man IS YOUR fat? MAKING YOU
YOUR PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE TO BE OVEREATING TO BE SUPER SIZING YOUR DIET AND YOUR WAISTLINE. BY Emma Markezic.
You know the story: boy meets girl, boy marries girl, girl starts packing on the pounds. Only the weight creeps on so slowly, you don’t know it’s happening until one day you realise that pulling on your jeans has become a gruelling 20-minute ordeal. You’re probably thinking the romantic dinners more than make up for the extra five kilos you’ve gained thanks to that yoga-saboteur you’re with. Well, it’s time to think again.
“Love doesn’t have to mean love handles,” says Jenna Bergen, author of Your Big Fat Boyfriend: How To Stay Thin When Dating A Diet Disaster (Hardie Grant).
And sometimes, the fat-enabling partner is the one you least suspect. “Some of the most dangerous big fat boyfriends are the super-fit guys who need a lot of energy and are constantly refuelling,” Bergen says. “So even though you just ate dinner an hour ago, he’s ready for a snack or another meal and you end up eating with him.”
If you’re coupled up and fattening up, here are five ways Bergen says your man is adding baggage to your backside. 1He’s
male. His mind stores sports stats and music trivia like a sponge sucks up water. But his mind will not hold onto the following words: fat, kilojoules, nutrients, vitamins. 2He
can always eat. His metabolism burns fast, enabling him to shovel in huge quantities of food without getting fat, while you have to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill to burn off a piece of chocolate. 3He
thinks bigger is better. His palms are almost three times the size of your hands, and his idea of a “serving” is equally as large. 4He
loves you in your PJs. Nothing is better than finding a man who adores you even when you’re lounging in track pants in front of the TV. Of course, lounging and snacking go hand-in-hand. 5 He’s too cozy with the couch. If you’ve got a lazy man, the chances of burning any kilojoules with him are pretty slim.
It’s not just a lapse in self-control that’s working against you, but basic biology.
“Think of your guy as a petrol-sucking four-wheeldrive and yourself as an energy-efficient hybrid,” Bergen says. “You don’t need as many calories to do the same thing!”
Queensland-based dietitian and nutritionist Nicola Fox agrees: “It’s nice to share meals, but women don’t always need to eat the same amount. The trap is ordering meals together, which often means
entrees, mains and desserts. At home, we tend to serve equal portions even if the female requires less.”
Bergen explains: “Men have more testosterone, a hormone that creates muscle mass, and muscle is what burns kilojoules, even when he’s sitting on the couch.”
Fear not. Preventing those love-induced kilos can sometimes be as simple as making a phone call. “When you’re ordering in, make sure you place the order,” Bergen says. “Most men hate asking for the healthy changes like no mayo, or steamed instead of sautéed.”
Bergen suggests other small changes, such as dressing up when you eat out. She says wearing something that makes you more aware of your body will help remind you that you don’t want to walk away from the table feeling stuffed. Another option is mixing and matching at meal time: you can have a glass of wine, but only if you give up the bread roll.
Of course, it might be easier if you can get him to see the light when it comes to the healthier side of life. “Encourage him to meet you at the gym and sign up for a healthy cooking lesson,” Bergen says.
Step away from the TV, too. “Studies show more than 10 hours of TV time a week can lead to weight gain. So even if you’re not doing something active, like taking a blanket outside for stargazing, you’re better off than if you sat in front of the TV and snacked,” Bergen says.