“I need to get more protein,” I heard a voice mutter next to me, as I glanced up from my computer screen.
I stared at where the words came from for a moment, not quite sure if I was hallucinating. His eyes bore into my soul as he waited for a response, so I grudgingly I pulled out one of my headphones and turned my full attention to him.
“What did you say?” I asked, still wary about where this conversation was going.
He looked towards me with a light of determination in his eyes that I had never seen, and repeated the phrase I never thought I’d hear him say, “I just really need to get more protein.”
It’s not so much that I haven’t heard this before. I have from plenty of guys in the past. My horrible ex who was obsessed with P90X couldn’t go longer than a few hours without claiming that he needed another chicken breast to reach his goal. Get a group of guys together and they’re bound to discuss their pulled-from-the-internet gym routines and powder preferences. Hell, walk through the weight room floor and take a sip of some high-quality H20 every time you heard the word “protein.” You’re sure as shit going to be hydrated by the time you make it to the other side of the room.
So, why was this so shocking now? Because my boyfriend had never been like that. Sure, he’d go to the gym every once in a while, and we’d go on hikes if the weather was nice and if we brought a backpack of beer (and if I managed to get to the trailhead without complaining so much that we just turned around. It’s happened). But he was never a fitness-obsessed, calorie-counting, protein-tracking monster. We have our favorite pizza place on speed-dial (wait, is speed-dial still a thing?). We created our own recipe for buffalo chicken mac ‘n’ cheese because no place did it right. Sometimes for dinner, we literally just eat an entire loaf of French bread and a block of aged, sharp cheddar cheese. But as he sat across from me, typing our most recent meal into his heath app, it was like I had never seen him before.
In his defense, he’s eating right and working out for his health. His family has a history of high blood pressure and after going to the doctor, he was told he needed to get his shit together. Once you graduate college and become an adult, I guess that’s something to think about. Who knew? Not me. So, I sat there like an asshole wondering what happened to my nacho-eating man.
The truth is — my boyfriend’s diet is ruining my life.
For the first time ever, I feel bad for all of the guys I dragged along for my years of fad diets. Because when you’re in a relationship and 1/2 of the group decides to eat healthily and do fitness things, the whole group has to do it. It’s not a choice for you. As I think back to a number of times I wouldn’t let a guy order Chinese food, or I would make unseasoned, skinless chicken breasts and broccoli for dinner and act like it didn’t taste like cardboard, my heart hurts. I made the men in my life give up carbs, skip on dessert, and avoid alcohol due to the extra calories, and now karma has come to get me. I’ve finally learned that the worst way to go on a diet is when your significant other goes on one, and you’re guilted into it even though you’re totally fine living a few more months of the fat life.
Because the reality is, if I don’t go on a diet with my boyfriend, I’m just a giant bag of trash. I can’t sit next to him eating pasta as he shoves a salad down his throat. I mean, I can. And I already have. But there comes a time when I have to accept that this diet thing isn’t going to go away. Or until it goes away or he dies, I have to support him or else I become the monster.
So I’ll be supportive. I’ll make the spaghetti squash, and I’ll pin low-sodium, high-protein recipes with the same fervor I’ve been pinning ideas for our hypothetical wedding for the past 3.5 years. But if he starts doing fucking Juicero , I swear to God, I’m done. .