Friday, July 31, 2015

New romance and weight gain: Break the connection!

When we sink our teeth into a new relationship, we often neglect to mind our munchies. Here's the skinny on how to avoid eating your heart out.

New romance and weight gain: Break the connection!

When we sink our teeth into a new relationship, we often neglect to mind our munchies.
When we sink our teeth into a new relationship, we often neglect to mind our munchies. iStockphoto

Has your appetite for love made you fat? When we sink our teeth into a new relationship, we often neglect to mind our munchies. Upon entering the dating scene, nerves have a way of crushing any cravings for delectable dishes.

I recall one dating experience, where I was so nervous that I could only stomach an oyster and copious amounts of water. Six hours, ten calories and an impending hypoglycemic attack later; I said my goodbyes and feverishly drove home in a quest for a substantial meal. Emotions have a peculiar way of affecting our eating habits.

That being said, enjoying a meal is often associated with comfort, and once that level of relaxation is achieved (right around the time you can use the restroom without turning on the faucet), the flood gates open to late night stops at Wawa and time spent on the couch eating bags of Doritos, polishing off a few bottles of wine. In my family, we call the weight gain associated with new romance “Happy Pounds.”

Unfortunately, there is nothing pleasing about plumpness, unless you are a stuffed animal. Here’s the skinny on how to avoid eating your heart out:

Competitive Eating. To the ladies out there, you do not need to keep pace with your man’s eating habits. Chances are his caloric needs far exceed yours. I’m not suggesting you order a piece of lettuce and a crouton for dinner, rather be mindful of your portion size. I have heard countless tales of weight gain woes from clients and girlfriends a-like who attribute their tight jeans to non-stop, “I’ll have what he’s having,” eating.

The easiest way to gauge what your portion size should be is to make a fist. I am not suggesting beating up your sweetie, rather mimic your serving after the size of your fist. Another helpful tip is to ask yourself the question, “Am I hungry or I am eating because my partner is eating?” Chances are it is the latter of the two.

The Dish on Dining Out. When a restaurant advertises dishes to be “endless, bottomless or all-you-can-eat,” know that you are in for a potentially high calorie feast. While it may be a great value for the amount of mashed potatoes you are can pile on your plate, it will translate into a lot of unnecessary calories.

Enjoying a great bread basket, dressing-drenched lettuce, beer battered appetizers, decadent desserts, family-style portions and alcohol are definitely acceptable in moderation, however when dining with your honey fun and food can sometimes become synonymous. Try not to fall into this trap. If your schedule does not permit for cooking at home, several tips for avoiding diet demons are:

  1. Opt out on bread and appetizers. Unless it is your designated night to pig out, skip the bread and appetizers and save your appetite for your main course. Would you eat a sandwich before you had dinner? Doubtful. Bread before dinner is essentially that, minus the lunchmeat.
  2. Ask for dressing on the side, or substitute the calories and saturated fat for heart-healthy olive oil. Another suggestion is to dip your fork into the dressing for each bite, rather than have your lettuce swimming in it.
  3. Split dessert. “But I want Crème Brule and he wants Death by Chocolate Cake.” Get over it. Unless your life cannot go on without having your own dessert, try going halfsies. It is better to split the dessert than split your pants down the road!

Me, Myself and I. When on the road to love, we often have tunnel vision in terms of where our energy and time is concentrated. Previous priorities such as an evening run, a good night’s sleep or even time with friends, are now a thing of the past. Couples time cuts into personal time, resulting in potential unhealthy lifestyle adaptations. After a long and arduous day at the office, it is tempting to throw on a pair of sweats, watch an episode of The Office and commit carbocide with your partner in crime.

Down time is great and essential, however it is important to throw some healthy habits into the mix and not forget to take care of numero uno – you! Make gym time a couple’s activity, or find a healthy recipe that you can have fun whipping up together. Plus, exercise helps you look better naked, need I say more?

Mindful munching and regular physical activity will save you from the slippery slope of love at first bite. A full heart does not have to translate to a bloated belly. Live your best life for you and the one you love.

Earn it.

Ashley Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer, wellness coach and aspiring journalist living in Voorhees, N.J.


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