We all know how to lose weight and get in shape, right? Eat less calories, exercise, and get enough sleep.
Sounds pretty simple, but of course simple isn’t the same as easy. Losing weight is anything but easy.
In an ideal world, you’d have no outside forces interfering with your fitness journey. No judgment, no temptations, and most importantly, you’d be able to dictate your own meals and what food you have in your house. That may be the case for the few of you who live alone, but for everyone else, we have to figure out how to manage your diet with other people around.
I’ve had quite a bit of experience in adjusting my diet based on someone else. My fiance and I like to eat meals together (dinner at the very least), but I follow a plant based diet and generally eat much fewer calories than him. I also have to be more conscious of protein in my meals, especially when cutting, so making a vegan high protein dish that works for both of us can be a little tricky.
Despite all of this, I’ve never had any problems adjusting my meals and we’re always able to eat together. So here are some of my tips that I’ve learned along the way!
Eat the same meals, but smaller portions
If you’re just counting calories and don’t have any specific diet you’re following that differs from your partner’s (keto, vegan, etc), then the easiest tactic is to just make the same meals for both of you, but eat a smaller portion.
- Very simple method
- Your portions might have to be VERY small if the meal is high calorie. I’ve found this method to be the hardest because I’d usually be almost out of calories by dinnertime and found fitting the last final meal into my macros to be very difficult.
- Might have to compromise more to make the meal suitable for both of you
This is my go to method when I’m in a calorie deficit (trying to lose weight). If you’re unfamiliar with intermittent fasting, it basically just means you’re eating all your calories in a small window instead of throughout the day.
The window times vary, but most people will fast for about 16 hours and then eat all of their calories in an 8 hour window.
So in this scenario you end up having a lot calories to work with by the time dinner rolls around, which makes it a lot easier to eat with your partner without going over your calories.
- Allows you to eat one big meal together
- Can be difficult to adjust to eating later in the day
- Doesn’t work for everyone
Small changes to your meal
This is another one of my favorite tactics. This works especially well for couples with differences in their food choices.
For example, my boyfriend and I love making this delicious mushroom pasta for dinner. Since I don’t eat dairy and he does, we boil pasta for both of us in one pot, but then make the sauces in two separate pans. The ingredients are mostly the same (mushroom, garlic, onions, flour, herbs, and veggie stock), but differ in the cream at the end and butter used to make the roux.
So we make the entire base together (he usually just opts for the vegan butter to make it easier). Once that’s done, we split it into two separate pans and finish it off with heavy cream for him and non-dairy milk for me. If I’m low on protein I can also throw in some faux meat into my side since I already have a separate pan.
Another one of our favorites is making pizza together. We make the dough and the split it in half. I can add whatever I want to my side and he can load his up with as much cheese and meat as he wants. In the end we’re both happy!
Making small changes to a dish allows you to cook the majority of the meal together without having to compromise on your dietary needs.
- Allows you to eat one big meal together
- Easier to control macros
- More dishes 🙁
If none of those options work for you, you always have the option of just cooking separate meals. Even though it may not be ideal,at least it will take some of the stress out of dieting. And it doesn’t have to ruin your mealtime rituals! You can cook different meals and still sit down and eat them together.
- Takes the stress out of trying to compromise
- Still allows you to eat together
- Can be more time consuming to cook two separate dishes
- A LOT more dishes
That’s it! Keep in mind you don’t have to stick to one tactic. Maybe some days you eat a modified meal together and maybe other days you have to cook completely separate meals. Remember all of this is to make dieting LESS STRESSFUL, so don’t beat yourself up while you’re trying to figure out what works for you and your family.
I hope you found some of these tips as helpful as I have and good luck in your fitness journey!