February 5th, 2011

planet

the diet: phase II

Marc's 12 week diet is up... he lost 57 pounds! But now it's on to phase II for him. Phase I was "we give you all your food except fruits & veggies". It was strict. Phase II is "eat whatever you want but you have to keep counting calories and have a calorie goal". He still goes to a weekly meeting, still works out several times a week, still has the option of buying the diet program food, but now we can make a meal and eat it together.

We celebrated by making lasagna, with low-fat ricotta cheese and half the mozzarella. We also had tilapia night, and even went out to our favorite Japanese steakhouse.

It's another adjustment though. When Marc first started the diet, I started getting used to making food on my own... now it's back to togetherness.

We've already had some discussion/conflicts about what we eat. We want to eat together, but we look at totally different things on a food label... I want to cut out sodium, get plenty of fiber and protein. He looks at calories. Just calories. He's obsessed with them, the whole diet program was about them, he's still charting them on a spreadsheet. He seriously tried to get me to buy chicken broth with 10 calories instead of 15 per serving, even though the 10 calorie stuff had like 900mg of sodium and the 15 calorie one had 500mg. I hate sodium.

I also feel like reducing ingredients and portion control is a good idea, he'd rather sub in diet versions of the same foods. Like, we were going to make this squash casserole that we'd normally smother in shredded cheese. I suggested having a little cheese on the side, just sprinkle it on. He wanted to smother the whole dish in fat-free cheese (which, in case you haven't tried it, tastes like bike tires). This lead to another fight about whether I'm really being supportive, and I finally opened up to him and mentioned something that's bothered me for a long time... I feel like any suggestion I make about how to be healthier is thrown out the window, but if it comes from the diet people it's gold. Many times in our relationship I questioned why pancakes have to be plate-sized, or why an omelet has to have so many eggs, or why a casserole has to be covered in cheese! But as soon as his diet program people say "use egg whites and add veggies at breakfast" he's all gung-ho about it. I watched it happen for 12 weeks... watched him happily toss these hard-set habits aside, and it honestly hurt my feelings because whenever I'd suggested something I was just told "this is how I am".

Marc said I was hard to listen to on that stuff because his diet people have "been there". I've never been fat, they have been, so it's easier to hear when it comes from experience. I can acknowledge that. It's still frustrating for me.

I sometimes feel like I've needed a weekly meeting of my own through all this. I jokingly asked if I could come to one of his meetings, talk about how difficult my life is as a skinny person. Marc laughed and said I'd probably be killed for that. Then eaten. With low-fat ranch.

Anyway we're talking all these issues out, I'm sure we'll someday merge our habits together. When he first started this diet it took a lot of adjustment but by week 3 or 4 we were in a zone, I knew what foods I wanted to cook each night, felt okay eating different stuff in front of him, it was all cool. We'll get there again. The whole point of "phase II" is that it's supposed to be your life. People continue it for years, even keep going to the meetings. It's the diet that's never over, and it's good because you won't gain weight like you once did and I like that.