On Being Single: New Challenges

Since I was in a long-term relationship where I actually lived with my boyfriend during the entire process of losing weight, I wasn’t sure what being on my own and living alone would bring in terms of challenges or benefits for weight maintenance. I honestly thought it was going to be a lot easier to maintain my weight since I would have full control over what was in my kitchen, but that has not exactly proven to be the case.

Some of the main challenges that I faced in living with a boyfriend (who was a lot less weight/health conscious than I was) were:

    1. Not having full control over what was in the kitchen. My ex really liked sweets and treats. There were always chips, peanut butter crackers, random fudge and other sweets peeking out at me from the cabinets.
    2. Not caring as much. I was in a long term relationship with a guy I thought I was going to marry. While I lost weight mostly for health reasons, I’m not going to lie and pretend there wasn’t any vanity involved.
    3. Staying up later. Since my ex was a chef, we worked VERY different hours. This meant I would often stay up much later than I would normally would so that I could spend extra time with him, and this made it much more difficult to wake up early to work out in the morning.
    4. Being influenced by his habits. Since he didn’t regularly work out or eat that healthfully, it was easier for me to justify not working out or splurging more often than I would have if I didn’t watch him eat fries and chips for many meals. It took a lot of self control to realize that he didn’t have a weight problem and could eat a lot more and a lot less healthfully that I do to still maintain his weight.

I think because we had such different working schedules, I was less influenced by his lifestyle and habits than I would have been otherwise. I cooked dinner for myself most nights of the week and would automatically put the leftovers into Tupperware for the next day’s lunch. I didn’t anticipate that much changing when I moved out on my own, but I was wrong!

Now that I am recently single, there has been a slew of new challenges that I am facing with maintaining my weight that I honestly didn’t think about too much.

    1. Much more social activity. Which is a great thing, but before I lived outside of downtown DC and was very content with just being home and waiting for my man rather than going out during the week. Now, there are things going on almost every night, so I’m out and about much more. And, these things usually involve #2 and #3 on this list as well…
    2. Much more eating out. I cooked home almost every single night before – now I’m going out 2-3 times a week for dinner. This is detrimental to both my waist line AND my wallet!
    3. Much more drinking. I only drank 1-2 times a week MAX when I was living with my ex, mostly once or less though. Now, almost all social gatherings involve alcohol. For a while I was a little out of control in this department, going out 4+ times a week. But now I’m trying to plan some non-alcohol related things (like sweetgreen!) and gym dates with a few friends who belong to the same gym, so I have it down to 2-3 times a week and have been trying to be semi-moderate when I do go out. The drinking also leads into eating more under the influence, and makes it harder to wake up the next morning to work out! Such a bad cycle.

So, I guess the bottom line is, regardless of my living situation, maintaining my weight is hard! Every situation presents separate challenges, and I’m not sure which is easier. I guess ideally I will get into a relationship with someone who is health conscious like me so I can get the best of both worlds. That said, I think being in an intense relationship followed by being single makes me realize I need more moderation in my life in either case…

Have you found it easier to be “on track” and lose or maintain weight while in or outside of a relationship?

27 Comments on On Being Single: New Challenges

  1. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    November 2, 2011 at 9:20 am (9 years ago)

    When my male friend comes up, it is SO much harder. I try to keep us actively moving (which he appreciates, too), but it’s hard on my normal schedule bc I really can’t take him to the gym to workout (because he totally would), and we eat out for the majority of our meals.

    However, when he’s not around and I’m just dealing with friends, I’ve tried to get a lot of our time “hanging out” to include working out before going to a casual dinner/cooking together or a walk after or something like that…

  2. Gina
    November 2, 2011 at 9:22 am (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth! This is my first time commenting but I love your blog and you have inspired me to start running, eating less meat and maybe start my own site! I can relate to almost all of your points here. I live with my boyfriend who can eat anything and while I do most of the cooking, I don’t want him to be forced into my new lifestyle. We also go out frequently and it seems like the norm to drink when you want to see friends, but I will try your gym and healthy dinner suggestions. You will have no trouble finding someone who shares your same goals. It is important to value your insides even though someone may not have a weight problem! You will have nothing but goods things to look forward to!

  3. Laurel
    November 2, 2011 at 9:24 am (9 years ago)

    Wow, I am so glad I’m not the only one who had this experience… I gained weight when I lived with my then-fiance, and then somehow also gained weight when I became single because I was going out so much… not fun! I’m glad you’ve figured out where the problem lies- it took me a while to put together going out = drinks = calories = weight gain.

  4. Maggie
    November 2, 2011 at 9:33 am (9 years ago)

    It was harder, at first. I’ve been divorced for a few years, and in the early stages, every Oreo felt like a security blanket. But then, over time, I realized that for the first time in my adult life, my life was all about ME. This was a delicious conclusion to come to, and I’ve never looked back.

  5. Gina
    November 2, 2011 at 9:35 am (9 years ago)

    I have had trouble with both situations also! I guess I have no one to blame but myself! It really does help if you can surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through. Still, I have come to find that just because someone does not have a weight problem does not always mean they are healthy on the inside. You will have no trouble finding someone who shares the same goals and respects the awesome things you are doing! : )

  6. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    November 2, 2011 at 10:11 am (9 years ago)

    I have to say that it is nice to be in a relationship with someone who values health/likes to exercise. I like that Jason for the most part eats healthy foods but he’ll also go with me to DQ when we feel like getting some blizzards. I don’t always like to use the word “moderation” because I have used it as an excuse to eat tons of junk/drink too much but for the most part I try to follow that style — nothing in excess but you need to live a little too.

  7. Jenny
    November 2, 2011 at 10:23 am (9 years ago)

    In ’06 my fiance and I had broken up. I moved out and that’s the first time I gained weight, quickly. So in December my mom and I talked and decided we would join WW in January, so we did. I lost like 6 pounds or so in that first month. Fiance and I decided to start dating again but we still lived apart until May. That’s when my weight loss slowed down, but I had gotten to a comfortable size (about 135, I’m 5’5″) so I set 136 as my goal and was able to stay that size until about a year or so ago.
    He is tall and thin/muscular and has a great metabolism. I do not ha ha. So we started eating out more I guess and now here I am uncomfortable again. I need to get my butt back in gear and re-lose this weight. So I guess for me it was a challenge when I was single but years later now, its a challenge again because he can eat whatever, and I can’t. It’s easy to just go with the flow and eat what he’s eating, but I have to remind myself that it’s not healthy for me to eat like him!

  8. Katie
    November 2, 2011 at 10:42 am (9 years ago)

    I got divorced 3 years ago, after being married for 4 years and with him for 8. During that time, my weight totally went out of control. I initially lost weight, then gained some back when I started partying too much. Now that I’m healed from that relationship, something that really motivates me is to get down to me pre-ex weight, and when I’m really struggling I think about how much I want every reminder of that man out of my life – including all the extra fat I carry on my body (it clearly was an ugly breakup). I too am challenged to balance disciplined eating and working out habits with a social life. I try to workout in the morning if I know or even suspect I may be social that evening. But, as a phd student, I don’t have much of a social life to work with right now :/

  9. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh
    November 2, 2011 at 10:51 am (9 years ago)

    This is a really interesting perspective. I’ve been with my hubby since I was 17 so we got fat together and we’re getting healthy together. I’m the one that makes the food so that responsibility has always fallen on me for better or for worse.

  10. Manda
    November 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm (9 years ago)

    Great post Beth. I’m a friend of Jen’s from MN, and I started losing weight both for myself and my upcoming wedding back in 2002. We divorced at my [then] thinnest in 2007. He used to tell me I “wasn’t fun anymore” even though I was taking good care of myself for the first time in my life. So hard.

    Anyway, I have had even greater health and weight loss success as a single. Going out is hard at first – the eating, the drinking – but as I kept recommitting to my healthy lifestyle, my friends have turned from pressuring me to indulge with them to accepting my choices and actually starting to change their own patterns. It was hard to defend my choices at first (so much easier to cave and “fit in”) but now it’s second nature…and my friends are changing for the better too.

    I hope your heart finds all that it needs during these days 🙂 ~Manda

  11. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    November 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm (9 years ago)

    To: Lauren Beach Show details

    My husband is healthy- he is at the gym every weekday morning by 5 am and mountain bikes on the weekend. He’s always been active, and has never in his life had to worry about his weight. Actually- he was always ‘skinny’ and is still very thin, but has a lot of muscle tone. He has never in his life worried about how many calories are in his food. Before I met him, I lost 30 lbs- and it seemed to come off pretty easy. I’ve since gained about half of it back, and can NOT get in the mindset to where I was at when I was single. Maybe I just had more motivation back then? A big issue that I have is that he weighs less than me- and probably always will. When I was at my absolute smallest, we weighed about the same. I wish I didn’t have such a problem with it- but I do- and it seems to actually make my attempts at losing weight now that much harder.

    • Ashley @ Good Taste Healthy Me
      November 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm (9 years ago)

      My fiance is the same way. He has never had to worry about weight in his life so he even ate a ton of junk food. But since we’ve been together he eats much healthier…to the point where he even threw out leftover soda from a party we had. I couldn’t believe it! He’s come a long way! haha

  12. Ashley @ Good Taste Healthy Me
    November 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ve been in my current relationship for a long time. When I met my fiance I was thin. But through freshman year in college I packed on an additional 30 lbs and then sought to lose it all myself when I saw myself in some pictures. So I suppose his involvement really didn’t impact my weight gain/loss too much. I just set a goal and went for it. 🙂

  13. Lauren
    November 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm (9 years ago)

    I moved in with my boyfriend about a year and a half ago. It’s been horrible for weight loss (and has in fact led to a ton of weight gain). He eats a lot of snacks all the time, something I never used to do. Also, I used to have a bowl of cereal for dinner or something quick and easy and now I always make a full dinner for the two of us. He’s super supportive of my weight loss plans, but between eating a full dinner, visiting both our relatives and friends, etc., there’s a lot less time devoted to eating healthy and working out.

  14. Heather
    November 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm (9 years ago)

    It is hard when you are in a relationship to maintain, but for the most part my boyfriend and I like to eat as healthily as possible. Weekends are usually for splurging a bit more, but I try to keep it routine during the week so wkdn splurges don’t throw me off as much.

    My big thing was not wanting to get up when he is still sleeping in on Saturdays so I could go run, but I finally told myself I had to start if I wanted to get long runs in. I get up, run and come back and then we get the day started. It’s not so bad!

  15. Katy @My Vegan Weight Loss Journey
    November 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm (9 years ago)

    I can definitely relate. I lost the majority of my weight before we moved this summer. Now that I am living in Asheville, I am surrounded by festivals, vegan restaurants and it seems like there’s always something going on. Something that leads me to eat way more food than I used to! I am trying to get back into my groove to lose the last of my weight and it’s been pretty hard!

  16. Betsy
    November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm (9 years ago)

    This was so interesting to read! I’m a pretty healthy eater, but can be influenced pretty easily by ‘outside forces’ if you will – namely if I’m dating a guy who drinks anything and everything most nights of the week. But I’ve been dating a guy who doesn’t drink for about five months now, and I’ve definitely found myself with a much more moderate attitude towards booze – I think I’ve even lost a couple pounds! Funny how things turn out.

  17. Stacy Marie
    November 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm (9 years ago)

    I always found it easier when I was single to maintain a healthier lifestyle. When I was living alone I was able to not bring certain foods into the house and just eat what I had. I had so much more control over it! Now, living with my fiance, he is 6’2” and NEVER had a weight problem and refuses to eat anything that even resembles “diet” food. IE, i cannot even use cooking spray when I make food for him. He wants me to use butter. lol. It’s rough.

  18. Alicia from Poise in Parma
    November 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm (9 years ago)

    Being in a relationship, there’s so much give and take between my husband and I. He’s given into my healthy eating ways by trying new foods on a regular basis and overall making better decisions. That said, he tends to talk me into visits to our favorite ice cream shop when I know I shouldn’t!! Overall, together we’re making healthier decisions together than I know we would have apart.

  19. Jess
    November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow Beth this post struck such a chord with me. I am in the same boat as you….quasi-recently single and all of a sudden my social life is blowing up. I’m out all the time, drinking and eating more than I ever did in a relationship because it seems all social activities revolve around food.

    When I was dating my ex, he was totally cool staying in with me to watch a movie on a Friday so I could get up and do a long run on Saturday. Now I feel like it’s harder to turn down plans on Friday to stay in by myself, which makes it hard to get up and run.

    I know I’ll get the hang of this whole being single and healthy and still having a social life thing figured out soon, but it’s way, way different than the routine I was used to in a relationship. And it’s hard!

  20. Mara
    November 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm (9 years ago)

    What an interesting conversation! When I started dating my future husband, I was at my heaviest. Out of control college eating and drinking are to blame. 🙂 When I moved in with my BF, we started cooking at home more and not eating out as much. He also encouraged me to get back to exercising. When we got married 2 years later I was 30 pounds lighter and I wasn’t ‘dieting’ or trying to lose weight. While he’s the type that can eat whatever he wants, he’s not into junk food or has a sweet tooth. That really helps me stay on track!

  21. Roz
    November 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth. There certainly are pros and cons to being single or in a living with another situation. You’ll find the balance I’m sure. I think I’m the rarity, my husband and I both eat better since we’re together. He used to be a “grab and go” and fast food guy, I was a “can’t be bothered to cook for myself, I’ll have peanut butter and crackers for dinner” girl. Now…I cook us healthy meals. He however, isn’t all that active, and the fellow I was with before him (long ago) was. Sometimes, I just want to stay home and hang out with him instead of going for a workout. However, I too am finding balance…. Have a great Wed.

  22. Lisa
    November 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm (9 years ago)

    I can relate to this. When I was losing my weight I was in and out of different relationships and it was a big challenge to continue to lose weight when I was going out all the time. Dinners, happy hours…it was really hard! I tried to limit it to once a week or so and try to make dates that were more activity-minded. Instead of dinner I’d do movies, or hiking (that was a favorite). Museums, etc. I’d try and eat dinner at home (Lean Cuisines and salads) and then enjoy the dating life doing other things. That helped.

    It’s funny…I’m in a relationship where I live with the guy too and for the most part we eat pretty healthy meals (a protein with two veggies). But he’s much more inclined to grab pizza on a whim or go out to dinner and that’s hard to resist for me! I want to eat those foods too. But I can’t eat them all the time. In fact, he invited me to join him after work with a few of his coworkers for burgers. I already have a few things planned this week and don’t want to eat out tonight so I told him to play with the boys and I’m staying in. I’m going to fix myself dinner and watch Netflix. 😀 And save myself 1,200 calories!! 🙂

  23. AliCat
    November 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm (9 years ago)

    I absolutely think relationship status affects our diet and exercise habits but I’d be curious to find out if the same us true for men. The end of my first serious relationship resulted in me being underweight, at first through the stress of the break up and then because I wanted to show what he was missing out on. I was at the top end of my healthy weight range when I met my husband and eating out more, going to the gym less and moving with him to a colder climate all contributed to my weight gain. Even now I’d much rather spend time with him than at the gym. Luckily he’s my biggest supporter and knows how badly I want to be healthy and happy again.

  24. Hilary
    November 2, 2011 at 9:32 pm (9 years ago)

    I can’t comment on this one, because I’ve never been losing/maintaining and in a relationship. That being said, I am such a control freak right now, I think it would be a lot harder being in a relationship and losing.

  25. Happy Healthy Girl
    November 3, 2011 at 10:47 am (9 years ago)

    The increased drinking that comes with being single is getting to me too. I know there are social events that don’t involve drinking, but I am just not sure my friends know that. 🙂


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