You know how some comedians – male and female – joke about how once you’re married, all the mystery and romance dies? He pees with the door open, she waxes her mustache while discussing weekend plans, and the sexy lingerie gets stuffed to the back of dresser in favor of comfy old sleep Ts?
It may make for some good belly laughs, but the fact is, there is a sense of “ahh, now we can be ourselves” that comes with tying the knot. And once the honeymoon is over and you two settle into cozy domestic bliss — with no pressure to look good for the biggest party you will likely ever throw for yourself — you might find some of your previously healthy eating habits getting sidelined when one of you suggests ordering Chinese food for dinner (again) or the other decides you’d rather snuggle in bed an hour longer than slip into your running shoes and head out for your morning walk.
But that’s just one way things could play out. There is an alternative: you can stay your vibrant, healthy self and also enjoy being newly hitched. In fact, the key to successfully staying at “wedding weight” is simple teamwork. Here are some ideas:
1. Collaborate on a grocery list.
It’s tempting to want to spoil your spouse by stocking the pantry with their favorite choco-mallow-nutter treats. But first find out if they actually want you to. Sit down and make a grocery list together, suggests Alyse Levine, a registered dietitian from Los Angeles. Not only will this help you identify which healthy foods you both enjoy, it will also allow each of you to ban any “trigger foods” you’d rather not have in the house. So, what if your spouse really loves a bowl of mint-chip ice cream after dinner, and you worry you’ll want to eat the whole thing? The list gives you a chance to discover where you can compromise. Perhaps he would be just as happy with cherry vanilla, which you’re not crazy about anyway.
2. Plan meals together.
You’ve likely spent time finding your common values about money, religion, and children. Add food to the list, says Michelle Babb, a registered dietitian from Seattle. It’s important for couples to figure out what their eating life should look like and how to plan and prepare their meals. Babb suggests picking a day each weekend to plan meals for the coming week, then visit the grocery store or farmer’s market and wash and chop the ingredients together. “You set yourself up for success for the rest of the week,” she says. You also won’t have to text each other at 4 p.m. asking, “What’s for dinner?”
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3. Share your passions.
It’s fun to discover new foods together. Try new recipes at home or discover dishes at restaurants and guess the ingredients. Maybe you can recreate them later at home. Or spend date nights taking a new healthy cooking class. Hearing your beloved say, “Try a bite of this … it’s amazing” is surprisingly seductive. Likewise, make a plan to work out together, at least sometimes. It can take a lot of willpower to drag yourself to the gym when your sweetie is looking all adorable lounging on the couch reading the Sunday paper. Bring him along! Schedule a regular Saturday morning yoga class you both enjoy. Or pick a new hobby, such as golf, scuba diving, or salsa dancing, that you can learn together. Or walk the dog together every night after dinner. You’ll bond and burn calories at the same time.
4. But don’t share everything.
Although marriage is a merger of equals, your meals don’t have to be. Women need to eat fewer calories than men, so generally, it makes sense for them to eat smaller portions. Just because you cut the homemade pizza into eight slices doesn’t mean you each have to eat four. Also, it’s okay if your eating styles are different. One of you might like to eat two or three meals a day, while the other finds it easier to eat five mini-meals. If your partner is the mini-mealer, don’t feel pressured to keep pace. And if you’re the grazer, don’t expect him or her to tuck in whenever you do. Find common ground — which hopefully includes one shared meal a day — and then viva la difference.
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