How to eat healthy when your husband doesn’t

Ruthie Gray Humor, Regrouping 4 Comments

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We have an ongoing struggle at our house called, How to eat healthy when your husband doesn’t.  It’s a thirty-year documentary.

I started the 21 Day Fix–a  portion controlled program with color-coded containers for food, and daily thirty-minute workouts.  My daughter, Taryn, had such success with the program that she became a Beach Body coach.

{Which is a big deal, considering she used to whine and complain when I made her go to the gym with me.  I figured if she could get hooked on this program and have success, I’d better try it.}

I’ve been on a diet ever since I was 8 years old when my mom came home and announced we were starting Weight Watchers.  I was a chubby kid with a short haircut and everyone thought I was a boy. I guess she figured since she and dad were doing it, it would help my looks.

To add to my weirdness, the first words out of my mouth were, “Can we still have tuna fish sandwiches?”  When mom answered to the affirmative, I busted out, “PRAISE THE LORD, HALLELUJAH!!!”  Yeah, I was that kid.


I am one of those people that have to fight to stay at a moderate weight.  Partially because I love chocolate and chips and anything with potatoes and cheese.

And partially because I am short and everyone knows short people got no reason to live.  That’s because the food consumed has nowhere to go but out.  My youngest daughter is 5’9 and has legs to kingdom come.  She’s tall and slim and I can’t believe she came from my womb.  If you saw us together you’d never know we’re related except for the fact that she also adores chocolate and has a white vest.  Other than that, we look like we came from two different planets.

Also I have the metabolism of a snail, but I’ll not dwell on that.  Suffice it to say, if I look at peanut butter cookies, I gain 5 pounds, but if I watch what I eat and exercise for 5 days, I’ll only gain 1 pound.

Add to this the fact that I live with the king of junk food.  This is the guy that used to have oreos and milk every night before he went to bed.  The one who gained 70 pounds collectively during my four pregnancies (granted, he was 6’2 and 140 pounds soaking wet when we married, he could stand to gain a few).

The one who announces at least once a year, “I’m watching my weight”, and then proceeds, for two weeks, to eat salads and abstain from red meat.  But those bacon crackers and that cheese spread somehow make their way back into the house, so do the chips and dip, as well as the Crunch ‘n Munch and the golden oreos.

Alas, even after all of that, he doesn’t have a weight problem.  It’s just not fair.  I go on 4,000 diets a year and never lose a pound.  He eats anything and everything and stays slim.  It’s because he fidgets, that’s what it is.  If I would just jump out of my chair and run around the house and beat on the counter like it’s a drum and go up and down the stairs and jiggle my leg constantly when I sit, I wouldn’t have a weight problem either.

The day before I got my 21 day fix kit, he bought 2 dozen donuts.  I’m still not sure why, seeing as how everyone had returned to school from Thanksgiving and there were only three of us in the house.  Plus the fact that we had just consumed mass quantities of starches and pumpkin pie.


How to eat healthy when your husband doesn't; my struggle to make one change at a time on the 21 day fix even though my husband is a junk food guru.



Those are pretty tiny containers if you asked me.  However, I want to look like that girl in those pictures, so I’m going for it.  (Notice the donuts in the background.)

I started this program on Monday.  The same day we left on a trip to Tennessee to see our son perform in a Christmas concert at the University of Tennessee.  Going on a road trip is not exactly the ideal way to start a new eating plan, which Jim pointed out.  “Too bad–I’m part of the group and I’ve already committed” I replied.

Off we went.  First stop:  Wendys.


How to eat healthy when your husband doesn't; my struggle to make one change at a time on the 21 day fix even though my husband is a junk food guru.

See what I mean???

I stayed strong.  I ordered healthily that evening, and also the next day on our return home.  Go me!


Just had to show off my son for a sec.  He’s the guy in the red sweater with the guitar.  He is awesome, in case you wondered.

We made it home and I started some laundry.  I reached for the Snuggle, turned it on it’s side to fill up the container, and the lid promptly popped off sending fabric softener gushing everywhere.  Especially the floor.  I was skating in it, trying to maintain my balance.

Luckily, there was a set of sheets on the floor needing to be washed (as usual), and I latched onto them with my feet and regained control.  They also served as a handy mop up tool.  I considered counting my acrobatic moves as my workout for the day, but figured Autumn Calabrese (the Beach Body guru) wouldn’t approve, so I went downstairs and got out the exercise DVD.

There was a conversation with Jim about where he was going to be during my workout, because I hate being watched or bothered while exercising.  He assured me he would be in the basement watching football.  I knew this was a bunch of bologna, because he had been prepping his new roaster out on the back porch, which is on the main floor of the house – where I was going to be.  He wanted to roast some deer meat the next day, and kept going back and forth to see if it was seasoning properly.

I decided to go for it anyway.

Ten minutes later he was back upstairs, while I huffed and puffed my brains out.  He asked me a question and I muttered something unintelligible.  He stepped outside to check the roaster.  Then he came back in and said something else that I don’t remember.

I tried to block him out and keep breathing.

The next time he returned, I was in a plank hold and struggling.

He went back outside.  I collapsed on the floor – it was the last exercise anyway, and I was down for the count.

He stepped back in.  I laid motionless.  I heard him stop…”Ruthie.  Ruthie!”

I raised my head and growled at him.  “I thought you passed out, I was just checking to make sure you were ok!  Sorrrrrr-yyy, I’ll leave you alone!!”

Granted, he’s found me passed out before, many times in fact – I should be grateful he still cares.

I’ve made it through week one and am pretty proud to say I’ve lost 4 pounds.  It usually takes a lonnnngggg time for me to lose even one, so I’m excited!

On Friday, Kylie, my youngest, made brownies for her University 100 class, celebrating their last session of the year.  The teacher asked them if they’d rather have a party or have an exam…I don’t ever remember my college professors giving me that option.  Anyway you can guess which one they picked.

These brownies weren’t just regular brownies, either.  They had an icing of cooking dough and then a chocolate shell on top.

I may have salivated a little bit.



I gave my one-year-old grandson a bite when he got up from his nap.  “Mmmmmmmm.”  He said.  He took another.  “MMMMMMMMM!”  He sure never says that about his baby food.  I guess I wouldn’t either – mushed up peas, carrots and turkey just do not sound appealing to me.

I thought about those brownies.  They just kept sitting there, taunting me.

After a healthy dinner of stir fry broccoli, turkey and brown rice, I walked over to the brownies, turning down the saran wrap.  “I’m just gonna have one little bite, I’m allowed a cheat meal once a week and I haven’t even done that.”

Immediately I had two people holding me back on each side.

“DON’T DO IT, MOM!”  Kylie yelled, taking the fork from me and re-covering the brownies.

“Oh no you don’t”, declared Jim.

I couldn’t believe it.  They were all over me about this!  I stomped out of the room and screamed.

“We helped her.”  I heard Jim remark to Kylie.  “And aren’t you glad now that you didn’t eat that?”  Asked Taryn – the beach body coach who used to hate diet and exercise when I later recounted the story.

Yes.  I am glad they held me back.  And then they packed up the remaining brownies and took two to my son-in-law and hid the other two.  I know this because I found them today. I didn’t tell…I may need a fix later.

As you already know from my last post, I just turned 50.  This has made me take pause and consider what I can actually do that will help me not look like I’m 50.  I mean besides the wrinkle cream, and believe me, I’ve got stock in that.

The week after my birthday, my dad found a bunch of old pictures and got all creative and made me a card.  It gives a clue as to how I’d been acting about reaching this milestone.

It says, “Dear Ruthie –  Don’t be intimidated by The Big “50”.  You have held on to your good looks over the years and are likely to continue into the future – From one of your foremost admirers – Lovingly – Dad.”

And then there is an ugly picture of me in my boy hair and giant bug eye glasses.  Only a mother (or a father) could love a kid that looked like that.  I hope I didn’t hold onto those good looks.

He also included my senior picture in the card. Still with the short hair.  However, that must have been one of the few seconds during my life that I was slim.

That card meant a lot to me.  I love the smiley face sticker – that’s a nice touch.  My dad is still thinking of ways to encourage me, even when he has so many limitations himself these days.  I will keep that card forever.

So, here’s to the “new” me stepping into a new decade.  Let’s hope it sticks this time – it looks like I’ve got plenty of people in my life to looking over my shoulder, grabbing food out of my hands and spurring me on to better health.  I’m ready to look like a slim 40 something person.  Let’s go with that.

Did I mention that yesterday as we were driving through town, Jim slowed down in front of the Marquee and asked me if I wanted to take in a movie and have some popcorn?!  Movie popcorn is my ultimate favorite.  “I am allowed one cheat meal a week!”  I quipped.  “That would add up to a whole LOT of cheat meals” he replied.  And then we drove home and I ate a salad and did another workout.

This is the real world, people.  It’s going to take some effort.  Yeah…I’ll let you know how it goes.

Comments 4

  1. Oh Ruthie, you’re making me laugh, friend. I love the pictures too! I had a moment of truth two months ago when I put on an “always loose and beautiful” dress 5 minutes before leaving for a party, only to find I barely could squeeze myself into it. And I wore that thing anyway, because no time to find something else! So since then I’ve been trying to cut down (and back to yoga/pilates) But yes, it is SLOW going at age 52. (And I’m doing low carbs, so maybe I’m eating too much cheese? 🙂 ) But I’m loosing… Good luck and God’s grace to you, friend!

    1. Ahh so great you stopped by, friend! UGH yes. Such a problem, this middle age thing. I giggled at your party dress story, but it was a sympathetic giggle, I PROMISE because I’ve been there too! Thankfully, my healthy eating patterns are much improved since the original release of that blog post last year. He has even cut down on the oreos very night so we are gaining a little ground at least!! Have a great holiday – and don’t eat too much! 😉

    1. I had to go back and read it to figure out what you were talking about!! LOL. Yep. Truly those are the only two ways we resemble each other – and only the chocolate when we both have it in our hands. 😉 Thanks for your comment, you made me giggle!

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