If you're single, NOW is the best time to get in shape. Trust me.
Over the years I've had the opportunity to trim down both in and out of relationships, and one reason why I found peace and joy in my single life was that it was easier for me to get and stay in shape. Fitness is such an important aspect of my life that it is a part of my very psyche. When I feel connected to my fitness goals, I am centered, but when there's disruption, I feel uneasy.
So, rather than feeling loneliness I mainly learned to feel solace and happiness, because I was able to do what was important to me uninterrupted. When I was single my time was largely mine to do with as I pleased and I didn't need to make any compromises on my diet or fitness schedule. I was able to be selfish, and I took that and turned it into a lifestyle.
Science Agrees With Me
Don't just take my word for it. BMI as a overall gauge of fitness is a bunk calculation. However the increase of a BMI can tell a story of weight gain progression and that's exactly what scientists in Europe used to measure just how much weight couples gain during relationships. These European scientists analyzed data of over 10,000 people in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain and the U.K. What they found was that men and women in relationships gain weight at about the same rate. The average single woman had a BMI of 25.1, while the average married woman had a BMI of 25.6. Likewise, the average single guy had a BMI of 25.7 and the average married man had a BMI of 26.3.
The one thing those stats don't show is how the weight gain occurs over time. Well, I have my theories about that. So, to help you get motivated, I broke the relationship weight gain progression down into phases to better illustrate how you wake up one day next to your significant other 10lbs heavier. Not only can it be a bummer emotionally, but it can complicate things and add friction in your relationship. Hopefully, by the end of reading this post, you can see why it's best just to get your fit lifestyle started now and set those expectations up front.
The Dating Phase
This is the best stage to set early expectations of a fit lifestyle, but it's also the phase that's hardest to stay on track. Socially, we're mostly dependent on food and alcohol for entertainment, so dates generally involve one or both. Also, if you're doing a lot of dating and playing the field, then you could be going out for dinner and drinks multiple times per week. Oy vey. The dating phase is all about establishing yourself to the other person and discovering if you're a good match. If you haven't already set fit habits before entering the dating phase, it's harder to form those routines once you're in it.
The Honeymoon Phase
This is the phase everyone strives to be in. It's arguably the quickest portion of your relationship, but the one where you pack on the most pounds. The googly eyes you have for your partner are followed by snacks during Netflix marathons. You're 100% off the market so eh, who cares. It's all good because your partner is gaining weight right along with you. Your dinner dates turn into double dinner dates and happy hours with other couples. The entire time the pounds just keep ticking up. Eventually, you two get even more serious. Perhaps even you move in together which FYI, studies show that women gain the most weight after moving in with a boyfriend. Yep, the honeymoon is the fun part, but it's also the most dangerous.
The Real Deal Phase
As the name suggests, this is the phase where things start feeling more real. For many, it's the "fat and happy" portion of your romantic journey together. The excitement has cooled into contentment. Or, perhaps the excitement has transformed into a looming disappointment; it all depends on the state of your relationship, right?
Regardless, those early-ish euphoric feelings you had in the beginning that masked your disappointment of your growing waistline start to dissipate. You noticed that your clothes were fitting more snug the entire time, but you were blissfully ignoring it. The difference now is that you're paying attention to how those snugly fitting clothes make you FEEL. This is the point when one or both parties decide to make healthy changes, but it's harder because you've long since created habits and expectations for your relationship, and they never included fitness. A potential pitfall is that one partner may not be on board for the change.
Think about it; you're asking them to sign up for extra attention to detail and more work when they were happy with how things were. Many times deciding to lose weight well into the relationship causes a rift between the couple. It can expose differing values when you always thought you both were on the same page. Sometimes, people just don't accept change well. As a couple, you have two options, to grow together or grow apart. The ones that grow together adopt fitter habits as a team and support each other's goals. The ones that grow apart saw their differences as too great to overcome.
Lastly, don't forget about the most important phase of all...
The Single Phase
This is the period where none of the stuff I just wrote about even matters yet. You're free to do you boo boo. You're able to give your fitness aspirations your all, unapologetically. Then, when you meet someone who you want to let into your life, they'll likely share the same interests as you. When you two get lost in the weight gain honeymoon phase, you will know that you too can work as a team to whip yourselves back into shape.
So I say to you, if you're single, take this time to be so selfish that you carve your life in a way you desire. Hit your diet hard, hit your workout regimen hard, and pour your heart into it. It's the only time you're going to get, and when someone enters your life, you'll already have the foundation set for the healthy habits that make you happy and keep you healthy long term.