Dieting can be pretty hard sometimes, and it can do a number on your mood and mind. But having your loved one dieting with you sounds like it would be easier. Or would it ?
We’re discussing our top tips for dieting as a couple, as well as what to expect when you start on this road together, and what obstacles might get in your way.
So what do you need to know about dieting as a couple ?
Well, this will be a big post and will cover a lot of ground, so get a cup of tea and let’s begin. We’ll list the main points here, and then get into detail for the rest of the article. So, you should know that:
- Making a commitment together will help you stick to your plan
- Have a plan/timeline/goal list to follow and celebrate
- You’ll be surprised by some things along the way, you can’t prepare for everything
- Both of you need to be in on it – discipline and determination need to be in place
- Some arguments can spark easier, in the first few weeks or days
- On the other hand, there will be noticeable boosts in energy and good mood down the line
- Your relationship will improve, since you will be brought much closer
- Being each other’s diet buddy will be a big test for your relationship
- You’ll get over food, and learn that food is NOT king.
- Your immediate circle might be odd about it, then get over it
- Your food and daily habits will change
The changes that come with a diet are more than these, but these are the ones that will affect you couple as well.
So let’s get into talking about them, and see how your relationship will change (often for the better) when you start dieting with your significant other. Also, you’ll find bits and pieces of our dieting experience, and we’ll tell you everything we know.
1. Make a commitment together
Much like your relationship, a diet requires constant care and nurturing, so it gives the best results. So, before you start your diet, have a nice long talk about it.
Talk about why you’re getting on this diet to begin with, what you’re aiming for, what you can do if it fails, what to do when one or both of you hit a plateau, etc.
Talk it out, turn it on all its sides. Take a few days to consider the idea if you need to. But when you do decide to start, make a commitment towards yourselves first, then together.
Whatever the reason you started your diet for, put it at the top of a list of reasons you’ll keep around. So let’s say if you’re dieting to lose weight because you want to conceive, you can put ”baby” on the list. It’ll be easier to set a game plan if you know what your end goal is.
Put in place some penalties for breaking that commitment. Maybe 1 entire day of fasting, or a full hour of cardio (with breaks every 20 minutes to rest) to sweat off the calories.
It’s important when you’re doing this together to not be mean towards each other, or breathe down your partner’s neck. Trust them that they’ll stick to the goal you’ve set together, but if they don’t, you’ll have those penalties you decided together.
Even if you’re on slightly different diets – like maybe on of you needs to lose more weight than the other, or needs a very specific kind of diet – you can still make a commitment together.
Remind yourselves every so often of why you started, and where you’re going with this.
2. Have a plan and goals
Make a list of all the benefits you could possibly get from dieting, then another one for dieting together. You’ll be surprised at how many you’ll find, like improved energy, better food for the household, sleeping better, etc.
From that list, think of some goals you’d want to achieve together, through this diet. Do you two want to get into great shape and be the eye candy at the beach ?
Or maybe you’re aiming for something more romantic, like fitting into your wedding outfits like you always wanted ?
Are your trying for a baby ? Are you trying to avoid a series of illnesses that come with being overweight ? Maybe something else ?
Write all of those down. Then, set some smaller goals along the way, that will encourage your progress.
Let’s say you want to drop 60 lbs/27 kg to look great at the beach and go on a trip to Bali together. those 60/27 numbers are pretty big and intimidating by themselves, but if you chunk them down into smaller weights ?
Losing 10 lbs/4.5 kg sounds much easier. So start with that, and out a check mark next to that goal when you touch it. Celebrate together every little step you make, since the road to your goal matters more than the goal itself.
Even something smaller, like the first 30 days of successfully dieting together, with no cheat days, is something to celebrate. Take yourselves out for a salad or hiking, and feel proud of what you managed.
The rest will come on its own.
The same goes for planning your diet. Have a clear idea of what you need to do for your diet – write it on paper and stick it on the fridge if you want.
But know when you’re eating, what kind of meals, when you need for those meals, what backup meals you can have, etc. Plan ahead, and you’ll have fewer surprises.
3. Some things will end up surprising you
Even if you did plan on some backup meals, or have a solid alibi for why you can’t have that cake, sometimes you’ll be caught off guard. SO if that does end up happening, know that it’s alright.
Slip-ups can happen, and they’re a normal part of dieting. If you both know this, then it will be easier to get over the possible guilt of eating that cheesecake.
Don’t beat yourselves up over things like these. Just keep on keeping on, and you’ll end up with healthy eating habits, in time.
For example when Dragos and I started dieting, our biggest lament was not having cake after a meal. We’d often have something sweet after a meal, and most of the time it would be something like chocolate cake or cheesecake, from the cafeteria at work.
But once we started dieting, that had to go away. We’d always look at the sweets fridge but keep walking, however there were times when we gave in and shared a slice of something. Then we’d feel a bit bad for having it, and stay away from it again.
In time we learned to replace that cake or sweet with fruit, or even just a bit of chewing gum. But the point is that we did give in sometimes, and that’s not the end of the world.
Another thing that might surprise you, is how your diet can affect your body. We mean, sure you’ll be losing weight and feeling better. You’re expecting that.
But what we didn’t expect was the lack of bloating, in our case. We’re on a low carb eating regime, it’s gotten past the point of just dieting. So when we started, we saw a significant decrease in out gut and waistline.
This is just because we ate much more vegetables, and less bread and heavy carbs, so of course there was a big difference. Another reason for that is that when you eat less carbs, the effects are immediate and very noticeable.
Most of it is water weight though, so the rapid drop in weight does not continue with the same speed. Keep that in mind if this is the kind of diet you’re aiming for as well.
The best diets are always accompanied by regular exercise anyway, so that’s something that will happen at some point too.
And the biggest surprise of all, is that you can actually pull this off. It’s one thing to guess that you can do it, and keep it for a few months. But to be able to do this until you reach you goal, and then maintain a healthy lifestyle ? Go you !
4. Both of you need to be in on it
Of course there will be differences between the two of you. But you both need to be in on it, so you can have the best results.
Imagine what it’d feel like to come home from work, after eating salads and quinoa and whatever else is on your diet list, to find your partner with chocolate on their breath. No one wants to be n that situation.
So it’s best if you both work on your discipline, and discuss what your goals are. Reminding yourselves often of why you started you diet will help keep you both on track.
Another thing that helps is saying what you’re grateful for at the end of each day. This is actually a habit Dragos and I picked up from Tony Robbins.
At the end of your day, before going to bed, state at least 3 things you’re grateful for. But make sure your diet is included there as well.
Even something small like “I’m grateful we both managed to stick to our diet to day as well” can be on that list. The fact that you are a healthy breakfast, and didn’t even bat an eye when you turned down that candy today.
Whatever went good with your diet today, make sure you recognize that and talk about it for a bit. It could be 3 things you’re grateful for, it could be 10. But make sure you list them there, because there’s always something that went well.
The benefit of this is that you’ll both get a lot of encouragement after noticing that you’ve done good things for your body and health for a few days straight. So, you’ll be even more excited to meet your end goals, whatever you set them to be.
So make sure you routinely talk about why you’re dieting and what you want to achieve through this, and you’ll be alright. Whenever something does feel off, make sure you bring it up. Otherwise it will hurt your resolve and determination down the line.
5. Some arguments might spark easier in the beginning
In the first few days or weeks of dieting, you might find it easier to argue over trivialities. This depends on your diet, how restrictive it is, what you goals are, your personalities, and hangry can become a real thing.
This was the case with us in the beginning. For example the dinners we started having when we started dieting were lighter, and at very different hours than before.
So instead of mashed potato and chicken wings with salad at 9 pm, we’d have creamed soup (croutons optional) at 6 pm at the latest. YOu can imagine this was a big change, and it was one of many.
We knew why we were doing this, and that this was (and still is) to our benefit. But it was a bit hard at first, just because he had the habit of eating a heavy meal for dinner, later into the evening.
So we did argue a bit easier, yes, and we learned that both of us can get hangry (extra-angry when you’re hungry), not just Dragos. Which is never cute.
When starting your diet together, we recommend talking about how to handle arguments as well. Maybe laying down some rules, like just leaving each other alone for 10 minutes to cool off.
Or one of you giving in, just because one needs to start defusing the fight so the other will calm down as well.
Doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in those arguments. It’s important to remember that you both think you’re right, and need to talk it out nicely. Maybe after you’ve had something to eat and you’re well rested.
6. A boost in energy and good mood down the line
To contrast with the beginning of your diet, where things can go crazy really fast. After your bodies get used to the different nutrients you’re having for your meals, you’ll notice some changes.
Your liver and stomach will have a much easier time processing the food and nutrients, so your energy levels will actually increase. This in turn will improve your overall mood, and that can improve your relationship as well.
It’s funny when you think about it, one day you’re arguing over how many carbs a banana has, and a couple of weeks later you’re frolicking in the park like nothing ever went wrong.
One thing can lead to another, so it’s important to keep in mind when you’re arguing that things really will get better.
In our case we noticed a huge difference in energy when we got into a nice rhythm with the meals and the kind of foods we ate. We had more energy for the gym, we started being more productive, and having a much cleared mind.
You can use this improvement whichever way you like. After all, it’s your relationship and your diet. We used it to manage a 5 days/week workout routine, but maybe you’ll want to use that energy for something else, like taking the dogs out more often. Or maybe walking somewhere instead of taking the car.
7. Your relationship will improve
This is because of that energy boost we talked about earlier, since many (not all) problems in a relationship stem from the lack of drive to… well, anything. Tired from work, getting home to do house chores, put kids to bed, end the day as quickly as possible to catch some sleep.
Then get frustrated that you didn’t do anything for yourselves all week, wait for the weekend but those pass by so fast and it’s Wednesday again. How ???
Maybe not everyone goes through that weekly cycle, but a lot of people do.
So imagine the immense improvement that will come from more energy to do all the things we mentioned earlier. You could even have the energy left to give some attention to your loved one.
Even just half an hour before bed, every day, can make a huge difference.
Another reason your relationship will improve is that you’re both going through the same thing. The same ups and downs, celebrating together. It will bring you much closer.
For Dragos and I, managing to eat breakfast was a success. Neither of us was a breakfast person, nor morning persons to begin with. So when we started having breakfast it was a huge change, and it was a notable difference in our weights and our relationship.
We bonded over breakfast, since it was the time of day that we could just pay attention to each other before the day began and grabbed our focus. Plus the fact that we could eat in the morning was a success for us both.
The same could happen for you and our loved one. You could get into the habit of cooking together healthy meals, or even fixing a healthy snack for each other as a small thank you for this or that.
8. Being each other’s diet buddy will test your relationship
It’s going to be fun as well and annoying to be diet buddies.
Fun, because you’re supporting each other, and helping one another with some food tips, or finding great places to go for a healthy date together. Seeing the positive results on each of you will make you aim for even higher goals.
But it can be annoying because you’re always together, even when you’re maybe eyeing that donut and your partner notices that. Whenever your determination would love to waver, your partner will be there, reminding you that salads are great and you can go get some fruit today.
It all builds up to learning more and more about each other, and yourselves. You’ll both see where your respective limits are, how much you’ll be tempted by high-carb foods, and your patience in general.
No one said dieting is easy. Especially if you have an end goal in mind, so a finite moment when you stop.
We think that’s a big problem that could come up in the relationship as well. How do you each see this diet ? Is is a one time thing, just to lose some weight and then you’ll see ?
Is it a diet that turns into a lifestyle afterwards ? Those are very different views and you could use an honest talk about what you’re planning on doing after you’ve reached your goals.
We recommend continuing with something similar to your diet, or maybe even the same diet (depending on what kind of diet you’re on). This is because it’s easier to prevent the need fr a diet, than to apply it when needed.
One thing is for sure when you’re diet buddies with our significant other. You’ll come out different people at the end, and this will influence your relationship. In our case, it was the best thing to do together, since it became one of our ‘couple things’.
9. You’ll get over food
This might sound like heresy, but hear us out. When you’re on a diet, you’re cutting out or reducing some types of foods. Usually it’s the heavy, tasty carbs that go first.
The burgers, the pizzas, the ice cream, the deep-fried oreos. Whatever needs to go, will go. Slowly, you’ll notice that taste is very important, but the nutrition that food brings is much more important.
You will have an easier time choosing a Caesar salad over fries and meatloaf, since you will be much more aware of the benefits and downsides of those 2 types of meals.
Taste will be important still, which is why you’ll find yourselves looking in the spice and herb section of the supermarket more often. You’ll find some favorites that you’ll apply in your dishes, and wonder how you could eat the sauces you had before.
Some of our favorite mixes contain garlic, rosemary, hot paprika, curry, and bay leaves. You’ll find your own favorites, and see how they can bring bland dishes to life.
Food is good, but it’s not what you live for. You’ll eat to live, not live to eat. We know it sounds kind of corny but that’s the truth.
When Dragos and I started our diet we were surprised at how well we managed to stay away from pizza and pasta, which were our top foods before. The sauces were our biggest friends, and no longer getting excited at the thought of them was odd at first.
The, as time went by, we started noticing how other foods are healthier, others are not. What eating half a bar of chocolate and pizza in front of the TV in the evening can do to the body. You don’t notice that when you’re eating them.
But when you take a step back and look at the big picture – macronutrients, how many calories you burn, exercise levels, and meal times – you see why some foods are off the list.
10. Your immediate circle might be weird about it at first
They will get over it after a few weeks. They just need to see that you’re serious about this, and then kind of… give up ? on poking fun at your fruit smoothies and kale and quinoa omelet.
Our parents were the funniest about our diet. Well, it’s funny now, it was annoying then. When we started eating healthier and changing our foods, it changed what we ate at our parents’ houses.
So if before we were alright with stuffed chicken with rice and peas, next to some cucumber salad and fresh bread for dinner at 9 pm, now we were not okay.
Or visiting our entire families in the span of a week when we’d return to our hometown would be full of everyone offering us great food. But it was rarely ever something that our diet would agree to – heavy on carbs, with lots of meat and bread.
It was an odd time, while our families adjusted to this change. They got over it only after a few visits where we left a lot of food on our plates, simply because it was too.much.food.
They’re alright with it now, and so are our friends. Even if they comment on it from time to time, at least they’re not sliding cinnamon rolls in front of us anymore.
If this happens to you two and your families and friends, remember our example that it will be alright in the end. They will get used to it. You can talk to them about it, just don’t expect them to fully accept the idea.
Even if they understand the idea behind why you’re dieting, they diet itself will be a bit hard for them to accept – since they’re not doing it themselves.
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11. Your food and daily habits will change
Obvious yes, but still something that needs to be brought up. Do not underestimate the impact a diet can have on your lives.
Your food will change, so that means your shopping list will change. You can find our grocery list here, we’ve made one for couples looking to live healthy, and most of the things on a diet will be found on that list as well. As in, whole foods, and healthy alternatives.
You might start taking regular walks together, to get some fresh air and get out of the house more often. That could snowball into getting into working out together.
If you are thinking of starting to exercise together, to supplement your diet, you can read our article on working out as a couple. We wrote it from our experience of starting to exercise together. You’ll get some nice tips and insights, and also a heads up on what to expect.
Or maybe the change could be something much simpler, like going to bed at a fixed hour, and getting more rest. That will influence what you do during the day, and when you do it.
For example some of the habits we changed was our waking hour, we adjusted it to include breakfast and coffee. Our meals became regular and around the same hours every day, so that affected when we left the house and what we did.
You’ll notice similar changes to your lives as well, and they might actually be great changes.
Our tips on how to weather obstacles that come up
Things don’t always go well, and that’s to be expected. Sometimes one may hit a plateau, or maybe you’re both so busy with something for a couple of weeks that you can’t cook healthy meals at home.
Whatever happens, here’s how you can go about them:
- Adjusting your diet might be necessary sometimes, like temporarily(2-3 days) cutting carbs, or possibly fasting for a full day. This is so you can break a weight loss plateau.
- You might want to consider some exercises in order to have even better results.Most of the weight loss is done through food, but the other part is the exercise.
- Give yourselves time, your results will come if you keep your diet.
- You both need a lot of support, and affection. That alone can solve half the problems that come up, since they’re usually about emotional distress with the progress.
- Talking it out is always an option, since you will be able to find great solutions together, for everything.
Whatever come up, remember that you are a couple, you are a team, and you can get through this together. We wish you the best of luck, and stay healthy !
Feel free to check our other articles as well, you might find something you like.