When my girlfriend Heather and I first met and started dating more than three years ago, we quickly fell in love and out of shape. During that early stage in our relationship, we enjoyed our time together so much that we forgot about everything else in the world, including our diets. Eight months later, after moving in together, we stepped back on the scale and realized the wining and dining had taken a serious toll; I had gained more than 40 lbs and Heather had gained nearly 30 lbs, our BMIs were showing us both as moderately overweight, and clothes were getting too tight to fit.
Forming a Pact
The Calorie Count forums are awash with members discussing the difficulties of dieting while in a relationship (the title of this blog was inspired by this one), often complaining about unsupportive partners making it difficult to remain on track. Luckily, Heather and I decided to work together and kick each others’ butts back into shape. While it was depressing to think about the weight we had gained, we realized we would be happier and healthier by changing our eating habits and staying active. We formed a pact, promising to keep each other accountable for our choices, through the good times and the bad times. Of course, no two people (or genders) lose weight exactly the same, so we made it a point to remember we were not in competition with each other, but there to help with the ups, downs, and plateaus.
Re-Discovering Calorie Count
Heather and I immediately started logging our weight each day, calculated our target caloric intake, and kept a food journal, using the tools right here on Calorie Count. In addition, we dedicated every other morning to exercise, leaving together for early trips to the gym or a jog outside. It was slow going, but eventually we got into a routine and started watching the pounds peel off. Staying within our daily calorie limits and exercising regularly, we were able to lose 1-2 pounds per week, eventually reaching and maintaining our pre-relationship weight again.
As partners, we experimented around, cooking different low-calorie meals that would suit both our individual tastes and weight loss plans. Over time, we developed a number of meals and recipes we both enjoyed and knew would automatically fit our requirements. Some of our favorites were customizable meals such as salads, stir fries, and egg-white omelets, which all used the same base ingredients but could be adjusted with different spices, herbs, and sauces.
In addition, we tried to keep it fun, doing things like challenging each other to guess the correct number of calories in food items or figuring out how many calories we could save through food substitutions.
While we definitely cut back on eating out, when we did find ourselves at a restaurant we would share a couple of appetizers or split an entrée with a side salad.
Finally, we complimented and rewarded each other for the hard work we accomplished, turning around a difficult situation and working together to live healthier lives.
Have you suffered from ‘Couples Syndrome’?
Calorie Count co-founder Erik Fantasia and his girlfriend, Heather Curtis, are currently traveling through Central America as part of a trip around the world. You can follow their adventures online with Facebook and their blog.