I was halfway through my freshman year of college and partially transitioned into becoming a vegetarian when a dream boat, stud of a man walked up to me and said, “Hey! Want to grab a burger sometime?” One thing led to another and BOOM a late night milk shake turned into snacks at the movies to a fancy dinner out and then eventually wedding cake. And yes, I married that red meat eating carnivore.
There is something magical about being in a serious, committed relationship. Maybe it’s the romance or the guaranteed cuddles at the end of the day, but there’s one thing for sure—it’s not the added weight gain that comes with it.
Somehow security and comfort, two great perks in any awesome relationship, can sometimes lead to weight gain. The term “love pounds” is the precursor to the “newlywed nine” and definitely not something anyone wants, whether you are a woman, a man, five years from being married or getting hitched two Sundays from now.
And while many of my friends and myself have fallen victim to the weight gain that creeps in while we enjoy our long-time beaus, there are ways to avoid it.
Be Active Together
At some point, routine comfort sets in to most relationships in the form of TV time together. But why not be adventurous and try something new? As a couple, pick a few activities that you could do together while also breaking a sweat. Start small and go for evening walks together after work. Maybe plan a hike with a picnic on the weekend or sign up for a spin class together. Not only will these kinds of date activities stave off the unwanted weight gain, but you’ll also be growing closer as a couple.
Cook Together at Home
It’s no secret that cooking at home is both cheaper and oftentimes healthier. Planning a fun night in doesn’t have to be drab for your relationship. In fact, it could add a much needed sizzle. Take a simple recipe like chicken fajitas for two as an example: with the power of two chicken breasts marinated in a little cilantro, lime juice and olive oil, one green pepper, one red pepper, and one onion all sautéed over a pan coated with a little olive oil—you have yourself a super healthy meal that took no time to make. Plus, the time you spend chopping ingredients together in the kitchen will form memories for generations. As the saying goes, “Love starts in the kitchen.” Take advantage of it and use it as a buffer against the weight gain.
Harness the power of a crockpot
So maybe you just read tip number two and are already thinking, “Yeah right. My man will never help me in the kitchen.” Or maybe you aren’t very skilled in the kitchen. Never fear! There is hope for even the most novice of cookers. Take the initiative yourself to provide healthy meals for the both of you without slaving in the kitchen for hours. Imagine coming home to a great smelling house. It’s as easy as throwing some chicken breast in the slower cooker with a jar of salsa for simple tacos, or even something a little more involved like my Paleo Balsamic Chicken and Sausage recipe. Now he won’t even have the excuse of saying, “But it’s easier to go out,” when really, you already have it made—hot and ready for when he comes home. Gosh, no wonder he loves you!
Realize not every occasion is a special occasion
Sure, you want to live a little, and of course on your anniversary you’re not going to say no to that super amazing restaurant you’ve been dying to visit. But there needs to come a time in all relationships when you stop treating every moment like a special occasion deserving of food. That’s not to say that each and every moment with your partner isn’t worth celebrating. All I’m saying is throw some confetti instead of stuffing your face with cake.
Chances are, you probably eat together often, if not every day. But now that you’re in a committed relationship, food doesn’t have to be part of the “special date” experience. Reserve dessert for only once a month instead of every day and super rich foods for only the occasional treat. You can still enjoy each other and special occasions without loading on the heavy foods.
Remember, just because you’re blessed with a comfortable, committed relationship, that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in a rut or trapped in a never-ending vortex of fast food and TV dinners. Not everyone catches the “love pounds,” but if you don’t pay attention to your eating habits now, it’ll sneak up behind you later. Literally. It’ll sneak up and attach to your behind until one day you glance in the mirror and wonder why your pants don’t button.
But you can have your glorious relationship and enjoy it without the stress of dieting. Just commit to being healthy together like you’ve committed to love each other and that’s the first step in the battle against the relationship bulge.
For more of my healthy advice, recipes and married life shenanigans, check out Nikki Roberti’s blog Mrs Healthy Ever After.