The Reluctant Hubby: Cold Turkey (I Wish I Could Eat Some Right Now)

My fridge is NOT this full

I have shocked my system without planning to. I have made major changes to my diet without feeling like I'm doing all that much different. I have proven to myself that the brain can be stronger than the stomach. My family has just started the ninth day of our Whole Foods 30-Day Thrifty Challenge. Basically, we are only spending $491.10 on all the food we eat for the month and only shopping at Whole Foods.  This means tight budgets, strict menu planning, limited options, no eating out. It also means no alcohol, no grazing between meals, and no processed foods. That last one has been the biggest shock to the system. How do I feel?  Better, actually.  In the last week of December, I ate like crap because I knew it was the last time I'd be able to eat potato chips and fast food and Chinese for a month.  With our budgeted and planned menus for January, most of what I have eaten has been fresh fruit, fresh or frozen vegetables, proteins, homemade bread, and starches like rice and potatoes.  What's missing?  The chemicals, additives, and sugars found in processed foods. I did eat one processed snack. As a concession to my son's school lunches, we bought a box of crackers (Ritz-style) and I ate some on day three. My tongue immediately smiled as it remembered what mass-produced snack food tasted like. I was amazed at the reaction that a couple of crackers could have in my brain. Food is powerful; food that is bad for you, even more so. French fries could cripple an army in the right situation. It hasn't been an easy transition. It's been boring at times. I only drink water with the exception of coffee in the morning and I miss the variety of liquid options.  I actually have to eat leftovers; before they'd often get sneered at in their Tupperware containers, second class citizens of the refrigerator. Now I have no choice, and the same meal three times in a row isn't something we've ever had to do as a family (and I'm thankful for that).  But leftover stir-fry (made with fresh ingredients the night before) is a healthier lunch option that a sandwich and chips, which is what I've eaten for lunch probably 90% of my life. I've also learned to control my hunger pangs and stretch the time between meals. At 11:15 on Friday morning when my stomach started growling, I ignored its wailing and kept working. The next thing I knew it was 1:00 and that's when I ate lunch.  Which means I had made it through the morning without snacking and, because I was eating so late, would likely make it to dinner without snacking as well. What else have I learned? Carrots are a good snack because they take a long time to chew. I actually would urge everyone reading to try some variation of our challenge.  Limit your options, choose only to eat fresh foods, force yourself to go a certain period of time without your normal diet.  You can't fully understand it until you live it and feel how your body reacts. I'm not worried about the next three weeks; I think we'll make it to the end without too many concerns. I'm more worried about February when we return to normal.  How much of this new way of eating will I retain?  How much will I backslide?  And will my brain still be more powerful than my stomach?  It depends; I hear the French fries are laying in wait for me. Previously on The Reluctant Hubby: Hunger Games

About Greg Wymer

Greg Wymer is Principal and Chief of Creative for Healthy Dose Media. He was an award-winning radio copywriter and morning show producer for WFNX-FM in Boston in the 1990s, and in the 2000s won Best Viral Marketing Campaign and Best Non-Profit Campaign for his work with e-tractions, a provider of custom online entertainment. Before launching Healthy Dose Media, he spent 10 years at the MIT Enterprise Forum working as a developer of programs, content, and marketing for a global audience of startups and entrepreneurs. Greg has been a mobile and club DJ for 25 years, created and ran a pub trivia night called Useless Trivia, and is on the Board of Directors of ImprovBoston, where he performed as a cast member of its Mainstage for seven years.

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3 Responses to The Reluctant Hubby: Cold Turkey (I Wish I Could Eat Some Right Now)

  1. Dean Ouellette January 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Ok I loved this until the last paragraph then you made me upset. I have an issue with this sentence.

    “I’m more worried about February when we return to normal.”

    it sounds like you realize that what you are doing is healthier right? Then change the mind frame. THIS IS NORMAL. You are now eating normal. There is no backsliding, you just keep eating normal. It is 100% psychological. How do I know? Because five months ago this was me. I did it for a month, then I liked the results so much I kept doing it.

    I was a sugar-holic. We are talking used to stop at Circle K once a week to grab a pint of ben and jerrys while driving around in my car addict. We are talking stop at dairy queen and get 2 small bizzards on the way home for myself bad. We are talking 3 donuts from DND at least 3 times a week bad.

    When I got to the end of the first month and knew it was over I had to tell myself no. As soon as that thought comes into your head about something processed…. AS SOON AS it happens you just need to say no. You got about 3-4 seconds to say no, and if you dont do it, it wont happen.

    Welcome to the new normal!

  2. Greg Wymer January 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Dean, thanks for your great comment and motivation. I guess what I meant with “normal” was normal budget. I don’t see us returning to the way we used to eat; but I also know me, and I’d be surprised if I didn’t backslide some, or allow myself a “cheat” day every now and then. I’ve never had the severe sugar tendencies you describe, but i certainly ate less healthy than I have been these last few days, mostly on snack items. I hope that my new normal becomes fruits and vegetables for snacks. That’s my goal.

  3. Dean Ouellette January 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Gotcha Greg, that budget would be kind of hard to maintain so I understand. Good luck and looking forward to what happens after the month is over.

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