Being the only one dieting in your family is a tough situation to be in. You make up your mind—no fattening foods, potato chips or chocolate ice cream in the house. No more temptations, because you’re determined to change your habits and lose weight. But from talking to patients who want to lose weight, I say that’s often only half the battle.
For those trying to drop pounds or eat healthier, the other half—the more trying half—can be resisting your loved ones’ attempts to thwart your new found resolve. Here are some thoughts I have on the subject.
Limit Exposure to Guy Junk Food
Are you newly married? Some newlyweds are surprised to find out that not only do their new husbands own Bart Simpson bubble bath, but also that they love junk food, especially fatty foods. Ice cream. Potato Chips. Foods that you may have forgot existed, because as a single gal, you often subsisted on the four basic food groups: Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice and Slim-Fast.
Exposure to guy junk food can tear down your defenses, even if you’re just trying to lose 10 pounds. And from experience being a guy, I can tell you, many men do eat differently than women. The stereo-typical guy eats heavy, fattening foods. But it is possible to lose weight while living with a man.
I believe you must set firm ground rules, like the fact that certain fatty foods are out of bounds, period. Give your husband a special shelf (preferably one you can’t reach) to stash his junk food. Or ask him to hide it. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is one of the best ways of coping. Okay, every now and then, you might find some Oreos in strange places, like under the sofa pillows.
Cut Out Fattening Foods and Eat Less Than He Does
Men eat more than women. It’s just a fact; we eat like linemen. Even the feds have studied this: According to government surveys, the average American man 20 to 59 years old eats 2,758 calories a day, while the average American woman 20 to 59 eats 1,834 calories a day—about a third less. If you try to keep up with him, you’ll keep putting on weight. Stop matching him bite for bite (you might not even know you’re doing it). Always eat less than your husband does, particularly when dining out. At restaurants, immediately put one half of your meal to one side and bring it home in a doggie bag.
Exercise While He Watches TV
Not only do we eat like lineman, we like to watch linemen on TV. Whenever you get the chance, put some exercise equipment in front of the TV and do a half hour on the stepping machine or stationary bike while he’s watching sports. This strategy will help you get thin and stay that way.
Take Charge of the Kitchen: Eliminate Fatty Foods
If your husband doesn’t believe in low-fat, low-cal eating, don’t worry. You can fix healthy foods, and he’ll never know the difference (except if his pants start getting mysteriously too baggy and loose). Instead of using all ground beef, use half ground turkey and half beef with spaghetti, for example. Make pasta with fresh vegetables. Cook vegetarian. Use cooking spray to sauté foods; it’s a great way to cut down on the fat and calories. Done correctly, with the right food substitutions, low-fat meals taste as good—and sometimes better—than their fattening counterparts.
No matter how challenging your situation, stay focused and remember your reasons for wanting to get slimmer and healthier. Imagine if someone told you that you could live longer and have less pain in your life. Would you listen to what they had to say? Exercise and healthy eating is as close to the fountain of youth as we have today.
How do you maintain your ideal weight? Please share your tips and comment below!