Denman Masthead

How to stave off relationship weight

Ashleigh Went

I currently find myself in a situation where my boyfriend (who I live with) is trying to gain weight, while I’m trying to lose it for a friend’s upcoming wedding.

For the love of Ben & Jerry’s, someone please send help. 

While this scenario is quite frankly torturous, it’s in no way unique. In fact, gaining weight, particularly in the passionate throes of a new romance, is incredibly common. When you think about it, it’s hardly surprising. There are a few factors at play here:

  • The allure of date nights at romantic restaurants
  • Our proclivity for combining alcohol and romance
  • The often sedentary nature of dating: lazy luscious sleep ins, pizza and Netflix, dinner and drinks

Things get even more complicated when you start eating regular meals together. You make a meal, you divide it in two – their serve and your serve, right?

Erm, no.

If you’re in a heterosexual relationship, the fact is that often (but not always) women need less calories than our male counterparts.

Why? Who better to explain than James Kuhn, Nutritionist at The Healthy Eating Hub (and my male counterpart):

“Remember that in the majority of relationships, the hairy beast to your beauty is also the larger of the two. Males, in general, tend to be heavier and with a larger proportion of that mass being muscle mass compared to females who naturally have slightly higher body fat – for health and reproductive purposes. This means that males typically use more energy to move and function than a lighter female. Therefore your partner’s energy needs are likely going to be higher.”

Which brings us to my first tip…

Watch your portions

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Just be aware of your energy needs. As James explained, often women don’t need as many calories as men, so if you’re dishing up dinner, exercise caution in your serving. If your partner is the one spoiling you with dinner, you may not need to finish the whole heaped plate.

Even if you are in a relationship with someone who has similar energy needs to you, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your portion sizes, particularly when dining out.

Move your booties

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There are more ways to spend quality time together than Netflix and Chill. If you’re in the mood for something relaxing, why not take a stroll together around the lake or your neighbourhood?

There is a massive range of activities that you can do together. There are things like gym workouts or hill sprints, but also rock climbing, hiking, stand up paddle boarding, trampolining, mini golfing, dancing, yoga… the only limit is your imagination!

I’m a firm believer that sharing new experiences brings you closer together – so get out there and try something together.

Don’t abandon your own activities and routines

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Clearly, your partner is attracted to you for more than your looks. That being said, the benefits of working out run more than skin deep.

That Zumba class that you take every week? It doesn’t just keep you fit – it probably makes you feel sexy, confident and gives you a bit ‘ol boost of endorphins. Not to mention, it allows you to spend time with your friends and gives you something to talk about with your significant other when you get home.

When you’re snuggled up on the lounge in the arms of your love it can be pretty tempting to skip it, “just this week”. The problem is that before you know it it’s been six weeks and haven’t gone to a single class.

Don’t give up the things that you love to spend time with your partner. I guarantee you that your relationship will be stronger if you continue to be the confident, happy, independent human that you were before you started dating, with your own interests and hobbies.

Cook at home

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There’s something really beautiful about cooking for the person you love – or having them cook for you. As someone who really, really loves my food, I find it incredibly romantic when my partner cooks me a healthy meal. I also find it’s a nice way to express my love for him too – often I’ll make extras so that I can package up lunches for him to take with him to work.

Add some candles, music and even a small glass of wine and you’ll realise that eating at home can be just as romantic than a meal out, if not more so. Plus, it puts you in a situation where you have more control over what’s going in your mouth. Even when we make what we perceive to be healthy choices in restaurants, we might not take into account extra fats that are used in cooking, or the addition of salt or sugar.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with a meal out here or there – it just doesn’t need to be every night of the week. I also find that it’s slightly easier to make healthier choices when I’m going out for breakfast as opposed to lunch or dinner, and the portions tend to be a bit smaller.

In much the same way that a healthy, loving relationship is an important part of our lives, so too is our health and fitness. By exercising a little bit of effort (see what I did there) you’ll find that not only can you minimise weight gain associated with new relationships, but even improve your romantic relationship along the way.

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Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author