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When you first meet a new significant other, expectations for yourself and for your partner are extremely high. You’re conscious about how you look, wanting to impress the man or woman that you are seeing. Yet, as you begin to develop a serious relationship, the importance of looks can begin to diminish. While focusing on your partner’s personality rather than the fact that they aren’t wearing makeup can be a good thing, there seems to be a trend for people who are dating. That trend is weight gain, and as you spend more time with this person, the less you stick to your personal fitness and health routines. According to research from the journal Obesity, dating and cohabiting can lead to weight gain. The 2009 study looked at 1,293 dating, cohabiting and married romantic couples, and found that over five years, women who were dating put on an average of 15 pounds, and those living with a romantic partner gained 18 pounds. It’s extremely important to not let yourself become a statistic. Here are some ways to maintain your health and appearance while dating:

Watch Your Portions
Paying close attention to your portions is extremely important, especially for women. Just because your boyfriend can inhale four slices of pizza doesn’t mean that you should too. Everyone’s body was created differently, and your partner may  have a faster metabolism. While snacking as you watch TV may be okay for one of you, it could add hundreds of unnecessary  and damaging calories to other.

Plan Active Dates
Go on a walk to catch up after work. Head to the beach on a warm weekend. Pick up a fun activity together. Even if you are the couple who enjoys watching a movie, snuggled up at home, there are always ways to make your date active. Rather than just sitting on the couch, build a fort with pillows and sheets to channel your inner child. Just a little bit of movement and laughing about your favorite 12 year-old fort memories is better than sitting around, doing nothing.

Be Mindful of What You’re Drinking 
Dating always seems to revolve around eating and drinking. Whether it is meeting up for a coffee in the middle of the day, going out for a drink after work or enjoying a nightcap before bed, you are constantly consuming extra calories. Be careful with those liquid calories, especially at parties. Don’t try to keep up with your partner if they can drink a few beers and you can’t. You’ll just wind up drunk and sick.

Always Remember “Me” Time 
Whether you are taking fifteen minutes just to stretch after taking a shower or actually making it to the gym, do not forget your personal fitness routines. When a new relationship begins to form, it is so easy to want to spend every minute together. Fight that instinct when it interferes with your health. The more that you’re able to do alone, the more fun you’ll having telling your partner about the exciting things you did. He/she should love your independence, and embrace the fact that you may need time to yourself.