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I have been thinking a lot lately about eating with a significant other, and what a challenge it can be. In another post where I talked about calorie counting, I mentioned how I used to eat with my boyfriend:
“The boyfriend and I would go out to eat four to five nights as week, and I would eat the same amount as him. He is 6’1″, 200 pounds and he’s a GUY. If he ordered a half-pound burger with fries, I would get the same and clean my plate. The fact that I am 5’5″ never crossed my mind!”
So, yes, obviously I can’t eat the same amount as him. But how do I deal with eating dinner with him every night? How can you eat healthily while sharing meals with someone who doesn’t eat the same way?
I’m sure many people have read about studies showing that married people gain weight. This doesn’t surprise me in the least! I’m not married, but when I first moved in with my boyfriend, I changed how I ate. As in more meat, more desserts and bigger portions. Why? Because it was in the house and I served us the same thing at dinner! Things have changed since then.
Even though my boyfriend loves meat and hates vegetables, we manage to sit down to dinner almost every night. Since we moved in together, I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, and I’ve done that by eating what works for me. A few tips I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Different dinners are okay! Last night, the boyfriend wanted meatballs. I used to make meatballs and (white) pasta at least once a week, but they always left me feeling way too full, and I don’t even like them that much. So I made him meatballs and pasta, and made myself a giant salad and just had a meatball on the side. Unless it’s something I really want, I don’t eat it just because it’s there.
2. His and her portions. I eat ice cream almost every night. I love having a sweet treat after dinner, and I never want to deprive myself of that! But when we sit down to ice cream, my portion is not the same as his. I use a smaller bowl and have low-fat ice cream. I also skip the toppings (he loves peanut butter or cookies on top) and just stick with a few rainbow sprinkles.
3. Shared ingredients are a lifesaver. A lot of times, I will cook us a main course, and we will make our own sides. I’ll grill up fish or make chicken with a miso glaze. On the side, I’ll roast up some veggies or sauté some greens. The boyfriend will cook up a pot of pasta or some rice for himself. This way we can share ingredients while eating differently.
4. When out to eat, don’t be afraid to eat differently. My boyfriend is super supportive of me and doesn’t get too embarrassed when I ask for “dressing on the side,” “no bacon” or any other special order. If you want your food a certain way, don’t be embarrassed to ask! Even if everyone else at the table is eating tons of grease, you’ll feel better if you stick to your guns. —Lauren Canepari
Lauren Canepari Lauren writes at eaternotarunner.wordpress.com about her journey toward a healthier life! Through running, eating and living life, Lauren loves making healthy choices fun.