Battle of the sexes in the kitchen

November 11, 2008 4:00:15 PM PST
Is your spouse or partner sabotaging your diet? Julie Upton, a registered dietitian and communications expert specializing in nutrition, fitness, and health, offers some advice.

Couples commonly fight over money, but did you know many couples actually fight over food? It's true, women and men face nutrition very differently, and many women complain that their spouse is actually sabotaging their diet. In fact, research has shown that some 70% of women in a diet program complained that their spouse was ruining their diet.

Here we look at the common diet dilemmas facing couples and what to do.

  1. My husband says salads, stir-fry, soy and anything healthy is "Rabbit Food" and wants meat and bread or potatoes instead.

    Many men don't find a plant-based diet as satisfying as a meat-and-potatoes, type stick to the ribs meal. What you can do is offer a compromise in that you have a large salad or lots of steamed veggies and serve smaller portions of lean protein. Don't' try to get a carnivore hubby to be a vegan, but serve smaller portions of meat and choose the leanest cuts.

  2. My husband brings home junk food

    You need to tell him that the food he brings home isn't helping your efforts to stick to a healthy diet and it is impacting the diets of your children. While you can't nag him about his habits, you should ask him to eat those foods when he's at work or out for meals, rather than brining them home.

  3. My husband keeps telling me he likes me chubby and sabotages my diet whenever he can by taking me out to dinner or giving me chocolates.

    Many couples are suspicious when one partner embarks on a "home improvement" mission. If your husband suddenly started hitting the gym everyday, you may wonder why as well?

    Your husband may be fearful of why you want to change your appearance and may be afraid that you won't find him as attractive is you improve your shape. And, your new improved eating may make him feel more conscious of the pizza and beer he's downing every Friday night. Offer reassurance that you love him, and your attention to diet details has nothing to do with your relationship.

  4. I can't seem to motivate my husband to do anything healthy?

    Are you really trying to motivate or are you coming across as a nag? It's better to remove yourself from being the diet or fitness coach and leave that to a professional. For instance, hire a personal trainer for him for his birthday; get him a fitness gadget like a HRM or new piece of exercise equipment. Make a diet challenge that is more performance-based (ie, will aid in running or finishing a triathlon) as that is what motivates men. The bathroom scale, clothes size or appearance is less important motivators to men to improve their diet and lifestyle.

  5. Since I've gotten married, I've gained 10 pounds in 2 years. At this rate, I will be obese in two more years.

    Research shows that men and women tend to gain weight once they are married. It's generally a psychological issue as you feel that you are settled and no longer have to work to hard on appearances. But that shouldn't be your mindset of the married, as any weight gain is unhealthy and couples should work to maintain the weight they were when they married. To do this, it often means setting nutritional ground rules for your home, such as eating out is limited to 1 day per week; not allowing junk food at home and making travel and vacations action-oriented rather than sedentary.

Julie Upton Bio:
Julie Upton is a registered dietitian and communications expert specializing in nutrition, fitness and health. As a media resource for the American Dietetic Association, Upton is interviewed and quoted in over 200 articles annually, and is a frequent guest on national and local television and radio stations. She has been interviewed on the NBC Today Show, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight and is a frequent guest on CNN, WABC and Fox.

Ms. Upton is also a nationally recognized journalist who has written thousands of articles for national newspapers, magazines and e-media including The New York Times, Prevention, Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Health.com. Her articles cover nutrition for babies to boomers, weight loss and maintenance and functional foods.

Her athletic accomplishments are many: Upton is a competitive swimmer, cyclist, marathon runner and triathlete. She has completed events such as the Swim Around Manhattan Island, New York City Marathon and The Boston Marathon and the Hawaii Ironman World Championships.

Ms. Upton attended the University of Michigan and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Michigan State University. She completed her dietetic internship at Harvard Medical School and holds a Master of Science Degree in Nutrition Communications from Boston University.


Load Comments