If you’ve noticed the number on your bathroom scale creeping upwards over the course of your marriage, rest assured—you’re not alone.
A recent study published by the Obesity Society found that it is not uncommon for married individuals to gain 24 to 30 pounds within their first five years of marriage alone. From demanding home and work schedules to the lure of your children’s Halloween candy, married life poses countless hurdles that make it difficult to prioritize healthy eating and exercise.
Of course, that doesn’t mean married couples should just give up on their health and physical fitness. A healthy lifestyle for you and your spouse is key if you plan to maintain a long and happy marriage. By developing healthy habits, both of you can live longer, look better, boost your energy and confidence—even improve your sex lives. On the other end, surrendering to unhealthy habits can lead to more weight gain, costly medical bills, and loss of physical attraction.
Happily, rekindling healthy habits doesn’t require you to transform your entire lifestyle. Here are three simple tips to getting healthy together.
Discuss your health and fitness goals. In order to become a healthier couple, both of you must be on board. To start, each of you should work individually to draw up a list of personal goals. Next, share these with each other, before working together to create one final list of common health and fitness goals.
Try to settle on goals that are attainable, specific, and measurable—such as eating vegetables with every meal, exercising five times a week, and getting your sleep schedule back on track. By setting goals together and agreeing to work towards a common purpose, you can strengthen your relationship.
Plan your meals together. If you’re coming home from work late stressed and hungry every night, it’s often tempting to quickly defrost a frozen dinner or pickup some fast food. If you plan your meals ahead of time, you’ll find it easier to stick to cooking meals that are both delicious and well-rounded with protein, veggies, and fiber. Healthy nutrition and eating habits are at least 80% of maintaining a healthy weight, which is a major factor in wellness.
Stock your kitchen with healthy ingredients, so you are able to whip up healthy dishes quickly and easily. Keep your cupboards free of temptation—if your spouse can’t resist Ben & Jerry’s and you have a weakness for sugary cereals, agree to keep these items out of your household. Replace them with treats like fresh fruit, nuts, and yogurt.
Exercise together. Exercise is an important building block to good health, and ought to include some aerobic, some strength, and some stretching exercises on a weekly basis for the most effectively balanced program. I recently wrote about how exercise can help couples by boosting self-esteem, reducing stress, and carving out a time to talk. Join a gym together, or better yet try something totally new that takes you out of your comfort zone, such as martial arts, rock climbing, or paddle boarding. You’ll be getting fitter while developing a new, common interest and promoting creativity and adaptability in your relationship. Make sure you alternate picking out activities so you both feel part of the process.
Commit to getting enough sleep. Consistent 7-8 hours of sleep nightly is widely considered by health professionals to be the Foundation of good health, but many people don’t get it. Work with your partner to create a schedule that allows you both to get enough shut-eye regularly.
Partners can support all of the above with their partners, primarily by example, Dialogue, and Behavior Change Requests. The Mind is utterly connected to the Body, and wellness of each has a positive effect on all of my relationships.
If you’re finding that it’s a struggle to persuade your spouse to adopt a healthier lifestyle or get the support you need, Houston relationship counseling can help.