Love ... and weight loss ... that lasts

I love my husband. Mark and I have been married for almost 29 years. (When did that happen?) Mark has a goofy, dry sense of humor. He has a smile that melts my heart from across a room.

And he loved me unconditionally, making me feel beautiful when I was 350 pounds. What’s not to love?

Statistically, the length of our marriage is in the minority. People “fall out of love” all the time. They fall in love with other things, other people.

Weight loss is a great analogy to marriage. I compare them frequently.

Think about it …

We enter a new relationship with food. We start to love the new way we’re eating, the new shape our bodies are taking. We enjoy the compliments and dream of a future that is healthy and trim. It’s a match made in heaven.

But in time we find that this new relationship is holding us back. We’ve lost our spontaneity. What was once excitement has become day-to-day drudgery. This is not what we signed up for! It’s just not worth it.

Then comes the awful moment … we cheat! The relationship is broken. Old loves re-enter our life once again and make us feel good for a while. We don’t love this new relationship with food as much as we thought we did. It’s just not working!

Let’s get one thing out on the table right now. If I were to tell you that every day I feel love for my husband, I’d be lying. There are times my feelings toward him are really the opposite of love.

We must remember that feeling love and acting in love are two different things. In the Bible, when God says, “Husbands love your wives and wives love your husbands,” he is not talking here about feelings at all. We will never continually feel love, and God knows that.

Love is an action word, not a feeling. It’s a command to act lovingly, despite what the feelings are in the moment.

So, what is acting in love? It’s unwavering commitment to the good of the other person. It’s kindness, not holding past wrongs against someone. Doing love is putting their needs before yours. The amazing thing is, if you act in love, the feeling of love will follow.

For me, it worked. Even though all our problems at the time were Mark’s fault (ha!), I took it upon myself to work on me. I acted in love even when I felt the opposite. And guess what? The more I worked on me, the better our marriage got. (What does that tell you?)

Anyway, this column really isn’t about marriage, it’s about weight loss. This program you are on right now will not always feel exciting or rewarding. There will be days you hate it and others where it’s mildly tolerable. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to always be into it, you just have to do it.

Pre-plan. Prepare. Follow through. Day after day. Motivation is a wonderful feeling, but it doesn’t burn calories or build muscle — it just makes actions easier to do. It’s the actions that are important, not the feeling.

Act in love — toward your program, toward yourself. That’s how I got to goal. That’s how you will, too.

Kim Bensen, author of “Finally Thin,” was a lifetime yo-yo dieter who lost 200-plus pounds and has kept it off. She owns the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and Kim’s Light Café on Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton. Details, tips and recipes: