6

votes

Starting paleo without the support of my spouse.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 04, 2010 at 11:45 AM

So, I am planning on starting a paleo lifestyle, I brought up the idea with my wife and she scoffed at the idea. She is never one who likes change and she has seen her father and uncle bounce from low carb diet to low carb diet all without success. I understand paleo is different and would like to prove it to her with results. So basically what I want to know, does anyone have tricks or suggestions for starting paleo without having the support of your family?

Medium avatar

(2169)

on June 09, 2011
at 02:31 AM

I only have one short and sweet comment. If you cook, you can easily make "neolithic" additions to paleo meals. Meat and veggies with a rice pilaf that you just wouldn't eat. Or I make a killer shrimp + veggie coconut yellow curry stew that I put on top of white rice for "normal" eaters. Its really savory, aromatic and "exotic."

6ab7cd262d13f83de8b65d6ff1ed63fa

(50)

on April 20, 2011
at 04:01 AM

That's pretty much what I do. I cook most of our meals and primalize it the best I can. Gets pretty tiresome when you work for 10 hours, gym for one and then come home to cook (for things I normally do it's ~45min-1hr) though. Just because they aren't doing it with you, doesn't mean they don't support you. My Techy husband has a hard time removing himself from the computer, but he's always praising me when I lose another pound or when I do something constructive in the garden. When I was researching this before I started, I'd read the success stories on MDA to him aloud.

21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on January 12, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Perhaps you could cook with your 2 year old and have her bring Paleo meals/snacks over to her Mom?

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on January 08, 2011
at 04:44 PM

Good days and bad days. I am not acting like my difficulties are worse than anyone else's, but they are my struggles. My traditional Italiian-American family, my wholly neolithic pregnant wife and young daughter, and my love of beer - all play a part in sabotaging my "first thing in the morning good intentions". I've come to the decision that at this time in my life, any small decision I make to eat paleo is good, and any time I make a decision to eat crap is also good. Because I am making the decision mindfully and with full knowledge of the consequences .

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on January 07, 2011
at 01:54 AM

How is it going?

Eea6a68f5a7190d13c60e1c72417a581

(1376)

on December 31, 2010
at 06:07 AM

Do the old pretend eat with great enthusiasm, as if she made you mud pies! Be appreciative and silly.

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on November 22, 2010
at 11:55 AM

The progress is moving slow. I am not 100% paleo/primal. Not by a long shot, but I can tell the difference between when I eat good and when I eat crap (which unfortunately happens more than I should admit) by how I feel the next day. She understands that I am going to turn down bread and pancakes and pasta and she seems okay with it. The big problem is when my 2 yr old daughter brings over cookies or banana pancakes that she made with my wife and says "Daddy I made this for you. Do you like it?" How do you say No to that?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 12, 2010
at 07:34 PM

I thought he only played a doctor in a movie. Oh, Michael "D." Fox!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 11, 2010
at 02:04 PM

Srsly? This must be National Free Association Day! (And that sounds really yummy. A whole cup of cocoa?)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 11, 2010
at 02:01 PM

I feel your pain.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 11, 2010
at 02:00 PM

"If that fails, read Good Calories, Bad Calories to your wife aloud." Ha! I may have to try that. I actually have read bits and pieces of it to her... (and other stuff too). Now she sticks her fingers in her ears and goes "LALALALALA!"

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on July 13, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Some infertility clinics test for celiac and gluten intolerance.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on July 08, 2010
at 05:18 AM

Speaking of Paleo Pudding. One can of coconut cream or thick coconut milk, 1 cup of cocoa, a little stevia and vanilla and you've got a "primal" chocolate pudding! YUM!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 06, 2010
at 01:42 AM

Just an aside re infertility: Michael D. Fox is a fertility doctor in Jacksonville who has greatly improved his patients' fertility by putting them on low carb diets. See http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/low-carb-gynecologist.html, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRAwgdvhWHw

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on July 04, 2010
at 08:58 PM

Cromulent- I will tell you the cultural aspect makes this whole process much more difficult. Pasta is a twice a week dinner and bread is served with almost every meal.

6f0efd477208f51d145bea6d7272256e

(627)

on July 04, 2010
at 04:46 PM

You know, I'd bet changing to Paleo might be a bit harder for someone named "Manicotti"!

6f0efd477208f51d145bea6d7272256e

(627)

on July 04, 2010
at 04:43 PM

Our son is 7. I've been kvetching about my son's eating habits and weight for about 4 years now. Playing the Cassandra. In the last 2 years my predictions started coming true, and in recent months my wife has allowed me to start sculpting the boy's habits. So the household equation is starting to change. 1 human Paleo eater, 1 Paleo-ish dog (a story in itself), 1 boy that is in the process of changing, and 1 wife starting to feel like she has to get with the program. I think the change would be easier with a boy than a girl.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on July 04, 2010
at 04:42 PM

While I know of *no* research into the matter I do believe that *all* body systems are interconnected. I wonder if a paleo-style eating and exercise pattern could improve fertility and/or reduce the chance of miscarriage. I doubt it could make things worse.

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on July 04, 2010
at 03:38 PM

We have a 2 year old girl and working on extending our family more. We have run into numerous problems doing his (miscarriages and infertility) which is eliciting vastly different reactions in us. I want to become more healthy...she feels what's the difference? I know that phase will pass, but I still want her cooperation with the food choices. I appreciate all the feedback so far.

6f0efd477208f51d145bea6d7272256e

(627)

on July 04, 2010
at 02:51 PM

BTW, the Pizza Gambit is a great tactic to use at parties if there is no paleo snack around. You've just got to make sure its socially acceptable to do it in the open. My paleo-ness is now fairly well known in the extended family so peeps are cool with it.

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18 Answers

best answer

2
6f0efd477208f51d145bea6d7272256e

(627)

on July 04, 2010
at 02:41 PM

In my experience it will take a while before your spouse begins to bend. Its a tough thing. Because she doesn't buy in, there will be temptations all around. You need to give in because she is your spouse. But you need to carve out some space for yourself too. You'll need to craft an effective compromise.

I took an inventory of all the bad stuff we had in our pantry and fridge. What bad stuff can I avoid on my own - I don't like to use the word willpower - and what do I need to banish from house?

Boxes of pasta? No problem for me. To binge on that I actually have to retrieve the box, open the box, boil water, deposit pasta, etc. Too many steps.

Ice cream? Tough. Its way too easy to just open the fridge spoon in hand and start digging. So at first I demanded that she buy flavors I don't like. I might be the only human on planet Earth who doesn't like chocolate ice cream. Easy compromise there - she gets more to herself and I'm happy.

Other stuff I declared verboten. Snack foods, like potato chips, were banned. This wasn't too hard, since I was the main consumer and my wife wouldn't argue that we should have them. Did have a problem the last couple of weeks though. We had to play host to a 13-year old nephew for 11 days. His eating habits are atrocious, and my wife found it easier to cater to them rather than feed him nutritious grub. I threw some stuff out that I thought crossed the line.

Did you know that the Cinnabon folks have a breakfast cereal? Amazing.

Pizza was tougher. My solution? When pizza was brought into the house I did partake. Sort of. What I did was to wait until the pie cooled down a bit, then isolate a slice and peel the cheese off in one piece. That would bring up the pepperoni too, and a bit of sauce. Great way to indulge my jones and avoid the grains. Perfect paleo? Of course not. But a workable strategy. And over time pizza started appearing less and less.

As the process developed my wife got used to bending, and so I slowly pushed the boundaries further. And that is perhaps the biggest key of all, even more than the proof of your own fitness.

Unless........ do you have a child?

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on July 04, 2010
at 03:38 PM

We have a 2 year old girl and working on extending our family more. We have run into numerous problems doing his (miscarriages and infertility) which is eliciting vastly different reactions in us. I want to become more healthy...she feels what's the difference? I know that phase will pass, but I still want her cooperation with the food choices. I appreciate all the feedback so far.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on July 04, 2010
at 04:42 PM

While I know of *no* research into the matter I do believe that *all* body systems are interconnected. I wonder if a paleo-style eating and exercise pattern could improve fertility and/or reduce the chance of miscarriage. I doubt it could make things worse.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 06, 2010
at 01:42 AM

Just an aside re infertility: Michael D. Fox is a fertility doctor in Jacksonville who has greatly improved his patients' fertility by putting them on low carb diets. See http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/low-carb-gynecologist.html, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRAwgdvhWHw

6f0efd477208f51d145bea6d7272256e

(627)

on July 04, 2010
at 04:46 PM

You know, I'd bet changing to Paleo might be a bit harder for someone named "Manicotti"!

6f0efd477208f51d145bea6d7272256e

(627)

on July 04, 2010
at 02:51 PM

BTW, the Pizza Gambit is a great tactic to use at parties if there is no paleo snack around. You've just got to make sure its socially acceptable to do it in the open. My paleo-ness is now fairly well known in the extended family so peeps are cool with it.

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on July 04, 2010
at 08:58 PM

Cromulent- I will tell you the cultural aspect makes this whole process much more difficult. Pasta is a twice a week dinner and bread is served with almost every meal.

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on July 13, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Some infertility clinics test for celiac and gluten intolerance.

6f0efd477208f51d145bea6d7272256e

(627)

on July 04, 2010
at 04:43 PM

Our son is 7. I've been kvetching about my son's eating habits and weight for about 4 years now. Playing the Cassandra. In the last 2 years my predictions started coming true, and in recent months my wife has allowed me to start sculpting the boy's habits. So the household equation is starting to change. 1 human Paleo eater, 1 Paleo-ish dog (a story in itself), 1 boy that is in the process of changing, and 1 wife starting to feel like she has to get with the program. I think the change would be easier with a boy than a girl.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 12, 2010
at 07:34 PM

I thought he only played a doctor in a movie. Oh, Michael "D." Fox!

best answer

2
154d799847153f5589f99496a9bdbb71

on July 08, 2010
at 11:50 PM

Cook Paleo meals when you can. Leave neolithic foods off your plate when you don't. You might not always have good choices on your dinner plate. Most people ease into the diet over time anyway, so don't sweat it.

Be supportive of your wife's choice not to participate. Respect her and she should respect your personal choices too.

If that fails, read Good Calories, Bad Calories to your wife aloud.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 11, 2010
at 02:00 PM

"If that fails, read Good Calories, Bad Calories to your wife aloud." Ha! I may have to try that. I actually have read bits and pieces of it to her... (and other stuff too). Now she sticks her fingers in her ears and goes "LALALALALA!"

6ab7cd262d13f83de8b65d6ff1ed63fa

(50)

on April 20, 2011
at 04:01 AM

That's pretty much what I do. I cook most of our meals and primalize it the best I can. Gets pretty tiresome when you work for 10 hours, gym for one and then come home to cook (for things I normally do it's ~45min-1hr) though. Just because they aren't doing it with you, doesn't mean they don't support you. My Techy husband has a hard time removing himself from the computer, but he's always praising me when I lose another pound or when I do something constructive in the garden. When I was researching this before I started, I'd read the success stories on MDA to him aloud.

3
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on January 12, 2011
at 03:54 PM

I don't want to start a whole different thread about it, but I read these answers and just know that NONE of it could ever work at my house. I not only started Paleo WITHOUT the support of my spouse, but almost a disdain for it.

I have been working on weight loss for over 6 years now. I have lost over 100lbs and gone from obese to a healthy weight. I've done this all DESPITE no support at home. My motivation was to be healthy for my daughter. After a year where both of my parents were in intensive care (at 52 and 54 years old) I had a wake up call and changed my life.

I know it had to be hard for my husband to deal with all of the changes in me. I am not the person he married. My interests have changed, my cooking has changed, my LIFE has changed.

I think it was easier for him when I was obese and stayed home all the time.

3
2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on July 26, 2010
at 01:27 PM

Everybody has had great suggestions. This whole transition is honestly very intimidating!! It makes sense and it registers in my brain that it is a much heatlhier way of life...but soooooo intimidating.

Anyway, I think I am going to sort of ease into this, similar to what imanominvore said. I will try to avoid non-paleo fare when possible, and cook paleo when I can. I've already been doing this to a point, now I will just take it one step further.

Thanks again everyone. I will let you know how it is going!!

3
Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on July 04, 2010
at 07:41 PM

I do most if not all the cooking and grocery shopping. The more I ate and cooked paleo, the more my family did. My husband now is a firm believer and pretty much tells everyone he knows and "cheats" less than I do. It took a good 6 months or so.

2
Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on July 08, 2010
at 12:25 AM

Just jump in and your wife will see the changes in you both physically and mentally and will start to pick it up. This is what happened with my girlfriend. Some people are a S (myers-Briggs) and they need to see something work firsthand before they try it (they don't buy into theories).

2
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on July 04, 2010
at 08:33 PM

Already great advice and comments here.

Leading by example is probably the best.

And make sure you cook delicious meals. That helps!!! Really, both for your spouse and for you!

Good luck

2
2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on July 04, 2010
at 07:53 PM

Negotiate an agreement - that she will NOT disparage what you cook or eat, and that you won't preach to her about what she cooks or eats. As to the daughter, suggest 90 days of "your way" and just note what happens. Also agree that a missed meal or two is NOT detrimental to your daughter's development. Just say that you are really interested in her health for her whole life, and that good choices now = great health later.

she may still resist saying that she doesn't want her daughter to miss out on birthday cakes, ice cream parties, etc. Agree that you wont' stop the kid from eating those things, but that you'd like to limit the quantity and the occasions that she eats them.

As for you and your wife, you'll have to agree on your food budget and who cooks, and who eats what. May I also suggest reading this book: http://www.amazon.com/Die-Fat-Get-Tough-Differences/dp/0975500333/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278273121&sr=8-2, and using it as a discussion with your wife. You may not agree with every statement in the book, that is not the reason for my recommendation. It will help you see where the gaps are in your attitudes and perceptions and help you both negotiate to have a peaceful home while you engage in your journey, hopefully conflict free.

2
8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

on July 04, 2010
at 04:40 PM

My experience was a little like yours: my spouse was hesitant to believe that the Paleo Diet would work -- much like I didn't believe that all these other diets flying around would work.

Almost six months later, I am a little over 50 pounds lighter, lean, and muscular from also exercising. The proof is in the Paleo pudding.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on July 08, 2010
at 05:18 AM

Speaking of Paleo Pudding. One can of coconut cream or thick coconut milk, 1 cup of cocoa, a little stevia and vanilla and you've got a "primal" chocolate pudding! YUM!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 11, 2010
at 02:04 PM

Srsly? This must be National Free Association Day! (And that sounds really yummy. A whole cup of cocoa?)

2
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 04, 2010
at 12:12 PM

this link to marks daily apple's results page has some really good pictures about half way down and then more towards the bottom: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-book/success-stories-10/

I am struggling with a similar issue, though, and not having much success. Best of luck.

Since its a spouse youre talking about though, how about when she sees your success? I mean, be really strict with yourself - meat and veg only - and youll drop weight, feel better, etc. When she sees that improvement will she not kind of at least come around a little?

In my case im dealing with my mother who lives a state away and its as direct a communication.

1
21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on January 12, 2011
at 03:21 PM

I didn't buy in when my husband started paleo. I told him if this was something he wanted to do, then HE would have to do it. So that meant he would buy the groceries and cook the meals.

Breakfast and lunch during the week we are on our own. So while I didn't 'buy in' my regular salad lunches were already paleo (and I didn't even know it) and my husband cooked dinner for us. So in reality I was eating 2 paleo meals a day and breakfast at the time was oatmeal (because that's "healthy"...ha!)

On the weekends he would make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After I saw my husband was serious AND I saw he was getting AMAZING results...I started asking questions and I slowly converted.

If this is something that is important to you - YOU CAN DO IT! I know when my husband mentioned it to me, it just seemed like one more task on my 'to do' list that he was assigning to me. That didn't make me happy. Once he took charge and showed me just how much he really wanted to do this I was on board.

My advice, take charge. Lead by example, do the grocery shopping, make the meals, and feed your family. Offer as "don't worry honey, let me take care of making dinner tonight." Its a lot easier to get on board once someone presents it that way.

1
Df6b40dd55cf2c7e6097629b4febe4f2

on November 11, 2010
at 08:58 PM

don't become that guy who thinks he knows whats best for everyone else. the fact that she "lalalas" you tells you how effective that is.

your wife is a genius actually, by not blindly believing in something theoretical and following the advice of an armchair expert (you).

do your own thing, and respect that she does hers. become a shining example, increase your health, lose any extra weight, improve health markers, wellbeing, etc, and then you just might get her attention without having to say anything at all!

1
2f653fa504adc81612619106e7d1f65e

on November 11, 2010
at 09:07 AM

Joey, how is the progress?? I'm on the opposite end, my husband is not onboard with it. I don't want it to be a disconnect between he and I, but when I see him eating garbage it is very distressing :/. I also don't want to tout a holier than thou attitude! But it is a big thing to have that difference going on. I really hope he can get semi at least. His triglycerides are at an alarming level and I worry quite a bit.

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on November 22, 2010
at 11:55 AM

The progress is moving slow. I am not 100% paleo/primal. Not by a long shot, but I can tell the difference between when I eat good and when I eat crap (which unfortunately happens more than I should admit) by how I feel the next day. She understands that I am going to turn down bread and pancakes and pasta and she seems okay with it. The big problem is when my 2 yr old daughter brings over cookies or banana pancakes that she made with my wife and says "Daddy I made this for you. Do you like it?" How do you say No to that?

Eea6a68f5a7190d13c60e1c72417a581

(1376)

on December 31, 2010
at 06:07 AM

Do the old pretend eat with great enthusiasm, as if she made you mud pies! Be appreciative and silly.

21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on January 12, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Perhaps you could cook with your 2 year old and have her bring Paleo meals/snacks over to her Mom?

1
1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on July 04, 2010
at 01:13 PM

I agree with Ben - persuade your spouse with some positive results. I have the same issue - my wife is not at all convinced (despite me dropping 30 pounds). So I make some compromises, and hopefully she'll buy in sooner or later. By compromises I mean I'll eat some things she makes that are not paleo,despite not wanting to, just in small quantities. She makes great cakes, so I'll have a sliver and tell her how great it is. Then eat a slab of meat...

0
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on January 12, 2011
at 02:41 PM

A similar thread question here and answers that might interest / help you:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/10919/significant-others-and-paleo-ideas-after-you-screwed-it-up/11056#11056

Good luck!

0
27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

on January 12, 2011
at 01:29 PM

Great advice from everyone. I'm in a similar situation Joey. My husband has seen me embark on diet after diet so to him this is just another fad diet that I will give up sooner or later.

I'm not pushing anything onto him, I'm just doing my thing. I've been paleo for a month and a half now, feel much better, have lost a little weight, enough for it to be visible, and I've never once told him that he "should" try it. I know from my personal experience, whenever anyone tells me that I "should" do anything, I just shut it out automatically!

It does help that I'm doing the cooking, so at home (dinner) he eats mostly paleo. I can't control what he eats at the office, but I'm hoping that over time he might get curious (when seeing my progress) and slowly but surely change a few habits.

My approach is almost like taming a wild beast! I don't want to force my ideas onto him, I'm letting him come to me.

We have a 2 year old, and with him I'm also doing the gradual approach;because initially my husband was against this, thinking I was imposing a fad diet on our son, so I need to go slow.

I've eliminated sugar (except when unavoidable, like a birthday party, I don't want him to feel "punished", he's too young for me to explain) and I'm favouring protein over carbs and grains, the plan being to go down to 0 carbs and grains eventually.

0
415ce5b8f88f4d762fa946f9f43d94b6

(564)

on November 13, 2010
at 12:17 AM

I cook dinners, so everybody gets a paleo (meat, fat, and veggies) dinner. My wife has asthma, and a one point an allergy test showed her being allergic to wheat, so it wasn't much of a stretch to get her to try going gluten free. I'd guess she's at least 80% primal now. The kids know that asking dad for sweets or breads is a hopeless cause.

0
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on July 04, 2010
at 02:00 PM

Sounds like a 30 day challenge opportunity

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