Protecting Your Health and Your Heart from Relationship Weight Gain
Relationship weight gain can put a strain on both your health and your love life. Studies show that women tend to gain weight when they marry and men tend to gain weight when they divorce. These are some methods for protecting your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Taking Care of Your Health
1. Adjust your portions. On average, women need about 500 calories a day less than men due to their lower muscle mass and body size. When you split a dessert, take just a few spoonfuls. Drink lots of water to suppress your appetite naturally.
2. Assemble your own plate. Go ahead and eat together. Serve food in platters on the table so you can dish out your own meal. Take a generous pile of salad greens, but go easy on the mashed potatoes.
3. Eat more slowly. Eating at a leisurely pace will help you feel full on fewer calories. You can still spend time with your partner and avoid putting on weight.
4. Work out together. There’s more to life than mealtime. Share activities like long walks through the park or skiing vacations. Sign up for a family membership at your local gym.
5. Manage stress. It’s wonderful to have someone to share your life with, but relationships can also be a source of conflict. Develop constructive methods for coping so that comfort foods will look less tempting. Meditation, walking, or listening to music are all good options.
6. Watch out for large weight gains. Be especially vigilant about dramatic weight gains. An extra 20 pounds or more may increase your risk of heart disease and other serious conditions. Small gains each year can creep up on you.
Taking Care of Your Heart
1. Communicate openly. Be honest with each other. If your partner’s weight becomes an issue for you, let them know.
2. Help each other set honest goals. State what specific outcome you hope to achieve. Maybe you want to see your partner get back to whatever weight their doctor recommends.
3. Be objective. It’s easy to interpret your partner’s conduct as being directed against you. Try to avoid personalizing the situation. That love handles may reflect a fondness for cheese rather than any bitterness towards you.
4. Speak respectfully. Many people are sensitive about their weight, to begin with. Avoid name-calling or negative judgments. Speak in terms of how you feel.
5. Show your support. If your partner wants to lose weight, help them out. Toss out the cookies and prepare cut vegetables for snacks. Suggest starting the day with a morning run.
6. Maintain intimacy. Even if your desire for your partner is currently ebbing, it’s important to remain close if you want your relationship to last. Focus on their good qualities and express your love.
7. Act your age. Metabolism rates slow down as we age. It’s reasonable to expect that your spouse may be heavier at 60 than they were at 20. That’s especially true when you add in the effects of childbearing and parenting.
8. Clarify your priorities. Physical attraction matters, but there is much more involved in a committed relationship. List 10 non-physical attributes you value about your spouse.
9. Consider counseling. It’s a sign of strength to know when you may need some outside help. Therapy can often help couples make breakthroughs on issues they find difficult to resolve on their own.
You can be both lean and loved. Team up with your partner to eat sensibly and exercise regularly. Communicate openly and respectfully about any issues, including weight gain. In the end, you’ll be protecting each other’s health and fostering positive emotions as well.