One of the best things to happen to me has been meeting my wife. That I was able to convince her, after all the evidence to the contrary, that marrying me is a good idea, is nothing short of a miracle. Nearly 17 years later, I celebrate every day that I am married to my best friend and adventure buddy. She’s my favorite person, as I am fond of calling her. The reason I mention her is that because without her, it’s unlikely I’d be here. I mean, I’d be here, but I wouldn’t be the healthy person I am today.
When I decided to embark upon this journey to a healthier lifestyle, I knew very quickly that I was unable to do it without my wife. It’s not that I was unable to cook for myself; I am actually a pretty good cook. It’s not that I don’t have the discipline; I can be as stubborn as any person when it comes to reaching a goal and resisting temptation. It’s also not because I didn’t have enough desire to do it; I most certainly did. It had to do with the fact that being in a partnership, being half of a team, I wasn’t able to think of just myself. I couldn’t embark upon such a momentous journey without the buy-in, and of course, the help of my other half.
Doing something as huge as a Whole30 and then adopting the Paleo Diet was not something that I could undertake alone without affecting my wife. As my friends can attest, when you change your lifestyle so drastically, it effects everyone. My friends are amazing, and they go to great lengths to prepare foods that are Paleo-friendly (and even Whole30 compliant when we’re on a W30) for Sherry and I (because our friends are AMAZING people!!!). When you live with someone, they are affected more directly, and consistently with every meal. I couldn’t, in good conscience, do something as drastic as a Whole30 without her there with me.
Then, there’s the meal prep. Once I convinced my wife that we needed to be in this together, and she agreed, she began investigating the lifestyle in great depth and concluded that meal prep is key to success. The term “Meal prep” is short for meal preparation, and refers to preparing meals ahead of time and storing them for later use. In our case, meal prep primarily falls into lunches and dinners, but every now and then (and this week, thank fully), it extends into breakfasts. She spends hours in the kitchen on Sundays to make our lunches and dinners for the week which allow us to have Whole30 compliant meals that would otherwise take a long time after work to prepare, and would be impossible to find for lunches. Now, we have delicious and filling Whole30 compliant foods for lunch and dinner all week, and as I said earlier, this week, I even have a breakfast casserole (made with eggs, pulled pork, and apples).
I have heard from many couples about their desire to live a healthier lifestyle, and every now and then, I hear one half of a couple lament that their partner won’t join them on the journey. I encourage them to do the best they can with the situation. It’s not impossible to go it alone. I know people who have, and it’s worked for them. I have a friend whose husband is quite healthy, yet she had issues with weight gain. His diet was already pretty good, but hers always included sweets, snacks, and fast foods. She changed her lifestyle and became far stricter than he, and she was able to get healthy and lose weight without him having to change a thing. It’s possible to do. I just recognized that it wouldn’t be as easy for me, and that my changes would adversely affect my wife if she didn’t join me.
One aspect of our teamwork that I see as a key to our continued success is that we watch out for each other, and we are always trying to be our best selves while also being a good example to each other. When one of us is feeling weak or vulnerable to temptation, the other stands firm, and bolsters the other’s strength. When one of us is feeling down, or feeling like the process isn’t working, the other will offer words of encouragement, a shoulder, or a hug. We’ve been in this together now for over four years, and while most of the time we’re on the same sheet of music, so to speak, it’s in those moments of weakness where our teamwork swoops in and saves the day.
Can you do it alone? Yes. Is it easier to undertake a new lifestyle with your partner’s buy-in? I believe so. But remember: their support doesn’t always have to mean that they do the exact same thing as you. When I did keto for a while, my wife had to back out and she did Paleo. It worked for us; I was able to lose the weight I wanted to while ketoing while she continued on Paleo. She helped with my keto meals, and I helped when preparing meals to make hers Paleo. It was a logistical nightmare for us, and eventually I switched back to Paleo, but it was something we made work when we had to.
As with anything, in a relationship, communication is key. Talk to your partner and lay out the reasons you’re contemplating making a lifestyle change. Be sincere. Be honest. Your spouse, husband, wife, partner, and best friend will most likely support you. If not by eating the food you’re eating, at least through emotional support.