Being Healthy and Happy While In a Relationship with Carolyn Brown
This just in: Superwoman nutritionist Carolyn Brown is giving us her sagely advice on all things healthy living in a new three-part column exclusively for the void! Check back here on January 15th, February 15th and March 15th for everything you need to know about maintaining a healthy lifestyle—whether you’re in a relationship, have an active social life, or you just like to eat out regularly (we’re with you, girl!).
Carolyn Brown is a registered dietitian at Foodtrainers and also the voice the refreshed blog. She has worked with a variety of clients to help them reach their weight and overall health goals, but she does it by implementing healthy changes into your lifestyle, rather than sacrificing your lifestyle for healthy changes because after all, “you can live a healthy lifestyle without losing a social life.”
This month, we spoke with Carolyn about how to keep the bad habits at bay while still enjoying time with your bae <3.
The Void: What are some nutrition issues that couples face when they start dating?
Carolyn Brown: A lot of times, girls want to be the cool girl who is down for whatever… Wings! Beer! Pizza! Things you normally don’t eat, and at times of day when you normally wouldn’t eat them (late night!). Even if it’s healthier foods, men can generally get away with much bigger quantities. So be mindful and graciously adjust habits if it’s important to you! I have stocked guys homes and fridges with healthy snacks and Daily Harvest meals… so someone (me!) has always been crazier than you ;)
The Void: Are there some simple steps to continue living a healthy life while dating, which usually entails grabbing drinks?
CB: Absolutely! Actually getting to know someone sober (without the liquid courage) is really cool and important! Try a daytime or unconventional activity that doesn’t surround food or drinks; I love going to the park, getting out of the city for a hike or bike ride, going to a museum or a movie or show, playing board game, ancient baths is a fun one too if you’re in NYC! I recently dated someone who didn’t really drink and it was unexpectedly eye opening and AWESOME (even if the relationship didn’t end that way :/). But, if you are drinking, I suggest giving yourself a “max” number of drinks: one or two. If someone is still heavily boozing into their 30s, this might actually start looking like a red flag to you!
The Void: That’s helpful for early dating, but a lot of the time when someone is in a relationship for a longtime, they may also see some negative habits forming (ordering in, being a couch potato, etc). What are your suggestions to get out of those types of cycles and get back to a healthier life?
CB: Try something new! This is great for your relationship either way. It doesn’t have to be training for a half marathon (although that’s great too!). I always suggest getting in the kitchen and trying to make a few super simple homemade meals. If that feels like a stretch, Fresh Direct and Foodkick have pre-chopped and portioned meal kits. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Sun basket are also all great meal delivery services.
Some other ideas? Hit a meditation class, get out for daily walks instead of binging TV shows, leave your phones and tech behind. And if you really want to lose the couch potato mentality, may I suggest getting a pup?!
The Void: What’s your advice to single ladies living in the city (outside of nutritional tips)?
CB: Find your dream girl friends and cut off the jealous, gossipy, dramatic ones. I am not into the “no new friends”-type girls either. I always want new friends (and you should too!). I found many of my best friends by going on a surf and yoga retreat just a few years back. And they are the type of women who ask “what do you want to do next, and how can I help you?” Ask those questions!
Oh, and one more thing—always listen to red flags. As my friend Samantha says, “don’t wear red flags as blindfolds.”
The Void: What about advice for women in committed relationships?
CB: Always make sure you are taking care of yourself too! Sometimes as women, we get swooped into our significant other’s life, which is great and fun and important, but also remember to prioritize your friendships and family and self care too. It’s also important to ask your partner “how are you?” and really mean it and listen to the answer!
The Void: Do you believe choosing a healthier lifestyle leads to a better dating life and better relationships?
CB: Yes! When you are taking the best possible care of yourself, you’re more confident, clear-headed, happy, feeling good in your own skin, and you show up as the best possible version of you (on most days)! What’s sexier or more appealing than that?!