From Nutrition Coach, Bethany N. Kondavaty
Soon after we got married, my husband and I agreed we would only dine out two times per week or less. Such an agreement worked lovely for me as I consider myself to be ‘healthy’ and enjoy indulging in foods outside our kitchen. We decided on just two nights because we were concerned about the cost of eating out. Not just the financial cost, mind you, but the health cost as well. My new husband and I are well aware that most restaurant foods are often loaded with salt, oil, sugar and calories. We do, however, like our date nights so we created a twice a week "safe zone" in which we could dine out in ignorant financial and caloric bliss.
Now before I proceed, there is some backstory here. While I only eat out two times a week, my beloved eats out a lot more than that. More like seven times a week. Twice with me and five times with his colleagues. Even though those are lunches and not dates, the cost is the same. That's right, zero! Since he gave his lunches the same impunity that I gave my dates, it was all free to him. That was until . . . . "Honey, did you change laundry detergents? My pants shrunk."
Yes, my husband was caught in his own misguided lie. His pants were not shrinking, his lunch habit was creeping up on him. And it wasn't just the pants, he was also experiencing that, never-fun, indigestion. it was neither fun for him, nor me, if you know what I mean.
This Sunday, after a week of out-to-lunches and two nights dining out, he had had enough. “I need to have real food. I’m tired and I’m not liking the way my body feels.” Imagine the passion behind such a declaration, as he is a man of passion—mi amor y muy caliente!
His solution? He—excuse me, we--would have to cut one of OUR dining adventures. Wait.This, in turn, meant only ONE date night a week? Poof, half my date nights gone! Bye bye! What would this mean for our just married-date-as-much-as-you-can-before-kids life?!
I, on the other hand, felt it only reasonable that he cut his lunches with colleagues out. There was no need to cut our time ‘together’. Well, he agreed that lunches out were a big contributor to the growing belly, and resolved that eating from design-your-own-sandwich eateries would serve as a better alternative to his usual hot and heavy cuisines. Furthermore, he would begin to bring lunch from home. I win. . . or did I?
While I realized that his problem was solved, mine was still just that, a problem. What I began to realize is that my "safe zone" of overindulgent food self-denial could just as easily creep up on me. How creepy. So, I asked myself, "How could I not indulge that second night of over indulgence without missing out on a second date opportunity?"
Then a light bulb came on, or as Oprah calls it: an “AHA moment”. Love those moments. First, I became aware that my brain had associated "date night" with food. Dates, for me, always involved food. Date night/food. Food/date night. They just go hand-in-hand. Who made that rule?
Second, I observed that I had been lying to myself with the notion that all that fatty, salty sugary, calorie dense restaurant food somehow "didn't count" because it was a date. I can't believe my mind even went there! Seriously?!
Oy. I had a lot of talking—to myself—to do. When he first brought it up, I got a little defensive. I was actually a little annoyed. I needed some adjustment thinking here before his decision to dine out 1x/week escalated into, dare I say, an argument. No! No! We can’t have one of those—we’re newly married!!!!
Rewind. Turn the drama into positive thoughts. I could interpret this as A) he loves my (and his) cooking, so much that he can’t stand to be away from it. It’s nourishing and we know just what’s in it. There’s no hidden stuff (which we rarely ask about nor does the waitstaff share anyway) in our meals. Simply, we’re eating real food, and that has long term benefits for our health and our relationship; we want to do so much together now, and later. We need our health!
B) Why limit date nights to only restaurants? Boring. There are movies to see, comedy clubs to attend, dancing to do! Heck, we’ve got a movie library in our own home, and there’s no better time than the present to catch up on blockbuster and indie hits! Heck, let’s make our own popcorn!
In the end, we both end up eating better and I don't have to worry as much about the dryer shrinking both our pants.
I appreciate my husband for helping me get clear that my big lie was not supporting my—nor his—health goals. I appreciate myself in changing my perspective to see a bigger picture. Hey, it’s our first year of marriage. The learning will never end, neither our journey to become better, healthier, and happier together.