It seems as though weight gain + new relationships go hand in hand.
It’s easy to pack on some extra pounds in a new relationship. Dates are often dinners out and you’re glowing in the love and happiness of a new relationship which leads to indulging, especially when you’re enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner.
Plus you want to spend all your time with your new partner/spouse. It’s easier to pass up workouts, yoga classes, early morning runs when you’d much rather sleep in snuggling with your honey. Workout routines suffer. The combination of eating out and not exercising is a recipe for disaster.
Another factor: some boys often have unhealthy food habits. How many of us have dated a guy who could eat pizza at every meal? And if you’re like me, pizza is a trigger food that is hard to pass up. Pizza is also hard to just eat one slice. My normal eating habits can go by the wayside when pizza is involved.
Then there’s the ups and downs of love. The stress of new relationships, the anxiety of relationship dramas…those are easy triggers for stress eating.
I read an article explaining why women tend to gain weight in relationships. It stated that in relationships women become less about “me” and more about “we.” Women want to take care of their man, they give up their self-focus for their relationship, the partner’s needs, the needs of their kids…I have several friends who had kids and gained weight because their whole life becomes about raising kids. Working out and taking care of themselves in other ways is less of a priority. It seems like a natural progression, but I don’t see why it has to be.
“Me Time” is very important to me. And my “me time” is often working out, or seeing some friends. Sometimes I combine both activities and work out with my friends. This balance is crucial to me and I’m reluctant to give that up.
It was quite the adjustment for me when I moved in with Michael two years ago. I’d been living on my own for almost 10 years and I was in complete control of the food that was in my house. I could avoid buying all trigger foods and keep my fridge stocked with low calorie foods. It was much easier to avoid temptations that way.
Sharing a kitchen with someone else is a challenge. I would never dictate what Michael can or can’t eat so there are treats and snacks in our house. There are days where they are hard to avoid too.
Avoiding Relationship Weight Gain:
1. Don’t make food the only thing you do together as a couple. Michael and I are both foodies and enjoy eating and cooking. That isn’t the only thing we do together though. I think we’ve found a healthy balance between good eats and physical exercise. On vacation we hike and bike. On weekends we fit in our exercising and often exercise together.
2. Ask your partner to respect your food choices. That doesn’t mean the partner can’t eat whatever they want but it does mean they shouldn’t be forcing their eating habits on YOU.
3. Stay strong! Eat your normal, healthy meals and fit in your workout routines as much as you can. If going to the gym after work doesn’t appeal to you, go for a run during lunch instead. That frees up your evening for a romantic date.
4. Join a gym together. Or take a fitness class together. Or train for a race together. One of my favorite memories of my relationship with Michael was our time spent together training for Reach the Beach. We rode our bikes every weekend together and explored parts of Portland we’d never seen. It was a nice way to get exercise and still spend time together.
5. Continue to track you calories or points.
6. Don’t match your partner bite-for-bite! I weigh 144 pounds and I’m 5’5. Michael is 5’11 and weighs a lot more than me. If I ate the same amount of food he ate I’d be about 40 pounds heavier. Plus I can’t drink as much beer or wine as he can because I weigh so much less. It’s just a matter of science. Stop trying to catch up with someone with a different body chemistry and metabolism as you!
7. When cooking together try cooking healthier meals. Thankfully Michael has supported my plan to cook low calorie dinners and we enjoy cooking them together!
A few tips for supporting each other:
1. Never bring trigger foods into the house/or as a gift if you know your partner struggles with that food.
2. Never criticize each other. Be positive and supportive instead. Words can really hurt and once it’s said it usually can’t be forgotten.
3. Don’t complain that your partner is eating bird food or on the flip side, junk food. Making each other feel bad about food choices isn’t helping anyone.
QUESTION: Did you gain weight when you partnered up? How do you prevent the gradual creep on the scale with a partner?