Ways not to Address Weight Loss with your Partner

dieting-while-dating

Ways not to Address Weight Loss with your Partner

Lots of couples, especially cohabitating or married partners who are very comfortable with one another, have one person who needs to address the weight issues of another. It isn’t merely superficial, although your lover is a reflection of you. It isn’t generally meant to be mean or inconsiderate. It’s because being overweight is bad for your health and they care about their partner. That said, these people often go about it in the wrong manner. So instead of changing their partner’s behavior, perhaps the partner consumes more or takes part in even more unhealthful behavior, like smoking or drinking more due to relationship related stress.

You don’t need some master deception, you don’t need to start writing them checks or doing them favors, and pleading or giving ultimatums are all unlikely to change your partner’s eating habits, exercise regimen and overall health consciousness. Here are some likely scenarios to avoid when addressing weight loss and better ways to do it instead. First, don’t flat out say that they look heavier or have been gaining weight. Instead, start to think about or notice what the cause might be for sudden weight gain. Do they have a thyroid issue? Or is it due to emotional eating, like eating to relieve stress for instance?

Instead of shutting them down with “You’ve gained a lot of weight” ask “Are you okay? Is there something you want to talk about?” Studies have shown that open communication about a problem has curbed emotional eating. When you approach a partner like this it becomes okay to talk about and the problem may in fact be solved. Don’t tell your partner what not to eat. If you see them reaching for the chips instead of a piece of fruit, your statement will feel as though you are judging them. They’ll feel bad about it and it will cause resentment in the relationship. Couples have been known to stop being intimate, stop talking to one another and even split up or get divorced simply due to one person’s monitoring of the other’s diet. Instead of making this kind of statement, why not introduce your lover to healthful alternatives? Salsa and hummus for instance are much healthier than cheese dip or spinach dip. Fruit and vegetables can be made ready to eat in the house. Put out a fruit bowl. Wash and prepare healthy snacks and put them in the fridge. If you introduce your significant other to a healthy alternative, they will likely go for that instead.

In the end, it’s important to love and be there for your partner. Don’t be there parent or cop, be there by their side. Offer them support, caring, nurturing and encouragement. Offer solutions, requests and alternatives instead of demands and you’ll see a whole new partner, trim and healthy, and ready to thank you. For more relationship advice read, Reboot Your Relationship: Restoring Love through Real Communication in a Disconnected World by Joe Whitcomb and Savannah Ellis.

Overcoming the Winter Relationship Drain

COUPLE-IN-LOVE-WINTER

Overcoming the Winter Relationship Drain

In the barren landscape of this cruel season, your heart may feel as bitter as it is outside. Unfortunately for many, especially those who would rather hibernate, it’s often hard to keep a relationship vibrant during this time of year. Then there are bleak statistics like the fact that couples are more likely to split over the holidays and St. Valentine’s Day. The season can put extra pressure on a couple, particularly pertinent if they aren’t getting along to begin with. Psychologist Seth Meyers, PhD, says we tend to be moodier in the winter months, and our energy level is lower. These also take their toll on our love life.

HERE ARE SOME POTENTIAL RELATIONSHIP OBSTACLES AND HOW TO GET PAST THEM:

  • Both men and women feel cooped up during the cooler months, and this adds to our irritability. The lack of sunlight also robs us of serotonin—the happiness neurotransmitter in our brains. One way to combat this is to bundle up and go outside. Even if it’s just for a few minutes at lunchtime, a little sunlight can get the serotonin flowing, and make you your own fun-to-be-with self again.
  • Another problem is that we often try to feed this lack of serotonin with temporary fixes such as simple carbs, sugar or alcohol. These can make you feel better short-term, but when you crash later on you feel worse. This is when we find ourselves in a screaming match with our partner. Being “hangry” is no laughing matter. Nutritional psychologist Julia Ross suggests high protein snacks instead. Eggs, cottage cheese, fish, a handful of nuts or some natural peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat are all good options. These will give you a long-term boost while avoiding the blood-sugar roller coaster other foods put you through.
  • Winter is a time when some put on their thick, puffy socks, pajamas, swaddle themselves in blankets and settle down to a TV binge. This is not exactly the sexiest scenario. But a lack of sex in the winter can also spell a lack of connection. Exercising together can boost mood enhancing biochemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Why not hit the gym?
  • Also, work a little harder to keep the spark alive. Spend some time with the TV off. Play some nice music, light candles and get in the mood. Couple time is always appreciated. It makes your cuddling on the couch that much cozier. And cuddling releases oxytocin, the bonding neurochemical.
  • If you haven’t been intimate in a couple of weeks why not initiate a romantic setting and see how your partner responds? Skin gets dry in the winter. Offer to rub some lotion on your sweetie, and while you are at it give them a nice massage. Pick up their favorite dessert and feed it to them over hot cocoa or warm apple cider. Mulled wine and some fun conversation could work. Sure it may be a struggle, but get up and go out once in a while. A little bistro, live jazz, open mic night at your local coffee house or dancing at that hot little joint downtown are some fun options.
  • When it is time to snuggle on the couch, watch the latest RomCom, or perhaps something naughty.
  • Sometimes a little adrenaline can get the juices pumping and make you feel closer. Look for indoor rock climbing at the mall or laser tag at the arcade.

There are lots of fun and romantic things you can do to break out of the winter rut and embrace love, no matter how cold it is outside. For more on this subject read, The Truth about Love: The Highs, the Lows, and How You Can Make It Last Forever by Dr. Patricia Love, EdD.

How to be Healthy throughout a Divorce

stressed

How to be Healthy throughout a Divorce

It’s estimated that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce today. Though many are civil, they are all uncomfortable, draining and even painful. Then there are the problems of moving, adapting to a new financial situation, transitioning to being single again, and, for many, single parenthood. Helping children to get used to a new lifestyle is tumultuous as well. Depression, loneliness, misplaced anger, insecurity and anxiety can envelope you at this time. Lots of people let themselves go when they are going through a divorce, and wallow in these negative emotions. A recent Gallup poll found that those who are divorced scored lower on well-being measures including physical and emotional well-being. Keeping yourself healthy throughout a divorce and afterward can feel very challenging. This is especially true for women. Even after a divorce women have a higher risk of suffering from depression, making it crucial to know how to cope with negative emotions in a positive way. So how do you stay healthy throughout a divorce and in its aftermath? First, don’t wallow in isolation. Lots of people feel that they want to be alone. But then they spend too much time alone and this isolation begins to wear on them, or exacerbate their problems. Sometimes it has to do with pride. But there is no shame in reaching out for help and support. It takes a really strong person to do so actually.

Reach out to friends, family, mentors and other people who are close to you during this period. They will be there for you with open arms, advice, and comfort. Sometimes we just need someone to listen and validate how we are feeling. Let them know what form the comfort should take and they will be more than happy to oblige. It can also be beneficial to reach out to divorce support groups in your area. DivorceCare is one such group, but there are many others. When you get divorced it seems that so many priorities get in the way that your needs settle way down at the bottom of the list and hardly ever get addressed. Getting enough sleep should be a priority however. Preparing and eating healthy meals, getting enough exercise and making sure your emotional needs are met should also be on the docket and not at the bottom of the list, but near the top. You, your children, your coworkers and your family and friends are counting on you to be the best you you can be. They can’t make it without you. You are an essential part of their lives. But don’t just do it for them, do it for yourself. The healthier the lifestyle you commit to, especially during a divorce, the better off you will be and feel in the long run. Lastly, don’t perpetuate the feeling bad cycle. Everyone needs a chance to mourn. But if you are going to be sullen all the time people at first will be sympathetic, but if too much time has passed they will begin to put space between you and them. Find the positives in your life. Look for moments of joy. Laugh. Be lighthearted and find the positives in situations. Choose to be happy. It won’t be easy but it will be right. For more help with divorce recovery read, The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith by John W. James and Russell Friedman.

Nurturing Yourself to Improve Relationships

Self-Love

Nurturing Yourself to Improve Relationships

Everyone wants a relationship that is kind, passionate, successful and fulfilling. But what is often ignored are the steps you need to take in order to get there. You have to work on yourself to be ready for the right type of person and relationship that can embody these qualities. Nurturing yourself is key in improving your romantic relationships. Studies have shown that those who practice self-love are more forgiving, honest, are clearer headed about their relationships, and make better partners overall. It makes sense. Clingy people smother their significant others. And those who export their happiness to someone else put too much pressure on their partners. You deserve to have the right relationship and to be the right person within it so that you can help it grow and prosper. The first step is to explore the relationship you have with yourself. Are you kind to yourself? Do you give yourself a break when you need it? Or are you often self-critical and have exceptionally high standards for yourself? The people we find ourselves attracted to and those partners we chose for ourselves are reflections of inner forces. If you judge yourself too harshly or lack self-respect you are likely to choose someone who embodies those feelings. If you are kind and loving to yourself and have a positive self-image that will spill over into the type of person you choose for a mate.

Now it’s time to improve the relationship you have with yourself. Are you eating right? Do you exercise? Take a vow to take care of your body. Get enough sleep. Take part in an exercise regimen you enjoy and can do regularly. Find a healthy way of eating that works for you and stick with it. Those who improve their physical well-being have less sickness, better control of their stress, enjoy a positive self-image and better self-esteem. Next look at how you think about yourself. Do you call yourself names in your head? Do you listen to that little voice that criticizes? Instead find ways to reverse those things. Consciously select phrases and words that encourage yourself rather than discourage yourself. Give yourself a break. Practice loving kindness. When you’ve had a tough day, or did something wrong don’t attack yourself. Learn to give yourself a break. Think about what words you say or think when talking about yourself or your life. You can use those words to uplift you or send you screaming down into the shadows. It’s up to you. Find ways to mitigate stress that are healthy such as yoga, meditation, spending time with friends or watching comedies. Lastly, look how you treat yourself. Are you good to yourself or not? If not, find ways to celebrate little victories, overcome obstacles and learn how to treat yourself right. If you improve yourself you will glow and the person you are looking for will feel it like a beacon and come find you. To find out more on this topic be sure to read Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself as Effectively as You Care for Everyone Else by Alice D. Domar and Henry Dreher.

Want to boost your Partner’s Sex Drive? Make them Laugh

COUPLE-LAUGHING

Want to boost your Partner’s Sex Drive? Make them Laugh

Do you have a partner that has a low sex drive? Maybe watching a funny movie will help you thaw them out. Many psychologists have stated that laughing can relax you, boost your sex drive and lengthen your life. A book called Laughology: Improve Your Life with the Science of Laughter wants to teach people just how laughing can make their lives better, and how to inject a little more humor into them. Experts have claimed that a good laugh can boost your sex life and help you live longer. Psychologist Stephanie Davies, the author of the aforementioned tome, said that losing weight and looking young through a healthy lifestyle also help boost your partner’s drive. According to Ms. Davies there is nothing sexier than someone who can make you laugh.

Humor isn’t only a way to snuggle up to your honey. It’s also great for our health. Laughing fills our brains with serotonin, the happiness chemical which makes us magnetic, positive and sociable. Nothing works those abs better than a belly laugh. One study showed that a hard belly laugh for only ten to fifteen minutes per day can trim your waistline by a few pounds per year. Hearty laughter is as good as working out for ten minutes on the rowing machine. Those who are laughing constantly don’t make as many bad decisions. Depressed folks often grab for the junk food for comfort. But happy go lucky types don’t have this problem. Laughter has also been shown to suppress hunger in some studies. Laughing is good for the face, too. It increases the blood flow, making your skin more elastic and healthy looking. If making your partner laugh doesn’t work, and a low sex drive is an issue in the relationship, have your significant other visit a doctor. Physical illness, depression, stress and many more issues can be the cause. Talk to them and find out about what they are feeling. Are they going through a particularly stressful period or a rough patch? Find out what you can do to help, or at least make them feel better. A good laugh always helps.