Last fall I gained roughly four pounds when my boyfriend and I began dating.
He would come over and we would listen to music and have some wine.
We would go on a walk to grab some wine.
Out to dinner? Bring on the wine!
He and I laugh about this now, but for some reason we both admit that in our relationship stages we drank more wine than either us have ever drank in our lives.
And that says a lot considering I didn’t shy away from wine in college.
The good news is, I figured out a way to minimize the wino-phase and so did he.
Niether of us had a big “come-to-jesus” moment about it, but we both individually decided it needed to stop.
Flash forward to last week and the topic arose.
“Oh my goodness all we did was drink wine!” I said.
“I never knew drinking that much was even possible,” he said.
“I got fluffy,” he added.
I’ve been with Jordan for about a year now.
We go out to get sushi at a nice place once a week and I’ll be honest, if I see him order a cocktail, I get one too–it’s part of a rule I made that I am going to teach you about.
I have made my own drinking rules for dating after learning the hard way that I am not invincible and not immune to gaining weight.
Reducing our intake didn’t happen overnight; we started cutting our intake down at the beginning of 2015.
You see, after taking a week away from each other over the holidays, (a week in which I trained hard, skied a lot and had a prepped for my first powerlifting meet while he kept living and natruallly leaned out like men do–just kidding, but it does always seem easier for guys) we came back refreshed and ready to drink less.
We met up on New Year’s Eve and both barely finished a glass of wine at dinner.
But maybe you’re reading this and you’re in the beginning stages of a relationship or just dating to date.
Maybe you aren’t sure how to indulge or say no politely.
Is it a faux paux to “go [meet] for drinks” and not drink?
Should you tell him you are on a diet? (#honestyisthebestpolicy)
Should you just stop dating and all life activities until you reach your goal?
To begin, drinking is never obligatory.
Also, change happens over time and if you are truly passionate about changing your physique, losing weight etc, you need at least 12 weeks for sustainable change. If this guy/girl is someone you’re interested in, they should know about your commitment to health/fitness and lifestyle change. Don’t feel the need to hide it!
If you don’t drink alcohol, I am sure you have no problem telling you’re date that and this article isn’t for you– check out this oldie but a goodie instead 🙂
For this articles purposes I am writing to the ladies and gents like me who have a hard time saying no in social situations, workout regularly and truly want to enjoy the drink with their date.
***Important note: If you want additional tips from my best friends, scroll down to the bottom of this article for their dating and dieting tips.
For your enjoyment, 6 rules for dating on a diet:
1. Do something active outside every other date. Or even better, go for a date with booze involved every 3rd date.
Going to dinner is fun but it can become a bit routine; try going for a hike! Even if you head to brunch afterward or beforehand you will be spending an hour on your feet, taking in views, sharing laughs and maybe even breaking a slight sweat.
It is important to note that even if you are not on the market right now or just hanging with girlfriends, getting outside is still important. I had the lovely opportunity to see an old girlfriend of mine last Sunday. We decided to head to a food truck / vintage farmer’s market together and to make it more active we rented bikes to get there instead of taking an Uber.
More to come on what I ate this weekend in the CROF Weekly Update. Long story short, making romantic dates and friend dates active can add activity into your life especially if exercising regularly is something with which you struggle.
2. Tell him/her you’re going to wait until after dinner to have a drink because you aren’t feeling 100%.
I can honestly say I have used this one before. I know myself and if I get a drink before dinner I can sometimes finish it before my meal if the food takes too long. Then after the alcohol, with lowered inhibitions I tend to forgo my commitment to portion control (and we all know restaurant sizes are not the same as what you’d serve yourself at home).
Therefore, try ordering a diet soda or water first and then once your meal comes order an alcoholic drink. You may be preoccupied enough with your meal that you’ll have wine left to sip on after the meal is over and you linger a bit longer (if it’s a date going well).
3. Get a drink and soda at the same time.
This way you can toast with him when you start the night and then savor your drink while you drink your water or soda to space the alcohol out.
This tip is completely opposite of the aforementioned. It is a different strategy. As we all know, different strategies work for different people. For instance a few of my clients do better with static calorie guidelines, others like alternating high and low calorie days and some of my clients don’t even count calories.
If you are someone who feels better starting off with a drink (and can be mindful not to sip it too quickly), this tip can work. Your date might have a couple drinks but you can nurse yours throughout dinner.
4. Make it low calorie and make sure you track it. These drinks are not “free calories.” These drinks matter.
If you know you are going on a date and you know exactly where, decide early on in the day or week of the date what your number one priority is (besides getting to know your date).
Is it the yummy pizza this place has to offer? The impeccable desserts? The trendy cocktails or the organic salad?
If this restaurant is known for a richer type cuisine that you definitely want to try and you also want a cocktail, you must eat less leading up to the date.
Try doing any of the following:
- consume veggies at lunch and breakfast
- prioritize protein so you are ahead of the game if at dinner you are going to get a meal like pasta
- omit an afternoon snack or morning snack or both
- drink ample water
- reduce either lunch or breakfast portions
If you are not a “foodie” type person, and the cocktail is truly what you are looking forward to, make sure to check and see if they healthy options you can eat like lean meat and veggies. Then perhaps you can have two cocktails.
Long story short, decide what you priority is and plan accordingly so you can stay on track.
At the end of the day it is calories in that matters for fat loss; you body won’t automatically store the 100 calories of wine simply because it is wine. In fact your body won’t know the difference between the 100 calories of pineapple you normally have as a snack and the 100 calories of wine you have instead.
Plan your Thursday/Friday/Saturday around the date night. In example, make sure to get in some exercise, make sure to prioritize protein, don’t show up starving.
If you are going to indulge in a drink or haven’t made time for exercise, skip the chips!
My go-to rule is to pick one of these: bread basket item, OR cocktail OR dessert.
If you have an intense workout and it’s a high calorie day, choose two of the three indulgences.
My latest “date night dinner rule,” as a part of my own getting leaner challenge to only drink hard liquor when Jordan does. He does this very seldom and I am the type of person that can honestly go without wine (recently). This could be due to how much I had in 2014 but either way if he gets a beer, I get soda, if he gets a cocktail, I indulge in a cocktail if I trained that day.
If we are at sushi and I do not have a cocktail, I will have a bit more rice as my slight indulgence.
5. Talk about your fitness goals and life goals. If this is really important to you they should know about it.
The biggest thing to remember is that progress takes time and consistency. You need more than five weeks. It’s important to chat about it with your new guy/girl or potential guy because it is something you will have as a priority in your life in addition to him.
6. Date someone who doesn’t dramatically change your routine… (unless it’s Bradley Cooper and in that case, you’re fine).
My biggest fear when beginning a new relationship is that I am going to have to start missing my workouts, or skipping a few… indulging a little here and there and before I know it I am seven pounds heavier!
If you can let your new guy or girl know that your training and nutrition is important to you, they can perhaps let you know what they prioritize and you can figure out from the get go if it will be a good fit.
You shouldn’t have to change your life and fitness routine dramatically for another person. It should be a balance of fitness, happiness and good health.
Tips from my BFFs:
Some of my best girlfriends are in new relationships, some are in long-term relationships and some are thriving in the dating world. Here are their tips for dieting, dating and staying in shape in a long-term relationships.
Tip from the dancing athletic trainer:
Last year I lost 25 pounds all while dating my long-distance boyfriend. It started with his help. We love going out to eat together but wanted to be a bit healthier. He tried to convince me to eat more vegetables, starting with simply ordering a side salad with dinner–which I initially thought was gross. Growing up on a farm I ate a lot of carbs and butter and protein, never a lot of vegetables. After a while we started ordering normal sized salads before our meal so that at dinner we ate less. After the side salads I was motivated to eat more veggies in general. There are times I really didn’t want that salad but having him at the table for accountability really helped me. Find someone you can share a goal with and have for accountability. -Lauren Y
Tip from the beautiful saleswomen by day entrepreneur by night:
For me, I’ve been with Joe long enough that I know he will love me and think I’m sexy no matter what state my body is in (half the time when I’m freaking out that I gained 4 pounds or look flabbier he hasn’t even noticed ha!) but I always try to remind myself that staying in shape and staying healthy is something you have to do for yourself and not anyone else, I always seem to be in the best shape (and mood) when I am truly working out for myself and because it makes ME happy to lift and be healthy and look good, not anyone else. -Lauren F
Tip from the high-powered, business consultant:
Don’t drink as much as your date – booze is loaded with empty calories. So having one drink and skipping a second can save you 200 calories.-Jordin
Tip from the social butterfly recruiter:
[drink] Vodka waters. They are low calorie, they get you drunk and make him look cuter.
Just kidding, but seriously.
It is never easy to stay on track, but you can tweak a few things:
If you are single and ready to mingle/ going on blind dates: eat healthier during the day because you aren’t going to control yourself on a blind/first date—Also, drink vodka waters, they are low calorie and it makes him look cuter!
If you are in the early stages of dating a guy: let him do nice things, pick the place and be ready to try fun, caloric drinks. To help here, ask where you are going in advance. After lunch, when you are full, look at the menu and pick your healthy choice for the date. If you go in knowing what you are ordering, you won’t deviate and he won’t be looking at every option (apps/desert) on the menu because your menu is closed.
If you have been dating a guy for while then just be honest. Let him know where you want to go and what you want to get.
For my drinking friends: This is what kills us. Drinks are typically high calorie, high sugar and high in quantity after the first few. Just try to stay on track. I love my wine but I try to get vodka water IN A TALL GLASS, then you won’t chug it. You’ll sip and get a buzz while saving calories. Plus, the bigger the buzz the funnier the conversation becomes during a date. WARNING: this can be good or bad
Whatever you do enjoy yourself and the company around you. Be open to experiences just try to stay on track. Sometime you’ll deviate and that’s okay, just make sure you get a good story out of it!
Tip from the stunning screenwriter in LA:
I think ordering small plates or tapas to share is a great way to not only get to know each other -is he a taco or escargot type of guy, though the latter might possibly be a deal breaker for people. But it’s also great way to taste a variety of things without over indulging in a big meal that weighs down the rest of evening (spontaneous rooftop dancing, anyone?) -Erin
Tip from the gorgeous Playboy photographer and writer:
I have definitely had to overcome a lot of diet things (it’s hard to live in LA and not eat out every day).
Blaine and I try and compromise but not eating and drinking everyday at the same time. Sometimes we indulge with drinks and other times we indulge with unhealthy foods. We have to be smart about what we pick. It helps us save money too.
Tip from the Chicago Men’s fashion stylist:
Long term relationships: sharing a plate. My parents are twigs/ fit and always share. I also recommend a healthy glass of red wine! – Karly
My stunning paralegal friend:
The hardest thing for me has been that Mike eats so much! And he can cuz he’s a [bigger] guy, but I definitely can’t. Every time we go out he orders an app plus our entrees. I guess you’d call that portion control or something but I had to realize that my eyes are bigger than my stomach and just because he eats a ton doesn’t mean I necessarily should be. -Danielle