CHEATED WITH CHICKEN

Men's Journal - - THE ART OF THE FAIL -

I WAS READY to quit Whole30 by Day 1. My wife, Caro­line, not so much. She’d in­sisted that we try the month­long fad diet to­gether. I’d agreed out of sol­i­dar­ity, but mostly be­cause Whole30-ap­proved food showed up in the fridge one day and I was too lazy to buy other stuff. Whole30 doesn’t sound bad at first—it mostly in­volves eat­ing tons of lean meat and veg­eta­bles—but by the end of Week 1, I was starv­ing and pissed off—at noth­ing but also at ev­ery­thing. But Caro­line re­fused to let me quit. So I was left with one op­tion: to cheat. I’m not proud, but I started mak­ing covert trips to a nearby Pop­eye’s, where I’d scarf down spicy fried chicken, pay­ing in cash so Caro­line wouldn’t see the charge. It was an in­nocu­ous be­trayal, but my first since we’d got­ten mar­ried.

I’d al­ways tried to be hon­est, even at the ex­pense of hurt or up­set feel­ings, not want­ing a lie to knock us out of rhythm. So my chicken de­cep­tion felt ma­jor. Yet I couldn’t re­sist. The ruse con­tin­ued for weeks. Un­til the night Caro­line smelled the fried spicy good­ness on my breath. Con: foiled. She for­gave me in time and fin­ished Whole30 alone, like the champ she is. But I felt like an asshat. I’d in­tro­duced doubt, how­ever small, into our re­la­tion­ship, and she didn’t de­serve that. In the fu­ture, I’ll just screw up in plain sight and suf­fer her scorn, rather than let chicken, or any­thing else, work its way be­tween us. —J.R. Sul­li­van

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