I have known Mark (my husband) for twenty years. We’ve been “together” for that long, and we’ve been best friends that long too. Even during the ugly parts of our relationship (and they’ve happened) we were able to be committed friends to one another. I’m both grateful for and proud of that fact.
Only a best friend, who didn’t have any health issues, need for weight loss, or desire to change habits would agree to do a Whole30 challenge. He did it because his best friend needed to do it, and he recognized it would be so much easier to do something like this with a supportive friend than it would be to do it alone—that’s one of the ways committed friendship works.
I thought it would be interesting to hear Mark’s thoughts on what this challenge has been like. (I interviewed him on day 23.)
Tall Mom (TM): When I first told you about this program, what did you think?
Mark (Hubby): My first thought was, What can you eat? When I heard what wasn’t allowed, I honestly thought there wasn’t much left. And then I wondered how anyone could eat that restricted for a whole 30 days.
TM: Why did you agree to do it with me?
Hubby: I felt bad for you. I knew it would make it easier for you if you didn’t have to cook meals for yourself and then a completely different menu for me and the kids. I’ll admit, if you weren’t dealing with the hives I’m not sure I would’ve done it with you. If it was just about weight loss or some health kick it would’ve been easier to say no or quit.
TM: Your buddies have given you a lot of shit about this diet. Has it been hard to stay committed in those tough situations?
Hubby: They gave me the hardest time about it in the beginning. At that time, it was fairly easy to say no (to beer, pizza, etc) and stick with it because I thought it would be pathetic to only make it a few days in and then cave. They were the most pushy about beer—and honestly, I just don’t think a thirty-eight year old man should be scared of peer pressure. I know beer is bad for me. I like it, and I’m going to drink it on occasion, but I wanted to prove to myself that I can say no for 30 days. Actually, the toughest situation so far was on day 20 when you made tacos for the boys (Casper College basketball players whom we host once a week) and I had to say no to my favorite—chicken tacos, rice, beans and homemade cookies.
TM: What changes have you noticed—good, bad, or otherwise?
Hubby: Weight loss. My pants and belts are looser. The beer gut I grew this past year is gone. I’m hungry a lot and want to eat real food. I sleep really good and wake up rested and ready for the day. And I have really bizarre dreams. I don’t usually remember dreaming, but lately they are crazy and I remember them in detail. Eating healthier makes me want to be more consistent with my workouts—and I have been. I’m more aware of my sugar addiction. I realized even while doing this program I was trying to feed my “sugar dragon” (as referred to in the Whole30 book)—with massive quantities of raisins. It finally dawned on me that if I was hungry, I should just eat something substantial.
TM: What has been the best, worst, hardest, easiest, and most surprising part of this so far?
Hubby: The best part has been getting rid of my beer gut. I haven’t ever had one before. I’m pretty thin naturally, and have a really high metabolism. But I’m creeping up on 40 and I sit in front of a computer for work every day. Even if I play basketball two days a week and lift once or twice, if I eat like crap, my health is going to suffer. I’ve realized that this last year. The worst part has been giving up flavored coffee creamer. I just really enjoy it. Like A LOT. The hardest part has been eating out—or not eating out. You can’t really eat out. It’s too hard to make sure the food is compliant. I’m a lazy eater. I don’t want to cook. Not being able to pick up fast food or microwave a burrito is tough for someone like me. And I’m not always excited about the food I can eat. Shockingly, it’s been easy to say no to beer. I’m most surprised that I can cook real food for myself. I don’t cook much, but when you don’t have a choice and you’re really freaking hungry, you figure it out. Oh! And I found out I actually like onions.
TM: What habits have you developed during this that you plan to continue?
Hubby: I was drinking a beer almost every night—while grilling, watching football, at the golf course. I feel better since I’ve cut that out. I plan to drink less often. I like that the healthier foods and snacks I’ve been eating are more satisfying. I’m not hungry an hour after I’ve had real food. I plan to keep that up too.
TM: What do you predict will happen when you reintroduce the foods you’ve been eliminating?
Hubby: I don’t think I’ll have much of a reaction to anything. Although, I’m pretty sure the first time I have a vanilla latte I’ll be grossed-out by how sweet it is. Obviously, limiting those foods (sugar/sweeteners, dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol) is a good idea because I’ve felt good while I haven’t been eating them.
TM: Do you have any closing thoughts? Maybe something I forgot to ask?
Hubby: Yeah. I’m actually worried I’ve lost too much weight. I just don’t have the time or the desire to pack big calorie meals everyday to eat when I’m away from home. I don’t like a lot of the foods that would make it easier to get more calories—avocado, coconut, raw nuts/nut butters—that stuff. And for a guy who probably burns 4,000 calories over the course of a day when I play basketball, it’s hard to get a lot of calories when you’re just eating fruit, vegetables and some meat. With that said, I think there are a lot of people who would benefit from doing this for 30 days. I’m glad I did it with you. I feel healthier—I feel like I’ve broken some bad habits. It’s not been easy, but it’s been good for me.
Check back next week for our final installment of the series—a review of the results and closing thoughts from Hubby and me.