Juggling Dating and Weight Loss

Juggling Dating and Weight Loss
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Dating is complicated – whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve been in a relationship for a while now. When weight loss comes into the picture, sometimes things can change – causing ripples in relationships and self-esteem. Dating and weight loss are intertwined, but why and what can you do about it?

Why and How Does Weight Loss Affect Dating and Relationships?

Losing weight is about taking a journey toward a healthier you. The changes have positive effects on your health, and ultimately, your mental well-being. However, you have to do things in a way that protects your mental and physical health.

Rapid weight loss means fatigue, and fatigue means mood changes.

When you try to lose weight too fast, or you restrict your calories to fewer than 1000-1200, you will likely experience fatigue. (MedlinePlus.gov)  Research shows fatigue can lead to feelings of sadness, which will impact dating and relationships. (Fatigue, 2015)

What’s more, if you’re just starting on a path to weight-loss, the foods you’re eating (or leaving behind) may have something to do with your fatigue – so be patient and settle down for a nap when possible until your body adjusts to the new foods. (PsychCentral, 2018)

If you track your food intake and lean on the virtual community available with apps like Noom, you can ensure you’re eating the right amount for healthy weight loss.

Is your perception of self stopping you from a mood boost?

If you find yourself moody and in need of a boost, try exercise. You can take a walk with your partner, meet at the gym for a round of circuit training, or simply walk around your local mall. But, to make the most of your time together, work on accepting your body as it is to ensure you want to continue exercising. (BMJ Open, 2015)

Did your partner gain weight too?

In most relationships, weight gain is shared among partners. (Obesity, 2012) It appears that being satisfied in a relationship can cause both partners to gain weight. (Health Psychology, 2013)

If you’ve chosen to adopt healthy lifestyle changes and your partner hasn’t, there could be some animosity or hurt feelings that eventually come up. (NC State University, 2013)

Believe it or not, all relationships come with the risk of weight gain, especially if a friend has gained a significant amount of weight. (The New England Journal of Medicine, 2007)

Navigating Dating and Weight Loss

How Can You Best Navigate Dating and Weight Loss?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains the essential points to remember when tackling weight loss. These tips can help build personal confidence that will be directly reflected in your self-esteem and dating choices and experiences.

The CDC suggests you “start simply by making a commitment to yourself.” To solidify your dedication, sign a personal contract complete with descriptions of the changes you’re making, the amount of weight you want to lose, and when you want to lose the weight by. Set up small milestones or goals along the way and establish a reward system, that has nothing to do with food, to keep you focused on your journey.

Once you commit to yourself, you’ll be more apt to make healthy dating and relationship choices.

How Can You Best Manage a Relationship While Losing Weight?

Remember, your decision to lose weight fast could be harming your dating game – and relationship status. When you lose weight too quickly, your mood is affected with reports of more negative moods and feelings about eating. (Journal of Sports Sciences, 2008)

With negative moods may come a negative self-image, which can cause you to skip meals – thus supporting unhealthy, fast weight loss. (Military Medicine, 2006) The cycle continues around and around, potentially causing trouble with dating and relationships.

Track your meals with Noom to stay on track, and don’t skip meals. Food logging is proven to help you lose weight, especially when you track dinner meals.

Dating and Weight Loss Tips

Quick Look: 9 Dating and Weight-Loss Tips

Here are 9 tips for juggling dating and weight loss – from first dates to long-term relationships.

#1 Don’t sacrifice your weight-loss goals.

You’ve set a goal to lose weight for your health, your body, your mind, or a million other reasons, and sticking with that goal is crucial to how you see yourself and others. When dating, don’t sacrifice your goal for any reason. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a hot dog at the county fair with the hotty from IT – it means that to be the best person you can, be yourself – make your goal a part of your life and a part of you – a package deal.

Are your weight-loss goals causing you stress in dating?

If you’ve set weight-loss goals that are unrealistic, you’re setting yourself up for stress, feelings of failure, and likely a negative light on dating in general. Remember, set realistic, smart goals with celebrations of success for milestones along the way. (Michigan State University)

#2 Remember you’re living healthier, not dieting.

The word dieting has been stigmatized to the point that it’s a negative thing to “be on a diet.” For some, even the thought of dieting can kill self-esteem – as if needing to lose weight affects your self-worth. Dating is about being yourself from the start, and the new you is all about living healthier, longer, and happier.

How do you approach your new lifestyle with a date?

Until you adopt the fact that your new, healthier lifestyle is a part of you – not independent of you – you’ll never feel as though how you eat, move, and live are one with you. Be who you are and live healthy in the process.

#3 You can celebrate food with your date and still lose weight.

Whether it’s the first meal together or the twentieth, you can celebrate food with your date without killing your progress. Remember, you’re not going to gain 10 pounds overnight, and eating half of a decadent dessert at dinner doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You know the lifestyle changes you’re making are for the long-term. If you’re feeling anxious about eating out, ask where you’ll be dining and research the menu before you arrive.

Why not choose the place yourself or cook at home together?

Your partner doesn’t have to be the one choosing the restaurant. Take a little time to research healthy options in your area and plan on visiting one that fits your new eating style. Better yet, choose a restaurant together, so there’s something tasty for you both or cook an exotic meal at home to share.

#4 It’s okay to think about whether weight loss will affect your relationships.

Weight loss is just as much a mental process as a physical process. As you lose weight, you’ll see a new you appearing in the mirror. It’s completely normal to feel as though you don’t know this new person. It takes time to settle into your new life, new eating habits, and fresh look. Often, with weight loss, men and women feel empowered by success, and when empowered, you stand taller and accept nothing less than the best.

Have you ever thought that the way you view yourself is outdated?

As you lose weight, your body changes and the person you look at every day may start to appear foreign. If you’re holding on to an idea that you’re not worth happiness in dating because of your weight, you’re not alone. The answer is to reevaluate the person in the mirror and change the way you view yourself. You’re living healthier; weight loss is an excellent bonus. (Canadian Family Physician, 2008)

#5 Bring your partner into your weight-loss plan with couples meal planning and cooking.

How do you get your partner to play a part in your new healthier lifestyle? Take on meal planning and cooking together. From chopping and dicing to steaming and baking, preparing food can be a process packed with great conversation and fantastic company. Don’t set your weight loss outside of the relationship – it’s part of you, so bring it along.

Do you currently meal plan? If not, maybe you should try it.

One of the most challenging parts of eating healthier is preparing healthy, home-cooked meals. Meal planning, especially when partnered with meal prepping, reduces your chances of being overweight or obese. (International Journal of Behavior Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2017)

#6 Don’t take what your date eats as a personal jab.

One of the more difficult things to overcome in a relationship is eating “differently” than your partner. Weight loss is a personal process that can sometimes be quite emotional. The foods your partner chooses to eat are not there to make you feel deprived – celebrate food together and take the opportunity to turn those classic, high-fat, high-calorie dishes into healthier recipes to enjoy.

Have you tried to introduce your partner to healthier versions of their favorite dishes?

You may be surprised to find that your partner wants to try out some of those healthier foods with you. When you adopt healthier eating habits, the chances are your partner will pick up on those habits too – so share the recipe love. (PLoS One, 2016)

#7 You’re losing weight, not losing yourself.

The extra weight is physically a part of you, but when you lose weight, you aren’t losing a part of who you are. If you’re having difficulty living in your new lifestyle, you’re not alone. Millions of men and women have fought the same internal battle. Rest assured, as you lose weight, you’ll catch up with the person in the mirror, and your self-image will consistently improve. (Appetite, 2014)

Is the struggle between the old and new you affecting your relationship?

Take each day, each goal, and each step along your weight-loss journey one at a time. Some of these steps need to be taken alone, and others will feel best alongside your partner. Again, remember to set healthy, realistic goals – unrealistic goals can cause trouble in relationships. (Health Communication, 2019)

#8 When times get tough, turn to an outside support system.

You will come across a time when you want a type of support a date or partner may not be able to provide, especially if they’ve never battled weight gain. During these times, you need a support system that understands where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re heading.

What kind of support system is available wherever you go?

Noom is a clinically-proven weight-loss and lifestyle app that helps you stick with your weight-loss goals and lifestyle changes, so you live better and feel better. (International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2017)

The app works as a coach and support system that helps more than 75% of users lose weight. Science even tells you how to succeed with Noom – log weight and dinner more frequently because those who do lose more weight. (Scientific Reports, 2016)

#9 Give yourself permission to stumble and fall.

No one is perfect. No one will go through life without stumbling from time to time. Weight loss is a process – one that’s part of you when dating and living in a long-term relationship. You carry it with you as pride in who you are, the changes you’re making, and the successes you’ve achieved.

You decided to change your life and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. This is a hard choice by itself, let alone when attempting to date or maintain a relationship. Rest assured, you’re not the only person that’s ever struggled with this dilemma and, after you get used to your new body as you progress toward your goal, you’ll notice changes in mood, self-esteem, and self-worth.

You can find the support you need, in the toughest of times, with a lifestyle app like Noom.

Juggling Dating and Weight Loss

Q:
Why did I gain weight when I started dating?

A:

It’s common for people to gain weight when they start dating, as it’s often an enjoyable pastime that involves indulging in delicious foods and spending time together without worrying about exercise. Additionally, stress can lead to weight gain as the body responds by releasing hormones that can lead to increased appetite and cravings. Emotional eating can also be a factor if the relationship is causing anxiety or other negative emotions.

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