The cliché of “letting yourself go” after getting comfortable in a relationship is cliché for a reason: it seems to happen to a lot of couples. It might not happen to everyone, but both my partner and I gained weight over the past few years, and we know plenty of others who have done the same. There are many theories for why this occurs. Maybe we eat more because we’re happier? Maybe we’re prioritizing our careers over exercise? Maybe our metabolisms are slowing as we age? Or maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. No matter what the cause is, if you and your partner want to get back on the bandwagon after some time off, there are plenty of ways to get started.
One of the best summers I ever had with my partner was when we joined an ultimate frisbee league. We met a lot of great people and got in a twice-weekly workout while doing it. If running after plastic discs isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other league sports to join at all times of the year: soccer, volleyball, baseball, you name it. The only issue with league sports as a way to get healthy is the strong presence of beer and greasy food after the game. But hey, you gotta have balance, right? There’s no harm in an occasional indulgence; just try not to indulge after every single game.
Another great way to get into shape is to join a gym, many of which offer couples’ discounts. It’s great to have a gym partner to encourage you to go when you aren’t feeling like it. It also helps to have someone to have a friendly competition with on the treadmill, or a partner to spot you in the weight room.
Of course, you can also split up and do your own thing while still supporting each other’s goals. If you like to get your sweat on at the squat rack, but your partner is more into long-distance running, you can still encourage each other to lift that extra set or run that last mile.
Aside from physical activity, eating well is one of the most important aspects of improving your health. My partner and I love to shop at the farmer’s market together and experiment with healthy recipes when we get home. We also like to healthify our comfort foods, like pizza and tacos, by using 100% whole wheat flatbread in place of pizza crust or nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (trust me, it’s great!). There are loads of easy swaps you can make to increase the nutrition in your favorite foods.
One of the most important aspects of getting healthy with another person is communication. Rather than imposing your ideas on your partner about the “right” meals to eat or the “best” way to exercise, listen to your partner and learn about their goals and how they want to achieve them. Feel free to make suggestions, but don’t waste your time trying to force them into making changes that aren’t right for them. Your role is to be supportive, not to be a personal trainer and life coach.
These suggestions are not be only for those in romantic relationships; this could also work for best friends, a mother and daughter, coworkers, or anyone else who wants a little support in their journey to better health and wellness.
Got any tips to share for making your relationship a healthy one? Let us know in the comments below!