Last week Dustin left for three days for a bike trip. During that very long three day span I found out how incredibly difficult it is to find time to work out and eat healthy when you are the sole person taking care of the kids and household. My hat definitely goes off to the single parents out there! It was a great reminder though how important it is to rely on your partner to implement a healthy lifestyle. Here are some healthy eating and fitness tips for couples that work great for Dustin and I:
Healthy Eating and Fitness Tips for Couples
1. Make a contract-We love ice cream. Bad news-it is not good for our waistline or finances. One month we looked back at our previous months spending habits and we realized we were going out for ice cream way too often. So, we decided that two times a month was a good amount. I typed up a contract and we signed it together. Now, any time we we want ice cream we revert back to the contract and make sure it hasn't been more than twice a month already. This could apply to ordering pizza, eating out, whatever you want.
2. Don't sabotage each other-Again, I go back to the ice cream. I might be having a really good day without any cravings and then Dustin will say, "Mmmm...ice cream sounds really good". All it takes is him mentioning the word ice cream and I cave! So, if you really want to help each other keep your cravings to yourself (not suggesting sneaking off and being bad either!) This applies to bringing junk into the house. If it isn't there then it is harder to want it. For example, if it is someone's birthday at your work and there is leftover cake-don't bring it home.
3. Rotate working out-Before we had a baby we loved working out together or at the same time. Now, unless we want to wait until really late at night, that just isn't possible. So, we try to rotate and one of us gets up early to workout before work while the other keeps an ear out for the baby to wake-up and then the other works out after work while the other plays with the baby etc. When we go workout as a family for a run or something we also rotate who pushes the jogging stroller and holds the dogs leash etc.
4. Take turns cooking healthy meals for each other-When one of you works a late night at work, try to have something healthy prepared and ready for the other person when they arrive home. If I don't prepare something for Dustin, he will most likely just grab something bad to snack on because it is easier. But, if I have something ready that he can just heat up then he will also choose that option. Also, try out a new recipe every week or every month. Mix it up, have fun with it. If you are preparing exciting new dishes or healthy desserts that you have never made before, it makes the actual "cooking" not seem like a chore.
5. Plan ahead-This one is huge for us! If we don't plan healthy meals or snacks ahead of time then we are doomed! When you are hungry and don't have a plan you turn to options that aren't so great. Here is what I suggest:
On Friday or Saturday evening start pulling recipes and ideas for meals and snacks. The following day (or later that day) go to the store. Make as much as possible on Sunday so you can just heat stuff up during the week. I also put snacks in little containers or bags so you can just grab them and go to work. For example, carrot sticks or fresh berries.
6. Be Flexible-Wow! This is the one I struggle with. I am a very structured person who likes to have every detail worked out. So, when I plan on running at 2pm and it rains I am crushed! But, that is the reality of everyday life. We can plan as much as possible but it doesn't mean our day will turn out that way. The other day I went to HIIT class and for whatever reason my instructor didn't show up. There was only one other girl in the class who did. We took the girls iPhone and played some workout music and did our own version of HIIT class. I ended up making a new friend and still got my sweat on!
7. Do a challenge together-I am extremely competitive-with myself and with others. Dustin and I try to run a lot of different Beach Body Challenge groups to get people (and ourselves) motivated to work out. Although I hated gaining so much weight with my daughter-it was a great challenge for me to lose the weight. If you do a challenge together you can cheer each other on and go through it together. It is a real bonding experience. Right now I am training for my first half marathon and Dustin is right there with me through the process (he has already done a few and even ran a full marathon a couple of years ago). This a really good idea for couples who have been together for a long time. It gives you something new to learn and do together to keep your relationship fresh. Not to mention if you start getting in better shape you will probably be more attracted to one another!
8. Set goals and celebrate together-Do you want to lose weight? Start drinking more water? Run a marathon? Whatever your goal is share it with your partner and then make sure to celebrate when you reach your goal. If you do lose ten pounds one month go on a date to celebrate together.
At the end of the day there is always power in numbers. Who better to call on for support than your significant other? Start today by having a date night to discuss your hopes and dreams and then figure out a game plan to make it happen....together!