One of the biggest struggles for me with a long term relationship (or any romantic relationship for that matter) is staying fit. With new relationships the temptations are pretty obvious, dinner dates, drinks, lots of shared desserts, more time together means less time working out. The challenges with longer-term relationships isn’t always so clear. You might get more relaxed on your overall fitness because you don’t have to impress someone, if you cook for your man you might be eating as much as him too, you may be drinking more at home and working out less.
Take for instance last night. I made plans earlier that day to go for a run after work and follow that up with some Bikram yoga. In the middle of the day, however, Mr. Chubby called me to ask me out to dinner. Since its so easy to fall into a routine any spontaneity can really spice up your relationship, so I quickly accepted. On one condition, I had to get in my evening run. My plans to do Bikram went out the window but I was looking for an excuse to get out of it anyway. Knowing that, I pushed myself extra hard and ran 7 miles in an hour. Plus 1 for fitness.
For dinner, Jeff took me to a cute, kitschy little Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn. We sat outside and enjoyed the evening.
Tempted by the drinks and appetizers we managed to resist when brought with these tortillas. What was particularly great about this restaurant was that they really brought out a single serving, rather than the massive amount of chips most restaurants serve.
In the beginning, I was easily pressured into ordering indulgent entrées. For one, I was a little sheepish and didn’t want to appear as though I only ate rabbit food, even though most restaurant salads are quite the contrary. And another it was easy to give into the cheesy, creamy pasta when you had a partner in crime. That’s no longer the case. I don’t hesitate to order a healthy option or to make special requests with not so healthy options.
The Mexican restaurant we ate at last night was really authentic and had plenty of healthier choices available. I went with the shrimp salad.
My salad was huge and filling without being heavy on too many offending ingredients. They held the cheese and sour cream and instead of dressing it with Chipotle Ranch, I used spicy salsa. Plus 1 for healthy eats.
At the end of the evening, I managed to fully enjoy or date without guilt.
Not every day is that easy, but here are some tips for maintaining your healthy lifestyle and keeping the weight off.
Watch your plate. In the beginning I often served myself the same amount of food as Jeff. I rarley finished my plate, but I could see how easy it would be. What works for me is using a smaller plate, this makes portion control easy.
- Minimize snacking. Another change that happened when Jeff and I moved in together was that more food, especially snack food, was floating around the kitchen. I don’t like chips all that much, but that didn’t stop me from mindless snacking. Luckily, Jeff actually prefers veggies so I happily chop celery, carrots, peppers and brocolli each week. If that’s not feasible for you, set aside a shelf for your significant other, preferablly something out of reach. Out of sight out of mind.
- Learn how to cook. Even if its only a few simple recipes, having healthy options makes it that much easier to keep your diet in check. Jeff and I go grocery shopping in the beginning of the week so we are less inclined to order in every night. When you’ve already paid for home cooked meals, its really hard to justify takeout.
- Have sit down dinners. Although my morning and lunch meals are often consumed at my desk, Jeff and I always sit down to eat together for dinner. I notice that when I eat on the go, I never really feel satisfied which leads to snacking later.
- Make time for fitness. No excuses. Find an exercise you actually like to do, extra points if its something you can do together. For me that’s running, Core Fusion and yoga. I make time for each activity every week. If I’m really on top of things, I’ll plan my week in advance so there are no excuses. For Jeff, that’s basketball and weightlifting. He doesn’t need any encouragement when it comes to bball, but I go to cheer him on anyway. With the weight training, he usually tags along with me. Its much easier to commit to the gym when you have someone counting on you to go.
- Indulge but don’t binge. So often, when we go out, Jeff wants to get each portion of the meal – drinks, an appetizer, a main course and dessert. Besides the obvious calorie overload, this type of approach can also lead to some serious damage to your wallet. If your going out to dinner, choose one or two things to treat yourself too. Maybe its a glass of wine and a shared appetizer. It doesn’t matter what it is, just remember this isn’t your last meal. There will be plenty of opportunities to try that cake in the future.
Do you have any tips to stay healthy while in a longterm relationship?