Boyfriend and I have grown into a healthy and happy relationship. In gaining such a relationship, I also gained a few other things. Pounds. 15 to be exact. While I used to strive to eat healthy and keep up a workout routine, I found dinner dates and movie snacks much more appealing, especially when shared with someone special. When we settled into our home, we opted for cooking together, and that included pasta, pizza, pazookies. The three deadly P's.
My face was getting fuller and my belly gained a little extra cushion, while Boyfriend's six pack looked like it had grown into an eight pack. I swear he's super human. He eats chocolate chip waffles, chicken fingers, and ice cream. I'm envious of his metabolism.
I started feeling down on myself no matter how much Boyfriend reassured me that I looked beautiful. While it's absolutely wonderful to have someone who sees beauty in me, I also had to see it in myself. I even received a few emails from readers with concerns I had let myself go a little. While it was hard to read, I could see it too. I knew I had to get back to the old me. The healthier and more conscience me. I refused to go back to how I used to be (mentionedhere and here). So, I got back to it.
I started clean eating, and actually enjoy the meals. Who knew a combination of healthy foods could actually taste good? I signed up for the gym in my new part of town. Boyfriend hopped on board being the supportive person he is. He makes grocery trips for fruits and veggies, joins me in trying a few of my clean recipes (a big step for someone who's diet consists of cookies), and always encourages me. I'm a lucky gal.
Nine pounds down, and I feel like myself again. I'm confident, happy, and have healthy habits. All it took was a reminder of the past, new found motivation, and a support system.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being happy and comfortable in a new relationship. It's normal to gain a few love pounds. Don't beat yourself up about it. Sometimes sharing the chocolate cake is truly necessary, but perhaps not every day.
I read this article on Women's Health, and felt it was perfect to share for you lovebirds out there. It gives the reasons why we gain relationship weight and some ways to prevent it. Take a look...
1. You Eat Out...All the Time
When you're single, you tend to prepare healthy foods at home. But once you're in a relationship, it's decadent dinner dates followed by caloric brunches. "Couples bond over food, and enjoying it becomes a special ritual in their relationship," says nutritionist Christine Avanti, author of Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads. That's bad news for your waistline: A Men's Health analysis of 24 national chains revealed that the average entree at a sit-down restaurant contains 867 calories. And that doesn't include apps, sides, and dessert.
The fix: Eat in. "Cooking together can be intimate," says Elizabeth Ward, R.D., a nutritionist in Boston. "Food is very sensual, especially when you take turns tasting it." Plus, of course, you can control the fat and calories by using healthy recipes and ingredients that are low in fat. When you do dine out, eat a healthy snack that contains protein and fiber a few hours before your meal. "Women often skimp all day when they're going out at night," Ward says. "But that leaves them so hungry that they end up overdoing it." Nonfat yogurt and a piece of fruit or a small bowl of cereal with lowfat milk are smart choices.
2. You're Always in Bed
Or on the couch. Or anywhere but the gym. A study last year in the journal Obesity found that couples who live together for two or more years are less likely to be physically active, and the women are more likely to become obese. "As positive as relationships can be, they also change your routine," says Martin Binks, Ph.D., director of Binks Behavioral Health. "You schedule more couple's events and have less time to yourself." Drinks with your new guy...or a date with the old treadmill? It's not exactly a tough choice.
The fix: Get him involved. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who exercised with a partner lost more weight than those who sweated solo. "When people do something together, they're more likely to stick with it," explains Karen Miller-Kovach, R.D., author of He Loses, She Loses. So sign up together for a 5-K, go for a bike ride instead of watching a movie, or join the same gym. When you don't feel like going, he'll drag you there, and you'll do the same for him.
3. You Match Him Bite for Bite
It's tough to stick to petite portions when your dining companion downs 500 to 1,500 more calories a day than you do. "Women develop 'portion distortion,' " Ward says. "You don't recognize a normal-size serving anymore because you're always eating with a guy who consumes huge platefuls of food." He might be able to get away with it (guys have more muscle mass, so they require more calories), but shoveling in all those extra forkfuls will eventually catch up with you.
The fix: Serve yourself less. Eat about three-quarters of what he's eating. Sorry, but women burn 26 percent fewer calories than men do, so at that rate you'll just about break even, says clinical psychologist Susan Albers, Psy.D., author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.
4. His Snacks Are Your Snacks
You might not buy chips for yourself, but when he leaves the bag out on the coffee table, you need supreme willpower to ignore it. A study from Newcastle University's Human Nutrition Research Centre found that women were more likely to adopt their partner's eating habits than vice versa. "It's one way women connect with men," says Stacy Kaiser, a licensed psychotherapist based in Southern California.
The fix: Know your options. You have two diet-friendly choices: Serve yourself a small amount of his snack and put it on a plate (dipping your hand into the bag over and over again leads to diet disaster), or do what Ward suggests and have a portion-controlled, lower-calorie alternative on hand to munch while he takes down that bag of chips or pint of ice cream. Popchips (120 calories per serving, with just three servings in a big bag!) can satisfy your salt craving, while hockey-puck-size Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches (140 calories) fill in nicely for fattening frozen treats. And they're so good, who knows, you may even convert him.
5. You're Happy
Research shows that what's good for your heart may be bad for your hips. A study published last year in the journalBioPsychoSocial Medicine found that happy people were less likely to succeed at losing weight than those with a "slightly negative and cautious outlook."
The fix: Weigh in often. It's great to accept your body and not obsess over every last calorie, but it's hard to feel good about yourself when none of your pants fit. To prevent your eating habits from spiraling out of control, Miller-Kovach recommends regular weigh-ins. "Studies have shown that once you pass the five-pound mark, weight gain can take off like a runaway train," she says. Seeing the scale creep toward that mark can be a call to action. Still need convincing? Women in a Duke University study who lost as little as 10 percent of their body weight reported dramatic improvements in the bedroom. "Research shows that people who are more active and happier with their bodies have more satisfying sex lives," Ward says. If that's not motivation, we don't know what is.