Studies have linked coupledom with a less chance of being a healthy weight, which makes sense: dining out, cocktails, treats at the movies, it all adds up. Our resident dietitian shares how to keep your hands on the reins.
Falling – and being – in love is obviously a very wonderful thing. You’ve got someone to talk to about your day, a guaranteed weekly date night and a snuggle buddy whenever you feel like it. Your waistline, however, mightn’t be so pleased.
Research has linked being in a couple with less chance of being a healthy weight – and when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. It’s easy to fall into the trap of Friday night takeaway, extravagant date nights, and weekend cocktails with your significant other just because… and without pulling the reins in a little, weight gain is sure to follow.
So, whether you’ve recently entered coupledom, or you’ve been a long-time resident, here are five simple tips for avoiding the kilogram creep and keeping your health (and that of your partner) intact.
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Plan your meals together
It’s all well and good to stock your kitchen full of healthy food, but if your partner can’t stand the thought of the Instagram-worthy buddha bowl you’ve got planned for dinner, there’s really no point… he or she will be on UberEats in no time.
Instead, make the effort to brainstorm healthy recipes you’ll both enjoy and plan your meals together. If you’re both on the same page, it’ll be easier to make new healthy eating habits stick.
Eat at the table
Do you eat your dinner together in front of the TV every night? If so, it’s time to nip that habit in the bud. You see, being distracted by the television (or Instagram or emails or text messages, for that matter) encourages mindless eating, when what you really want to be doing is eating mindfully.
Not only will it encourage healthy eating, it’ll help you to tune into your hunger and satiety cues (which will help to avoid overeating), and you’ll have the chance to talk to your partner about their day rather than letting your brain turn to mush in front of the idiot box.
Schedule exercise dates
Of course the way you eat is important when it comes to weight management, but it’s not the only thing to consider. Exercising regularly is absolutely essential, and there’s no better motivation than to have a workout buddy. Why? It’s harder to ditch your sweat sesh at the last minute, you have someone to be accountable to and it’s *so* much more fun when you’ve got someone to compete against. Boxing, anyone?
Mind the booze
Romantic dates, nights on the couch and relaxing weekend afternoons together make it easier to drink a little more than usual. And while it might seem harmless, it’s one of the biggest contributors to weight gain there is.
You see, alcohol is incredibly energy dense, meaning it contains a large number of calories in a relatively small amount. I hate to be a party pooper, but with your health and waistline in mind, it’s best to keep alcohol to a minimum. I’m talking no more than two standard drinks a day and at least two alcohol-free days per week.
All foods fit in a healthy diet. That means chocolate, ice cream and hot chips aren’t wiped off the menu – it just means they should be enjoyed occasionally and in small portions, not every single day.
Leaving room for a treat every now and then (read: once on the weekend or for a special occasion) is key to not feeling deprived – after all, there’s no room for restriction in a lifelong healthy eating plan. I think the trick is to not keep ‘treat’ foods at home (out of sight, out of mind), and instead, make an occasion out of it when you really feel like a little indulgence.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practicing dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.