By Tina Haupert
I celebrated my two-year wedding anniversary last weekend. Now that we’re no longer newlyweds, it’s been easy to get a little bit too comfortable in our relationship. Too often we chose a bottle of wine and a movie over an evening workout, or we ordered greasy takeout instead of preparing a healthy meal in our kitchen. Of course, this is fine every once in a while—we think it’s part of a good marriage—but choosing the “comfy” option frequently wasn’t great for our waistlines. And as it turns out, we’re not alone. Research shows that married people are twice as likely to get obese than single folks.
Since I found my Feel Great Weight, I don’t obsess about every calorie I eat. It was hard, though, to feel good about myself when I could barely button last year’s shorts! My husband experienced a similar summer woe when his favorite golf shorts were snug in the waist. We realized that our comfy habits had caused us to pack on some extra pounds. So a few weeks ago we decided to tackle our unhealthy ways together, and the weight came off pretty easily. If you think your husband is making you fat, here’s how you can shape up together.
Watch portions. Both my husband and I needed to reevaluate our food portion sizes. As a result of our takeout habit, we both had a tough time recognizing how a normal portion looked like. It was even harder for me because I was eating as much as my husband did. My body simply does not need all those calories!
First, we had to get a perspective of recommended portion sizes. And I’ve learned to automatically serve myself less than my husband—typically about one-half to three-fourths less than what’s on his plate. Using a smaller plate also helps me eat less because the smaller portions fill it up and make it look more plentiful. Rarely do I ever feel like I am eating less, and my clothes fit better as well.
Challenge each other. When my husband and I missed almost an entire week of workouts, we knew something needed to change. Our gym was just a short walk from our apartment, but we still had trouble getting there consistently.
My husband is very competitive, so I challenged him to a 5K road race. We made a friendly bet, which encouraged us both to regularly train for the upcoming race. Knowing that there were bragging rights on the line got our competitive juices flowing and motivated us to take our workouts to the next level. My husband also loves gadgets, so letting him borrow my Garmin 305 pushed him to increase the speed on his runs. We also started running together. Trying to keep up with my husband was tough work, but it enabled me to pick up my speed. When race day came around, my husband shaved nearly 3 minutes of his best time and I ran my fastest 5K yet!
Cook together. A few months ago, my husband and I got into a bad habit of just “winging it” with dinner during the workweek. Neither of us wanted to make the effort to plan a nutritious meal. Most nights we were both too tired to cook, so we just ordered takeout. Of course, this way of eating made life seem easier, but it was bad news for our waistlines and overall health. We were hardly eating any vegetables!
My husband and I now take turns planning meals and we cook together. Each week, we both choose 2 to 3 meals to prepare. That way, we have dinners that we enjoy and we’re able to incorporate more fresh ingredients because we control what goes into our meals. We’re also able to control the fat and calories in our recipes. Plus cooking together lets us spend time as a couple, so when we finally sit down to eat, we’re less likely to scarf down our food. This helps us eat less in the end.
Get off the couch. If greasy, oversize takeout meals weren’t bad enough, my husband and I got into a nightly habit of camping out in front of the TV when we finished dinner.
Now, after dinner, my husband and I walk around the neighborhood. We only walk for about 15 to 20 minutes, but it’s a great way to burn a few extra calories. Plus, chatting with my hubby at the end of a long day always makes me happy and brings us closer. And doing it together has helped us make it a habit.
Read Tina’s daily food and fitness blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.