About the Author

Honey's main interests are online dating, long distance dating, and long term relationships. She met her boyfriend on MySpace and they have been exclusive since their first date over three years ago. Currently they live in Tempe, Arizona. Honey graduated with her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2009. You can contact Honey via email here or online here.

We’re Both Getting Fat!

Ah, the cliche of a great relationship: happy people are fat people. I read somewhere on a blog or website written by a guy (or maybe it was on The Real Housewives of Orange County?) that women have an obligation to remain in precisely the physical shape that they were in when they attracted the guy in the first place. No word, of course, on whether the guy has a similar obligation.

Obviously that kind of expectation is impossible, but at the same time I resent the mentality that once a couple is together they can just let themselves go and that somehow their intellectual and emotional connections will be “enough.” The BF has observed more than once that when he and his ex were getting along she gained weight and when they were fighting she’d lose it (he was in fabulous shape the whole time they dated, which I like to think must mean he was miserable the whole time), but this time the fate of most of America has caught up with both of us. While I’m flattered to think that our relationship makes him as happy as it makes me, swimsuit season is almost upon us and this is unacceptable.

scale.jpg

(Not liking what I see, plus we bought our home scale at Good Will and it weighs 10 lbs. heavy!)

Why We’re Fat

Of course, there are other factors at work here. I’d gained about ten pounds as a PhD student and been working out even less than usual while working on the dissertation–another ten right there. All of my cutest clothes–the ones that I’d most like to prance around in to raise his, um, temperature–are hidden in drawers he’s forbidden to look in, lest he suggest that I wear them and I have to explain why I can’t.

He graduated and started working a real job…one where he eats out for lunch almost every day. His latest discovery was that a pair of pants he had tailored before he realized that he actually bought them a size too big are now the only pair of pants that fit. He has to wear dress clothes to work every day, so this presents a problem from his perspective that has nothing to do with whether I think he’s still a hottie.

What To Do?

To remedy this situation, we’ve cut a deal. We will both go to the gym at least three times per week. We have made a list of $10 “rewards,” and the other person will buy something off of that list for each week that we reach this goal (we figure that this is money that we have been spending going out to dinner and drinking beer and would be better spent this way). We will do this for the first ten weeks to get us in the habit of going, and at that point we will set new rewards for reaching various goal weights, rather than simply going to the gym.

His stated goal is not to alter his eating habits, be healthy, or gain muscle mass: it is to fit into his work pants. Luckily for me, if he is going to the gym regularly and fits into his work pants then the latter two things, at least, will happen anyway. However, this is a little frustrating for me because now that I’m ready to get back in it, my goal is to be in the best shape I’ve ever been. We joined a gym together a little while back, and every other gym buddy I’ve ever had has worked out with me–like we spotted each other on weights, chatted while doing the elliptical on side-by-side machines, or went to hour-long cardio classes together. He doesn’t like the cardio machines that I do and refuses to do total body weights, so in some ways I feel like the whole point of joining together is a wash.

elliptical.jpg

I prefer the elliptical…he likes the stair-stepper…

So I’m going to have to suck it up and either go myself or find a female workout buddy who’ll be a little more social on trips to the gym. Either way, look out cute clothes! I’ve had it with my dissertation body…

Any workout or diet suggestions for someone approaching 30 and the full-time employment and inevitable metabolic slowdown?

  • http://www.vcarded.com The Virgin

    That’s a big reason why I rag on the marriage concept…people try harder when one person can walk away at any time. I absolutely agree that it’s not fair that people let themselves go once they’re married. Aging can’t be controlled, but weight can absolutely be controlled. I do think the guy also has an obligation to stay in decent shape as well, yes.

    The Virgin’s last blog post..?Why don’t you smile more??

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Hey, Virgin,

    Well the divorce statistics seem to indicate that anyone can go at any time even after you’re married :-) Kidding aside, though, while it’s important to be understanding about underlying circumstances (new job, being chained to your keyboard writing about crap no one else cares about), the following points remain true:

    1) Physical attraction is one of the reasons you get with someone, and remains important no matter how long you’ve been together,
    2) Physical health is a form of self-respect, and if you need to love yourself to find someone in the first place (since you can’t love someone unless you love yourself) then you need to continue to love yourself in order to continue to love someone else,
    3) I want the BF and I to live and enjoy each other’s company for a long, long time! We just bought a bunch of life insurance and while we’re each others beneficiaries, I’d rather no one get that money just yet.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Honey’s last blog post..We?re Both Getting Fat!

  • http://thegirlwiththegoldenmind.blogspot.com china blue

    I’m the opposite – I work out regularly whether I am with someone or not. And yes, I expect him to look after himself too.

    I was engaged to a guy who smoked, did no exercise, and ate loads of crap. He looked like he was having a baby for Satan. However, when I met him, he used to complain about how thin he was. After a while, seeing that big, pasty belly launching itself at me became a distinct turn-off.

    I look at it this way: even if the guy has a bit of a belly, I don’t mind. Being aware that your lifestyle is not agreeing with you and then doing something about it – this is cruicial – means you at least care about yourself.

    As for diet tips: more protein and less candy has worked for me :-) And you could find a hot male gym buddy – that’ll motivate you and your bloke!:-P

    china blue’s last blog post..Brand New You

  • Lilly

    I have a few suggestions.

    1. Eat breakfast. Even if you’re not hungry eat something. If you’re not hungry in the morning than you’ve eaten WAY too much the night before which is REALLY bad. If you eat all your calories right before bed and then go to sleep, where do you think that is going?

    2. Do squats. Real squats. If everybody on the planet did squats the world would be a better place. It is the ONLY way to get an ass (guys and girls) plus it helps your overall core strength.

    3. Eat as many meals a day as you possibly can. I usually eat 5 meals a day and sometimes 6. This keeps your metabolism going and you actually end up burning more calories.

    4. Eat fruits and veggies. And eat some freaking meat!! Look, we’re at the top of the food chain and meat has many health benefits and tons of nutrition plus it just tastes so damn good. Oh, and fruits and veggies are really good for you plus they taste really good, too.

    5. Shop on the outsides of the grocery store. The produce, meat, and frozen foods are in these locations; the less processed the better it is for you no matter what it is.

    6. Stay away from boxed foods. Processed foods are so bad for you it’s not even funny. I don’t care if it’s whole grain, wheat, cardboard whatever. If it has been processed it’s most likely bad for you. Read the labels, know what it says, and know what you’re eating.

    7. Canned fruits and veggies are just as good, if not better, as fresh. That is canned, naturally, without sugar, preservatives, etc.

  • http://cheekiebacktalk.blogspot.com cheekie

    Well, unfortunately, as we get older our metabolisms and caloric needs definitely change. As soon as I passed 30 my hollow leg disappeared. It sucks, ya. But the thing I try to do to keep the weight reasonable is portion control.

    Our portions are huge! and usually of the wrong things too.
    I’m also a big fan of smaller lighter meals throughout the day instead of a gorge fest at dinner. We have a tendency as we get busier to forget to eat, or put it off, so we end up bingeing at dinner. Then sitting on our butts after.
    So keep apples, low fat/calorie granola bars that kind of stuff, handy and in your purse or bag. Especially if you are going to be working out a lot.

    And most importantly, don’t sweat an extra couple of pounds, it happens to the best of us. More important that you are healthy and happy!!!!

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    @ China Blue–I used to have a hot personal trainer (which I can’t afford right now), but a hot male gym buddy…now that’s thinking!

    @ Lilly–I wake up starving, so I always eat breakfast. That’s a good idea on the squats, though–I can start doing those. I try to eat fresh and do when I’m in Flagstaff away from the BF, but because I don’t do the grocery shopping yet at his place it’s tough. And we’re veggie, so no meat. We do eat fish when we go out.

    @ cheekie–I agree that I will have to probably reassess my goals…probably my goal weight from when I was 20 is no longer attainable unless I win powerball and can work out all the time!

    Honey’s last blog post..We?re Both Getting Fat!

  • http://honeyandlance.com/contact Lance

    Lilly, I totally get the 5 meals per day thing, and for athletes in training it’s required. Could you clarify how that works, and what constitutes a meal for the readers?

  • http://honeyandlance.com/contact Lance

    Fitness, diet, and athletics in general are my specialty! I could probably write a series on it, but here’s my quick take.

    For me, there’s a difference between hitting the gym to lose weight and leading a healthy lifestyle. I define a healthy lifestyle as being fit, eating healthy, and generally having a positive, healthy mental state (aka happy). I want to go a step further and say that leading an athletic lifestyle is one where you’re healthy and you also have physical goals. An example would be training for a marathon. The benefits of leading this kind of lifestyle are numerous and I’m sure you can guess at most of them.

    When you lead an athletic lifestyle, some of the foci of your life are these physical goals. For some people, they are the ONLY thing they focus on. Most people are capable of integrating in an athletic lifestyle with whatever else they’re doing, like work or their relationship, if they really worked at it. It’s a time management and discipline issue.

    With that being said, I recommend for everyone to embrace your inner athlete. You’ll be healthier, happier, and trimmer too.

    Two good ways to get into this:
    1. Train for something. A marathon, a half-marathon, a triathlon, a bike race, join an intramurals sports league, a surfing trip, something. If you don’t know the sport, learn a new one. It’s a tough investment, but the dividends will last a lifetime.

    2. Get a workout partner and find someone who is a bit better than you at whatever it is you’re doing. 99% of people can’t work out regularly unless they’ve got people to work out with. I always work out more and harder when I’ve got a partner. When I’ve got several workout partners, or a team, I turn into a beast.

    Embrace your inner athlete!!

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Well, I have worked with personal trainers (over a year each with two different people) and had yoga, weightlifting, and healthy eating columns in a student newspaper in college…but that was coming from a place and time where I was totally beastly anyway, not a place where I was 20 pounds overweight. I know a lot about the things above, but not in a way that pertains to my specific situation.

    I think the way to get more out of my workouts with the BF is to start playing racquetball more and join the league at our gym. I’m not very good now, but I am a fast learner and I know he’d like to play more (and to have us play with other people).

    Honey’s last blog post..We?re Both Getting Fat!

  • http://www.hotalphafemale.blogspot.com Hot Alpha Female

    I don’t think that the solution is a specific short term diet.

    Its all about lifestyle change. And as a “couple” you guys can change your lifestyle, to do and eat things that are healthier and better for you.

    So its kinda of like .. instead of spending the weekend in and watching a movie.

    Go rock climbing or do something that requires you to exercise instead of just sit on the couch.

    When you go out to ur favorite pizza joint, try something healthier instead. N replace that instead of the pizza joint.

    But hey i know its hard sometimes when you get in a relationship and you start to get really comfortable. Happens to the best of us!!

    Hot Alpha Female

    Hot Alpha Female’s last blog post..Do Guys Really Like Plus Size Chicks?

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    In dating after divorce, my married friends (especially the women) say it’s unfair for me to want to date a woman in good shape, even though I keep fit from cycling. They say I should lower my expectations since I’m in my 40s and the pool of dateable women is probably not in good shape.

    To which I ask, “were you attracted to your partner when you met and married them? Yes? Then why shouldn’t I be now?”

    As for shedding pounds – try one that gets rid of candida yeast. That’s how Heidi Klum lost post-maternal weight. An ex-girlfriend of mine swore by it. It really works!

    dadshouse’s last blog post..No More Bottom Dwelling… Dad’s House Bumped to Top of Alltop

  • http://cheekiebacktalk.blogspot.com cheekie

    I think Heidi Klum lost that weight cause she’s a fembot.

    lol

  • http://www.phantasmagoricdreams.com Becca aka Chaotic Kitten

    I haven’t exercised in two days. It’s been raining, and I walk for a mile (or more) every day. I’m dragging my ass off the couch as we speak.

  • http://www.asianrake.com The Asian Rake

    Great post, as usual!

    Getting in shape was one of my top goals when I became single again last October. I must say, it was the wisest move I made all year. I now can simply “peacock” with my body by wearing form-fitting (tailored) and simple clothes. I’m 31 yo., 5’7″, 155 lbs., and at 6% body fat as of last week. Not to brag, but I really do have drunk girls open me here by touching my arms (I must emphasize that they’re drunk or high when they do this; haha).

    What’s worked for me:
    1. I got a trainer. In Beijing, I found the most amazing trainer, who’s become a good friend, for only US$14/hour. Cost of living in China can be much lower. He really pushes me and knows exactly when to push me harder and when to rest me. This was the biggest factor in my change. Also, knowing I’ve paid good money (esp. as a student) really motivates me to show up for our regular, three times a week appointments.

    2. Diet. I have Met-RX meal supplements (shakes) twice a day, which is about one full packet. And then have one solid, balanced meal per day. For an idea of a well-portioned, nutritious meal, I got my inspiration from Tim Ferris’s blog post on how he got into shape and his diet. And then I have one Met-RX protein shake before going to bed, and one right after my workouts. In between meals, I’ll have a banana or some other snack of fruit or vegetables. Then once a week, I go crazy, eating whatever I want (to reset the metabolism), going to the best dessert buffets I can find, and indulging in dark chocolate. Yummy. I first learned about the value of this from that Tim Ferris blog post.

    3. Sleep. At least 7 hours a night, and ideally, 9 hours.

    My dissertation has taken a back seat to #1-3. Maybe this will come back to haunt me though… haha.

    As for the personal connection, I’ve cherished my 2 hours in the gym partly because it’s my own time away from my girls. I have plenty of motivation to do this on my own. It’s become a ritual. And I encourage my girls to do their workouts at their own gyms while I’m at my gym. But this is my personal time, and it’s all about me. I meet my girls afterwards for dinner or something, but my gym time is my time, and I like it that way :-)

    Peace and joy, The Asian Rake.

  • Me Thinks

    Wow, this is actually more of a hot topic than I thought when I read your headline.

    First I have to say that age doesn’t have to be an issue. I’m 38, have 2 kids and look great, better than I did at 28 and pre-kids. I’ve always been thin but yeah, I let myself go when married but only at the end when it was unhappy and I was depressed. But gaining weight post-30 is definitely not a given.

    I think the whole thing with fitness is just finding a way to fit it into your life. For me that means going at least 3 days a week to the gym in the morning after I drop of my kids at school and then doing other stuff in between is bonus (running, dog walks, etc). Whatever time you go, make it one you can keep up regularly.

    I also go to a gym where I have gotten to know some of the regulars. One of the guys said “when you are not here, we notice”. That, along with “hey, when you take your top off running, you are killing us”, ha ha. Whatever, it is nice to go to a gym where you are noticed, better yet one where you get to know people, its encouragement for me to keep up with it.

    As far as diet, I do not believe in “dieting”. Eat reasonably and rationally (we all know what is good for us, right?) and stay active. Oh and fuck a lot, I swear that keeps your metabolism high….

  • http://honeyandlance.com/contact Lance

    Rake’s mention of Tim Ferris and hiring a cheap trainer actually gives me an idea. There are plenty of people that have a ton of weight training knowledge just floating around, even if they’re not professionals. It would not be hard to find and hire one of these guys to train you for supercheap, like $15/hour. How about a grad student that is studying exercise physiology? I actually work with a young woman (age 23) who is working on her MA in sports science, and she went through a brief stretch as a body builder. She would be the perfect person to hire as a trainer and not break the bank. If you work at a college, like Honey, you could poke around and find someone like this.

    One a pesonal note, I’m sucking in the fitness department myself. I only sleep 4-5 hours per night, my appetite and my diet sucks, and I’m lucky if I can get in 60′ in a gym or a 30′ run in daily. I feel like shit and I need to fix this, stat.

  • http://cheekiebacktalk.blogspot.com cheekie

    Oh being over 30 certainly doesn’t mean, nor is it an excuse for, extra chubbiness. It’s just that little bit harder to control and keep off. You do have to pay attention to what you eat a bit more, and you certainly have to cut back on the high fat, high cholesterol, crap food, that’s for extra damn sure. You just feel it more than you did at 20ish.

    One meal at a fast food place, and I feel like garbage the next day. All the sodium etc is harder on your body the older you get. So quite frequently, people (especially with kids) tend to eat whatever is easiest. Bad idea. A lot of water weight from high sodium can add that extra bit of pain at the scales…and the feeling that ‘none of my clothes fit’ or you just feel blah.

    In my experience anyway. It’s harder to balance it all, so it’s a really good idea to get into the habit of making time for an exercise routine while you can, then it becomes a lifelong habit that doesn’t need any extra effort to ‘fit in’….

  • http://www.angeleyesdevilsmile.com Brad

    I gotta chime in… lol.

    1. I agree with Lance… when you’re training for a specific performance goal, things get more focused and a lot faster.

    2. Think of these two things when you’re exercising 1. Energy flux 2. Work

    Energy flux is the velocity of the amount of calories that you’re burning (it also accounts for the amount of food you eat as well but that’s another story). In other words, for overall fat burning purposes, it’s much better to burn 200 calories in 20 minutes than it is to burn 200 calories in 45 minutes (in the “fat burning zone”… which is a total joke).

    Think of “work” in the physics term ie force x distance.

    Most people do sculpting exercises like curls which create little to no metabolic disturbance in the body…

    However, exercises like squats, squat presses (nasty little buggers), curl and presses, pull and press downs… these all take a certain weight through a MUCH larger range of motion and create a better fat burning environment for the REST OF THE DAY… up to 72 hours after exercise.

    Throw in some interval training and a day or two a week of intermittent fasting and you’ve got a nasty fat burning program…

    :)

    Brad’s last blog post..It’s a Doggy Dog World