Let’s admit it – relationships can be fun. The nicknames that make your mutual friends swoon, gag or twitch. The spats that hopefully end in apologies – or not. The vacations, emotional support, inside jokes (insert eye roll) gifts, corny text messages, matching outfits (it’s 2016 – do people STILL do that?) and most importantly, the FOOD. Oh yes, now you’re speaking my language. I’ve always thought that dinner dates were “lazy” dates as they required minimal thought or effort (“want to grab dinner?” Typical. Well, I guess an argument for dinner dates could be that the ambience facilitates discussion; however, doesn’t it depend on what kind of restaurant you dine at? I digress!).
To be fair, food is simple and, more often than not, it’s a love/lust/like language many people speak fluently. This is both good and bad, the latter evidenced by the sudden bulge of your pants, or extra snugness of your favorite work dress.
I have the privilege of ‘leading’ a fitness group of some pretty solid women (shameless plug – @3to30fitness!). We share goals, struggles, setbacks, triumphs, jokes, photos and videos and side-splitting memes. During one of our more casual conversations, one of the girls expressed growing concerns of weight gain. She was alarmed by the numbers but even worse, the short duration of time it took for the damage to occur. Her reason? Her fiancée kept bringing home take out – everything from Chinese to Haagen Daaz ice cream – of course her weight was creeping up!
Many of us can relate to this story in some way (it doesn’t even have to be in the dating/relationship dynamic – it could be best friends too!). The good news is, it’s not a hopeless situation. So, I got to devising… how on earth does one enjoy the beautiful beginnings of a budding relationship and not wince at his/her reflection in the mirror?
Here are five ideas to help:
Get creative about dates!
Not every day dinner. The great thing about dates is, there are no standards – ANY activity can be enjoyable – movies, sight-seeing, visiting museums, hiking, arcades, watching live matches, visiting friends, beaches, water activities, wineries, concerts, picnics, etc. Would you eat during these other activities? I would hope so. But at least, the likelihood of pigging out is reduced because food isn’t the main activity! Workouts are make for a great date – burning calories and enjoying each other’s company? #score.
Exercise on days you indulge
Life is all about balance right? Don’t lead a life of deprivation! Want to go in on those Honey’s cupcakes, Salt Lagos Donuts, Sweet potato pancakes w/ molasses or Hans and Rene gelato? Deep fried chicken? Sure thing. To ease the guilt, exercise! Go for a run, swim, lift some weights, jump rope, cycle or engage in a circuit of plyometric exercises. You’d find that not only would you feel less guilty, the exercise would “cancel out” or at least heavily offset the calories in those deadly, delicious meals. Balance people. Balance.
Learn to say ‘NO’
Just because he (or she) is feasting on a 2,000 calorie meal at lunch or dinner, doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t be afraid to share your fitness/health goals with your significant other – they should be able to respect that. I’ll tell you for a fact that even my friends (and family) make provisions for me. It’s important to me, so they make it priority too! One of my client’s husbands sends her healthy treats in lieu of candy and cake. *insert aww here*
By the way… I always, always, ALWAYS look at the menu ahead of time. I even have friends send photos via WhatsApp with the caption, “What should I have?! Help!!” Planning your meals ahead prepares you mentally, and your chances of “failing” are greatly reduced. Since you would have perused the menu before-hand, you can skip that wide-eyed gluttonous look (when you catch a glimpse of that triple serving of jump crab cakes with truffle fries or jollof rice-asun-plantain combo) which leads to ordering E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. on the menu. Breathe.
Split the Food
Speaking of restaurants, studies have shown that there is a link between larger (restaurant) food portions contribute to the increasing prevalence of weight gain and obesity. Does that mean we avoid them? Heck no! I LOVE restaurants. So what can we do? Well… split the food! Split the appetizer and dessert, or all three courses. You could also choose to skip some courses if you are eating a large entrée. Last but not least is the tried and tested “halving” trick – put half your meal in a to-go box once it arrives. Reduce temptation and still enjoy the food!
Home cooked meals
Romantic, right? Cooking for him/her means you have control over ingredients, sodium, fat, carbs among other things – which means you get to decide how much crap (or not!) you ingest! Another great thing is being able to make healthy versions of “sinful” foods. So, get out those pots and pans, and get to creating! Don’t forget to set the table and light some candles!
If all else fails, live a little (more like a lot, actually) and enjoy ‘love weight’ but be sure to send me a message when you’re ready, to help whip you back in shape!
Photo Credit: Dreamstime