Getting it Together

So my partner and I are trying to be grownups now (sort of…) since we’re pushing 40 years old.  We decided to work on our health together.

We want to eat healthier.  For me, that means less pasta and more vegetables.  I’m not a vegetarian but my partner is.  We decided to try cooking healthier at home with the aid of Purple Carrot (because we have money).  We’ll let you know how it goes.  We both have doubts but we’re willing to try it.  Other meal prep/delivery services like Blue Apron seemed to have much worse options for vegetarians.

Here’s what we resolved.

He will pay for most of the food and be in charge of cooking it twice per week.  I will make sure we get the food box from the apartment complex’s leasing office (where it will be delivered if we’re not home) before the office closes on delivery day, and be in charge of cooking it once per week.  We will both help cook on all 3 days per week — currently scheduled for Wed, Fri, Sun.  The email comes to me so I can choose if we want to skip a week or pause.

The long weekend of July 4, we will clean the kitchen together so we can start cooking that week.

Also, we might exercise more.  He commits to working out before work 3 days per week, in our apartment building’s fitness room.  I can’t do early mornings probably, but I am considering (at his suggestion) starting with a 30-minute walk 3 times per week while listening to a podcast.

Also I need to look into getting our couch restuffed so it has more back support.

We’re old, Grumpeteers, but we’re working together.  Wish us luck!

Have you done any life-improvement projects with your partner?  how did they turn out?

28 Responses to “Getting it Together”

  1. bogart Says:

    GL! I have not embarked on any such projects. I did suggest to my DH when the LO started kindergarten that we could go together to a gym after dropping kiddo off, maybe 2 or 3 times a week. But the suggestion was not warmly embraced %) so I didn’t pursue it.

  2. Kellen Says:

    With exercise for me, I always find I stick to stuff I actually like to do, like walking or yoga, rather than when I try to get into “better” cardio stuff like running, where it’s more exercise but I hate it. Yoga always felt like it wasn’t “exercise-y” enough (the type I most preferred doing anyway), but now that I haven’t been doing it for awhile, I have a lot more aches and pains. So there’s always some kind of benefit.

    And it turns out I like walking/biking a *lot* more if the purpose is to get somewhere rather than just to exercise. (Biking to meet up with a study group on Saturday, walking to a coffee shop.) I walk every day, but the primary motivation is that I have a dog and have an obligation to give her time out of the house / yard.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I hate every kind of exercise, always. (Just like #2 does.) Fortunately, walking isn’t that hard and I like podcasts. And getting somewhere is ok, but being in the air conditioning is better!

    • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

      I hate to exercise also, but my wife and I manage to get adequate exercise by not having driver’s licenses. I bike and she walks: to work, for groceries, to go to plays, … . It is much easier to get the needed exercise when it is a by-product of needed transportation, rather than something you have to set aside time for.

  3. First Gen American Says:

    With kids, the best thing we do for each other is say “it’s your turn to go for a bike ride” and do all the kid/dinner duties so the other one can get a workout in. Has it helped? A little but we are still a size or two bigger than we were before children which makes me wonder…what would we look like if we did even less? The whole health thing takes constant vigilance. There are so many things that creep in and compete for the little time you have (with or without children).

  4. Alyssa Says:

    This has been something on my mind recently as well, as I’m also approaching 40 rather quickly. I am starting to notice a very distinct different in how I feel when I’m eating better and when I’m not. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted and feel fine, but that’s not the case anymore. I also can “feel” when I haven’t been moving enough. So, with 40 coming soon and with my 2 sons getting bigger and faster, I know that I need to do better for myself.

    However, KNOWING that and actually DOING what I know is better for me are very different things. I think this is just a transition point and it will take a while.

    Good luck to you and your partner!

  5. chacha1 Says:

    Our mutual improvement projects have all been centered on dancing. :-) The years we’ve decided to go into competition, we’ve tended to get quite fit, because there’s no way to avoid getting fitter when you are practicing nine dances several times a week.

    Aside from that, we haven’t really done much. DH used to hang out with a gang from UCLA who did rock-climbing and some mountaineering, but because I wasn’t into that and most of them dispersed as they finished their programs, he hasn’t done anything for years. He is not nearly as good about watching his weight and doing regular exercise as I am. He is one of those “past athletes” who think that exercise done 30 years ago is going to protect him his whole life. Which confounds me, because he is a fitness professional and should know better. I have had to point out recently that eating like an athlete is fine if you are an athlete, but if you are middle-aged *and* sedentary, it’s a really bad idea.

    Suggestion for the more-vegetables regime: several years ago, I started substituting shredded cabbage for spaghetti noodles. Thanks to convenience packaging in the produce dept., this is now super fast and easy. I take a couple bags of cabbage and a container of chopped red onion, and sauté them together with a little olive oil and a little bacon fat. When just tender, I add a dash of Worcestershire sauce. And then pour over a jar of pasta sauce, let it heat through, add shredded parmesan, and presto. It takes no longer than boiling water for pasta (on my crappy old cooktop anyway) and can all be done in one pot (I use a giant risotto pan).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You could do that, but it wouldn’t be noodles :-)

      • chacha1 Says:

        Which makes it healthier! The way I think of it, better nutrition with lower calories = less time I need to spend exercising. Or I can just have the glass of wine without having to come up with a way to burn off that sugar.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I don’t “worry” about burning anything off. I enjoy noodles very much. I enjoy cabbage nowhere near as much. I like vegetables best when they’re not trying to pretend to be something they aren’t .

    • kt Says:

      Two more vegetables-related-to-noodles foods ideas: since it’s getting to zucchini time and zucchini will be very cheap, you can have incredibly cheap vegetable-y meals by (a) spiralizing your zucchini into zucchini noodles, which are good with pasta sauce but maybe even better with peanut sauce or something like the dan-dan noodle sauce, or (b) just making regular linguine or tagliatelle pasta but adding in zucchini that you cut with a vegetable peeler to have a similar shape. It’s fun to have the contrast of the veggie strips and the broad flat pasta noodles, and it’s super-easy since you can basically shave the zucchini straight into the pot in the last two minutes of cooking your pasta.

      I have some sympathy for the masquerading-vegetables argument. I also challenged myself recently to try to ~double my vegetable consumption (not counting tomato sauce), so something like the zucchini-peanut sauce-sriracha-cashew ‘salad’ is a win since I generally hate salad. So unfilling, so leafy. Give me collard greens with ham any day.

  6. Norwegian Forest Cat Says:

    Good luck! I’m hoping you post a review of Purple Carrot… we are also a one vegetarian, one omnivore household, and I’ve thought about Blue Apron but never followed through because their vegetarian options looked pretty meh. It sure looks tasty!

    We just embarked on a fitness-related mutual improvement project, which has spilled over into marginally healthier eating habits and decreased alcohol consumption. When we made plans for a gym date after work we’d often just go home and have a glass of wine instead because one of us inevitably had a hard day at work. So, we signed up for a new gym with trainers to make our workouts for us, and we go before work so we can’t get stuck working late by accident and miss it. I think we’re both a lot more motivated, and we’re probably getting way more out of it than we were getting out of the DIY workouts we had been doing. So far I’d say it’s worth it – even if it’s pricey. I also like having a partner there! Even though we don’t work out together-together, it’s nice to have someone to high-five (or low-five if you’re tired) at the end.

  7. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Good luck! I do almost all our cooking so I control the healthy factor, and PiC does all the exercise but somehow I’m not reaping the benefits of that part of the split. Except that he’s always a more cheerful person after exercising – in that way I benefit.

    Midday is best for me because I hate mornings, so that’s out, and evenings are PiC’s for working out when he wants to, so the dog is now my work out partner. We do long walks and wind sprints together and play some catch to add a fun element so I don’t resent the time away from getting work done. There’s something refreshing about working out in company but in silence. Except for the occasional “haaaa-rooooooo” yodels I catch because I’m too slow or won’t throw the ball fast enough for his taste.

  8. undine Says:

    I have been curious about those delivery services. I buy food & cook it every night (family members are living with us for a while), and since I’ve been doing this for so long, I don’t think they’d work for me.

    Exercise like yoga–no. But walking/running: I am completely addicted because it doesn’t seem like work. I just plain love it if I can get out before 9 and preferably before 7 in the morning.

  9. Leah Says:

    It is hard to maintain large changes in habit. You could read Gretchen Rubin’s Becoming Better to get tips and ideas on that.

    In terms of eating healthier, portion size also makes a large difference. I found The Mindless Margin to be more helpful for me to eat healthier (and less) — he talks in there about the psychology of eating and how the size of our plates/bowls really influences that. Dishes have gotten significantly bigger over time. Reducing the size of your dishes (like eating dinner on a salad plate) really does make a big difference in how much one eats.

  10. kt Says:

    Maybe WordPress ate my other comment; maybe there’s a very deep prejudice against vegetables taking any long and skinny sauced form here… :)

    With respect to exercise and in the spirit of grumpiness, if you hate it, why bother? What’s the point? Not rhetorical — trying to ask, is there some other way to get the effect you want?

  11. Rosa Says:

    My partner and I do no projects together because he can only do things if he does them all or nothing (recent successful health projects for him include “no more snacks ever despite fully stocked snack closet at office” and “will go to the gym every single morning”.) Failed house projects of his have included “clean entire kitchen every night after dinner” and “weed all the weeds every week” – they are just not achievable like that, so he stopped even trying.

    Often he takes over and finishes my projects, though, because my “work on it when I have time” technique and failure to aim for absolute perfection makes him insane.

    • Rosa Says:

      i did throw a temper tantrum about six months into his “workout every day” regime, and now we have an agreement that if it snows, he has to do half the shoveling before he leaves for the gym. Leaving me to do the hard physical labor so he didn’t have to disturb his gym routine was unfair. And secondly, he has to be home within 12 hours of when he leaves in the morning, so if he really needs to spend 1.5 hours at the gym, and an hour commuting, he can work no more than 9.5 hours at the office that day.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Oy vey what a horrible long day! Anyway, shoveling snow should count as gym time.

      • Rosa Says:

        Yep! Only, anything that disrupts his routine puts it in jeopardy so he wasn’t wanting to count the shoveling as gym time. Which I get, I do! But, you know, we have other stuff we have to do than just work out and do paid work. Something has to give and the snow has to be shoveled first thing in the morning or it gets packed down into terrible ice.


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