“You’re not going with me to Toronto!” screamed my husband after seeing me devour my third bag of Cheetos. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. He knew how much I wanted to go to the Toronto Film Festival. He had a movie premiering, and we’d been talking about it for months. Now he was saying that I, his wife, couldn’t be his date because I was carrying around a few extra pounds (20 to be exact) of baby weight? Like he was ashamed to be seen with me?!
“You’re shallow!” I screamed back. “Just because I haven’t lost the weight?!”
“No. Because you keep talking about it, but all you do is eat Cheetos! I can’t remember the last time you worked out. You don’t care that this is important to me.”
“I do care, but you keep making it worse by pressuring me,” I responded. “Just let me be!”
“Let you be? When I stop talking about it is when you know I’m the one who stopped caring,” he said walking away.
To give some context to this blowup, my daughter was approaching 1 1/2 years old and in many ways I felt like I was still adjusting. Having a baby shifted everything, and to be honest, I wasn’t in a good place. I’d already quit a few careers, and had no idea what I wanted to do next.
Eating felt good.
But the tradeoff was that I wasn’t anywhere near the woman I used to be. She was hungry and would run alongside the West Side Highway for miles on concrete because that’s what it took to be at the top of her fitness game. She wanted to take a big chunk out of life. Now all she wanted was to be left alone with a bag of salty chips.
The next morning I got up before everybody, and went for a walk. There was something about hearing the birds belt out their first songs of the day that made me feel a step ahead. They do say the early bird gets the worm.
Not long after, walking turned to jogging, and junk food started getting replaced with healthier choices like homemade popcorn, sans the butter, grapes, and even salad, which I always loved once I was reminded of how good it taste.
My husband and I didn’t talk about what I was doing, maybe he didn’t want to jinx me, but I knew he saw me because he started jogging too. We took turns watching the baby in the mornings, and on the days when he wasn’t around, I threw the baby in the stroller (it wasn’t even a running stroller!), and we were out.
Fast-forward 2 months, and my husband and I stood proudly alongside one another taking pictures at his event. Talk about feeling good, there was no other way to describe it. Not only had I lost the weight, I felt invincible.
Looking back, I can appreciate the hard stand that my hubby took to ultimately motivate me. Sometimes being a partner means being the ‘bad guy’ and calling a cat a cat. Kobe Bryant wasn’t always liked and neither was Michael Jordan, but you can’t front on their teams, and what is a partnership if not a team?
This article first appeared on Essence.com