Disease Proof

Is the Fitness of Your Significant Other Important?

FitSugar is kicking around a great question. When picking a partner, or as some would say, following in love, do you consider your potential mate’s health and fitness habits? Does it even matter?

As for me, I’ll be blunt. I won’t even date a girl that doesn’t exercise regularly. And I prefer if they eat healthfully too, not necessarily like I do, but let’s just say, I’ve dated more than a few vegans and vegetarians. And since we’re being frank, I’ll admit it. I've actually ended a relationship because the girl stopped exercising and brought snack cakes into my apartment. Oh hell no!

Sorry, but for me, a healthy lifestyle is one of those make-or-break issues, among other things, but what about you, are the diet and exercise habits of your significant other important? Do tell.

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Comments (10) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Hanlie Blewett - January 6, 2009 7:01 AM

This is going to sound absurd, but even though I am the fat and unfit one, I was always interested in nutrition and wouldn't go out with someone who "would never change", like my brother-in-law who feeds his kids candy instead of food, has meat three times a day and sees vegetables as a cash-crop but not something he would consider eating himself. I weighed over 300 pounds when I met my husband, a fit long distance runner. He's very supportive of my efforts and does Eat to Live with me. He even walks with me at a pace that must surely bore him to tears. Such is love!

Steve - January 6, 2009 10:28 AM

Hi Gerry
Great question. I am now in a relationship purgatory, I see a girl less and less as we grow apart, I get fitter, she gets fatter as she continues to eat drink and smoke like a pig.

Even with friends, I notice now that it doesn't matter who we know that dies of cancer or heart disease at 50 or even 45 (and there have been many over the last few years), it seems that NO ONE I know is going to do ANYTHING to change their habits even in the slightest.

I am running out of people to do stuff with, but I am not going to let that derail me, I will eventually find other people to hang with.

It is also important to remember (as readers of this blog know) that being very muscular or a marathon runner is not quite the same as being healthy, so don't be too smug about it ;-).

Hanlie, if you still have significant weight to lose or diet modifications to make, I suspect other readers here will join me in suggesting that you consider a direct consultation with Dr Fuhrman. Also, look for (I think) Rebecca's story here in the blog archives.

Cheers, Steve

Joyce - January 6, 2009 11:06 AM

To me, it isnt someone's outward appearance that matters, but I have to admit, being around someone that isnt healthy and who eats bad foods in front of me that I am trying not to eat, makes me VERY grumpy!

Michael - January 6, 2009 12:43 PM

If I were starting from "scratch" I would have the same opinion as you, Gerry. I wouldn't date someone who was a total couch potato. Among other things, sharing experiences such as hiking, backpacking, biking, or other exercises gives couples a chance to do something positive together.

In my situation, I married before I knew any of this, and got into health and fitness in my late 20s. Thus, I am kind of the lone ranger, since I have been unable so far to convince the rest of my family the benefits of a healthy diet.

Together is better....but if you find yourself alone in this quest for health...keep going...

James - January 6, 2009 11:51 PM

I don't know about you guys, but judging someone as a suitable companion solely by the nature of their eating/exercise habits seems pretty shallow and intolerant.

Steve - January 7, 2009 9:33 AM

I disagree with James. Judging a man by income or height is shallow. Judging a woman by breast size is shallow.

Eating and exercise habits say a lot about someone. It is deep, not shallow.
Regards, Steve

Alicia - January 7, 2009 3:26 PM

I'm fairly new to the Eat to Live lifestyle. I took a cooking class from the Cancer Project just because a friend of mine was taking it and I was introduced to Dr. Fuhrman's book. I've been hooked ever since I read it. I have never been over weight but I was on medication for high cholesterol because of genetics. I am now off of medication due to my new eating habits.

My husband of 22 years is not on board with me. We have always been active and we exercise daily together but he is still overweight. He doesn't think a meal is complete without meat and he loves beer. I continue to cook healthy meals but am adding small portions of organic chicken or fresh water fish for him. I also hope to have him listen to the audio version of Eat to Live, which he agreed to do. It will probably be a slow process for him to come around but I am willing to have patience and keep trying.

Hopeful in AK,

Sara - January 7, 2009 10:33 PM

I agree with James. I think so much more matters with a person than whether they exercise and it doesn't mean they are a bad person because they eat unhealthfully and don't exercise.

Having said that, eating healthfully is important for me, and I do notice that my non-ETL boyfriend does get me off track. I have joked that when we are together, he eats better and I eat worse. But I am in love with him, so it's not a deal breaker.

I think finding that perfect someone is a blend of so many factors that it's impossible to tell. Someone who might be perfect for you on paper might have no spark while you end up falling in love with someone who doesn't match up with an internal list.

Michael - January 8, 2009 1:08 PM

I also disagree with James. A desire for healthy living is not shallow. I think in the best of all worlds, a couple should agree on major things in life, like religion, politics, and ....health and fitness. It is much more fun to do something together with a like-minded partner than to go it alone. Plus, you reinforce each other, hold one another accountable and otherwise keep each other on track. Something as mundane as shopping can become a fun, shared experience. Recreation can become a time to be together, and communicate on a deep level.

No, this is not a shallow subject. What is shallow is being merely attracted to someone, while you go your separate ways.... Me to the health food store, and she to McDonalds. Who wants to live like that?

James - January 14, 2009 3:24 PM

Steve, with all due respect, a person's eating/exercise habits say NOTHING about the true person underneath the skin. I've met a couple people in my lifetime (and I'm willing to bet you have also) who've adopted super-healthy lifestyles (vegan diet, and worked out almost every day) who pretty much had arrogant, elitist attitudes and were all-around unpleasant people who I'd never consider going out with.

Michael, you make a good point about choosing a partner whom you have something to share with as far as religion, politics, and....health and fitness. However, this should not be the "be all, end all" way to decide whether or not this person would be a good partner.

Suppose you met a very charming girl (or guy, whatever floats your boat) whom you immediately "hit it off" and have numerous things in common and relate to on a deep level. But later, you find out she is not a stickler for the ETL lifestyle; she eats fast food and does not exercise as regularly as you do. Does that automatically mean you should blow her off as a prospective partner? Don't you think it would be a good shared experience to help curb her bad eating/exercise habits?

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