Stages of your relationship waistline and shape up tips

The stage of your relationship could be affecting your waistline, says dietitian and exercise physiologist Caitlin Reid. She investigates the potential weight danger zones throughout.

When you're dating
Males and females eat less on a first date. Why? We suppress our food intake when eating with unfamiliar people, in situations where self-awareness is high. Society also places pressure on females to be thin and many think a slim physique is vital for attracting the opposite sex. Because of this, single females may strive for a lower weight.

Shape up by enjoying the dating game, but making sure you don't develop bad eating habits such as dieting and skipping meals. Eat small, regular meals containing lean protein and low-GI carbohydrates.

When you're in the comfort zone
Falling head over heels into a relationship makes mealtimes more relaxed and enjoyable. Eating out and ordering in are definitely fun things to do when you're in a relationship. Eating then becomes like shopping the longer you shop the more your purchase and the longer you sit at the dinner table, the more you'll eat! Overeating sabotages your waistline.

Shape up by avoiding overindulgence. Save romantic dinners, bottles of wine and takeaway dinners for special occasions rather than weekly events. Go for a game of tennis, coastal walk or weekend away instead. Have a romantic date in the kitchen cooking a healthy dinner together.

When you've moved in together
Living together is not good for the waistline of either sex. Increased social outings where large portion sizes and excess kilojoules are the norm, combined with reduced activity levels and a lack of desire to maintain weight for the purpose of attracting the opposite sex all play a role in this weight gain.

Shape up by watching your portion sizes and reducing alcohol consumption. Replace eating in front of the television with a couple's exercise session. A couple that plays together, stays together.

When the ring is on your finger
It's now time to get in shape for your big day. The pressure to look good influences many brides and grooms to turn to unhealthy weight-loss methods such as radical diets or unrealistic exercise regimes. While these strategies may bring quick weight loss, they also drain our energy. When the wedding is over, it's not uncommon for the weight to pile back on.

Shape up by making realistic lifestyle changes that are sustainable for the years to come, not just for the big day. Get into shape with healthy eating habits and regular exercise.
When you're living happily ever after
With frantic lifestyles, weight gain is likely for both genders up until midlife, bringing poor health with it. Women falling pregnant should expect to gain weight, however women shouldn't eat for two and should strive for their pre-pregnancy weight in the year after their child is born. Many of us also attempt to lose weight during middle age and after the children have left the nest.

Shape up by making sure you plan health into your hectic lifestyle, rather than making the change when things go wrong. Take time to plan your meals, schedule in daily exercise and add in some "me" time. Looking after yourself during this time will make you a fantastic role model for your kids.

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