06
Oct
10

relationships and weight maintenance

Reader C. L. writes:

I am the classic girl who has fallen prey to the whole “I’m in a relationship and I’m gaining weight because I’m comfortable” problem. You know, now that my relationship stuff is finally on track, I no longer workout to fill my time. So how do I maintain a healthy routine while working my relationship into the mix? And on a similar note, how can I motivate myself to start working out and losing weight, when the stress of being chubby makes me eat my feelings?

Dear C.L.:

I think there are a few kernels of truth I can glean from your question(s), so I’ll lay them out one by one.

1. Maintaining a separate identity in a relationship is key.

2. Part of maintaining a separate identity in a relationship is having your own friends.

3. Your friends can be extremely helpful in getting you motivated to be healthy.

4. Your real motivation for change has to come from within.

5. Emotional eating is disordered eating and you may need professional help to fix it.

om nom nom nom

This guy is definitely an emotional eater. Image: 7thsens / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Part of gaining weight in a relationship is due to the fact that when you’re comfortable, you let yourself slip. But I think even more important is the fact that we ladies are often far too willing to sacrifice whatever time and energy we have to the relationship. It is imperative to your health and that of your relationship that you maintain your own identity. I don’t care how great the relationship looks — if you’re sacrificing viable pursuits and time with friends to spend time with him, it’s not healthy. Taking an hour a day to go for a run or hit the gym is not going to kill your relationship. And if it does, then it was a cruddy relationship anyway.

As a way to kill two birds with one stone, I think you should make your work out time a time to be with your friends. They’ll make you work harder than you would if you went alone. And you can talk with someone who isn’t your SO while you work out. Most importantly, if you’ve got a set time to meet them, you’ll be less likely to convince yourself it’ll be more fun just to sit on the couch and eat nachos.

Get an accountability partner going for your eating habits, too. If you want to quit eating bad stuff when you by drinking water and eating salad with you. You must have girlfriends who are going through similar issues. They’re your best bet for this.

As an aside — I’ve read multiple articles that stated the biggest detractor from a weight loss program is usually a spouse or significant other. I’m not sure what the explanation was, but apparently our nearest and dearest tend to be the ones who hand us the candy bars when we’re trying to stick to celery. Either enlist your boyfriend in the boot camp (unlikely) or find ways to deal with the almost certain temptation he’s going to bring your way.

Keeping a food diary is an excellent way of making yourself aware of what you’re putting into your stomach. There are apps for your phone, or just a plain old notebook, to make this easy for you. Writing down everything you eat, even without noting how many calories it is, makes you realize just what you’re doing. Self realization is key here.

Which brings me to the emotional eating issue. I have the same problem. Or I used to. “Rewarding myself” with cheese fries and ice cream has, in the past, been a way to deal with being sad. And gaining weight is one thing that can sure make a girl sad. Stupid vicious cycles. The fact that you recognize you are an emotional eater is, as always, a huge part in changing it. Disordered eating is pretty rampant amongst us females, and you need to retrain your brain.

You’ve got to start to see treats like sugar as something that should be rare. Start recognizing the goodness in eating healthy food. Think of food as what it is: fuel. Broccoli is better fuel than cookies. Learn to recognize when you’re actually hungry, and eat then, rather than when you’re sad. This may take counseling. It may take extreme brain reorganization. And I definitely think it will take help from your buddies. Again, I think you’ll find that many (if not most) girls in our time are disordered eaters, and you will be able to track down many sympathetic lady friends who are interested in working out their issues alongside you.

My final advice to you is to chill out. Don’t weigh yourself every day if that number stresses you out. I know a lot of people claim it helps in weight loss to keep track, but I think your head isn’t in the right place for that right now. Remind yourself that you’re gorgeous, regardless of how much you weigh. I like to look at paintings by Renoir to remind myself that skinny isn’t necessarily beautiful. Meditate on self-affirming things. Get your nails done and your hair done so you feel pretty, too. And wear clothes that make you feel fancy, rather than freaking out because you’re not fitting into your favorite jeans right now. You will again soon enough.

I hate to sound like a self help nonsense guru, but surround yourself with love and supportive friends, and you can do anything. Losing weight or maintaining a routine are hard, but ultimately rewarding. When you’re really ready to make the change, you will.

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