Or are you?
New research has found that when it comes to nutrition habits, we are who we’re hitched to.
Which means that, despite your nagging about his dangerous three-bag-a-day Cheeto addiction/her habitual midnight Taquito fests, you could actually be the culprit.
The Marriage Diet
A diet study published in November offered an inside look at this phenomenon. The research team, led by UC Berkeley’s Mark Pachuki, tracked the eating patterns of some 3,400 people—groups of spouses, friends, brothers and sisters—over a 10 year period.
As the decade stretched on, they watched in awe (or neutral scientific observation) as the husbands and wives of the study began eating more and more and more alike.
Spouses, they concluded, have a much stronger impact on a person’s food choices than friends, coworkers and other family.
Well, that’s not surprising: you grocery shop and cook together, you dine out together. Having rivaling food preferences doesn’t really work in a relationship.
But there’s more to it, I imagine. Not only do our brains naturally, subconsciously, imitate the things around us, but there is a singular tendency to mirror the objects of our affection.
That explains how even one’s most stubborn healthy habits can fade, as couples gently add pounds together over the years.
It also explains how Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux can unwittingly step out in matching outfits.
So Who Started It?
Um, good luck nailing down who baked the first butter-crumb-encrusted macaroni and cheese, or programmed the Pizza Hut number on speed dial.
The findings of the Couple’s Diet study present an opportunity. Not to justify food faults or point fingers, but to make a joint change.
If you are hoping your spouse will join you in discovering the merits of slow food and Whole Foods in 2012, you won’t need artful persuasion tactics or a stronghold on the shopping list. You won’t even need to—thank goodness—‘accidentally’ trip them on their way to calling Pizza Hut.
To get your spouse’s full healthy-eating support (as in, conscious and unconscious—cha-ching!), all you have to do is go first.
Consistency is key to make this change long-term and at times your spouse may sabotage your new found habits. Learning to deal with Sabotage may make all the difference.