During the intoxicating first few months of any new relationship, it’s easy to get consumed with each other and enjoy one another’s company over countless dinners, brunches, and drinks.
I’m guilty of this myself, as I’d notice that my clothes would feel tighter any time I would start happily dating someone new, with all self-discipline seemingly going straight out the window. Even being an instructor and being on a schedule to teach a few classes a week at my studio, getting into something new and exciting would inevitably take the place of runs outside and cooking healthy meals for one. Suddenly, spending time with that person becomes a hell of a lot more appealing than doing your typical 30-minute 3 mile loop around the neighborhood or steaming veggies for your routine chicken dish.
That being said, I think there are a few ways that you can prevent this from happening and not “lose yourself” in a new relationship. Here are a few suggestions to help you stay on track during the blissful first stages of any budding relationship.
1. Make working out a “couple’s activity.”
Ideally, your beau will be at a similar activity level as you, and want to participate in runs or training sessions together. You guys can even take turns suggesting active endeavors – if one of you is a big runner, propose a Sunday morning run followed by a lighter brunch. If the other one is into strength-training classes, purchase a few training sessions with a trainer that you can attend together. If you’re dating someone who loves to ski or hike, make it a point to ski or hike with them on the weekend.
2. Make cooking a “couple’s activity” (i.e., be on the same page with the number of times you eat out.)
Eating out is one my favorite activities, and there’s nothing that beats trying amazing restaurants with someone you care about. At the same time, the fastest way to ensure you will both get off track with your healthy habits and drain your bank account is eating out each and every time you see each other. I recommend making cooking a fun and interactive activity whereby you both take turns sharing a recipe or showing off your culinary prowess to each other. You can even sign up for cooking lessons at local restaurants or schools. It’s a fun way to bond and learn about each other.
3. Maintain your own workout schedule by calendar-ing in some “me” time.
Just because you are in a new relationship doesn’t mean you can’t schedule time for yourself. If anything, inserting some healthy distance here and there will likely only enable your relationship to flourish more than being joined at the hip every waking second. If you don’t have any time apart, how do you expect to have something to talk about when you re-convene together? Aim to have 3 to 4 solo workout sessions a week where you are doing your own thing, and anything beyond that, involve your guy/girl.
4. Get off the couch and go experience things together.
I think most of us can admit that we are culprits of wanting to sit on the couch, watch TV, and just cuddle the day away when in relationships. Yet cuddling on the couch and not moving quickly gets old and leaves you feeling lethargic. My new aim is to proactively craft experiences with whoever I’m with, whether that means walking around and visiting an area museum for a day, or walking the grounds of a nearby garden. Another new mission of mine is to learn golf. Whoever I’m with next is going to have to deal with my newfound desire to become the next Michele Wie at the driving range.
5. Find someone who supports you and loves you the way you are, yet encourages you to be your healthiest self.
I think this last point is aimed both toward those who are in relationships and those who aren’t. Despite this article being geared toward suggestions on how to prevent “love chub,” I think it’s important to find someone who will support and love you the way you are, regardless of whether you are a few pounds heavier than you were the first time you met. I think there is a distinction between encouraging each other to be the best self you can be and respecting the relationship by showing your body respect, and badgering someone about “letting themselves go.” Ideally, if you are with the right person, you will understand that appearances are temporary and fleeting, but who you are at the core and your substance remain. As such, I think the right person for you would not be concerned if you are no longer your ideal weight as long as you remain a good person on the inside, yet support you in any endeavors of yours to become healthier.
Disclaimer: This advice is coming from someone who is single, but my current relationship status should not negate from the learning lessons I’ve learned during my non-single days. Happy V-Day, friends!