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Non-supportive partner...

Casi G.

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Hello All -

I've been doing the Whole30 program 100% successfully since Jan 1st. I'm also halfway through "It Starts with Food" and loving the information/education I'm getting. My boyfriend and I were 80/20 paleo before the holidays, cheated for a few days, and then got on the Whole30 wagon with enthusiasm and excitement to see how this type of eating could help our performance.

I CrossFit 3-4 evenings a week and supplement those workouts with running, cycling and hot yoga in the mornings and off-days. I'm 5'8, 150 lbs, fairly lean; looking to lose a little weight but am more concerned with becoming stronger/faster/more athletic. My boyfriend is dedicated to the 'Insanity' program 7X a week and has about 20 pounds to lose.

I love how I feel, I have had no major cravings to report (as of yet), my sleep is better, I have more mental clarity and I love what I see when I look in the mirror. My biggest speed bump with this program so far: is my boyfriend.

He has been throwing a freakin' temper tantrum at almost EVERY meal with eat together (i.e.

"Oh my god. I can't have diet soda?? WHAT am I supposed to drink?!?!?!").

I don't think he fully understood the limits of this diet when he signed on...and now he seems to be getting resentful towards me when I order water for him at restaurants, or refuse to make his favorite paleo-banana bread.

He can't wrap his brain around WHY he can't have cottage cheese, sweet tea, occasional 'cheat days' and whole-wheat wraps. I explained all the rules before we decided to do this and he seemed on board. He's not interested in reading the book - so I've tried to explain why all of those things are off-limits in layman's terms. I've reminded him that it's NOT that hard; it's only 30 days! But maybe I'm not doing a good enough job.

He's sticking with it, but I feel like he is starting to resent me for it. He gets down on himself when he looks at his gut. I love him regardless of how he looks and just want to help him feel better about himself! But I feel like my good intentions are just driving a wedge between us.

I'm torn - should I:

A. Continue pushing forward and encouraging him to stick with it (I sometimes have to travel and work away from home, and even though I always make W30 approved meals for him for the days I'll be away - I have a feeling he's probably cheating when I'm not around)


B. Should I just say screw it, let him drink/eat whatever he wants and focus on my journey/progress.

Has anyone else had trouble with a non-supportive partner?

He is a wonderful partner in all other aspects of our relationship. He's supportive of my training and appreciates the healthy meals that I cook for him. He doesn't think I need to lose any weight and he loves finding fun, outdoors-y sports for us to do together (hiking, snorkeling, kayaking). We have a great, active relationship. I am just getting frustrated at the spoiled-brat-like behavior that seems to be coming out all of a sudden. :angry:

Sorry for the long post. I welcome your perspective.

Happy Monday! :)


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Cassie, I would veer toward Option B. It sounds like he is not fully on board with the Whole30 and especially if he is cheating when you're gone like you think he is, he won't get as much out of it with his heart not in it.

I understand your frustration though. I cannot imagine my husband agreeing to a W30 in a million years, and oh how I wish he would. He does get his veggies these days and loves to cook, but his diet is pretty much the epitome of the SAD (he eats what he wants when he wants it) and I think issues he has like eczema, allergies and gastrointestinal issues could be greatly improved if he cut out the diet soda, doritos, beer, nightly dessert, and other miscellaneous foodlike substances from his diet.

When I started on this journey back in August he was frustrated (and continues to be to a lesser extent) with all the restrictions, I think he thinks that some of the restrictions are arbitrary (such as the other day when he got upset because I couldn't eat the otherwise compliant chicken wings he made - fried in SOYBEAN OIL - ugh!). But he's supportive in other ways, for example he likes to pit barrel-BBQ meat on the weekends and that's a great thing for me because I get to eat great meat and have leftovers. But I've figured out that pressuring him to eat closer to the W30 style and scolding him for eating crap gets us absolutely nowhere. We are at a peaceful place with him accepting my new eating habits and me trying my hardest to refrain from judging his choices (which is not easy). My hope is that with time and consistency on my part his habits will slowly improve and he'll start to believe there are tremendous benefits to this lifestyle.

So yes, focus on YOU and your goals and hopefully you will experience great results and he will see that and become more motivated on his own.

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Honestly, you cannot FORCE anybody to come along on this journey with you. You're in VERY dangerous territory (as I'm sure you've already noticed).

He has made his choices: He doesn't accept/understand the limitations, but also doesn't want to (not reading the book)...with that combination of characteristics, you're probably fighting a losing battle.

There are really two roads to an intervention's success:

a) be told exactly what to do and be okay with following it (he's not)

B) read/learn about exactly WHY you're being told what to do, and accept the justifications (he hasn't/won't)

My boyfriend TOTALLY doesn't buy into paleo, but last January, he committed to 30 days. He thought it was stupid the entire time, but he sucked it up and made it through. Pouted a little, but never resented me...because it was his choice and his commitment.

If he had done what your boyfriend is doing instead, I would have done the following:

a) reminded him that he agreed to this and you're just trying to be supportive and encouraging

B) ask him if he wants to stop.

If he says yes, then just make sure that he knows you're going to keep cooking W30 meals...and ask him to respect any considerations that YOU need for your W30 to be a success, like keeping food out of the house if it's going to be a problem, etc.

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I agree with TrayS. It has to be his own project, that he chooses.

The best thing to do, in my experience is to stop trying to motivate him. He has to do this himself.

In fact, it can be counterproductive to try to motivate him directly.

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I agree with what everyone else has already said. If he isn't fully committed, it just isn't going to work and it's just going to be frustrating for both of you. (I tried to get my husband to go paleo for a while last year and he'd kind of turn it into arguments, so I gave up. Now, at least he'll cook a paleo meal for me (and eat it....while drinking gatorade/soda, but still).) I gave up trying to convince him; hopefully one day things will just click and he'll give it a try, you know?

Good luck :)

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Thanks everyone! Option B was kind of what I was leaning towards... I just hate giving up on someone. But you're right...all I can do is set a good example and be there for him when he's open to the change. : ) I appreciate all the feedback!

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Thanks everyone! Option B was kind of what I was leaning towards... I just hate giving up on someone. But you're right...all I can do is set a good example and be there for him when he's open to the change. : ) I appreciate all the feedback!

Option B is the one. He will see your scolding as nagging and he'll feel resentful. Let him see how well you do and lead by example. :)

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Cassie don't think of it as giving up on him, think of it as doing what you need to do to increase the likelihood he will get there himself someday. People tend to want to rebel and do the opposite when they feel like they are being told what to do, so the sooner you stop encouraging him (and keep in mind he may perceive your encouragement as pressure, no matter how positive your message is), the sooner he may get to a place where he can look at it more objectively.

One other thing I've tried to do with my husband is to try and figure out where he's the most flexible. Since I know he loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen, I knew that getting us back on a CSA may inspire some creativity in him with foods that are inherently compliant (produce). Then by default he ends up eating more of the things he would eat if he were doing the Whole30. You mentioned that your boyfriend is not only willing to eat, but appreciative of the healthy things you cook for him so it seems like you are already helping him quite a lot in this way.

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