Did you know one in five women gain an average of 10kg within the first year of marriage? Here’s how to stay in shape post “I do”.

Falling in love definitely has its amazing points, but meeting that special someone can also affect your physical and emotional health. Caitlin Reid, dietitian and author of “Health & the City”, shows how you can manage your love life and your waistline at the same time!

If you have a date this Valentine’s Day then chances are you’ll eat less than usual, that’s because we suppress our food intake when we eat with unfamiliar people in situations where self-awareness is high1. We’re also more likely to choose neat and easy to eat foods, steering clear of pungent foods and foods causing bad breath2!

However, if you start seeing your new beau more often, you’ll soon be letting down your hair, with mealtimes becoming more relaxed and enjoyable, as well as longer and with more wine! Eating then becomes like shopping – the longer you shop for, the more you purchase, and the longer you sit at the dinner table the more you’ll eat and drink!3 This does anything but promote a healthy waistline, particularly when we’re eating rich foods and drinking delicious wine.

Preferred food choices between opposite sexes are exactly that – opposite. While men appear to prefer a higher fat, higher sugar style of eating, females lean towards healthier food choices. Come the time we move in with our partners though, a compromise on eating habits has to be made and unfortunately for females, we don’t usually fair too well.

A survey carried out by the University of Newcastle found that women eat more unhealthy foods and tend to put on weight when they move in with a male partner, while males tend to develop healthier diets when they start living with a female partner and her influence has a long-term positive impact.

With the honeymoon period gone and a ring tightly fixed on your finger, if you’re like most women you’ll be willing to exercise regularly and eat healthily in order to look fabulous on your wedding day. But when the wedding is over, it’s not uncommon for this healthy enthusiasm to soon melt away into a life of contentment and comfort food. Many of us females become relaxed around our husbands and begin to think we no long need to impress. Unfortunately, this soon sees one in five women gains an average of 10kg within the first year after her wedding!!!

It doesn’t have to end this way though – you and your partner can have a positive influence on each other’s health too. Follow things tips for remaining healthy in your relationship:

· Maintain your active lifestyle: Keep going to your gym sessions or playing your weekend netball games. If you look and feel fit your love life will be sure to benefit.

· Exercise together: A workout buddy is the best form of motivation, and so buddy up with your partner. A couple that plays together, stays together.

· Eat the foods you love: Too many of us get into the habit of eating the foods our partner likes even when we might not terribly enjoy them or know that they’re not the best for our health. If this happens, try to also cook the foods you enjoy. It’s all about compromise.

· Get your partner to support you: If you suspect your partner is sabotaging your best efforts on living a healthy lifestyle, talk to them and tell them how much you need their support. Get them to become your cheerleader – encouraging you every step of the way.

· Eat female-sized portions: Avoid falling into the trap of eating the same portions as your partner. Instead limit your portion sizes to those that are female friendly. Eat off a smaller plate if you have to.

· Don’t eat your way through the weekend: While romantic dinners, bottles of wine and takeaway meals may sound inviting, overindulgence isn’t the best for your health. Save them for special occasions instead of weekly events.

· Avoid comfort eating: Instead of heading for the chocolate or ice cream when you have a fight, use exercise or yoga as your stress release.

Caitlin Reid is author of “Health & The City” (Longueville media) $

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