Losing weight is not gender neutral. By 2006, we were both overweight -me grotesquely so and for no good reason, and my wife moderately so due to having birthed two children over two years in her mid-thirties, combining two great vortices of weight gain for women – pregnancy and midlife.
During the better part of ten months my wife lost about 30% of her mass, almost 50 pounds, but did it in an extremely different fashion from my frenzied attack on fat.
For me, eating fulfilled the classic male paradigms of creating “white noise” when inactive, or as a reward after some over the top effort. For women, food is inherently a social experience. It is talked about, the process of its creation is researched, analyzed and celebrated, and the act of eating is often part of a group dynamic.
Outside of my football uniform, what I wear has never been a source of pride for me. For my wife, clothing is a feature of her life, revelatory of who she is.
Neither of us felt physically better after all this effort, but I felt worse during the six-month initial regime and my wife felt fine throughout her losing weight.
An unexpected upside to distaff de-massing was the fact that with my wife losing approximately 30% of her volume, she had no use for sweat pants that were intended for high school fullbacks. As I reduced my mass to that of a high school fullback, I could actually wear those sweatpants. That’s about as close to cross-dressing as a WASP couple ever gets.