You meet someone, your love grows and eventually so does your waistline. Research suggests that over 60% of people gain weight once in a comfortable relationship. As most of us know a broken heart is one of the best ways to get in shape (unless you’re Bridget Jones) however you don’t have to break up to lose your ‘relationship weight’. You just need to figure out the issue and take action. Here are some of the dieting pitfalls you may face when in a relationship and some possible solutions:
Food brings you closer together
Problem: You love nothing more than tucking into your favourite meal together then sharing a family size bar of chocolate in front of the TV. Sharing food makes you feel closer. You have created an eating routine that you have both settled into nicely and makes you feel all cosy, comfy and content.
Solution: Making changes together could be the answer. You need to create new ‘couple rituals’. Instead of being matching couch potatoes work out together, formulate a healthy eating plan you can both follow. Cook nutritious meals together and take the same healthy lunchbox to work. Make sure you encourage and compliment each other through the process. In addition to this find other activities in which you can enjoy each other’s company.
Your partner is more active than you
Problem:Maybe they exercise more than you or it could be that their work requires them to be on their feet while you spend the day sitting at a desk. Maybe you are just a wee bit lazier than them. Either way, they are active and you aren’t, and as a result you are beginning to resemble Laurel and Hardy.
Solution: If your dinner plate matches theirs then you need to match their activity level. Join them at the gym, or find an activity that you can enjoy alone or with friends. The other solution is to reduce the amount you are eating or just make healthier choices.
Problem: The honeymoon period is well and truly over. There’s no longer someone to impress. It’s great not having to make an effort. Why bother?
Solution: Its called standards. Are you really content knowing you have ‘let yourself go’? How about reminding your partner of the reasons they fancied you in the first place? Attraction aside. how about your health, and just feeling good about yourself? Try making an effort and pull yourself out of the relationship rut. You may also find that other areas of the relationship get a shake up too and that'll burn some cals!
"i love you just the way you are"
Problem:You don't feel happy with yourself but your other half thinks you are just fine as you are. Perfect even. They love your ‘squidgy bum’ or your ‘cute little beer belly…’ It could be that one or both of you have let things slip but you don't feel comfortable bringing it up in fear of hurting someone's feelings.
Solution: Of course it's great that they love you just as you are, but it’s more important that you love yourself and if you aren’t happy with yourself you need to address this and possibly make some changes. Stop looking to your partner for excuses not to do anything about it. If you are on the other side and feel concerned that your partner needs to improve their health then it is important that you address this. Sometimes a bit of honesty is needed before things can change. If you feel this may hurt their feelings try encouraging them to address the issue in a positive way by focusing on healthy eating at home and introducing more activity into your routine.
Sometimes honesty is the best policy, within reason.
The weak link
Problem: You have had a successful day in your quest to lose weight and then your other half turns to you with a wicked look in their eye and says ‘screw the diet, how about pizza…?’ There are so many reasons you could crack under this pressure; you don’t want to be a killjoy, it sounds more fun, ‘oh go on then, just this once…’
Solution: Be strong, take control and lead by example. Let them know that you will be sticking to the plan and remind them why it’s important that you both do this. If they still go ahead and have pizza then leave them to it. It is their choice and I am sure they will be the one regretting it afterwards.
you express love by feeding each other
Problem: Your partner loves to bake or to cook elaborate meals for you. They feel immense joy seeing the look of heaven on your face as you tuck into their homemade tiramisu or handmade pizza.
Solution: Ask your partner to prepare healthy meals for you, They might enjoy the challenge of creating healthy nutritious meals or making sugar-free desserts. You could ask them to cook your favourite indulgent meal for you once a week as a treat. If they make cakes slice it up and freeze it straight away so can can have a piece when you choose rather than because its there.
You stay indoors
Problem: You’re not out and about as much as when you were single and now spend most evenings at home. Maybe you have developed a routine based around sitting on the sofa every night watching TV.
Solution: Firstly turn off the TV and find another way to occupy yourself. Shake things up a bit and get out and about, go to the gym, go dancing at the weekend. If you have children then arrange a regular activity for example bowling, swimming or ice skating, or simply go for a stroll.
Sitting in front of the TV every night isn't going to help much
you're both EXHAUSTED
Problem: You both work hard, look after the children and at the end of the day you are exhausted and don’t have the energy to exercise or the mind-set to focus on healthy eating options.
Solution: If you are struggling to work up the energy to change things then do it in steps. Decide between you just one or two things you can change that will put you on the right path. For example, pay more attention to meals, don’t have dessert after dinner or plan a walk a couple of times a week however tired you feel. Small changes can still help you reach your goals but often feel more manageable and less of a chore.
Social lives & booze
Problem: You like socialising, entertaining guests, going out to dinner and trips to the pub. You love the feeling of getting tipsy together or maybe you just like each other more when you are drunk.
Solution: It’s hard sacrificing our social rituals but you have to be tough. Applying limitations by reducing the number of times you enjoy food and alcohol a bit too much, or give yourself limits when you do go out. You never know it may inspire your friends to do the same.
Women eating (and drinking) like men
Problem: Your dinner plates look identical and you match each other drink for drink. Reports suggest that over 50% of women eat exactly the same amount of food as their partner. I'm not suggesting women shouldn't drink pints or any other sexist nonsense but in most cases women have a slower metabolism than men. This means they need less and are more likely to gain weight if eating or drinking the same amount.
Solution: If you are a woman and in a hetrosexual relationship have around 20% less food than your partner during meals and don’t try to match your man drink for drink. You are more likely to end up gaining.
Two have become one
Problem: You used to go to the gym, you'd get out and about seeing friends, shopping at the weekend, keeping busy. Now you do what your partner does, you eat what they eat. You mirror each other, you take less inititative, you don’t think of your own needs as much.
Solution: Just because your partner likes a glass of wine when they get in from work doesn’t mean you have to. They may not like gyms but why is this stopping you? Think of yourself a bit more and do the things you enjoyed before you met your partner.
Your partner is the problem
Problem: Your partner discourages you. They make you feel bad when you try to make changes and they make you feel like you are a spoil sport or that you are disrupting the routine.
Solution: This can often be down to their own insecurities. When someone we know well changes it can be unsettling and unfamiliar. Reassure them as you go, and show them that you love them. If this doesn’t work then you have to be tough with them and let them know that this is something you are doing and if they don’t support you then this is may ultimately affect the relationship.
Louise Appel, Personal Trainer
LLouise Appel Personal Trainer, St John's Wood & Personal Trainer Maida Vale offers customised, individual Personal Training and Pilates at Lords Cricket Ground, St John's Wood. Personal Trainer Harpenden & Personal Trainer St Albans is located at EsTR Fitness.