Small Changes

I don’t do well with big overhauls. I would fail terribly on any sort of regime that asked me to give up coffee, wine, or sugar. BUT I do know that certain things make me feel good (big, lunchtime salads!) while others make me feel tired, bloated, and blah. I’ve been implementing small changes lately and am hoping they’ll produce good results in the long term.

I’ve been dating the man-friend for a few months now and while the dating life is fun, dinners out and lazy weekends can take their toll on healthy living. On date night(s) we usually split a bottle of wine and a decadent dessert, so on the other days of the week I’ve been trying to fill my plate with extra nutritious things.

I usually eat a salad for lunch, but on nights when I dine alone (i.e. not at a restaurant), I’ll try to have a second salad for dinner. This isn’t wimpy iceburg lettuce, however. I fill my bowl with lots of veggies, protein, and a source of healthy fat (olive oil based dressings, avocado, etc). Making sure I get my fill of veggies on these nights gives me a little more wiggle room on the nights I eat arepas, pizza, and burgers with the man-friend.

Instead of afternoon chocolate or sunchips (my fav salty snack!), I’ve started eating a yogurt parfait made with plain yogurt, berries, and a bit of granola.

In the evenings, I sometimes replace tiramisu and cookies with a cup of The Lite Choice. Usually I’d shy away from anything with “lite” in the name, but this stuff is actually pretty good. It’s made with real milk and there’s no high fructose corn syrup or artificial additives/preservatives. My favorite flavor is peanut butter – they grind the peanuts on-site and swirl it into the vanilla soft serve!

I briefly mentioned this before, but I’m making (attempting?) a return to strength training. Last week I performed a “super set” workout – basically that means I performed sets of strength exercises back-to-back without rest. The workout is from Women’s Health Magazine and they posted it online – Superset workout with cardio. It’s a good one! I already have pretty strong quads and calves from running, but I’m always looking for ways to balance out my weaker areas (ahem, core/arms). Some days I only have time for a few sets of lunges, but even doing a little something makes me feel like I’m on track. Secret – if I’m stuck at my desk during lunch, I’ll sometimes go to an empty conference room/restroom later in the afternoon and do some squats and lunges. Yeah, I might look like a crazy person if someone walks in, but I’ll take the risk.

The tentative running plan for this week:

Monday: 7 miles a.m. w/ the roomie, 3 miles p.m.

Tuesday: 6 miles p.m. w/ Megan M.

Wednesday: 4.5 miles p.m.

Thursday: 8 miles a.m. with Kelly and Maria 🙂

Friday: 4 miles a.m. before leaving for Vermont!

Saturday: 10 miles a.m. in Vermont (hopefully early…before everyone wakes up!)

Sunday: Rest Day

Total: 43 miles

Do your healthy living habits change when you’re single vs. when you’re dating someone? How do you make it work, any advice? I’m definitely not the kind of girl who can order dry salads and seltzer for dinner!

  • bwahahahah! I totally do that in my empty conference rooms too. I almost got caught once – two ppl came in to use the room and I had to pretend like I was on the phone. phew!

    That parfait looks delicious! although do I spy some mashed potato concoction in the upper left corner of that salad? Forget dating, healthy living habits completely go out the door as a working married couple. When you don’t get home until after 8, you just toss together whatever’s handy in the fridge/pantry. So I try to eat healthy the rest of the day, that way if I don’t have that many options for dinner, I don’t feel too guilty.

  • Patrick @ appetite for good

    Haha this is a great article but haha personal experience… dating makes me fat 🙁 not only because of the lazy weekends and going out to eat but just the loss of motivation haha who is there to impress 🙂

  • Megan M.

    Hollllller on the 6 miles…!!

    PS dating def makes me chubs.

    But i decided i’m fighting it so that instead of letting it make me chubs, i’m going to use it to make the sig-o healthier whether he likes it or not. (fyi regardless of my legal status change in the next few months, i do not plan to refer to him as “hubs” “hubby” or “DH” just, you know, fyi.)

  • Anonymous

    yes! that’s a bit of german potato salad in the corner 🙂 my office
    cafeteria has a great hot & cold salad bar.

  • Anonymous

    thank god. whenever i see DH, DW, DBF, etc on forums or blogs I want to stab
    my eye out.

  • I love how you keep it all balanced! I haven’t tried TLC yet, glad to hear it’s good. Maybe I’ll stop by once I’m off these crutches! 😉

    Thankfully my husband is just as addicted to the gym as I am, so we get up and go each morning together. I have to be careful though and not follow his lead all the time when he gets out the bag of tortilla chips to munch on! We like to cook at home, which is also a big help!

  • Jessica

    Smaller portions and substitutions! My boyfriend and I like to eat pretty healthy, but when we started dating and eating meals together at home, there was definitely a short educational period about what was healthy and what wasn’t. Now, I’ve learned to make a lot of substitutions for things, like if I make lasagne, I use lean ground turkey and cottage cheese instead of ricotta, and add in spinach. It’s been a process, but better for both our waistlines!

  • HA! I have vivid memories of buying large chocolate frosted cake slices from the grocery store for my husband and I when we first started dating. Like, on a Tuesday night. Enjoy it!
    Thankfully, we’ve changed our habits since. He’s an avid marathoner and we just try to keep it healthy during the week, and splurge on the weekends.
    But, I agree – nothing beats a massive salad for lunch. Yum.

  • I definitely gained weight when I started dating my boyfriend. He is not a dessert eater, so I stopped trying to make the “perfect cookie” to please him because he would always only eat 2 right when they’d come out of the oven and then leave the rest for me!! I think you’re doing the right thing though. If you want to enjoy wine AND dessert for dinners out, make an effort to eat better the rest of the day..and the next. I also tend to be much healthier during the week and then not so healthy on the weekends 🙂 It’s all about moderation!

  • RTK

    I tried to make my eating out with my man-friend more stealthily healthy because the unhealthy on dates then super healthy on off days wasn’t getting me anywhere. Try to go to places where there is a lot of variety so you can still go out and drink that half bottle of wine, but maybe something less bad as your main course than pizza/pasta burger? Or more squats in the conference room!

  • The ex-man and I ate out a ton, which ended up not being so great for me (or for him!). Luckily I’m eating waaay better now that we broke up, although we shall see, we are going out tonight for a post-breakup dinner at a restaurant we have been both been dying to try….I’m sure it will back to not so healthy foods, but hey, it’s just for a night!

  • ff

  • When my boyfriend and I were first dating, we went out a lot. While it’s fun, it can get expensive, even if you’re not going to pricey joints. We started cooking together at home and then doing stuff like taking a walk or going out for ice cream. We’ve been living together about 3 years and still try to make nice dinners on blah days. I do like to go out once a week or so though. I usually try to order something with lots of veggies.

  • Oh I know what you mean! When I’m dating someone (bahahahaha, hilarious…), I go to bed, later, go out to eat more, etc. It’s all in good fun though, espcially at the start of a relationship. I think after a while you just reach a happy medium though, you know?

  • i’m glad you don’t eat wimpy salads! me either! my salads never look like “typical salads”.

    and when i’m dating someone my healthy habits sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiid. it’s just so much nicer to cuddle than go out and run.

  • Oh wow the lite choice sounds so good! I’ve been taken for quite sometime now and my man knows I can eat although I do love salad!

  • Oh wow the lite choice sounds so good! I’ve been taken for quite sometime now and my man knows I can eat although I do love salad!

  • Geez louise, I could have written this post. I LOVE dinners out and beer drinking with the fella, but I think they are starting to catch up to me. Luckily, now that we are both in training for some races, we are starting to eat a little healthier at dinner. Not that the beer drinking is going anywhere, just a little less…

  • Anonymous

    It’s so hard when you’re hanging out/eating with a guy not to eat LIKE a guy. I have a pretty hearty appetite so can certainly keep up (and usually initiate ordering dessert).

    I like ordering and splitting a few appetizers, then either ordering a salad (if one looks appetizing and filling), or ordering a normal dish but eating half and taking the rest home- it’s like bonus leftovers for lunch and dinner! The appetizers usually help me feel like I had something hearty, and I’ve been known to sneak a bite or two of my guy’s meal (not on the 1st date…) to feel like I had a bit of everything and am satisfied. I also try to drink a little slower so he takes a larger % of the wine bottle than I 🙂

    But, if I am at a really nice restaurant or there is a more decadent dish I want to try, I go for it and balance it out the rest of the day or week.

    Have fun in VT! Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  • Do you think the man-friend will ever want to make an appearance on the blog??

  • Corey @ runners cookie

    I love that you’ve recently introduced the “man friend” 🙂 I can totally relate to this – I moved in with my boyfriend last Sept. and it was an adjustment for me to learn how to compromise with meals and keep my normal portions in mind. When we make something like chicken parm or pizza, I will often just also make a huge salad or a side of roasted veggies to go with it so I don’t need to fill up on just the more “manly” stuff alone. Or if he wants burgers, I will ask him to throw on a veggie burger or turkey burger for me. I think it also took a little time to figure out where we could meet in the middle on things, for example luckily he doesn’t mind whole grain pasta.

  • man-friend

    the man friend observes the blog with quite regularity and will soon reveal his true identity

  • Kristan

    So smart of you to keep note of your eating habits while dating. When I first moved in with the fiance years back, I thought I could eat as much as him. BIG mistake. I had to realize that we can eat together, but just cut the amount of food I consumed compared to him. Now I just make him eat healthier.

  • Anonymous

    dude. i totally can relate to this post. i thought i’d get fat dating BT, but instead put on a few healthy lovin’ pounds that i needed, and then threw some yoga into the mix and got jacked 😉 well… for me, at least. hehe. but yeah. salads are necessary for lunch if i’m having dinner with BT, because we eat a lot. less out like we used to, but still a lot. and now with this guac business, i might actually turn into an avocado/ short and plump mexican (jewish) woman. oy vey.

  • oo I’ll have to try the lite choice. I can’t take Tasti D, but all the Murray Hillionites keep them in business! I’m obsessed with salt and vinegar pop chips, though, if I want something salty. When I was dating this guy (an i-banker), we ate out a lot and thank jesus I was running or I would’ve been headed towards obesity. I think I actually lost some weight. I’m going to go with it was eating higher quality food rather than increasing my mileage (which fyi – your current week is the most I’ve ever run and was in this current marathon training cycle, which ends next week — ahh!)

  • I have heard a lot of studies about how your weight changes in/out of a relationship, but I would argue that it goes both ways. I’m likely to drink more when I’m single, because bars are such a popular pick up spot, whereas on a Friday night if I’m attached, I’m more likely to be home watching a movie. And alcohol has a lot of calories! However, in my last relationship, my bf hated cooking and didn’t have a kitchen equipped for it, so we got a lot of takeout… which definitely made me pack on the pounds. I’d say I eat healthier FOODS when I’m single, but drink healthier DRINKS when I’m dating 🙂

  • Kelly

    HAHA! Awesome!

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  • Yummy.. Peanut butter is also my favorite flavor. My mother was baked it last weekend. But during this weekend, I wish that my mother bake vanilla flavor as you have enjoyed.