PHOTO BY Hillary Ehlen
I have a theory. My theory is that everyone already knows what to do to lose weight and that we also know what is healthy for us and what is not. When it comes to losing weight and being healthy, not knowing what to do is NOT the problem. The problem is figuring out how to do it within our crazy-busy lives.
If we break “crazy-busy” down, it includes a mash-up of stuff like assorted bad habits, poor time management and family or social eating obligations. Pile stress on top of all of that and voilá, you have a recipe for weight gain, even though you know what to do.
If there is an ingredient list of lifestyle choices that make up your weight gain cake, then there is also frosting — the one ingredient that can make or break even the best cakes. In this analogy, the frosting can only be one thing — the most significant thing; the thing that affects all other things.
In a conversation with my teenage daughter recently, I shared with her what I thought the single most important decision of her life would be — who she picks to be her significant other. I told her that who she picks to marry will influence every other decision she will make for the rest of her life, thus making that one decision the most important one of all. Your significant other is the frosting that can make bad things sweet or be so terrible you can’t even finish the cake. For all things big or small, this person’s influence is tremendous.
Your significant other is the frosting that can make bad things sweet or be so terrible you can’t even finish the cake.
So in this month of love, where we honor our anatomical and emotional hearts, let’s spend our time with someone who won’t give us heart disease or an emotional stress eating habit. If you are single and pondering a commitment to a forever kind of love, consider your commonalities or lack of, as they relate to your health, weight and overall self-care. Lifestyle choices such as cooking together instead of eating out or agreeing that the extra money you spend on quality food is worth it, are as important as any other green or red flags.
If you have already found your significant other and are looking for ways to get him or her to come around, good luck. I’m not the person for this situation. In fact, I’m hopeless here.* In all my years of helping people lose weight, none — yes none — have been successful long-term without genuine support from the individual who shares their bed, their kitchen and their life.
In my house, what he eats — I eat.
What I eat — he eats.
What we eat — our kids eat.
We support each other and encourage one another toward healthy habits. We also overindulge together more than with anyone else, sabotage each other with temptations and occasionally bring home random bite-sized foods dipped in chocolate, out of love. We do more of the former than the latter.
The influential push-pull we have over each other is powerful with the ability to swing one another in the wrong direction or support them along the path that leads them to be their best self. Considering who you will spend your life with or how you will positively impact the life of the one you love will mean more on Feb. 14 than any chocolate covered candy.
*Not entirely hopeless, actually I’m more an eternal optimist. So, if you can’t find the one or already have the wrong one — become the one.