The truth on eating healthy as a couple

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I’ve been wanting to talk about this topic for ages, but something always distracted / prevented me from posting. It was possibly because I was struggling (and still struggle) with this whole concept of “clean couples eating”. We have such different tastes and thoughts on food, and I only have to say “quinoa” to get an arched eyebrow from my husband! Another reason I’ve avoided it is my feeling that the blogging/online health community is pretty much obsessed with 20-30 something girlies who eat kale from heart shaped plates alone, and there is no mention of a partner in sight ! in fact I’ve found i think only a handful of posts in all my years of reading blogs that address the dilemma of eating healthy in a relationship.

And of course, can I just add i don’t just mean significant others – it was just as hard for me living during university (with 5 girls ! ALL fitness freaks, may I add!) not to mention trying to branch out eating “clean” when I lived at home with my parents.

So how do we hold true to our “diets” (I use that term VERY loosely) when it feels like our immediate circle doesn’t share the same ethos? How can you eat healthy as a couple when his idea of good food is a greasy loaded cheeseburger and yours is raw juices?

I’ve always have a good set of curves, but its fair to say when I got myself into a happy loving relationship – it was like a internal switch went off in the back of my mind that i can now “relax” (not like I was uptight before, mind you!). I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted with my man. Whether it was fancy dinners out, or takeaways on the sofa – our love for each other was echoed in our mutual love for food! Who was I wanting to impress? he loved me, put a ring on it, and now I could just chill!. Like many newly weds, we gained weight in our first year of marriage (me more than him) and unfortunately what they say is true – its much easier to put it on then take it off!!

I’m happy to share that not only have I lost most of my “married” weight, but I’m well on my way to be lighter than I was when we first met 6 years ago (gush!) AND not just that, we are eating cleaner and healthier together as a couple which, trust me, is my BIGGEST achievement! Here are my thoughts on how to get healthy as a couple, and also tips on getting your partner/housemate/’rents eating a bit healthier too in the process!

1. Step away from fear and move into fearlessness

When we first got together we halved all our meals equally – pizza, big sharing curries, you name it, we ate it! I ate man sized portions, and then a bit more. There was a part of me very afraid of stepping out and being assertive. I didn’t want to be that girl asking for “dressing on the side” eating rabbit food. I didn’t want to be different, and I didn’t want to offend him, or my mother, or anyone for that matter. However, that fear became crippling and led me on a slippery slope to obesity. Not wanting to upset people was the story of my life, and it showed in my XXL clothes. I realised one day that I’m not a man (ha, DUH) and I don’t need to eat man sized portions. I realised, slowly, that my mum didn’t love me any less if I said no to her cake. I thought to myself whats the worst that could happen? if he dumped me for choosing salad over pasta than it obviously isn’t meant to be!! It took some time for everyone to adjust, and even more time for me to have the courage to stand out alone and be bold, but being fearless has not only made them respect and love me more, but I’ve lost valuable pounds in the process!

2. Be your own example

If you are tired of your partners/family bad eating habits, I’ve learnt (the hard way) that the worst thing you can do is forcefeed them your barley and hemp protein saying BE HEALTHY NOW! EAT THIS – THAT IS AN ORDER!!!! In fact as all nagging, it has the complete opposite effect and a waste of time. Food is so personal – our relationships with food are so individual and unique. I remember when I was younger (and bigger) I loathed people trying to “advise” me on healthy eating. I just wasn’t in that head space and I wasn’t ready – I was in full blown denial and no amount of “encouragement” did any good.

What I have been doing is focussing on my plate. As the great Mahatma Gandhi says “Be the change you want to see in the world”. You can’t control what he wants to eat, but you can control what YOU eat. If you are cooking for the both of you, play with your portions so maybe your plate has a higher ratio of greens than his, for example, or take a smaller slice of lasagne instead of 50:50 if you are wanting to lose weight. I honestly believe that a positive, healthy committed lifestyle is contagious. People will see you looking brighter, feeling better and will link your behaviours to your visible results.

3. Muscle in some control

If you are doing more of the shopping and cooking – you can actually have a lot of say of what gets eaten at your home on a daily basis. You can’t complain or blame your partner or kids eat unhealthy if you are the one stocking the cupboards! I’ve been experimenting with limiting the bulk of our food shop to clean filling and healthy foods and making foods with those ingredients that taste great but also are good for you (double score!) If you live with housemates or parents, try and negotiate to get in a little shop of your own or your own corner of the fridge shelf (God I remember those days…!) so you can control what you cook and eat.

4. Stop saying “Clean” and “Healthy” to him all.the.freaking.time

I know we love the movement – we love eating clean, eating healthy and eating filling… but imagine a world where food is just healthy – it doesn’t have to be proclaimed at every meal “see? i told you clean is great” or “see i told you Kale is healthy”.  Let food just be food. Let meals together be about love, about friendship, about companionship, taste and enjoyment. It goes back to my point about nagging and harping on about stuff expecting it to force change. Let your actions speak volumes. Soon those “clean” dishes will become family favourites. For example, I made a butternut squash “mash potato” which we had with lovely posh sausages – and now its my husbands firm favourite mash we don’t make anything else! Also after cooking lots of (healthy) dinners together, we now only stock brown rice as my husband prefers it to white! Let healthy foods be the norm, the default , the standard in your home – so that you can use that energy to focus on other things in your relationship!

It won’t happen overnight, but I hope these truths and tips will help you slowly but surely make some changes not only in your own nutrition but also in eating healthier as a couple

love Grace xxx


7 thoughts on “The truth on eating healthy as a couple

  1. fattywantsabiscuit says:

    This was such an interesting and heartfelt post to read! I really related to it so much.

    One of the main reasons it took me so long to join weight watchers was because I was scared it wouldn’t fit in with my lifestyle. I still live with my parents and love eating meals with them and didn’t want to have to have separate dinners and eat at different times or be weird and way stuff. Stupid me should’ve realised that they’ll be supportive and they’ll eat the meals that will be good for me. They let me do 90% of the cooking now and I make things extra healthy for me and tweak some of their food for them to make it work. It’s really bit that difficult.

    My other concern was my boyfriend also lives with his parents and I was worried about looking really fussy around them. Now is know that if my heads in the game it’s easy to just assess what’s put in front of me eat, eat the healthy bits and point anything extra, and that they don’t mind if I don’t eat the bread butter or pudding as it means theres more for them.

    I can totally relate to portion sizes too! I’d always have portion sizes the same as my dad or boyfriend and almost see it as a challenge to eat it all. I always wondered how my mom could be full on such smaller potions, but now i understand. I used to wolf food down only to be hit after by the hunger, now I eat slowly and enjoy my food and get a satisfied feeling from it & really enjoy it!

    You’re doing so incredibly well and I’m so enjoying following your journey 😊

    1. poshpiggy says:

      Thank you do much Laura for your lovely message ! It’s amazing just plucking up that little courage to be bold has made such a difference to both our journeys! I also totally sympathise with your in laws dilemma – my mother in law loves to feed me (and everyone) gloriously rich curries and cakes – she looks at me a little saddened when I say no but I hope in time she will see my weight loss and realise why I was “bein rude” refusing ! I think it’s taken me so long but I feel I can finally say “I’m watching my weight” or I’m trying to eat healthier and stand up for myself! So proud of us keep going !xxx

      1. fattywantsabiscuit says:

        Woo, so glad my post actually sent 🙂 I know, it really is amazing the difference it can make! Some people are such feeders!!! We will get there though 🙂

  2. Tubontherun says:

    My husband and I both need to lose weight, and generally speaking, when we’re on it, it isn’t too hard to do. Luckily, we both like the same kind of foods, but I have definitely learnt not to ram “healthy/clean/diet-approved” down his throat, as I can literally see the switch flick over into disinterested.

    The problem for us is that if one of us is “let’s get takeaway”, the other rarely counters that, and so we kind of fuel each others’ bad eating. Planning and batch cooking helps a bit though!

    Great post – and you’re right, I don’t often see evidence of couples eating healthy, more the kale eating heart shaped bowl single persons.

  3. hollycooksthebooks says:

    Great blog! I think you are right, it is harder to eat well when you are in a relationship – my last boyfriend used to open a bag of haribo in bed!! The good thing was he ate like a horse so I’d always eat my fill and give the rest of anything to him! I’ve been single now for ages so no idea how I would adapt to cooking and eating with someone who eats differently to me – I guess there’s always going to need to be a bit of compromise both ways. Either way I am not going to eat meat for any man!! Xx

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