While I’ve never been the overt cheerleader type, I like to think that when there are things that are important to the people I care about, that I’m supportive of them and whatever they need to do to achieve their desire. But apparently the line to my supportiveness is drawn at my generally atrocious diet.
I freely admit that my dietary habits are mostly garbage: bread, cheese, pasta, chocolate, sugar, fried foods…if it’s something that would appear in the smallest area of the food pyramid (or whatever they’re using to teach kids about nutrition these days), then I want to eat it. I’ll occasionally begrudgingly eat a salad if I’ve been on a particularly bad streak of eating unhealthy foods, but I’ll be silently lamenting the fact that it’s not a cheeseburger the entire time. To combat my poor eating habits I’ve found a fitness regime that motivates me enough to stick with it and keep me in the “could be in better shape if she tried harder, but not a total slob” weight class. This worked for me, until Remus, the man I share a home with, decided he wanted to live a healthier lifestyle, and ruined everything.
Between having a stressful job that doesn’t inspire a lot of physical movement and falling into the “not trying” comfort zone of being in a committed relationship, Remus found that he was lacking energy, had put on a few pounds, and just generally felt crappy. I suggested he start joining me at the gym. He decided to start eating better. And then my world fell apart.
Now if I brought home sea salt brownies from Trader Joe’s, instead of having to fight him for them, he’d ask why I had brought them into the house. If I suggested spaghetti for dinner, he’d want grilled chicken and vegetables from the local Mediterranean place. If I was baking cookies for a party at work and offered to leave him a couple he would wonder if I was trying to sabotage his diet with my demon butter and sugar discs. If I was eating from a bag of pita chips, he would read the nutritional label on the bag and comment on “how bad these are for you.” (They’re fucking pita chips and they’re mine! Go away, you food buzzkill!)
Since I live firmly in the mindset that life is too short to deny yourself the things you love, my way of working around my new roommate, the Nutrition Nazi, was to simply stop telling him what was available to eat in our home. I could still enjoy my indulgences, and he could play the role of dietician when he found an empty Oreo package in the garbage and got to regale me with the calorie breakdown of just one cookie.
Dining out is less of an issue, since he can have his salmon salad and I my fried chicken, but deciding on meals to cook at home is a challenge, complicated by the fact that neither of us is a very seasoned cook and our joint repertoire mainly consists of pasta dishes, tacos, and a chicken and rice dish with everything smothered in broccoli and cheddar soup. Due to these culinary limitations, we’ve been ordering takeout a lot more often, and I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “What do you want for dinner? I don’t really want pasta. Or pizza. Or burgers. Or Chinese.” Having destroyed everything I love, we inevitably order from the place that makes made-to-order salads large enough for two meals, and I demand he order an extra side of bread.
The struggle over what we can eat together and both be happy continues, with no easy solution in site. In the meantime, I dropped four pounds in a month and Remus has yet to discover the box of Skinny Cow ice cream bars in the freezer (the word “skinny” is in the name, which makes it OK). And I am preemptively crafting my arguments as to why having our eventual wedding dinner consist of grilled veggies, quinoa, and fruit cup for dessert is completely unacceptable.