... and he's affecting my habits, too!
So you've taken the leap and are making wedding plans. You're excited, exhilarated, but nagged by some uneasy feelings because of his eating habits. You're not perfect, but at least you know that what and how you eat is important, and you're consciously, consistently trying to improve your own eating habits. He, on the other hand, could care less, and routinely inhales junk food.
Relationships affect food, food affects relationships. Sex is certainly a prime focus in relationships, especially new ones. Yet overall, we're in the kitchen more than we are in the bedroom. And surprisingly, our food — habits, attitudes and even the hormones stimulated by it — can definitely impact dating and marriage interactions … for both sexes.
Nathan Thomas, a male vegetarian in his mid-thirties, shares, "The women I dated who didn't cook and ate a lot of processed food were generally more unhealthy. They struggled with mood swings, sugar cravings, weight and got sick more often than I did. And other things. The point here is that if things are too out of balance in one area of a person's life, it can impact everything else, including your relationship."
Usually, though, the shoe is on the other foot. More often than not, it's the female who's more focused on the couple's health and concerned about her partner's eating habits. One thing most married women will tell you, though, is don't get your expectations up too high. Don't bank on his changing. And don't fall prey to that starry-eyed illusion that almost all of us as fiancés get seduced into believing, which is: "He loves me so much, he'll want to change for me." Or even more disastrous, "I'll change him once we're married ... " Uh huh.
The reality is that even if you have great intentions to help him, eating together can influence your own eating habits as well. Dietitians at Britain's Newcastle University reviewed seven studies looking at the diets of men and women after they began living with a partner and discovered that women were more likely to fall into bad eating habits and gain weight when they started living with a man — even though they encouraged their lovers to eat more healthfully. Moving in together was the main cause of weight gain for 13% of the women in the survey.
Ironically, the men seemed to benefit more from their girlfriends' and wives' good food attitudes by eating more real food, fresh vegetables and fruit, less meat, so they were more likely to lose weight! This could be true, as the researchers suggest, because we're more apt to try and please one another when we first live together by changing our diets. But as things progress in long-term relationships, the tendency for partners to influence each other's eating patterns increases even more and not always for the positive. Keep reading ...
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