Before You Date Me You Should Know…

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I’m a gluten free, vegan, Weight Watchers Leader, holistic nutrition student with Crohn’s Disease. SANY3872Okay so maybe those aren’t the FIRST words to come out of my mouth when I meet someone new… but unless you knew something about me before we started talking or went out for the first time, I’m sure that collection of facts would come up pretty early in the conversation.

Like when we’re making plans to go out.
Or talking about what I do in life.
Or even just choosing a restaurant.

And in all honesty, how do you come off telling someone all of those things without sounding just a little nutty? (Especially when you go on to tell them that you even write a blog about the whole thing??)

I always took for granted that Joey met me the week I joined Weight Watchers and embraced my changes in eating as they happened. In dating new people, it has been an interesting experience to get to explain all of these things to people without the same background knowledge.

How much is too much?

In my meetings I always joke that I tell everyone in the world that I’m on Weight Watchers. I have always been a very open person and I’m pretty transparent about the fact that I’m gluten free and vegan and that I make these choices as a result of having Crohn's. (heck, I write a blog about the whole thing, don’t I?) I recognize that not everyone is as open as I am, and that my candour might be a little much for some, but I like to think that if someone is going to want to date me, that they will embrace everything about me. And if not, their loss.

Communication is key.

Now you might not want to come out and tell the person within 4 minutes of meeting them that you’re trying to lose weight (or vegan or whatever), but you also want to be honest about who you truly are. Your personality is going to be part of the reason that they want to date you in the first place, right? So don’t act like you’re ashamed of losing weight or love of exercise (because you’re making a healthy change in your life!) or the way you eat (because it works for you!) or how you live your life (because you’re trying to be the best you you can be!) There are maybe some things that can be saved for date #2, 5 or 12 (I try to skimp on the details of my Crohn’s diagnosis…) but I strongly believe that communication is really important

So, um, what do you eat?

If I haven’t scared someone off with my list of things I don’t eat, I make some suggestions on places to go and so far I’ve found people to be very accommodating and willing to try new things.This is awesome, because I’m not going to want to date someone who doesn’t “get it” and badgers me into a steakhouse or an all-you-can-eat buffet because Fresh or Live or Lady Marmalade doesn’t seem like a good idea. 

Doing Weight Watchers? Maybe Jack Astors and the 51-Point “Grilled Salmon Provencal” might not be the best choice. Vegan? Barbarian’s steak house isn’t gonna work. Gluten free? No thanks on the all-you-can-eat-white-pasta. There are casual ways to make your opinions known and be confident enough to suggest places that will cater to your needs, so you’ll have one less thing to stress about on your date.

Now what?

So you’ve gotten past date #1.
You enjoy this person’s company.
Date #2 or 4 or 7 is on the horizon… what do you do?

Just be yourself.

In everything that I’ve done in my life, this is probably one of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned whether it be on a date, a job interview, an audition or in life in general. Your personality with all its quirks and nuances makes you unique and with the billions of people in the world (and 2.5 million people in Toronto alone) it is going to stand you apart from the crowd. If you’re hiding part of yourself because of how you think this new person might react, it will probably just come back to bite you in the butt, and why would you want to waste time hiding the “real you” whilst getting to know this new person anyway? If they’re worth your time, they will be understanding, making them even sexier than they originally appeared.

So before you date me, you should know that…

I’m just me.

Take it or leave it

How have your lifestyle choices impacted your dating life? Single peeps – how do you tell new people about your dietary/food/etc. choices? Coupled peeps – how have your significant others dealt with any lifestyle changes you’ve made? What words of advice would you offer to anyone who is in dating land and disclosing things like losing weight, veganism or other lifestyle choices?


Kate Kedziora said...

Hey, loveee your blog! I am gluten-free and a vegetarian. I love the vegan lifestyle, but find it really hard on a college budget- especially when gluten-free! Luckily for me, I just graduated and I'll have a normal income and can go back to the vegan goodies :) ANYWAYS, in dating and being so complicated-- I think it is all about finding the right person. I've had past boyfriends who rolled their eyes at every idea I've had or tried. My boyfriend doesn't care what I eat! He eats anything and everything and respects me and my choices! He laughs at me when we go out to eat because my order is always a LONG process with many specifications hehe I know it isn't this easy all the time...

Lauren said...

Hey hun, I really identified with what you wrote here, it certainly isn't easy to meet people outside of the "bubble"...meaning, the people who understand alternative food choices. Veganism and gluten free eating are not mainstream so people who don't know about it simply don't get it. And when you don't know about something, you are inclined to think that it is weird or extreme. I just try to focus on explaining my health concerns. If you tell someone who you're dating that you can't eat something because it makes you sick, they are less likely to judge than if you were to say "I won't eat dead animals." But in the end, you want someone who will love you and respect you for the choices you make, no matter what. I think you have a really smart way of looking at this. Although it may be uncomfortable to explain yourself, you will find someone who will love you for everything you are, without concern for what you eat (or don't eat). I try to tell myself the same thing haha. xoxo

Lexington said...

Thank you so much for writing this wonderful and lovely post. I am currently in the process of adjusting to living gluten free and vegan (because of crohn's) and this information is so incredibly helpful. I love your sense of humour and the way that you approach things. I have so much love for your blog. It always puts a smile on my face.

marie said...

I find it REALLLLLLY hard to date because I don't drink. Well, I can but I will NOT with someone I don't know or don't trust as I have a severely low tolerance (one drink can get me very intoxicated sometimes).

EVERY guy wants to go for drinks. Um, yeah...that doesn't work for me.

Then they can't appreciate that I like to be in bed by 11 on a Saturday night because I go running at 8:30 on a Sunday morning. Apparently all some guys see is that cutting into their potential sleeping over time. Um, whoa nelly!

I won't even start with the long list of my migraine triggers that limit my food intake, much like your chron's...

But you'd think in an age where people are taking BETTER care of themselves that they'd be more accepting of healthy lifestyles like ours.

Honestly, just be yourself. If you want to tell them something about yourself, do it. If it comes up, say it. Everything shapes who we are and it is important in the grand scheme of things. If they aren't accepting of things, it isn't meant to be.

Catherine Langlois said...

As always, love reading your blog. I should really comment more often but life gets in the way ;-) I have to say, it is very interesting for me to read about your journey since I am quite the opposite of you. You have made me aware of so much issues or choices some people must make. I am organizing a BBQ next month and I found myself actually asking my guess about their dietary needs. I was so surprised about people's answers and opted to include many vegetarian options. Those are questions I would never have asked if it wasn't for reading your blog.

As for dating, I have to say sometimes it is not about health choices but also about culture. I remember being often at odd's with Tristan when it came down to what a meal should be. But in the 6 years we have been together, I have to say we have now been able to balance on a daily basis, chinese and north american food. But I have to admit, it did spark a few argument along the way. I think eating habits should not be underestimate in a relationship. But looking back, I think the greatest thing about dating someone with VERY different eating habit, is the chance to share new knowledge about food!

MissyRayn said...

I had lost a ton of weight before I met Hunni and I told him that healthy eating was just me and he knew it.

But the vegetarian, weight watchers, IBS stuff all came after we started dating and he just went along with it all and has been supportive because he loves me.

I love your blog because it is real.

I'm terrified to tell people about the food choices I've had to make due to health issues because I've gotten laughed at. But I keep doing it because it is me and I need to live.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) said...

You're thinking about it backwards. You shouldn't be worried of your list at all. Is it such a turn off that you want to live a healthy life? Dear me! If that's a problem for someone else, it is only their insecurity of their own lifestyle. I learned this from experience when I was dating a chain smoking, truck idling, fast food eating, weekends in vegas guy.

In the end it wasn't me. It was him :) The right one comes at just the right time. Sucks to hear it but trust.

Nachos said...

You're such a gorgeous person Ashley! I wondered what happaned with Joey/why you moved. I must have missed something - I've been a bit naughty with blog reading lately.

Hope you're well and yeah, I totally understand being apprehensive about sounding nutty! I get that reaction almost every time I tell someone I'm vegan and then explain what that is :)

Ashley Gibson said...

Thanks everyone for the awesome comments and feedback. So good to know that y'all can relate to my blog and what I put out there into the universe!

I just wanted to clarify that I don't think any of my lifestyle choices are negative ones and I absolutely recognize the need for someone who loves me for me. I guess the point of this is that if I'm going to date someone, it's because they love me for me and everything that I do and all the wonderful things that I bring to the table.

I'm so happy in the life that I'm living and if someone doesn't want to come "join my party" then too bad for them!!

That being said... after writing this post and linking it to my facebook, 2 separate boys asked me out on dates and the one I have been seeing recently was curious to know when this post was going up...

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