‘Tis the season, guys. I’m not just talking pecan pie and gravy boats. Don’t be fooled: It may seem like this season revolves around shopping malls, jingle bells, and cheese balls, but at the end of the day, it’s about spending time with the ones you love. Say it with me: awwwwww.
The holidays are also a great time to reflect on the changes you’ve made over the year, and decide where you want to go from here. If you’ve lost weight in the past, every day feels like Christmas when you can wake up and put on your favorite jeans without wondering what kind of evil magic your dryer is up to. But it’s also a time of confusion, because when you lose weight, you’ll notice your relationships changing, too – and in your particular, your relationship with your significant other.
Whether you’ve been successful at climbing out of a rut or are just getting your start, your relationship with your significant other is one of the first things to shift when you lose weight. It can feel like a change for the better when you trade in the burlap bag you’ve been wearing as pajamas for a sultry set of lingerie. But losing weight and discovering your new found physique can also expose some raw emotions you (or your significant other) didn’t anticipate.
Here are four different ways you can deal with the changes in your relationship when your body changes during the process of losing weight:
1) When you first start losing weight, you don’t always change your whole wardrobe right away. But you might change your bedroom routine. It was once the case that, during those cold winter nights, you’d don your dude’s XXL sweatshirt and flannel man-pants, and snuggle up to watch a movie in the dark. Netflix and chill? More like Netflix and feel… my body through 5 layers of clothing. I get it: You don’t think he wants to hear your tummy flapping in the breeze during your intimate moments. But let me fill you in on a little secret: Chances are, he doesn’t notice. He loves YOU and he loves your body, just as it is. That’s the magic of love. Sure, we all have our own body hang-ups, and it’s natural to feel a little gun-shy when it’s time to bare all. All of that changes when you lose weight. Feeling fit has the side effect of feeling frisky. When you’re feeling good, you’re willing to get a little crazy, maybe leave the nightlight on, or even, gasp, the overhead lights! Go for it! Men report that they find NOTHING sexier than a woman who is confident in her own skin. They also report it has little to do with the number on the scale. A woman who is actively taking steps to better her health is a woman with a genuine confidence. And a woman with genuine confidence knows she looks GOOD whether it’s 10am or 11pm, with or without clothes – with or without a few extra pounds. Leave those lights on, and watch the mood change. He’ll be even more into your newfound confidence. And that’s a boost for you too.
2) The way you interact with your significant other isn’t limited to the bedroom, though. It used to be, you’d go out to a bar and you two would sit in the corner, sipping a whiskey sour and snuggling without really interacting with anyone else around you. But now that you’re slimming down and feeling super-sexy because you’ve gotten healthy, all of a sudden you might notice your man’s eyes wandering. But not at other women! No! He’s looking at all the other men, who are suddenly checking you out. All of a sudden, your man is noticing that YOU are getting more attention, more glances, glimpses, and a few nods. Even still, your newfound success may have him feeling slightly insecure about his own physique. He may be wondering, is HIS belly bothering him now that YOURS is tight and toned? He may be wondering if that hot cross-fit trainer checking you out? Do him a favor and make sure you let your man know that HE is the only one you have eyes for. Tell him your love is like winter in Canada: not going anywhere. A little insecurity can wedge its way into the closest relationships, creating unwanted drama. Validation of your love is key.
3) Another way relationships can shift is in your daily interactions. I can personally attest to this one. You lose weight, you get healthy, and all of a sudden, you’re doing the dishes, the laundry, or picking up your kids’ toys from the floor, and you notice your significant other pinching your tush. He can’t seem to keep his hands off of you once you’ve lost weight and are feeling more confident. Some women seem to be fine with this. Others feel their personal space is being invaded (especially if this is a particularly NEW behavior). If this is an uncomfortable change at first, try to remember that he’s just THAT much more attracted to you and this is his way of showing it. Keep your doors of communication open (and the doors of your fridge shut!) to keep this type of behavior appealing. If you love it – great! Obviously encourage it. If not, sit down at another time and gently discuss your need for personal space. But make sure he knows how much you love him. You have to keep those feelings validated; otherwise trouble begins to brew.
4) Perhaps the favorite change is when you see your significant other shows pride for your accomplishments. Your significant other is PROUD of you. Suddenly he is telling EVERYONE about your incredible success shredding 10, 20, or 30 pounds. He’s bragging about your new Personal Best at the gym: Can you believe she deadlifted 490 times her body weight? He’s telling everyone how strong you are and how proud he is of you. If you don’t like being in the spotlight, this one can be a little annoying. But take it in the spirit it’s intended: love. When someone is bragging about you, they’re proud of you. Let him have HIS moment to shine, because even if he seems prideful, it’s really all about YOU!
Relationships are constantly changing, and unlike winter in Canada, this can be a GOOD thing. Embrace the good changes that will come from your improving health, encourage your partner to come along in your journey, and keep those lines of communication open. Most of all, enjoy ALL the goodness that results from your newfound fitness. Even if you have some bumps in the road, keep going: You’re worth it.