Some couples gain weight after getting into a relationship. Other couples finally commit after getting with their partner and start to lose weight. So, how does your partner affect your eating habits? And in the end, does it really matter?
Picture this. You’re in the supermarket with your significant other that you met a while ago through executive matchmakers. You fill your cart with organic food and maybe one indulgence. But then, your partner grabs some chips, some cookies, and a big old tub of ice cream. And surprisingly, you don’t feel the urge to argue. Does this mean you’re weak-willed? Not exactly.
It is likely your partner affecting your self-control, which brings us to our first point:
You are more likely to give in if your partner has low self-control.
When one partner has lower self-control than the other, they are more likely to influence the partner with the high self-control rather than the other way around, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. This observation can be attributed to the thought that it is easier to give in to temptation than to convince your partner to put those chips back. And if you are the stronger-willed partner, you might find yourself giving in more often to not-so-healthy food choices that your partner likes to eat.
However, this relationship dynamic puts both of you at stake. When the other person is always giving in to temptation and dragging you along with their unhealthy food decisions, weight gain is likely to happen. And even if you burn those extra calories off at the gym, that excess cholesterol and sodium will still run through your body.
If this is the case for you and your partner, the best way to tackle their unhealthy food choices is by standing your ground whenever you shop for food or go out to eat. If they want to eat junk food, try to sway them to eat something healthier. But if they refuse, don’t let yourself be tempted to do the same as well.
Your partner requires more calories than you.
If your partner is bigger than you, has more muscle mass than you, and has a faster metabolism than you, they will need to eat more food than you do. In heterosexual relationships, most couples tend to have different serving sizes, wherein the man usually has bigger portions because they need more food, biologically-speaking. But regardless of your partner’s sex, matching their increased food intake will most likely lead to weight gain for you.
The solution to this problem is quite simple. You have to realize that you and your partner have different caloric requirements, and if they need more food than you do, you must be careful not to eat the same amount of food they do. Practice proper portion sizing. Eat different meals. Use different-sized plates. You don’t need to eat the same meal when you eat together; remember, both of you have different nutritional requirements that you need to meet.
You and your partner have completely different diets.
You are vegetarian. Your partner is an avid meat eater. While both of you have your separate (and sometimes, completely different) dietary habits, there are plenty of ways you can compromise with neither of you having to sacrifice your lifestyle. For one, you can tailor your meals to fit each other’s diet. If one partner doesn’t eat meat and the other does, make two versions of the same meal (one with meat and one without). If one partner is allergic to gluten and the other one isn’t, keep your carbs separate.
You don’t have to combine your diets to keep each other happy, but rather, you should meet in the middle. Compromise is an important factor in any relationship, and that includes your food choices. Moreover, both of you should respect each other’s dietary restrictions, especially if it’s a requirement and not a choice (as in food allergies). If your partner doesn’t want to convert to veganism, don’t push it. Similarly, they should not push you to eat food that you don’t want to eat.
Being in a relationship can alter the way you eat, the food you eat, and how much you eat, either for the better or worse. If it’s the latter, stand back and realize how your partner affects your eating habits and to what extent. Then, come up with ways on how to revert to your healthier diet, and as much as possible, encourage your partner to follow suit.
What about you? How do you think your significant other affects the way you eat? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.