It is no secret that many college freshman dread the infamous “freshman 15.” Well, the same can be said for individuals just entering into a relationship, as well as those who have been together for years. Often times, when we are in a happy and healthy relationship we find ourselves packing a few pounds. It’s not because we “no longer care about our appearance” or that our partner is to blame; instead, there are a few basic changes that can result in the addition of a few pounds. To help you meet your New Year diet and weight loss goals, here are a few classic relationship situations that can lead to weight-gain. Remember, a healthy relationship is one that allows you to “be the best you” with or without weight gain or loss.

Healthy Relationships And How To Avoid The “Relationship 15”
Entering Into The Dating World — When you are single it is very easy for dinner to be a bowl of cereal. However, when you meet someone, eating out quickly becomes a daily reality. The problem with eating out is that it is far too easy to consume unwanted calories. In fact, according to the University of Toronto, the average sit-down entree at a restaurant is approximately 1,000 calories! That’s half of the recommended caloric intake in one course. To avoid gaining weight when you first start dating, make sure that you keep track of your calories. By spreading your calories out throughout the day, you are more likely to avoid the 1,000 calorie entree, and instead choose the 300 calorie appetizer as your main course. Another simple trick is to split your appetizer and entree with your date. Splitting meals allows you to enjoy additional courses without the extra calories or unwanted pounds.

Living Together — Moving-in means that it is time for joint grocery shopping adventures. Be prepared for the potential shock of a lifetime when your partner heads straight for the frozen food and junk food aisles. Instead of giving into unhealthy habits and keeping junk food in the cupboards, make sure that you choose high-protein and low calorie snack options. By removing temptations, you and your partner can more easily stick to weight loss goals and enjoy a healthy lifestyle from the comfort of your home.

Enjoying Married Life — Now that the drama of planning a wedding and making sure that all outfits fit perfectly, it is time to settle down and enjoy life post-honeymoon. And now for a word of caution! According to Andrea Meltzer, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University, the main reason that newlyweds gain weight is because they no longer have to worry about attracting a mate. Whether you believe this is true or not, be on the lookout for unhealthy eating habits. While you might not want to stick to your pre-wedding diet of protein shakes and green salads, you should create a newly-wed diet that helps you to keep the pounds at bay, while still allowing for the occasional luxury of a slice of chocolate cake. Remember, you found the love of your life so you should be able to “have your cake and eat it too,” just don’t over indulge with a third or fourth slice.

Raising A Family — Raising a family can be both a tough and fulfilling task. However, it is also a time in life when many men and women find themselves turning to the “quick fix” dinners and junk food snacks to get through a busy day of work, driving the kids to after school activities, helping with homework, and grabbing a precious hour or two of relaxing time before bed. With these challenges in mind, raising a family does present the unique opportunity of being able to teach the next generation about the benefits of healthy eating. Take the time to eat at least one healthy meal with your family on a daily basis. Make sure that breakfast starts the day off right with the correct portion of proteins and fruits, while dinner offers the a chance to prepare meals that represent the major food groups.

Healthy Relationships Can Help You Meet New Fitness Goals
As seen in the above relationship examples, it is easy to avoid the “relationship 15” when you remain cognizant of healthy eating (and exercise) habits. With this in mind, a healthy relationship can also help you to meet new fitness goals in three easy ways.

Rely on your built-in workout buddy. — When you are in a long term relationship, you have a built-in workout buddy. Your partner should know that fitness is important to you, and in this way should want to support you on your weight loss or fitness goals. Ask your partner to support you by helping you to stick to a fitness schedule. Whether it is going for a morning run Monday – Friday, or playing a game of soccer Saturday afternoon, your built-in workout buddy can help you to stay fit and strong throughout the year.
Sneak extra kisses. — Did you know that when you kiss or hug your partner the oxytocin levels in your brain can increase? This increase can activate satiety neurons in the brain and subsequently signal you to eat less. With this American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism report in mind, it practically goes without saying that an extra kiss here and there can help you to stay on track for your fitness goals.
Achieve a happier relationship. — There are a lot of memes out there that state “the couples that workout together stay together.” According to a Brigham Young University study, these memes are based in truth. The study followed 1,681 spouses for 20 years and discovered that the happily married pairs also reported to have better health. When you and your partner can find the time to workout together and eat healthily, you can enjoy numerous benefits. From avoiding the stress of bikini season to feeling extra sexy in your relationship, achieving a healthy lifestyle can greatly contribute to your relationship happiness levels.

With these tips and benefits in mind, isn’t it time that you enjoyed the perks of a relationship that is as healthy as it is loving? As you continue to strive to meet your weight loss and fitness goals, be sure to communicate your desires with your partner. Through their support and your joint healthy lifestyle, you can better position yourself for success.