The Hubby claims I'm obsessed with scales. Digital scales and mechanical ones. Scales you find at Publix and the fancy physician scales with the height rod.
He's got a point. I can't pass by a scale, whether it's in the gym or at the mall, without browbeating him to step on it.
Occasionally he will humor me, muttering the entire time I hover over the weight reading. Mostly, though, he flashes me a warning look that speaks volumes: Don't. Start. Again.
The Hubby is trying to gain weight. Lots of it. And this has been my mission, the driving force and challenge of the household for the past four months, ever since he dropped more than 30 pounds -- almost one fifth of his weight -- after his near-death bout with sepsis.
I joke that our war chant is "Put the pounds on." To go into battle, I'm armed with details about every supplement on the market, from their caloric count to their nutritional content. I keep a running tally of what he's consumed and what he refuses, what upsets his stomach and what agrees with him.
You would think gaining weight is an easy thing to do, a fun problem to have, right? Well, no. If you're on a feeding tube and limited to liquids, gaining weight can be as difficult, as challenging, as painful, as losing weight. You can bet your ice cream sundae on that.
A good week for The Hubby means a gain of a pound, 16 ounces that have required a Herculean effort on his part and countless minutes of nagging on mine. One glorious month he put on seven -- seven, imagine that! -- and I high-fived the wide-eyed staff at the doctor's office.
Of course, most people I share this with stare at me dumbfounded. We live in a country where almost two-thirds of the population is overweight and diet foods consume entire grocery store shelves. The idea of being given carte blanche in the food department astounds our friends, most of whom are on a diet, or have been on a diet, or plan to be -- as soon as the eating ... uh, holiday season is over.
The Hubby's buddies, including those who have undergone some form of weight-loss surgery, have cheerily volunteered their extra poundage, offering tips on how to gain weight quickly and effectively. One offered to be a donor for a "fat transplant." I thought he was pulling my leg, but I got more than 8 million hits when I Googled the term.
Whether you're on a program to lose or gain, you soon learn that our social lives revolve around food. What to eat, when and where, and with whom. You meet the girls for breakfast before a day of shopping, your boss for lunch to discuss a report and your neighbor for Friday happy hour in her newly remodeled kitchen. Eat, eat, eat: It makes us happy.
Food as communal glue is particularly evident during the holidays, when the number of cookies, rum balls and spinach phyllo triangles we consume correlates directly with how sociable we are, not what our bodies need. This may be a good thing, a very good thing for The Hubby, who is something of a party animal.
Quick, can someone check how many calories those bacon-wrapped scallops pack?
(Ana Veciana-Suarez is a family columnist for The Miami Herald. Write to her at The Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132, or send e-mail to aveciana(at)herald.com.)
The other battle of the bulge - trying to pack on pounds
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.