When most people find out what I do, their first reaction is to look at my husband with sympathetic eyes, because surely all he gets to eat is wheat germ and sprouts. I have a great time trying to convince them we eat more than just “rabbit” food, but somehow no one is convinced that David actually enjoys whatever I “make” him eat. So this past Saturday, over a delicious lunch at Jason’s Deli, I asked him what his thoughts were on his eating habits, and I found his point of view very interesting…
My husband is an average guy… well, I think he is fantastically above average, but in a nutrition/health sense, he is like the typical man. Before we got together, his single man meals were like so many others, consisting of skipping breakfast, heating up frozen lasagna for lunch and adding extra pepperoni on store bought pizzas for dinner. And he liked it.
Once we began dating, I refused to be part of a statistic (the one that shows how women gain weight once they get in a committed relationship and start adopting the man’s eating habits), so I stuck to my own healthy habits. However, not wanting to be a nag, I didn’t try to change David’s routine, so he stuck to no breakfast, a large lunch, and nachos for dinner. As time passed, we ate together more often. We tried new places and new meals: customized salads, veggies and hummus, sushi, and he began making healthier choices at times, simply because he had tried and liked a wider variety of foods.
Once we were engaged, married and living together, I took over preparing most meals (because I really enjoy it!). I started making him breakfast as I made mine, and dinners at home consisted of healthier versions of our favorite foods (chicken fajitas, homemade pizza, etc). In David’s mind, we were still eating Mexican and pizza… not much different that he had been eating BB (Before Brittany). I didn’t buy sodas, but there was water, lemonade, tea and other options available. David (like a lot of men I’ve worked with) was fine eating and drinking whatever was available. Since I only had healthy options available at home, that’s what he ate.
This past Saturday as we talked about these changes, David filled me in on his thoughts… he said that over the past few years, his eating habits changed, but they changed so slowly that he didn’t really notice. Since we started dating, he is down about 40 pounds… each pound has slowly dropped off over the past 3-4 years. He weighed in this past weekend at the lowest weight he’s been since high school. He attained these results without even trying (crazy, isn’t it?), and he feels good. Now he simply has healthier habits; he orders a 6 inch instead of a foot long at Subway, he asks for no mayo on his Arby’s market fresh sandwich, he orders the buffalo chicken sandwich grilled instead of fried (he is in sales and eats out a lot), and actually puts vegetables (as opposed to all pasta and pepperoni) in his salad at the salad bar… but he still drinks “real” beer (Magic Hat #9s), sometimes let’s 6-7 hours go by in between meals, orders nachos when he wants them, but in his own words, he never feels restricted or deprived.
I found his story to be a perfect example of what a lifestyle change is really all about: not perfection, but slow changes over time that adds up to big success. As you look back over the past few years, what stands out in your mind as small things you’ve changed that now contribute to your healthier life? Do you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Do you snack on almonds instead of potato chips? Have you given yourself credit for the small changes you’ve made? Maybe today is the day to introduce a new small change that will yield results down the line. Please share which changes you have made to your lifestyle and the results you’ve seen from doing so!