Whether or not you made some New Year resolutions as a couple, it's always a good time to commit to your shared health. Of course, if you're newly married, you know there's no shortage of occasions for indulging — that new waffle iron you got off your registry, restaurant gift cards from friends far and wide, bottles of wine and dinners with well-wishers. So how can you stay healthy during a time in your life that's all about indulgence?
1. Set a Joint Goal
You might have spent a lot of time eating well and working out to look great on your wedding day. But now is not the time to ease up on exercise and practicing good nutrition. "To stay motivated, I suggest setting a new, non-wedding related goal, such as running a half marathon, taking part in an online fitness challenge or planning a vacation that will require some physical preparation such as hiking or skiing," says health coach Emma-Louise Parkes of Brideance. For thrill-seeking newlyweds, sign up for a Warrior Dash a few months after the wedding. Training can get your hearts pumping and the 5k obstacle course will test your balance, core strength and speed.
2. Fill Up on Protein
Stick with chicken, eggs, seafood and beans for the bulk of your meals to keep your metabolisms running efficiently and prevent weight gain that comes with getting older. "Protein rebuilds lean muscle mass, keeping you toned and trim," says Dr. Caroline Apovian, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center.
3. Lift Some Weights (Besides That Rock on Your Finger!)
Hit the gym together or find some weights to lift in an effort to strength train twice a week, gradually adding weight and intensity as you get stronger, Apovian suggests. In addition to the obvious physical benefits, you'll also be sharpening your thinking, lowering your stress levels and reducing risks for type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease, Apovian adds.
4. Go for a Romantic Walk
If lifting weights isn't your style, plan to take a nightly walk with your new spouse. As Apovian warns, most Americans are sedentary far too much during the day. You'll both lessen your chances of disease and being overweight while getting a mood boost if you enjoy a long stroll after dinner.
5. Spend Serious Time in the Kitchen
After opening your new kitchen gadgets and cookbooks, browse your stash for healthy recipes and build a collection that you can cook up as a couple, suggests Toby Amidor, MS, RD, nutrition expert and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. Registered dietitian Monica Auslander, MS, RD, LD/N, of Essence Nutrition suggests checking out Pinterest for recipes that are appealing and also nutritious. "Use keywords like 'healthy,' 'clean eating' and 'the Whole 30,'" she says. Your best bet is to find something simple that doesn't have a ton of ingredients, says Lindsay Rowell, Chancey Charm Charlotte Wedding Planner. And leave any baking until the weekend, she says. "I try to only do it on Saturday mornings. Then it's something to look forward to."
6. Hit the Grocery Store Together
The couple that cooks together... needs to shop together, of course. Auslander suggests a trip to the market as a new Sunday ritual. It's a great way to spend time together while keeping yourselves accountable by restocking healthy items.
7. Call in Culinary Reinforcements
When you're too busy or stressed to dive into meal planning, try a meal kit delivery service like Terra's Kitchen, which offers seasonal fare and your choice of a vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, paleo or low-calorie menus. Everything is pre-portioned and a meal can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less. There's also UberEATS, which can deliver healthy bites like kale and pumpkin salad, quinoa burgers or açai bowls in more than 55 cities. You'll wait about 30-40 minutes for your food.
8. Plan Ahead for Restaurants
A fancy restaurant gift card is a great wedding gift, but how can you enjoy the indulgence without going overboard? Amidor says to look at the menu ahead of time together. "See which are healthier options and which higher fat dishes (like fried food or dessert) you can split. This can also save you some money on that gift card so you can have a repeat night out," she suggests.
9. Get Comfortable with Re-gifting
If you find yourselves eating out too often, consider giving away some of those restaurant gift cards. The same goes for bottles of nice wine, says Auslander. Use them as great gifts for housewarmings, birthday parties and so on.