Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Health

Looking for love? Look for healthy habits, too

If you're single and looking, finding the right mate is important to you.

If you also want to be as healthy and fit as possible for the rest of your life, how you select your mate may be key to that goal.

Research studying the effect of marriage on weight and physical activity suggests that marriage tends to encourage a more sedentary lifestyle. This makes sense, especially when one of you isn't very active.

Couples usually spend a lot of time together. So, if your mate is sedentary and only likes to eat fast, processed foods, spending time together means someone's going to have to give.

My patient Donald used to be active in sports. But once he got married and established a household and family, his lifestyle changed. It happened gradually, as did the negative effects on his health.

"One day I looked in the mirror and saw a middle-aged dude with a gut and double chin. What had happened to that guy who liked to be fit?" he said. Donald's wife had never been interested in exercising. He was concerned that if he started getting active, he might disrupt the stability of his relationship and appear selfish.

When Donald was single and dating, his potential mate's health habits were not on his radar. He knew he wanted someone who was attractive, had a sense of humor and was attentive. He looked for that and found it. But, looking back, he acknowledged that Amy was never an active person, nor did she show any other signs of making health a priority. It didn't seem important at the time.

Though Amy's poor health habits have influenced his behaviors, they shouldn't keep him from getting fit. Nor should he blame her, since Donald's behaviors probably influenced Amy's or at least reinforced them.

What should you learn from Donald's experience?

Just as you should consider how you both approach issues such as child rearing, religion and finances, it's important to carefully assess the health habits of a potential mate. Even if they look great now, their attitudes and habits concerning health, food, cooking and exercise will have a tremendous impact on what happens to you in the future.

Here are some things you can do to make it more likely that the person you decide to commit to will also be a positive influence on your healthy pursuits:

• Find activities and events that focus on healthy behaviors. For example, a Meet Up (a popular large network of local groups) centered on hiking or cycling rather than bar-hopping is more likely to attract other health-minded people.

• Take active singles vacations. A canoeing singles adventure tour is definitely going to involve more active folks than a luxury culinary group vacation.

• Writing a personal ad? Don't just say you're looking for an active person. Describe the kinds of healthy things you do so people who lead the same kind of lifestyle will be drawn to your ad.

• Don't be swayed by someone who lists active things they've only recently picked up. Listen and look for signs that this is not just a recent health kick or weight-loss program, but a real lifestyle for them.

• Make sure you try to involve your current love interest in your regular healthy lifestyle. Not only will they see what life would be like with you, but you both will see if they fit into the same kind of world you want to live in.

Whether you're young or old, if you're single and looking for a life mate, look for traits that tend to have lasting effects, including healthy habits. Nothing should keep you from pursuing a healthy lifestyle, but you sure can make it easier on yourself if you have a partner committed to the same goals.

Dr. Lavinia Rodriguez is a Tampa psychologist and expert in weight management. She is the author of "Mind Over Fat Matters: Conquering Psychological Barriers to Weight Management." Send questions to her at [email protected]

Comments
Estimated 7,000 bodies may be buried at former asylum

Estimated 7,000 bodies may be buried at former asylum

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Some of the boxes stacked inside anthropologist Molly Zuckerman’s laboratory contain full bones — a skull, a jaw, or a leg. Others contain only plastic bags of bone fragments that Zuckerman describes as "grit." These humble remain...
Updated: 5 hours ago
FDA warns teething medicines are unsafe for babies

FDA warns teething medicines are unsafe for babies

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials warned parents Wednesday about the dangers of teething remedies that contain a popular numbing ingredient and asked manufacturers to stop selling their products intended for babies and toddlers. The Food and Drug...
Updated: 10 hours ago
A chronic lack of sleep could lead to decreased brain function, study finds

A chronic lack of sleep could lead to decreased brain function, study finds

A sleep study revealed that less than six hours of sleep a day can limit the brain’s ability to function properly.The study, published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people experiencing less than...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Josephine Rizo survived chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, but breast cancer treatment wrecked her finances.Money was already tight when doctors told the Phoenix resident she had an aggressive form of the disease. Then she took a pay cut after goin...
Published: 05/22/18

Hernando County officials gather to remedy ‘dearth of services’ for youth with mental illness

BROOKSVILLE — Educators, court officials, law enforcement officers and health care professionals met Friday to identify the best ways to keep local youth with mental illnesses out of the court system and provide treatment for those already in the sys...
Published: 05/22/18
Give your arms a workout, too

Give your arms a workout, too

In addition to appearance, it is very important to maintain strength in those arms, as they are needed for practically every upper body movement we perform. We often take our 23 arm muscles for granted, until we reach a point where it suddenly become...
Published: 05/22/18
Intermittent fasting seems to be a good thing, new report suggests

Intermittent fasting seems to be a good thing, new report suggests

Going long hours without eating isn’t good for us, we are often told. Our bodies need fuel regularly. Otherwise, we may become lethargic, tired and hungry. Our thinking can become mushy, our ability to work, and even play, hampered.Not so fast.A new ...
Published: 05/22/18
U.S. approves first drug developed to prevent chronic migraines

U.S. approves first drug developed to prevent chronic migraines

TRENTON, N.J. — U.S. regulators Thursday approved the first drug designed to prevent chronic migraines. The Food and Drug Administration’s action clears the monthly shot Aimovig (AIM’-oh-vig) for sale. It’s the first in a new class of long-acting dru...
Published: 05/18/18
Know your blood pressure numbers? Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day

Know your blood pressure numbers? Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day

Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day, and the American Medical Association is encouraging people to monitor their blood pressure levels and get high blood pressure, or hypertension, under control. High blood pressure, sometimes referred to as the...
Published: 05/17/18
Study: Depression in men may lower chances for pregnancy

Study: Depression in men may lower chances for pregnancy

Women having trouble getting pregnant sometimes try yoga, meditation or mindfulness, and some research suggests that psychological stress may affect infertility. But what about men: Does their mental state affect a couple’s ability to conceive?The la...
Published: 05/17/18