After the honeymoon suitcases have been unpacked, the pretty gown is put away and the last gift opened, the stress of planning & the pressure of throwing the perfect party is a distant memory. And now, with no dress to vow to squeeze into or vows to be taken, you both indulge a little for the first few months. You opt to go try out the new restaurant downtown, or order in and eat dinner in your jammies from the Chinese place you both love with that favorite bottle of wine. Before you know it, 6 months have passed and it’s brought something new to your marriage: 15 extra pounds on each of you.
Unlike weight gain brought on by traumatic events or an illness, the Newlywed 15 is gained, pretty much, out of comfort and happiness. Another reason people fall out of healthy habits is because they want to spend more time with their new spouse. While there may be good intentions of going to the gym after work, a spouse greeting you with a glass of wine can be hard to turn down. And once children enter the picture, the attention falls on them and less time is spent giving attention to your own health.
Whether you’ve gained it already or worried you might, follow these tips and tricks that will not only fight weight gain, but help you build a stronger marriage as well.
Limit Eating In Front of the TV
While may of us don’t want to miss the newest episode of “Law and Order” that’s airing right in the middle of dinner, eating in front of the television is a mindless activity that you should avoid at all costs. You’re likely to consume more calories in front of the tube than if you dined at the dinner table instead.
So, set your DVR to record, and join your boo at the table. Create a cozy atmosphere by lighting a couple candles, and enjoy your dinner while you talk about your days and catch up with one another. “Law and Order” will be waiting on you when you’re finished, and you can fast forward through the commercials!
Plan Your Weekly Meals
Planning really is the key to success when it comes to a healthy lifestyle in a marriage. One of the most important things to decide is who is going to handle the food shopping and the meal prep. Sit down and plan out your meals for the week together. This becomes your shopping list to help make smart decisions at the grocery store. Put your meal plan on the fridge where you both can see, so there’s no confusion about what you’re eating that week.
Try to make food shopping a couples adventure rather than feeling like one person is “stuck” with the chore. You can discuss meals, items to keep around the house, and perhaps sample some new items together.
Become a huge advocate of bringing lunch to work. Not only does eating lunch out daily add up for the wallet, but so do the excess calories you’re consuming. Buy healthy items that travel well, such as sandwiches, yogurts, and fruit, and pack in a cooler bag to keep food fresh and cold. Take turns packing each other lunch and include a cute note to one another.
Set Fitness Goals Together
Exploring a new fitness hobby together is a great way to have fun while getting in shape. The general recommendation is 30 minutes of exercise most days. However, for most people, a realistic goal is three to four days per week of vigorous exercise. It should never feel like a struggle to exercise. It should be something you genuinely look forward to doing.
Get a gym membership so you can motivate each other to work out. Choose a time of day to exercise that’s convenient for both of your schedules; it’s so much easier to get to the gym consistently when your other half goes with you. Whatever you decide to do to shape up, reward each other when you achieve a specific fitness goal…show your boo how proud you are!
Take a Nightly Walk
Make a standing date for a walk around your neighborhood every night after dinner –even if you only have time to walk for 30 minutes. Walk for as long as you can, but make sure you go! Enjoy the fresh air with your spouse and use the time as a way to catch up and discuss the day’s events.
Cook Healthy Meals at Home
The quickest and easiest way to put on weight is eating out regularly (not to mention it adds up, gotta save the coins). Many restaurants, load their food with butter, cream and sauces and the serving sizes are often pretty generous. Save those coins, lose a few pounds and have fun together by preparing healthy meals at home instead of going out. Prepare a healthy stir-fry with frozen vegetables and lean chicken breasts, and assign each other to a task — for instance, you can prepare the vegetables while he grills the meat. Cooking together will save you time and give you both a feeling of accomplishment. For variety and to broaden your cooking expertise, cook a new meal every week using ingredients completely new to you, like exotic vegetables, new cuts of meat, or new spices and herbs. Plus, by saving your dinners out for special occasions, you’ll have more money to spend on trips, upgrades to your house or apartment, or gifts!
The Top 6 Healthy Habits
1. Have “go-to” items that are always in your house for quick meals and snacks. Limit the presence of unhealthy snacks like chips and cookies.
2. Many people complain that they don’t like buying fresh fruit or veggies because they go bad before having a chance to use them. While planning out your weekly meals can help limit this, another smart option is buying frozen fruits and veggies. These are picked and frozen at their peak to maintain nutrients, and they can often have a higher nutritional value than those found in the produce section of the market. Frozen items can last longer and be used as needed. Just avoid buying those items that are frozen along with sauces or heavy syrups.
3. Eat breakfast. This isn’t new information, but research has shown on multiple occasions that people who eat breakfast have healthier weights than those who don’t. Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating at other meals or grazing throughout the day for people who feel the need to “catch up.”
4. Aim to eat every three to four hours, alternating meals with snacks (which are just small meals) to help maintain healthy energy levels and metabolism. This also prevents overeating at meals or causing metabolism to slow down.
5. Plate your meals first, rather than putting the whole serving platter on the table. Additional servings can tempt us if we see them, so simply take them away from your line of sight. Fill your plate with 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 healthy grain or starch, and 1/2 fruit or veggies. And if you make it a goal to have a small salad each night before your main meal, not only are you guaranteeing that you have adequate veggies that day, but you’re filling up on healthy veggies, which can limit intake of some higher-calorie foods during the actual meal.
6. Stop eating off your spouse’s plate. Those little bites here and there add up over time without you even realizing it’s happening. Allow a little to be left behind as a reminder that you don’t have to clean your plate at every meal.