Dating, whether you are single or in a relationship, can be a serious diet killer. Dating can be stressful enough as it is, so the added distraction of worrying about what to eat while dating is something you just don't need right now.
MSNBC.com along with Shazia Paroo, a personal trainer in Canada, has created these possible dieting scenario threats while dating (and breaking up) and offers ways to keep them under control:
- Dating Stage: Drive-thru, anyone?
Pitfall: Your Friday night action is the girl who answers the phone at your favorite pizza joint. At the grocery store, you find yourself hoping that cute but confused-looking guy will ask your advice on frozen dinners. Cooking for one is depressing, but eating one more piece of your mom's lasagna can't hurt (it's comfort food, after all). It's easy to fall into the self-pity mode when you're going through a dry spell -- then, the temptation to Jabba the Hut yourself to the couch can be overwhelming.
Antidote: "Set a goal and visualize where you want to be and how you want to look," says Paroo. Buy a juicer, find some recipes that don't involve pasta and parmesan, and consider blueberries as something other than a topping for cheesecake. Having the luxury of all that non-relationship free time is also an ideal opportunity for combining socializing and health -- join a gym or a baseball team, take up fencing, cycle naked to protest rising gas prices.
Taking care of your body and appearance will affect your confidence, too. Paroo mentions a client who went down in size "four belt loops. He would go out to a bar and just sit by himself with his head down," she says. "Now he talks to everyone."
- Dating Stage: Reservations at 8
Pitfall: You can hardly believe your luck -- there's someone else out there who thinks Tiny Tim is an under-appreciated genius. You both hated the sound your exes made when they breathed. In other words, love is in the air -- and that means dessert with dinner and chocolate croissants in the morning. Eating out, ordering in and trying to impress each other with tasty cream sauces are also on the menu.
Antidote: When it comes to the hormonal honeymoon stage, there are two extremes, says Paroo. "You get comfortable and you gain weight, or you get in shape for your partner." Now is the time to be ultra-aware not just of over-indulging, but of losing your motivation. Try adding an extra lap around the track or adding a game of tennis to your schedule. Better, involve your date -- you can both sign up for those yogalates classes.
- Dating Stage: Should we just order in?
Pitfall: Congratulations! You've made it into the land of the duos. You've met the parents, confirmed your partner's lack of a criminal record, and even (temporarily) altered him or her to better suit your ideal of someone you'd actually like to be with. Staying fit? That's for single, desperate schmucks who don't have a quality pair of expandable sweat pants. Well, don't get too cocky -- this might be the most dangerous stage as the comfort level rises and the desire to look desirable drops.
Antidote: "People in relationships come to me after a year," says Paroo. "And they've become too comfortable watching movies and eating out a lot. They're drinking a lot, they're not eating well, and they're eating at the wrong time. If you're in a relationship you'll eat late at night, guaranteed." You're biggest enemy at this stage is yourself. Complacency and bliss have dulled your edge and every time you think of working out it's with a twinge of guilt. Get over it -- there are no guarantees in this life, and you'll feel better about yourself if you maintain some semblance of your former shape.
- Dating Stage: Pass the Chunky Monkey
Pitfall: It's over but the eating, and all you have to show for your efforts are a food processor you'll never use again, a taste for pancetta and a few extra pounds of relationship fat. You're depressed and anxious, and you're going through the ever-popular grieving process -- sadness, fridge, anger, fridge, bitterness, fridge.
Antidote: Breakups are stressful -- wondering where your next foot-rub is coming from can take a lot out of a person. Fear not -- the answer is as close as the nearest elliptical trainer. Even though lifting weights or running around a track might be the last thing you feel like doing, follow the slogan and "just do it." Guaranteed you'll feel better -- not just from the release of endorphins but just knowing you're still among the living. This might also be the best time to hire a professional. "Let us kick your butt," says Paroo. "You'll get your self-confidence back. And no matter how hard people find it to work out, it's the best stress relief ever." And never discount the motive of revenge when it comes to getting in fighting form, says the trainer: "People want to show the ex how hot they can look."
Need dieting tips for dieting on a first date? Or what about sticking to a diet during a breakup? Then read more
Not having problems dieting and dating, but just dating in general? Then check out what E. Jean has to say about dating on DearSugar.com.