Making Health & Fitness Work in Relationships
Staff writer Kelly Fitzpatrick takes a personal look into the world of health and fitness within relationships. How do you mesh your goals with your significant other’s?
Health and fitness is hard. Though our goals are often similar, your goals are unique. Your story is different. Your journey is yours. Or so the Greatist Manifesto tells us. And while I agree with the sentiment, sometimes things just aren’t that simple.
Moving in with a significant other is never easy. Between the closet space power struggles and bickering over who should take out the garbage (“You’re still wearing shoes, can’t you just take it?”), there’s the inevitable meshing of two previously distinct and separate lives. And suddenly, your journey becomes our journey. Your goals, our goals, or else your goals may be left abandoned in the pile of health and fitness good intentions.
Perhaps it’s the fact that my own 9-to-5 necessitates examining health and fitness practices (my own, in particular) under a microscope, but I never realized just how ingrained my preferences, habits, and routines were until I moved in with my boyfriend. When it comes to the big things— eating, sleeping, exercising (or not exercising)— adapting is hard for me.
I love cooking and baking, and I’m extremely grateful to have a metabolism that forgives indulgences. I’d rather sleep late than hit the gym, and I don’t sweat. Seriously, I just don’t. My boyfriend, Alex, on the other hand is extremely calorie-conscious. If he’s going to indulge it almost always involves beer or Scotch, and he works out every morning, five days a week. His knowledge of strength training boggles my mind, and I research this stuff professionally. And thinking on these differences (and the guilt of pushing homemade goodies on him), I had to wonder: Does anyone have this down?
I’m planning to do a full-on exploration into the world of health and fitness within relationships, but I want to hear from you, too. How do you make things work (or not work) in your relationship? Have you pushed each other to live healthier, happier lives? Respond in the comments section below.
Photo by Cris Magliozzi
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I don't live with my boyfriend, but when I see him on weekends we try to push each other to reach our fitness goals for the day. Sometimes it can be aggravating when you hve the drive and he doesn't or vice-versa. We both follow a traditional healthy lifestyle, so we take turns being each other's mentors. I would say balance and encouragement are key when living with someone. Embrace your differences But make sure to allow time for specifically you like to do.
I'm very jealous you found someone who shares your goals so distinctly (and that you're able to motivate each other well). I would gladly take pointers...
I don't live with my boyfriend, but within the first year of dating, I had gained probably 15 pounds. He's naturally tall and skinny, never worries about what he eats and rarely works out. This summer I let him know that I was going to start losing weight and although it took a while for him to really understand, he supports me. I've lost more than 20 pounds and look and feel better than I ever have! Even in a relationship, it is an individual journey; you just have to be open and honest about the support you need for your goals and respect his/her goals too.
Congratulations on your weight loss! I'm impressed (and encouraged) you found a way to support each other.
Hey samanthagetsfit, if you'd be interested in being interviewed for this story, I'd love to chat. Email me at kelly [at] greatist [dot] com if you're intrested!
my boyfriend lost about 50 lbs over the course of a year, and i have lost about 50 this year, and have another 15 to go. we have kept each other motivated pretty well. i've been on a super strict diet (just milk, vegetables, fruits, and egg.. and ofc, loads of water!) since july and have been doing pretty well. he and i don't live together, but we meet a few times during the week. his self-imposed diet, to maintain his weight, is such that he eats one meal a day monday-friday.. and he'll keep it very simple (whole wheat tortillas, vegetable stir fry, raw veggies, fruits, etc).. but saturday and sunday are his cheat days. it's really hard for us to find stuff to do since we live in the suburbs and there's just so much socializing to do over food! he is supportive but lately hasn't been encouraging me because he believes i don't need to lose anymore and is constantly showering me with compliments.. i believe at 5'2'', 120 would be a great point to stop but he doesn't agree. it definitely makes a difference when your partner supports you. im glad at the very least that i can share with him how my 'new' body feels and how my relationship with food has changed.. it's nice to have made lifestyle changes with him by my side :)
Wow, congratulations on losing those 50 pounds! I agree it is especially difficult when your significant other doesn't see eye-to-eye with your goals. Hopefully when you reach that goal weight he'll see how proud you are (even more than now!) and be able to celebrate with you. Good luck on the last 15— and I'd love to hear when you make it. :)
hi again, hungrygirl. I'm looking for folks to interview for this series. Would you (and your bf) be interested? If so, email me: kelly [at] greatist [dot] come
I am just about to move in with my boyfriend (who doesn't work out very much and loves to stay out late drinking beer more than I do) and I'm very worried about this! Can't wait to read your post. I guess the only thing I'm keeping in mind is that alone time is really important for couples. So I plan to spend my alone time working out! Also, he loves that I work out and tells me often, which really, really helps. I just hope the uptick in sex counterbalances the lack of AM Yoga workouts.
My boyfriend is all about the staying out late drinking beer, too. Is it just me or does it ALWAYS result in getting a cold? Something about the booze+lack of sleep combo always kills my immunity! And you're so right about the alone time— my bf gets his at the gym every morning and I spend that time sleeping (perhaps this is the root of my problem). We've actually discussed possibly trying to workout together. We've never, ever exercised together (aside from walks in Central Park, marathon grocery shopping trips, etc., obviously), so it should be interesting. Good luck with your move!
I have lived with my boyfriend for over a year. My boyfriend and I have only recently begun to work on fitness together (he coaches me). After suffering from crippling body image issues and self-abuse with restriction for years, I finally got on board with a fitness routine. Michael works out at a gym, and does lifting and cardio. He is very healthy. I am a petite woman at 5'3, but I hated the way I looked. I'm thin by societal standards, but I have a hard time with food. I feel like my metabolism is slow, and so I combined that with barely eating. That made it worse. After months of complaining, crying and being frustrated with my body he offered to help. I had refused his help for months, but when we moved into a new place I decided to give it a go. We did a bunch of body weight exercises, and at first I couldn't even do a pushup. He taught me nutritional things as well. Now, three months later I am seeing abs. I am completely muscle in my legs. I am lean, and I feel great. I look in the mirror, and see myself for who I really am. He works out 4-5 days a week, and I do as well. My routines consist of pushups, planks, squats, lunges, burpees etc.