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Thread: Cohabitation Weight Gain

  1. #1
    Senior Member SiouzQ.'s Avatar
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    Cohabitation Weight Gain

    I've been meaning to write this for about the past week and this kind of goes hand-in-hand with Chicken Lady's post about being held accountable for what I eat, but I am finding that co-habitating with my boyfriend is causing both of our weights to creep upward. I have gained about 12 lbs since I moved to New Mexico back in 2016 and there are so many reasons why, but knowing all that doesn't make it any easier to do something about it. Almost five years post-Wholefoods job I realize my weight loss during then was very place specific, meaning I was running around ALL THE TIME at that job and it kept me fit. I also had no social life and rarely drank alcohol. I was really strict and anal about everything in my life - money-sleep-free time; I exerted so much control over everything I did and as a result I saved lots of money, was quite svelte and was building my jewelry business. All of that positioned me for moving forward in my goals for my life.

    Fast Forward 4.5 years: I really do have the life I want, I am social when I want to be (but it all revolves around booze), have been in a relationship for three years, have a job much more suited to me (but is VERY sedentary) and now I am heavier than I have been in a long time. At least I am tall and hide it pretty well, but I don't like the fact that most of my old clothes don't fit and I hate wearing jeans now. So MANY factors go into this: losing my daughter the exact year I went through menopause, and having such a variety of health issues last year serve to make me feel like I have aged tremendously in the last 18 months. So many things on my body hurt - my lower back, my wrists, my neck - you name it, it will probably be hurting on any given day.

    But back to the title of this piece: my boyfriend has to commute an hour each way and he really enjoys a good dinner when he gets home. He is a meat-n-potatoes kind of guy, and also a Type I Diabetic. We take turns with the cooking. On my days I usually cook a home made meal but he likes and needs to have a carb, a protein, and some fat in order to keep his blood sugar levels on target. He also has a terrible sweet tooth, which is not good for a diabetic. All fall we got into this habit of having a little ice cream while we watch Netflix. Ping, there's a few pounds on me right there...plus having a beer or two a couple of times a week. But on his day to cook, he procures dinner from the deli or the frozen food section at the grocery store on the way home; I can't expect him to actually "cook" something homemade after his commute. I rarely watch my portions either; I'll be doing something while he "makes" dinner on his day and when I go to sit down my plate is piled almost as much as he piles onto his. There are so many things I could be doing to get out of this overeating rut that I haven't been doing, but I am starting to now, at least. I don't think being too skinny looks very good on older women; I just want to lose 8-10 lbs; between 160 and 164 is where I would prefer to be.

    So here is my start:

    1. I joined the community center gym in Santa Fe but can only go once or twice a week, as it is a 30 mile drive. I go on my days off when I go to town to do errands. This schedule will be disrupted as I am on jury duty for the next two months.
    2. I am cooking at least two vegetarian meals on my days to cook.
    3. I need to measure out my own portions (and put on a smaller plate like I used to) instaed of letting him serve me.
    4. We are not buying ice cream anymore, but K. keeps buying Pepperidge Farm cookies for Netflix time. I keep it at two cookies per evening.
    5. I'm trying not to drink beer but once or twice a week at the most
    6. I am doing more stuff around the house and yard (weather permitting).
    7. I keep less food at the gallery (where I used to live) so I am not eating indiscriminately through out the day. I usually bring a specific lunch and snack and try really hard not to go up to the general store and buy a snack because I am bored.
    8. As the days get longer and the desert dries out, we plan to do a lot more walking and also there is a TON of yard work and landscaping to do (as long as my hands hold out...they really get quite sore and I can't do the stuff I used to be able to at the intensity I am used to).
    9. I need acceptance that my body really is changing and that is pretty normal for a woman my age. I actually look voluptuous, not fat really, just a lot curvier than I ever used to be. I was pretty skinny as a stick as a child and teenager . Now a lot of my weight gain is in the belly and chest area so I need to go buy some new bras. I do dress well to enhance my figure and have no desire to squeeze myself into too small clothes. I love leggings and stretchy skirts right now!

    How do you manage living with someone when there are two different styles of eating going on? I am much better about what I eat when I am on my own!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Definitely use the small plate and fix your own. It’s really tough as you age to keep weight down. I know exactly what you mean about things hurting.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    DW and I have moved to me cooking keto for both of us. Breakfast and lunch typically are our own things. I've moved to eating essentially the same meal every day for breakfast (egg and breakfast meat of some kind) and lunch (big green salad with some protein [and fat if there isn't any in the protein]). DW is fine with a cup of yogurt or a PB & J sandwich for lunch; sometimes she'll take leftovers or a prepared frozen entrée she can keep at work and heat if she's in the mood for/has time for lunch.

    Dinner is usually home-cooked and always keto-friendly. DW has had bariatric surgery so she eats a smaller portion than I do (overindulging, especially for keto dishes, which can be higher in fat, results in -- umm -- negative digestive feedback for her). Later on she'll have some crackers or a banana or a carby snack. If I'm hungry I'll have a keto-friendly snack (cheese, pickle, pork rinds) sometime before 8 pm (messes with my morning blood glucose if I eat much later than that).

    And that works for us. At first I was making the keto-friendly dinner and then adding some rice or potatoes or noodles to DW's plate, but she found the keto food so filling that the starch leftovers usually spent long enough in the fridge to get tossed out. This way we keep down special meal prep, wedon't keep so much tempting stuff in the house, and DW can graze (her preferred way to eat).

    We don't typically eat at restaurants (hard for me to keep the carbs down; sometimes not what she wants to eat, either) and we're not fans of take-away food (because of the carb content of much of it; besides, I usually have time to cook at least something simple from the freezer or I can thaw leftovers from a more complex meal). We sometimes buy rotisserie chicken since one will feed us at least twice and will supply bones for soup at a later date -- quick, fairly inexpensive, and more healthful than many other prepared choices.

    As far as activities together go, there's dancing and chasing after toddler grandchildren. Otherwise there's housekeeping, outside chores, and a couple of volunteer gigs for me which involve heavy lifting a few times a month. I expect that will change some when DW retires. We should be more active than we are. All in good time...
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  4. #4
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    I don't cohabitate, but I do do the cooking. It's one reason why I said it's more tiring to be in a relationship, I think this is generally true for women - relationships create additional work for women. But if cooking is going to happen, it's up to me.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  5. #5
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    It can be very hard when goals or preferences are not aligned. Back in December, I told DH of my goal to eat less meat. So far he is on board but not real happy about it. I also have the same issue but with wine/beer. We don't drink excessively but I would like to cut back. He always says do what you want, but it's hard when your spouse has no interest in cutting back so the temptation to join in remains.

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    DH and I are almost polar opposites when it comes to eating, and it's really getting worse. He "lives to eat" and he LOVES salt, fat, bread, pasta, and red meat. And muffins, and movie theatre candy. Because of health issues, he's supposed to be VERY careful and moderate the bad stuff, but he's not a guy who moderates his behavior well.

    I, on the other hand, am more the "eat to live" type. I spent 10 years as a vegetarian. I do not have a discriminating palate or strong cravings, although I do love a cookie or two. I'm only fussy about food to the extent that I really would like it to be reasonably healthy.

    Here's a perfect example. I really love fish and he rarely makes it, or asks me to make it. So I kind of insisted on it this week, and he complained about it. He wanted to bread and deep fry it. I wanted to make it "en papillote"--wrapped in aluminum foil and baked with a little butter and garlic and roasted peppers and olives.

    Because his gastronomic desires are stronger than mine, I typically give in. But when I'm trying to eat healthier, as I am these days, it feels like I'm doomed. I'm ready to just ask him if we can have 4 days where we just make our own dinners and 3 days when we share things that we both can agree on.
    Last edited by catherine; 2-5-20 at 8:02am.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member SiouzQ.'s Avatar
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    K. eats a LOT better now than he had been before he met me. I have him wanting to eat salads or other green vegetables at every dinner. I even got him to try brussel sprouts and he loves them (of course they need to have bacon roasted along with them - I make them the way I used to when I was at Wholefoods).

    I think the biggest thing for me is the portion control, especially on days he procures dinner. I also have another weird problem; since I really hate wasting food I am the one who is always saving the little bitty scraps of things instead of throwing them away like he would. It's sort of like that hold over from finishing up the stuff on a toddler's plate. I usually take those for lunch the next day when perhaps I really should be taking a big salad. Having fresh vegetables is a real problem out here in the boonies - I only go to Santa Fe maybe twice a week and it is hard to stock up on stuff and use it before it goes bad. At least K. can stop by a grocery store on the way home when he gets off I-40 to head up into the mountains.

    Basically, I need to be the one who makes the right choices for me. There is only one way to lose weight, which is eat less and exercise more! And say NO to myself when I reach for something just to keep my mouth busy. Most of the time I don't think I am really all that hungry. I hate to admit that sometimes I eat out of sheer boredom when it is a slow day at work. I lock the door and go up to the general store and buy some junk food. At least I'm not buying those little pints of ice cream and snarfing on it all afternoon like I was at times before!

  8. #8
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiouzQ. View Post
    ...

    Basically, I need to be the one who makes the right choices for me. There is only one way to lose weight, which is eat less and exercise more! And say NO to myself when I reach for something just to keep my mouth busy. Most of the time I don't think I am really all that hungry. I hate to admit that sometimes I eat out of sheer boredom when it is a slow day at work. I lock the door and go up to the general store and buy some junk food. At least I'm not buying those little pints of ice cream and snarfing on it all afternoon like I was at times before!
    This is a hot topic among scientists these days--and a notion that has led to a lot of unhelpful fat-shaming. Current focus is on the role of insulin (with ghrelin and leptin and gut microbes), along with "grazing" and over-reliance on carbohydrates in weight gain.

  9. #9
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    SiouzQ- You've had some massive changes in your life. grief is on going and you had dreadfully painful health issues. breathe a bit...It sounds like you have a plan. Smaller portions and reducing the workday eating sound like do able and effective steps. I do have to say that steamer vegetables- the kind you cook in the microwave in the bag- are easy and fast for dinner or snacks. Of course I use butter and salt, but that's an option if getting fresh produce is tricky. Good luck.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    My husband never cooks. So when I cook we both eat and when I don’t it’s every man for themselves.

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