I stumbled upon a Huffington Post article today that I loved so much and found so inspiring that I wanted to share it.
Warning: It is NSFW and contains nudity! It is a collection of 30 photographs of “fat couples.” I added the quotation marks because not every person in the couple is “fat” (can you tell I don’t really like the word “fat”?).
It reminded me of something I get asked about a lot, which is that my husband and I live very different lifestyles when it comes to food and fitness, and how can I possibly set myself up for success when I live with him?
My first reaction to this question is, “Do you think my husband force-feeds me Oreos?” It sounds silly but it’s true. For the record, he doesn’t. I am the only one who controls what I eat.
We did live together when I lost 70lbs, so you can see that it isn’t impossible to lose weight when you live with someone who has a completely different eating/fitness lifestyle than you do.
That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. I’ve learned that if you want to lose weight and get healthier, you have to do it because YOU want it. Right now he doesn’t. And that’s okay. I can’t do the work for him, I can’t want it for him. I also don’t have to let his habits sabotage mine. I’m lucky that he is very supportive of my habits, even if he doesn’t share them with me.
My husband has been an amazing support system for me (duh- would I have married him otherwise?). When I’m standing on the scale crying, he will be there for me. When I’m trying to eat clean, he will try to help me as best he can. And when I just need to eat some f-ing ice cream, he will be the first one to ask, “Chunky Monkey or Phish Food?”
Here are some tips, tricks & things to think about if you’re in a relationship like mine.
- Speak up. My husband quickly learned after we moved in together that he is not allowed to eat the last of anything that I consider necessary to a clean and healthy diet. Last piece of cheese? That’s mine. Last cup of honey nut Cheerios? Sorry, that’s my breakfast tomorrow morning. He’s obviously not as limited as I am, so he can eat whatever he wants. On the other hand, planning is key to my success. I have made it clear to him that when he eats my last cup of cereal, it’s helping me set up for failure, which I do not appreciate. If something your S/O does sabotages you and doesn’t set you up for success, let him/her know about it! That person should only want the best for you, no matter want.
- Make time for your relationship. So much of our time together revolves around food and eating together. Try to do other things with your S/O – go to a sporting event, a movie or a show, wander the bookstore, mini golf…those are a few of our favorites. You make time for yourself with your fitness routine, so make time for him/her, too.
- Recognize when your S/O is just trying to do the best s/he can. He didn’t ask to share an appetizer at a restaurant with me because he wants me to gain 5lbs. He did it because he loves me and was being considerate by asking me if I wanted one. Of course, my answer is no. It doesn’t mean I love him any less. I really appreciate when he buys my healthy foods for me at the grocery store. Sure, buying two loafs of bread sucks (his kind and my kind are pretty different of course) but he does it because he loves me. If this means I have to return the favor and buy him Cheetos once in a while, so be it.
- Lean on him/her when you need to. If things aren’t going how you want them to – you’ve hit a plateau, you aren’t seeing results, you’re frustrated – just because he doesn’t share my habits doesn’t mean he can’t understand. The part above about me crying on the scale? It’s happened. Probably more than once. He is always there to hug me and encourage me and NEVER judges me. That is what any S/O should do!
- Don’t grow to resent your S/O. Eating is so much easier for him/her because they’re not as limited, but you are working toward your goals, so don’t lose sight of that. I have felt this way before – food jealousy – but I try not to hang onto it for too long. I can usually find a healthier, satisfying substitution when I feel this way. You have your eye set on a bigger prize!
- Enjoy the best aspect of this relationship: No. Food. Judgement. My husband does not shame me for what I do or do not eat, and it’s the best thing in the world. I may be saying that because of how I grew up, but that’s another post entirely. I don’t live with the Food Police. Eating grilled chicken for dinner? No problem. How about pasta and meatballs? He’s cool with that too. He doesn’t really care what I eat. He doesn’t care how much I eat. He cares that I’m happy, and that is the best thing I could ever ask for.
What are some tips you have if you live with an S/O or even just other people who don’t share your habits?