She'll kill me for telling you this, but my wife recently joined WeightWatchers. She's allowed 29 points a day, with different types of food corresponding to different points. An apple, for example, is 0 points; a small can of baked beans is 5. Pleasingly, a Jaffa cake is just 1 point, which means you can eat an entire pack of 24 and still have change left over for a portion of dressed crab, whatever that is.
As a man who has been married for five years, I've been programmed to spew out ready-made answers whenever my wife asks if her bum looks big in this, or if that girl over there is skinnier than her.
As a result, I've lost the sincerity that genuinely does lie behind the 'No' that's blurted out in what can only be described as a reflex action.
My wife, like the majority of women, is very conscious about her weight; even more so since the birth of our second child. She's desperate to lose her baby weight, to make the stretch marks fade, and she's terrified that her once-pert boobs now resemble a spaniel's ears.
Her fears and thoughts are not helped, of course, by the photographs of celebrities who have recently become mothers. In what seems a matter of days, they are spotted reclining by a pool, or strolling down the street, not a stretch mark in sight. In fact, their abs are toned and taut, their backsides chiselled, and their expression is void of any kind of wince brought on by the soreness of 'down there'.
This is, obviously, not a reflection of reality, and is an unfair perception of how mothers should look. I have a vision of these celebrity mums strutting into their house, closing the door on the paparazzi behind them, and instantly turning into slobs. Perhaps they unbutton their jeans, releasing rolls and rolls of baby weight, and limp to the nearest sofa, yelping at the pain of their newly-stitched private parts as dark shadows appear under their eyes.
Trying to convince my wife that I love her body just the way it is is like trying to ride on the back of a tiger: it'll never work, and chances are you'll get your face clawed off.
Truth is, I love her more now than ever after seeing her go through labour and becoming a wonderful mother to our two children, and – although she doesn't believe me – I find her sexier now than I've ever done before.
I know there's nothing I can say that will change her mind; so, instead of focussing on telling her she looks great, it's time to concentrate on making her feel good about herself through actions. I'm talking spa days, evenings out, an occasion where she can wear a nice dress and perhaps feel attractive for the first time in months.
I am a member of a gym, although the membership card lies untouched and dusty somewhere in the nether regions of my wallet. Perhaps it's time to dust it off, use whatever discount powers I have to get my wife a membership, and we can lose some weight together. Goodness knows I can stand to shed a few pounds. You know you're gaining timber when you can see the underside of your goatee without lifting your head.
Who knows, maybe I'll even join WeightWatchers as well: having someone alongside her for support and encouragement is a great way of helping her feel good when standing in front of a mirror. In fact, I think that's what I'll do.
Tomorrow's nutrition will consist of 14 Curly Wurlys and a tablespoon of curry powder. Can't wait.
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