By Kristen Mullane
Has your new love life increased the size of your love handles? You’re not alone. Many couples – especially women – gain weight when they start dating someone new. Romantic bonds and fond memories are often formed around the dynamics of food. Fancy dinners, boozy brunches, greasy take out, and sleeping in on the weekends are all fun ways to spend our time with someone in the beginning of a relationship. And why wouldn’t they be? These are all things we look for excuses to do. Being in a new relationship also means taking someone else into consideration now, and sometimes putting your own preferences and needs aside for someone else’s. Prime example: you feel like going to the gym after work and making a healthy stir-fry for dinner, but your other half had a rough day at work and wants to relax at home and order in. What do you do? Take care of your loved one, of course. Your sweat session will have to wait as you enjoy a second – or third – slice of pizza while binge watching House of Cards on Netflix.
As singles, a major motivation of getting to the gym and preparing healthy meals at home is to look and feel our best to attract attention from potential suitors. We thrive on putting hard work into our physical well-being, as frequent compliments and thoughtful gestures boost our self esteem and help us feel more secure about ourselves. Once we start dating someone, we begin to receive the external validation we were once seeking. But when the honeymoon phase dwindles, all of a sudden we find ourselves stuck with the relationship “freshman fifteen” that may be all too familiar from our time at college. Left ignored, things can easily spin out of control as unhealthy habits take the place of good nutrition and exercise routines.
Thankfully, the relationship “freshman fifteen” can be avoided. Or, if it’s already been gained, those pounds can be lost with just a little bit of teamwork. And it doesn’t mean always having to take spin classes together and force-feeding yourself salads for every meal. There are plenty of fun, easy, and creative ways to maintain your single shape while a part of a duo.
For the foodies, there’s nothing better than having a professional chef come to your house to prepare a romantic dinner for two. You work with the chef to personalize the menu and make it as nutritious as you want it to be. Watching them cook, then savoring the fruits of their labor is like getting a dinner and show rolled into one affair without having to leave the comfort of your home. Make it a double, or triple date by inviting your friends over for a dinner party. Open a bottle of wine (or three) as the chef prepares a tasty, healthy meal for you and your guests. One company, Big City Chefs, offers a variety of dinner options such as a Tuscan Farmhouse Dinner, The American Steakhouse, and a Wine Country Dinner, to name a few.
If you like the idea of having someone else cook for you while taking the guesswork out of preparing meals that hit all the nutritional sweet spots, consider using the Portable Chef. By setting up a home delivery service where meals are sent to you on a regular basis, you’ll be less apt to order take out during those nights you two don’t feel like making a mess in your kitchen. These meal delivery companies work with you to develop a meal plan based on your dietary/nutritional needs. It doesn’t get any easier than regularly coming home to a prepared meal – all with zero guilt.
When you’re dating someone new, it’s common to want to spend as much time with the other person as possible. One of the adjustments of a new relationship is coordinating professional and social calendars to find free time to spend together. When this becomes a challenge, exercise time is often one of the first things to get sacrificed. Staying physically active in a relationship can be especially difficult if one of you prefers to spend your evenings at the gym but the other would rather go channel surfing after work. Or one enjoys running races early on Saturday or Sunday mornings while the other prefers to sleep in. Even if both of you keep an active lifestyle, it may be centered on different interests or schedules. Meet in the middle once or twice a week by doing something different and fun, and which also requires some sort of physical activity.
If your new relationship has you feeling like you’re flying, take it to the next level by literally leaving the ground. Get a killer upper body workout and improve your teamwork skills with your loved one by taking a trapeze class. Trapeze School New York has an outdoor location at Pier 40 and the South Street Seaport, and an indoor location in Long Island City. Or enjoy the view of your love’s hind quarters by getting their back as they climb above you at the Steep Rock Bouldering rock climbing class on Lexington Avenue. Couples who work out together are happier and more likely to stay together. And if you need another reason to make your romantic partner your workout buddy, they also reportedly have a more fulfilling sex life.
This may only be the beginning of a beautiful relationship, but if you can see yourself with your loved one long-term, get yourselves on the right track before it’s too late. By setting the precedent for a healthy lifestyle early on, you’re less likely to gain weight as newlyweds. A study by the National Institute of Health found that marital satisfaction predicts weight gain in early marriage. Being in a happy relationship is a great thing, but once poor health habits set in, it may also begin to affect the emotional and mental well-being of you and your loved one. There are many fun and accessible options for maintaining good health in New York City; you can try something new every week. Avoid the relationship freshman fifteen by putting a little extra effort into your new life as part of a happy couple.