saw it differently. Becoming a part of the Challenge, and getting the advice of the trainers and the nutritionist that were being offered to us, would change the way we saw our schedules. She knew there was time somewhere in both of our days to get exercise, and she knew that experts could help us find it. And she thought that once we did, we'd thrive.

She was right. More than four months later, I've lost 35 pounds and she's fully returned to her pre-motherhood weight. (She had much less to lose than I.) I'm at the gym no less than three times a week, between early mornings, weekends and lunchtime sessions.

Lynn's new idea is to see if we can try to fit into our wedding tux and gown. Actually, since I had the tux let out a few years ago, it would probably have to go back to the tailor first to make it a fair challenge.

And the kids? Well, they've been less enthusiastic, and we've been a little disappointed about that. But now I realize that the past few months haven't really been about changing the way they think about their health; it's been about changing the way we think about their health. And, in fact, we have made changes. We're offering fewer sweets, smaller starch portions, and more reasonable snacks. And we've made sure they're always enrolled in a sports or gym class, which was less of a priority a year ago.

Natalie, 8, tried soccer last spring but didn't embrace it. So we've doubled down on gymnastics and she's thriving in her twice-weekly class. Benjamin, 10, had gotten used to idle winters between fall and spring Little League, so we signed him up for a winter basketball clinic, which he's grateful for (and that's saying something, because, being 10, he's not outwardly grateful for much of anything). And Adam, 4, loves his weekly afternoon sports class at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan so much, we just signed him up for the spring.

Lynn and I also hope that we're better role models than we were a year ago. They see us being more conscious now about what we eat and what we serve. They see us making a commitment to keeping ourselves active and keeping them active. We try to make it fun -- for example, the kids like trying whatever new form of push-up my trainer, Victoria Gallagher of New York Sports Club, has introduced me to each week.

Most important, they see us working together to make our family fitter. Instead of hearing us argue over who's getting more time at the gym, they see us asking each other about our workouts and supporting each other as we alternate heading out the door early to exercise.

Everyone knows it's a good idea to marry up, and to marry someone who sees the world differently than you. After 11 years of marriage, I'm happy to report that's what I've done. And as proud as I am about losing all those pounds, I'm prouder of that.

Have a happy and healthy Valentine's Day, everyone.

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

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How is the Drevitch family doing? Check in on their progress!

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