It’s Valentine’s Day and you’re in love! Life is beautiful, and you feel as though you are walking on air. You notice the birds chirping, and you stop to smell the roses… But are you having a little trouble buttoning up the ol’ pants?
Have you noticed that when your heart is overflowing, that in turn your belly usually is too? You’re not alone!
Research shows that what’s good for your heart, may be bad for your ba donka donk. A study published in the journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine, found that happy people were less likely to maintain or lose weight than those with a “slightly negative and cautious outlook.” Another study published in Obesity Research, found that people living with a romantic partner for one to two years were more likely to become obese than their single counterparts, including widowers and divorcees!
So, why does love = muffin top?
The Top 5 Reasons you don’t look as good as when you were single:
1- It’s time for Celebration –
A new relationship means spending all your free time with your honey: eating out, sweets, alcohol, and cuddling up on the couch. Food and drink are a common part of celebration in almost all cultures, and because of this, eating is usually a large part of starting a new romance.
Typically, one will gain a couple of pounds that will go away after the initial rush of a new love dies down and you get back on track with your routine, but some people have a hard time and never get back into the swing of things.
2- Because you AREN’T Single –
When you’re single, you are acutely aware and care about putting yourself together and looking great because you’re trying to attract a partner. In a committed, solid relationship, you focus less on your looks since you’re no longer “on the hunt.” Free time that was once spent going to the gym is now spent with your love, and once married, responsibilities like kids, work, home, and expenses take precedence over maintaining your physique.
3- Changes in Eating Habits –
The problem is Easy Access. Chances are your partner has different eating habits, snack choices, and a different level of willpower than you do. While you may eat the standard three meals a day, your partner may snack constantly, and while you may avoid buying unhealthy food, your partner may often indulge in it. This means that junk food will be in the house, making it harder for you to avoid temptation. Furthermore, if your partner is constantly eating it in front of you, chances are pretty high that you’ll jump on that bandwagon.
When flying solo, you’re more likely to eat smaller portions and cook simpler meals. When coupled, eating out becomes more of a regular occurrence, and cooking usually results in elaborate, larger meals as a way of pleasing your partner.
4- Lazy Lovin’ –
Even though sex probably compensates for it just a bit (sex has been found to burn quite a few calories), studies have found that couples that live together are less likely to be physically active. As with eating, habits rub off – If your partner sleeps in, you are more than likely to sleep in too (especially if cuddling is involved), and if your sweetheart doesn’t engage in regular active activities, chances are you’ll be tempted to skip that jog and spend more time lazing around with them.
Time on the couch is a beloved pastime of couples. Snuggling up with your snuggle muffin and a good movie with takeout may seem like a great idea at the time, but doing it too often without getting some exercise will eventually begin to add up.
5- Stress –
Unfortunately, being in love is not always sunshine and butterflies. Many people use eating/binging as a way of dealing with emotional stress.
Fixes for Da Love Lumps
So, what can you do? Vow to be eternally single?! No way!
Here are some tips you can use to keep your relationship AND your waistline happy:
Communication is Key – Right at the beginning of your relationship is a good time to make it clear to your partner that eating right and exercising are essential to you, as well as adhering to your workout routine. (Remember: It’s easier to stick with it from the start, rather than starting over a few months down the line.) If you are already long into your relationship don’t fret, because there’s still time! Sit your partner down and tell them that you wish to have a long and healthy life together, and changes need to be made. Don’t try to force change upon them, but instead include them in decisions so they don’t feel like you’re twisting their arm. For example, come up with a list of foods that you BOTH can’t stand having in the house or physical activities you can start doing either individually or together.
Cooperation- Since your partner may not be willing to join you on this life change, you might experience them feeling threatened if you change your routine too much, especially if they were used to spending more time with you. Let them know what you plan to change beforehand, and that it’s important for you to have their support.
Here are a few changes that you may need support with:
- Reducing Temptation: If your partner insists on eating naughty foods that you just can’t resist, ask them to try their best not to offer them to you. Also, ask them not to leave those foods lying around or to eat them in front of you.
- It’s okay if You Don’t Eat the Same Things: He may want a pizza, and you could order a salad. If he wants a burger, you could skip the bun. He wants popcorn at the movies? No problem! Order yours plain. There are plenty of ways to make it work for you and still enjoy munching with your babe. Just use your head.
- Cut Out the Alcohol: Though having a bottle of wine or a few cocktails may be a big part of your dinners together, remember that drinks have many calories. Limit your alcohol consumption to one glass of wine a day.
- Cut Down on Indulging: Try your best to make nutritious meals at home as opposed to eating out. Make large meals so you can freeze a portion for those nights where you don’t feel like cooking. When it comes to couch time, a couple of nights a week is fine, but try to spend more time doing active stuff like biking, hiking, and dancing. Take turns having your favorite treat once a week instead of making it a daily binge fest.
Make it a Priority – Schedule your exercise time into your daily plan. Research shows that if exercise is scheduled, such as you would an appointment, you are more likely to stick to it. If your partner (and family) knows that you are exercising “on that day and time,” they are less likely to try and get in your way or expect you to do something else.
Partner Up – If your partner is on board, all the better! Research shows that people who have a workout buddy are more likely to succeed in their fitness goals. The reason for this is that they motivate each other, and therefore are more likely to stick with it. Sign up for an activity you can do together, such as tennis or a 5-K. Go on fitness dates, such as hiking, horseback riding, or even something as simple as a walk or jog around the park.
Stop Portion Distortion – This one goes out to the ladies!
DON’T TRY TO MATCH HIM BITE FOR BITE! Men usually eat a lot more and a lot more often than women do. Men naturally have more muscle mass than women, and because muscles burn calories faster, men can have a higher caloric intake without gaining weight. Even at roughly the same height, weight, and activity level, a man will need 40% more food than a woman to maintain a healthy weight.
Couples tend to share. They split appetizers, meals, and/or desserts. Your appetite may be able to handle a 50/50 split but your thighs won’t! Remember that eating a mere additional 500 calories a day will make you gain a pound in one week, so be sure to keep an eye on your portions.
Start Slow- People who try to make too many changes at once tend to fail because they feel overwhelmed. Change a couple of things, such as cutting down on soft drinks and walking to the store instead of driving. After a while, add more things to the list as you get used to the other changes.
They say that compromise and sacrifice are a huge part of making a relationship work. When you share your life with someone, especially if you live together, there are bound to be things that your partner does that clash with your lifestyle and choices. Sometimes, choosing your partner’s unhealthy habits is a sacrifice you can’t afford to make.
Make time for at least 20 minutes of exercise a day. Get up early, take time on your lunch break, or have a workout right after work so you won’t feel like you are taking too much time away from your snuggle muffin. 🙂
Resources: www.livescript.com, calmyourbeans.com, besthealtmag.ca, shape.com, www.fitsugar.com, divinecaroline.com