*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*
For my entire life I have struggled with my weight, and as a woman living in America these days, I know I am not the only one. According to the CDC, 42% of adults in the United States fall into the category of obese. Almost half of the people in the country struggle with weight issues and yet it is still such a taboo topic to discuss even among friends, relatives, and spouses.
At this point in time I think I weigh about fifty pounds more than my boyfriend. We are the same height, so when we stand together you can see that he is much slimmer than I am, and sometimes that makes me uncomfortable. Even being an overweight person, I have felt stigmas against overweight people. There are times when I am out in public with my boyfriend and I wonder if people are thinking to themselves “Why is he with someone like her?” You know, because he could be with a thinner woman.
On top of that, my boyfriend is a runner. Not just a casual jogger - he actually trains for and participates in marathons. I am a sedentary writing couch potato whose heart rate jumps to 120 BPM just going up the stairs. We are not a typical physical match for a couple, and yet, he never makes me feel bad about not wanting to take up an exercise habit, and he never criticizes me for the foods that I eat.
I want to get better for my boyfriend, but that’s the thing that makes it harder. I have to want to get healthier and lose weight for myself, not for someone else’s approval. On the other hand, I would never in my wildest dreams berate my boyfriend for doing things that make him healthier than me.
My friend Chad is married to an awful woman named Rebecca who I tried for ages to warn him against marrying. Alas, he was bound to her for years and during that time they both gained a bunch of weight due to eating out a lot and taking lavish vacations that featured decadent food.
At one point, Chad wanted to get into shape so he joined a local gym and started dieting. He asked Rebecca whether she wanted to be added to the gym membership but she declined, and he at no point pressured her to follow the same diet he was following.
Over time, Chad became fitter and better-looking than Rebecca, and this made her very angry.
“You’re making me look bad,” she told her husband one day when he asked her why she had stopped wanting to go out to dinner.
“What do you mean?” Chad asked his wife.
“You lost all this weight and now you look better than me. People probably wonder what you’re doing out with a hag like me in public these days.”
“Rebecca,” Chad began to try to console her, but she wouldn’t have it.
“No, forget it. Do what you want. You’re probably going to leave me anyway,” she said.
In fact, Chad would leave her eventually, after years of emotional abuse and eventual cheating.
How would you have reacted if you were Rebecca? What about if you were Chad?
Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan
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