An exciting romance can be good for your happiness level, but bad for your waistline. According to an Obesity Society study, women who were dating put on an average of 15 pounds over five years, those who were living with a romantic partner gained 18 pounds and the newly married packed on 24 pounds. You spend the most time with your loved one, so you're bound to be influenced by his eating habits, says Lauren Antonucci, M.S., R.D., director of New York City-based Nutrition Energy. This can lead to weight gain since women generally don't need as many calories as men. Here are simple solutions for solving these dating dilemmas.
Dine out without derailing your diet
Dating often goes along with eating out and drinking more. But just because he can polish off an entire pizza doesn't mean you should. To keep from matching your date bite for bite, begin eating after he does, suggests Antonucci. When the food arrives, tell a story to give him lead-time. That way he'll finish first and you'll be less likely clean your plate.
Another trick is starting with a filling, low-calorie appetizer, like gazpacho or tuna tartare. This satisfies you on fewer calories, so you won't be famished and overdo it when your entrée arrives.
Once you realize where you splurge when sharing a meal together, set rules for yourself. Suggest ordering wines by the glass instead of a bottle. If he enjoys dessert after every meal, split one with him or have a cappuccino instead.
You can also bank some calories by carving out time for exercise before meeting up. Sneak in a sweat session while he's watching the game or during your lunch break. "Most people will eat better after they exercise because they're already feeling good about themselves and when you feel good you'll make better choices," says Antonucci.
Plan active get-togethers
Dates don't have to revolve around food. Go for a walk in the park, followed by a picnic. Play a game of tennis and then share a treat. Grab a cup of coffee before checking out a local museum.
Safeguard your kitchen
If you're living with your partner, you're also living with his food. Give him a cabinet up high where he can keep chips, cookies and candy. You might be tempted when your boyfriend eats these foods in front of you, so make sure you have something satisfying to snack on. If he's eating buttered popcorn, air-pop some for yourself or have a fudgesicle while he indulges in ice cream.
Find a support system
"If your boyfriend is not supportive of your diet, find at least two other people in your life who are," says Antonucci. Seek out a coworker you can share a healthy lunch with, a running buddy or a girlfriend you can call to distract you from the ice cream in the freezer. Surrounding yourself with those who encourage your healthy lifestyle and offer positive feedback will help you make better food choices so you'll love your body as much as your beau.