Or so some popular magazines claim…
It doesn’t HAVE to be this way. These are not valid excuses.
While it can be difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner AND with food, there are ways to deal with this.
First and foremost, TALK TO YOUR PARTNER. As someone who violates this rule myself ALL THE TIME, I can’t stress enough how important this is. Be open about your weight loss and health goals. This goes for men AND women. Ladies, just because your signature dish is alfredo doesn’t mean you guy wants to be inhaling those carbs every night. Men, just because you seeing a chick that says she likes to be one of the guys and throw back beers doesn’t mean she isn’t worried about getting a swollen gut.
Additionally, if you have food triggers, let your partner know. That way, you don’t have to feel guilty about saying “no” every time dessert is brought up.
If you’ve struggled or are struggling with eating disorders, be honest about it. It’s terrifying, yes, but if it scares them away, they’re not worth your time anyway. There’s a better chance that they’re going to want to support you: let them.
I may not be the best person to be giving relationship advice, about food OR people, but here are some things I’ve learned up to this point in my life…
Start big and get smaller. What is your ultimate goal? Weight loss, lower cholesterol, power lifting 800 lbs? Write it down. Then write down how to achieve it. What foods will you eat, when, how often? Make a weekly calendar of meals BEFORE you go to the store. When will you exercise, what will you do? Don’t try to be overly ambitious, but be honest with yourself of what you’re capable of.
After that, keep a record of how well you stick to your plan. Studies show that people who journal their food and exercise lose more weight; it holds you accountable.
Go to the store together. After you’ve made your weekly calendar and corresponding grocery list, shop together. It can be fun! Not only are you spending time with one another, you can keep them from slipping in “treats” that might mess you up.
Once you’ve gotten your groceries home… cook together!
Going out to eat is great, every once in a while as an indulgence. But it can get expensive and you’ll likely order things you wouldn’t cook for yourself at home. Allow for some flexibility, but try to cook at home as much as possible. Teach one another cooking techniques, family favorites or try new recipes. Variety is the spice of life!
Now, I know what some of your are thinking…
“It’s hard to find things we both eat!”
“I hate cooking two different meals!”
“She makes me eat vegan crap!”
Slow the balls down!
Relationships are about compromise. This applies to food just as much as humans. Eating healthy is not an all or nothing thing.
I don’t know about you, but I might kill myself if I have to eat a salad for every meal. And while some people might claim to want red meat every meal, their colon would disagree.
Your palate will be happier if your meals include different kinds of food. Steak and potatoes? Have some lean steak over a salad, or with a side of grilled veggies. Tacos? Opt for ground turkey or beefless crumbles. Pasta? Try tofu shirataki noodles or be creative with zucchini. This will not take any extra time, and usually doesn’t even take an extra dish to clean! If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you’ve seen that we have been eating primarily the same things; I just bulk mine up with veggies or substitute lower carb options. Since he’s been doing the majority of the cooking (I’m spoiled, I know) this keeps us working together in the kitchen.
When dining out, let yourself indulge a little.
Moderation is key here, but when you DO treat yourself to a night out, try sharing a few plates that you both enjoy. Steal a bite of that pancake, snag a couple of her veggies, split a small dessert.
“What about that exercise you mentioned?”
I’m glad you asked…
Okay, maybe don’t do that, but that photo was just too good not to use.
Couples that sweat together stay together. Yes, I stole that from an article headline (linked below), but I definitely believe it. Exercise releases endorphins and boosts libido. Sitting on a couch and eating junk food spikes blood sugar, and increases irritability and heart disease. You’re a lot less likely to fight (and die from heart disease) if you’re having mind-blowing sex after powering through 5k than if you’re sitting next to one another on a couch all day. Yeah, I went there. There are tons of articles that link fitness to better sex. I also recently posted some that worked in the reverse.
While studies show couples that do higher intensity activities like mountain climbing, yoga or spinning, or competitive activities like basketball have healthier relationships, the same results can be achieved by a simple walk in the park (or to the store, or around the block… you get the idea). Increased oxygen, blood circulation and even just a change in scenery do wonders for your body AND your brain.
“But I can’t get my partner to work out with me.”
That’s okay too. Use exercise as your “you” time. Our culture is so fast paced today between jobs and school and other commitments that we can start to feel like any free moment we get must be spent with our partner. Quality time is important, but distance does make the heart grow fonder. Make sure you time some time for yourself, separate from your partner AND separate from food for that matter.
Try yoga, meditation, running, biking; anything that allows you to let go and connect with you. It would also be ideal if you were kicking your butt into shape and boosting confidenec at the same time. Just sayin.
That way, when you do have the opportunity to relax your tired muscles with your partner…