Project Uburden

Carry the weight

I finally got a chance to talk with that mom whom I’d been seeing around school and after school care today. I don’t know if she knows that she is the talk of the town. She came back from the corona virus lockdown looking so much leaner that I was afraid to congratulate her on her success for fear that she may have had some illness that caused the weight loss. It was just that dramatic! You simply don’t expect someone to go from obviously obese, waddling around huffing and puffing picking up their kids to strolling confidently with maybe a hint of swagger in such a short period of time. What was it… like three months? Especially while the rest of us were putting on Corona weight?!?!! 


She needed a talking to.


Well I was able to corner her today. I saw her walking by herself in downtown Zehlendorf, down the street where the Saturday Farmer’s Market is, passed that little toy store next to the Blume 2000. I had Lil’ Billy in the stroller. We had just come from the his Easing-in period at Kita Teddy where we recently got a place. I flagged her down for a talk. I’d been looking for this opportunity for weeks, at least since the lockdown eased up.


“So… what happened?!?!” I asked. 

I didn’t have to say, “Hey! It seemed like you lost some weight. Are you okay?” as I had been rehearsing. She knew what I was talking about. 


She said that this was her normal weight. People are surprised because they had never known her before, but this is the weight that she feels most comfortable.

I had known her for at least a couple of years, and it is the only weight that I had known her at. I like how she phrased the situation. It was clear from her language that her identity was still at her old weight. I wonder if she consciously shifted perspective to her old weight or had she never felt comfortable at that weight. I wonder how many people take on the identity of a weight that is uncomfortable for them. I wonder if some of the critique of “fat shaming” (beyond the basic offensiveness of mean-spiritedness) comes from people who have taken an uncomfortable weight as an identity to defend. I wonder…?


Then she revealed another startling truth: 


It was hard to eat enough to maintain all that weight. 


She said that she would have to eat all hours. Eat portions that were much too large for her. Eat things that simply weren’t good for her to keep up that size. It was an effort.


Now me, being who I am, think that the second thing (eating seeming like an effort) came from the first thing (know herself as a lean person). Seeing and knowing who she really was made the all of the effort it took to become uncomfortable seem extra. 


I gotta tell you. It is extra. I’ve been getting lean lately and once you get passed the body’s lying cravings… okay… okay. Let me be kind to my inner child: Once you get passed all of the misinterpretations of stress and emotional signals as hunger, it’s easy to see how much extra time and energy one spends eating. I’m so much more focused and productive these days. Look. I just missed the start of my eating window and kicked out a blog post instead. I have plenty of energy reserves. I’m not going to die if I don’t eat despite all the noise my body sends up. 


And the last thing she said, which I have to say was the most important thing, was that it was the stress. Her marriage imploded recently like, so many do. She was glad to let it go to save herself it seems. She said that beside trying to function as a family, eating at times when her body wasn’t hungry, eating grown man sized portions, despite her tiny frame, that it was the stress of handling the kids and school and being the face of the family all day that she used food to cope with. 


It’s much easier now that her marriage is dissolved. 


I wonder how many marriages have dissolved/are dissolving and nobody knows why?


If any of you know who I’m talking about (and I know that a few of you do) please sent her this post to confirm. She was pretty clear: Dads are not carrying enough of the weight of family life. 


That’s the word that I heard.


When she said that she was the face of the family, I said, “ That’s backwards!” 


I’m old school. My wife took my name. Whatever happens with that family is my responsibility. My family’s name is on the line. That’s what I think. And to tell you the truth, I also know that somebody has to be responsible. If everybody is responsible then nobody is. And let’s face it boys, it’s easy to cop out. She is not going to drop that baby. We would have to take the baby from her arms. It has been living inside of her for nine months. She is not letting go of that thing unless she knows it’s safe. For us, it’s easier to let her keep it. You go ahead. Keep on doing that. I’ll do other things. I do have other things I could be doing. In fact, it’s my job to make up some things to do… to be productive. I’m the man.


“It’s true,” she said. 


“I would send out birthday card invitations by emails and the mothers would ask me why there were so many names on the list,” explaining how the mothers would plan the birthday parties together. “They would just take the father’s names off of the email list. They never read the emails anyway.”




She named off a lists of things besides that that fathers leave up to the mothers, but that one. That one hurt me.


I never read those emails. How am I suppose to care about a Girl Scout sleepover? I actually on some level thought it was more manly not to care. But I know I will be caring from now on. Our Girl Scout leader just found a new apartment and is ecstatic. 


If the family falls apart, it’s on me, not my wife.


I went home and told my wife, “If you’re getting any mails from school, make sure you send them to me. If there is anything in German, I’m sure I can Internet translate it.”


I’m a personal trainer. My wife is currently obese. I gotta tell you. It’s got me on my knees. As a personal trainer, it’s really embarrassing, but that’s nothing. I’ve been through worst. I’m old school though. I really feel as a man, I’m supposed to protect and provide. And recently I’ve realised, as a husband, I’m failing to take good care of my wife. That’s what I’m confessing to the Lord while I’m on my knees. And that’s what I’m sharing with you right now: I’m failing at taking good care of my wife and that has to change. 


Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh: We are going to get fit.


 I came from a fitness modelling photoshoot yesterday, and my wife asked me how it went… while reaching in the refrigerator to get an ice cream. 


I scream,… 


Well I wanted to. Instead I ask her into the other room, away from the kids, for a talk. 


I come from a long line of confrontation avoiders. Supernaturally I get over this tendency and I confront her with the obesity. I tell her that obesity is an illness that will likely shorten her lifespan and cause other illnesses that will make it really hard on us as a family to deal with. She says that she knows that “she needs to do something.” That is some pretty clear obfuscation, a nice easy out. It would have been so easy for me to stand up and say, “Okay… I just wanted to bring it to your attention. I’m sure you are doing your best.” But fortunately I had been on my knees recently, and the Lord supernaturally held my cowardly butt in my seat as I pressed her for a commitment to action. 


I actually enjoy doing this with my clients because I’m pretty sure in the environment of a fitness studio that we are all on the same page. We are having the conversation because they need help. But my wife is family and in my family we don’t confront. We look the other way to keep the peace and let the LORD handle it. But the Lord knows my wife needs my help and she cannot ask me for it. She is beyond the ability to ask for help. She is overwhelmed. She cannot help herself even to ask. She is just trying to function – just trying to cope, one ice cream sandwich at a time. She needs me to help her, and I can’t wait for an invitation at this point. So I go in… I intervened. I forced the issue. I’ll skip a lot of the messy bits by saying that I call her on her behaviour. I wielded the sword of truth. I cut to heal. It was bloody, but it seems we’re on the same page now. All things are possible, and I’m hopeful.


I’m really thankful for that conversation today. It solidified a lot of things for me. Made a lot of things clear. I’m realising that I’m going to have to kick up my game at home much more. I’m also realising that I’m built to handle a much greater capacity than I’ve been handling. My mental energies don’t run so well picking up slack in the back. I’m built to head this family unit. It’s time to take extreme ownership here like I do other places, do what it take to protect my loved ones from social diseases like obesity, provide health meals and provide systems to run this house as it should be run. My family looks to me and if I’m not playing my position they do their best, playing a position that is not theirs to own. As they look to me, I’m going to stay on my knees looking to my protecting and provision: Jesus, the Living Christ, in Whom I abide through the Word in scripture and pray whenever I feel agitated or doubtful. 


May Peace be upon your homes.


#CarrytheWeight #Unburden

Before Happy Body, I was hurting most of the time. I had lower back pain, poor mobility and I felt sore just about everywhere.

Now I’m more flexible than I can ever remember being, I’m quicker than I ever was. I’m stronger than I ever imagined. And I’m the leanest I’ve been in years.

All because of the Happy Body program.

I entered the military 30 years ago as a fat kid. My parents had been in the military too, and food became my primary source of comfort as we moved from based to base, country to country. I was overweight all through elementary, junior high and high school. Finally, in boot camp, I learned that bodies do indeed change, and that people can do more than they think they can.

After leaving the military, I found my passion in fitness.  I became certified as a fitness instructor and began working with individuals and groups in high RPM full-body spin classes, hard-driving power lifting, and high-intensity body pump aerobics classes in both the US and in Germany.

Still, took me a while to find my balance with eating, and to stabilize my weight. It wasn’t until I found the Happy Body program that I learned what “enough” truly meant. The Happy Body excercise method has helped me to gain strength and flexibility in ways I had never thought possible.

Adding certified “Happy Body Mentor” to my International Sports Science Association and my National Academy of Sports Medicine certifications has been one of the smartest moves that I ever made. Let’s work together and get your body Happy!


The Gym


Happy Body Berlin is cozy boutique fitness studio in Berlin, Zehlendorf. Perfect for one-to-one sessions and small group classes, you’ll get the attention you need and deserve here.

With a hundreds of kilos of colorful bumper plates you can’t help but be happy about squating, bench pressing, deadlifting, overhead pressing and power cleaning. 

This is not your average strength training studio.

Here is a place where you can feel comfortable learning about your body and what it can do. 

We have a pull-up bar and gymnastic rings to get your shoulders in great shape. 

But the small weight are all most people need to do The Happy Body program. It’s not until after your body is pretty happy are we going to kick things up a notch.

You are safe in this place, especially because I’ll be there watching out for you making sure that you get a safe and effective workout.

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