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A good reason to get a gym membership

Last week I was sitting in the movie theater, snacking on my smuggled cheese sticks, watching Dan in Real Life (don’t worry, no big spoilers ahead). Most of the film takes place during a large family get together and in one scene a male character and the woman he’s dating lead the family in a group aerobics class on the lawn. My first thought:

“Oh my gosh, I totally need to date an aerobics instructor so I can get free lessons!”

If thoughts like these don’t prove I’m a changed woman, I don’t know what will. Five years ago I would have thought, “Who in their right mind would exercise on vacation?”

But I think it would be great to date someone who was just as much into health and fitness as I am. Or better yet, I could date a hardcore sportsman who could teach me to rock climb or rollerblade or mountain bike. We could cheer each other on and buy each other. . . rock climbing stuff. Ropes? Hmm, that might give him the wrong idea.

I think healthy living might actually be a deal breaker for me as far as relationships go. I don’t want to date a smoker and I don’t want to date someone who’s significantly subsidizing the Ben & Jerry’s company. They don’t necessarily have to run marathons and lift weights, but they can’t be sabotaging me either. And free body pump classes are always a plus.

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31 Comments

Rachel • November 27, 2007 at 8:49 am

Bravo…Bravo….you deserve a standing ovation for knowing what you want and sticking to it! And I have to say I couldn’t agree with you more on wanting to be with someone who also practices healthy eating!!

A friend of mine said…why do you go to the gym so much…to which I replied…why do you smoke so much??! At least what I’m doing is healthy!

To surround yourself with “like” people is the best thing you can do :)

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Charity • November 27, 2007 at 9:00 am

You don’t want to go too far to extremes. For a while I dated a bodybuilder whose idea of a good weekend was a day-long hike that resembled the Bataan death march. Fun for him, not fun for me.

But having someone who is into eating healthy and exercising is really key. I used to hear women complain that their husbands didn’t want to eat “diet food” or didn’t want to take care of the kids so they could work out. My husband exercises a few times a week, and will happily try almost anything healthy I dish up. And he really likes a lot of it too! We had vegetarian chili last night that he liked a whole lot!

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melsky • November 27, 2007 at 9:24 am

My husband started eating better and working out when I started having good results with it.

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Nina • November 27, 2007 at 9:38 am

Yeah, my boyfriend is pretty much a diet sabateur. I’ve been with him four years so I don’t wanna leave him or anything, but it’s impossible to diet around him. He eats constantly and refuses to keep our home low carb.

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anji • November 27, 2007 at 10:28 am

I have the perfect man for you here in Canada! He lives in Ottawa…. too bad you’re too far away, hehe…..

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Kay • November 27, 2007 at 10:42 am

I’m lucky to date a man who has a human performance degree and used to be a personal trainer! I already was a bit of a workout “nut” before I met him, but I can’t lie and say it isn’t nice sharing the same healthy living mindset as him. He still likes his big slabs of steak and large mugs of beer, but he also keeps an eye on his intake and physical activity… and of course has the hot body to prove it! Of course I love him for more than that, but it does reflect his inner-self, which I’m incredibly attracted to as well. :-)

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Fraidycat • November 27, 2007 at 11:36 am

Well, I’m dating Mr. Active (runs and does marathons occasionally, rock climbs, sky dives, skis, builds stuff, etc. etc. etc.) and he would LOVE if I would learn to rock climb, etc. etc. etc. I’m too scared (sigh!) but I love it that he does all this stuff and keeps so nice and fit (nice for me!). And he eats healthy so that helps me maintain my weight loss, and his trim body shames me (I mean, motivates me!) into maintaining mine. He’s so non-judgemental as well. Lucky me. : ) PQ, I’d gladly clone him for you, since you’d actually do all the things I won’t! I’m not much of an outdoors kinda girl. I exercise inside at home, thank you, where no one can see me. ; )

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CookieMonster • November 27, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Wow! That is a huge change.

I’m so with you on the smoking — it’s always been a deal breaker for me. My husband does fly fishing but I have zero interest.

The question now:

would you date someone who is overweight?

PQ – If he were charming, sure! I’m still technically overweight myself.

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Diva • November 27, 2007 at 3:17 pm

that’s a hard question isnt it?? i’m glad my husband didnt mind dating some one who was overweight :-D even though he wasnt and isnt. BUT being trim does not alway equal being a healthy eater and into exercise. my husband will exercise with me after a lot of “encouragement”…and he will eat what i eat when i need a “boost” because i feel like going off my diet. but for the most part, he sleeps with a family pack of full-sized hershey bars in the night stand so he can have one or two in the middle of the night.

also, some one who is in to fitness but has never had a weight problem might be a discouragement if he/she cannot realize the difference in the diet and exercise needs of a person who has food and weight issues. my brother’s fiance is into health and fitness but has never weighed more than 120…so her “great advice to go to only eat one serving of potato chips and only half a peice of cake” aren’t very helpful…um hello! if i could do THAT i wouldnt have weighed 260 lbs at 25 years old and 5 feet two inches tall. so it’s just like everything else in love….there are way too many variables and things that play in to it.

by the way pasta queen….how tall are you? i’m only asking because i think you look amazing for 180…im wondering if i can hope to look that good 20 lbs from now!

PQ – I’m 5’9″ tall and thanks!

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kyle • November 27, 2007 at 3:41 pm

dealbreaker huh?

that’s what you say until you fall madly in love with someone who doesn’t exercise!

my hubby isn’t overweight but he isn’t fit by any means. he doesnt’ sabotage me but he definitely does help. and I still love him. most of the time.

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thejulia • November 27, 2007 at 3:51 pm

I know what you mean! Like another commenter, I’ve been with a boyfriend now for four years who’s never been extremely healthy, drinks with the guys very often, thrives on fast food, usually has about 1 incredibly unhealthy meal a day… but he’s pin thin and his doctor says he’s in good health. And I admit that if I had his physique, I probably wouldn’t be motivated to eat my salads and hop on the elliptical ever! :( As it is, it’s been like pulling teeth to just get him to go on walks with me or to a yoga class (let alone trying to go jogging with him, or something).

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Melanie • November 27, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Gee, I don’t feel so alone after reading all these comments. I am married to a great guy – really cool and nice. The downside though is that he smokes (when we met I did too so don’t throw tomatoes yet) and he has a severe chocolate “issue”. He will eat whatever I cook for dinner, but he won’t go out of his way to lose weight with me. He sometimes want to try exercising (i.e. walking at night with our two kids), but usually football or a nap wins out. Now that I’m starting to think more healthfully, I’m finding that these things are beginning to irk me like a scab that I just want to pick at. PQ, there’s a perfect guy out there for you. You just haven’t found him yet. My BIL lives here in Louisville and is a great catch. He’s good looking, healthy, owns a business…. :)

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Donna • November 27, 2007 at 5:52 pm

Our youngest son gave his fiance rock-climbing gear for a college graduation present. She was so happy with it, she wore it at the party (some harness thingy). One of her male friends said, “How do I get me a woman like that?” Our son and his sweetie got married that summer (2005) and are happily rock climbing together. I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while now — you go, PQ!

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Sara • November 27, 2007 at 6:03 pm

As a not stick thin mountain biker, road biker, and occasional rock climber, I can tell you that doing that type of fun physical activity is a great way to spend time with someone, and a load of fun. I also HIGHLY recommend rock climbing in an indoor gym as a first date. Also, fun girls who do those kind of sports are in VERY short supply, trust me!

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K • November 27, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Well, I agree with you about the smoking. Other than that… you win some, you lose some. My husband is active (when he’s well… another story) and that motivated me to get fitter so I could keep up with him, but he also has very different eating habits from me, and we’ve just learned to work with those.

Not that his habits are terrible, or that mine are: we just have different approaches. It’s all part of learning to live with another person.

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Cindy • November 27, 2007 at 7:04 pm

Oh, PQ!

You’ve gone over to the dark side with this one… I can see disliking the smoking thing (it smells AND it could negatively impact YOUR health!), but the rest of it seems like elitist judgmentalism. I don’t want to be loved for how I look, or what I eat, or how much I exercise (or not!). Nor do i want to see other important people in my life this way. There is something in us that is beyond our appearance or our actions —it is who we are at the core. And that is what makes a relationship, not the rest, which is just the outward trappings of who we really are. You might want to rethink this a bit. Look for people who make you smile, be it friend or lover, and the rest will unfold naturally. Don’t go in with a shopping list, or you’ll never be happy.

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jodi • November 27, 2007 at 8:29 pm

i try and not let the fact that my boyfriend (1) smokes, (2) doesn’t eat a balanced diet when i’m not around (3) likes the beer, and (4) doesn’t exercise… he has been, however, VERY supportive of me and makes an effort to be healthier when i’m around… i’m hoping that when we’re engaged and living together, i will be more of a positive influence on him…

i think it’s great that you have ‘needs’ for a future mate – it’s so important to be able to share it w/them… :o)

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MB • November 27, 2007 at 11:51 pm

I could never kiss a smoker *yuck.* It would be like kissing an ashtray. I don’t mind that my boyfriend doesn’t want to work out or eat my healthy meals but it is frustrating when he brings “the junk” home and temps me with it. It would be a bonus to get free lessons instead of ice cream offerings.

I can’t believe you are “technically” overweight. You look amazing!

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Donna • November 28, 2007 at 12:17 am

I commend you for seeking the companionship of like-minded people when it comes to healthy living. I was pleasantly welcomed into a new group of friends who embrace a healthy approach to eating and daily exercise over a year ago. This year I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner as usual and declined in favor of attending a celebration with a new group of friends with a completely different philosophy. It was delightful. No over abundance of the wrong foods and no feeling of guilt for having overeaten. No need to please the host and eat everything presented. Since 2003 I have committed to a healthy eating plan and absolutely love it. The thought of pies, cakes, cookies, etc. is totally unappealing. A friend offered me a Wendy’s rootbeer float and I can’t tell what a total turn-off that was. Gross!! I love having lunch with my trainer where we can share a salad with grilled salmon and honestly say we’re totally into it. No regrets for me at all. I know how I want to eat for the rest of my life.

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Christina • November 28, 2007 at 9:37 am

Cindy, I totally disagree. Nothing that PQ said smacks of “elitist judgmentalism.” All she said is that it would be great to date someone who is into fitness and that she doesn’t want to date someone who sabotages her efforts. Those are perfectly reasonable desires, and there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want. It doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to reject anyone who doesn’t conform to some shopping list.

PQ, it’s hard to do what you’ve done and even harder to maintain it. If healthy living is what you want, it absolutely makes sense to find someone who supports that. That doesn’t make you an elitist jerk. I personally think it’s great that you’ve come this far and as a person with a lot of weight to lose myself, I’m starting to realize how important it is to have the support of friends, family, significant others who can help you along the way.

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psychsarah • November 28, 2007 at 9:45 am

I concur with Christina-this is not elitist or judgmental to look for someone with similar values-in fact, I think that’s what makes a relationship work in the long term. That doesn’t mean you instantly reject someone because they don’t run half marathons like you do, but if that person is not supportive of your exercise or healthy eating efforts or doesn’t understand why its important to you, they don’t share your values of being healthy and happy. Why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t support these values? It’s also helpful in relationships to have similar interests-if you want to be out biking or running and your partner wants to sit at home and be a couch potato, it’s going to be tough to find common ground. If you don’t look for what you want, you won’t find it!

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Emily • November 28, 2007 at 10:09 am

I concur. My husband has terrible eating habits and rarely works out, but is very supportive of me and my efforts. If he would work out with me and eat better, that would be really NICE, but him being supportive is what is most important. (Though, I would really really like it if he suddenly had a craving for some vegetables and a good long walk.)

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JEM • November 28, 2007 at 11:46 am

I don’t think PQ is being judgemental. Everyone has specific atributes that they look for in a mate. I don’t think she wouldn’t date someone she was really attracted to because they ate unhealthy or didn’t have a six-pack. I think she just means what she looks for in a man has changed. When you are with someone you do have to have common interestes and goals. That doesn’t mean you have to be exactly the same but its nice to be on the same page as far as a healthy lifestyle is concerned if you can.

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Pam • November 28, 2007 at 11:55 am

I think you’re just looking for someone with whom you have a lot in common – that’s not judgemental, it’s just looking for a healthy relationship. And yes, smoking is a deal-breaker. yuck.

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Marianne • November 28, 2007 at 12:40 pm

I totally understand why you want those things in a relationship – you’ve worked too hard to let things fall by the wayside because of someone else’s influence.

When my BF moved in with me, he was looking for a job, a little depressed about the jobhunt, and both our diets and exercise plans went out the window. Now things are looking up for both of us, and our diets and exercise are coming back to healthy-land. :D We’re both culpable, individually, but we certainly influence each other a LOT, too.

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Amy • November 28, 2007 at 8:02 pm

I don’t think anything is a deal breaker, short of hard drug use or murderous tendencies. I have had some wonderful relationships with some people that were very different from me at first glance. I found there were other things that held us together.

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n.b. • November 28, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Go Pasta Queen! What with your cute picture on the cover of your NEW BOOK and all I am sure you will soon be besieged with offers from legions of fine Tofu Kings.

Or you could just join a gym. A friend just got me a one week pass to her gym so I could see if I want to join and OMG! If I were a single twenty-something I would definitely get a membership just to widen my dating possibilities. (But instead I am a married 40 something whose joints hurt and I just want to find a pool not being used by would be Olympic swim racers who kick me in the head as they thrash by at full speed)

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Mich • November 29, 2007 at 12:04 am

Should I encounter “a non-smoking, tofu-eating fitness king” I solemnly promise to refer him to your blog. Now, should you encounter a nice powerlifting Jewish guy, could you refer him to mine? :-)

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littlem • December 3, 2007 at 12:27 am

“…also, some one who is in to fitness but has never had a weight problem might be a discouragement if he/she cannot realize the difference in the diet and exercise needs of a person who has food and weight issues.”

Absolutely. I’ve had to explain this to well-meaning trainers of mine.

Nice people, but they always seem to be martial artists and dancers (I take a lot of Pilates) who have NEVER had an eating problem (unless it was anorexia) and have NO IDEA what you’re struggling with.

I like chunky boys who work out. They tend to understand a little better (unless you get one of those saboteurs who “won’t eat girly diet food”. I knew about the quiche, but Real Men don’t eat veggies now, either?).

“My BIL lives here in Louisville and is a great catch. He’s good looking, healthy, owns a business…. :)”

Hey, how come no one ever offers to set me up?? Just ’cause I moved from IN to NYC for the job doesn’t mean I don’t want for a really /nice guy. :-)

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littlem • December 3, 2007 at 12:31 am

BTW, directly OT, I think it’s really important to think about those types of things (compatibility as far as health goals go) BEFORE you get too deep on into the relationship.

I read some article about it recently — I think it might have been in the Times — about how the people not working out can feel judged, and the people working out can be made to feel like they’re being excessively dictatorial or joyless.

Really goes to show that it can be the seemingly “little” things that can be the water wearing away the rock of the relationship, and you don’t really notice until there’s a big ol’ hole.

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Zandria • December 17, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Absolutely! Six months ago I never would have thought that someone who took good care of their body would be so important to me, but now that I’m a regular gym-goer I realize how important it is for the person I’m with to be healthy.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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